Hillary Clinton’s Human Rights Doublespeak

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now most of the way through her finger-wagging African safari. Kenya and Angola have already received her lecture on improving their human rights records. The Wall Street Journal details Clinton’s criticism of  Kenya:

“The absence of strong and effective democratic institutions has permitted ongoing corruption, impunity, politically motivated violence, human-rights abuses, and a lack of respect for the rule of law.”

Next came the advice, with Clinton recommending that Kenyans who can get no satisfaction prosecuting corruption cases in their own countries should take them to the International Criminal Court (ICC):

Clinton […] has urged Kenya to go to the world court to prosecute perpetrators of last year’s election violence, fearing that the East African nation’s own judicial institutions were too weak.

This advice may come across as slightly amusing, given that the U.S. never joined the ICC. Anyway, Clinton’s rhetoric appears to support the humanitarian idealism of an Obama administration that has sought to turn back many of the human rights abuses that took place under Bush, right?

Well, not so fast.

Rewind one week prior to Clinton’s Africa jaunt and what’s this being reported in the U.K’s Daily Mail?

Hillary Clinton has threatened to end intelligence sharing with Britain if the High Court publishes its findings on what happened to former terror detainee Binyam Mohamed.

This threat relates to a British citizen, Binyam Mohamed, who is seeking justice through the British legal system for the abuse of his human rights. This abuse began when Mohamed was picked up in Pakistan by the American secret services in 2002 and accused of being a terrorist. After this, Mohamed would spend the next six-and-a-half years in captivity, being moved secretly around a number of different countries before ending up in Guantanamo Bay. Upon being released without ever being charged, Mohamed contended that:

While in detention (in Pakistan), […] he was hung up by straps, beaten and had his genitals mutilated with a scalpel to make him confess to a ‘dirty bomb’ plot.

Not only that, he is now seeking to prove in court that:

British intelligence agents knew about – and were complicit in – his torture in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Morocco.

This apparently can be proved by evidence provided by the CIA which is said to confirm Mohamed’s claims but the Americans do not want this evidence released to the public.

Let’s look at some of the fundamental tenets of human rights, especially where they relate to justice. These are that justice is applied equally and openly; that evidence is not withheld; that application of the law is neither arbitrary nor secretive; that one class or people are not privileged over another. Given this, we should expect Clinton to show support for an individual using legal means to address the abrogation of his human rights. Instead, her obstructiveness is all too apparent.

Irony, so they say, is not a common feature in American comedy. It would also seem to be sadly lacking in American politics.


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