Saturday, February 16, 2013

Oh, the Irony!

Trey Smith

A US State Department official on Monday "expressed concern" about what he called "a 'climate of impunity' over abuses by police and security forces" - in Egypt. The official, Michael Posner, warned that failure to investigate Egyptian state agents responsible for "cruel treatment of those in their custody" - including torture - creates "a lack of meaningful accountability for these actions". Last week, I wrote that "I've become somewhat of a connoisseur of US government statements that are so drowning in obvious, glaring irony that the officials uttering them simply must have been mischievously cackling to themselves when they created them," and this American denunciation of Egypt's "climate of impunity" almost certainly goes to the top of the list.

After all, Michael Posner works for the very same administration that not only refused to prosecute or even investigate US officials who tortured, kidnapped and illegally eavesdropped, but actively shielded them all from all forms of accountability: criminal, civil or investigative. Indeed, Posner works for the very same State Department that actively impeded efforts by countries whose citizens were subjected to those abuses - such as Spain and Germany - to investigate them. Being lectured by the US State Department about a "culture of impunity" is like being lectured by David Cameron about supporting Arab dictators.
~ from Italy's Ex-Intelligence Chief Given 10-year Sentence for Role in CIA Kidnapping by Glenn Greenwald ~
It seems like not a day goes by anymore when another example of American Exceptionalism doesn't pop up to rear its ugly head! (I've been writing about this general topic so much lately that I'm adding a new label/tag to this post.)

As Greenwald points out, the irony of this situation is rich! Our leaders enjoy "a climate of impunity" that far exceeds any other western democracy and quite few non-democracies too. You can wiretap citizens without a court order and you won't be prosecuted. You can order people to be tortured against domestic and international law and you won't be prosecuted. Heck, you can crash the world economy and we won't lay a hand on you. As long as you are a bona fide member of the ruling elite, you can do almost anything you want and you don't have to worry about being prosecuted or even investigated.

When it comes to the "important people" in US society, as President Obama has told us peons on more than one occasion, we need to look forward, not backwards. (Of course, if you don't happen to be one of those oh so "important people," then we will look backwards, NOT forward! Funny how it works that way.)

Further on in his column, Greenwald tells about how Italy's former intelligence chief received a 10-year prison sentence for participating in the CIA kidnapping of Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (who was imprisoned for 4 years but, unsurprisingly, was NEVER charged with a crime). As Greenwald opines, no US prosecutor or court would even think of attempting such a prosecution here.

Why?

Because American leaders are so damn exceptional!

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