look forward

UN Notes That Ending Torture Requires Accountability. Too Bad They Are Talking About Afghanistan.

Back in October of 2011, I wrote about a report prepared by the UN (pdf) in which it was found that torture is widespread in detention facilities administered by Afghanistan. The primary point of my post was that the US, and especially JSOC, had no credibility in their denials of responsibility for torture in Afghan prisons because the entire Afghan detention system had been established and its personnel trained by JSOC.

The US response to that report was not a huge surprise. It consisted of a doubling down on the one thing ISAF claims as its savior–training. After all, it is training of the ANSF that is intended to provide cover for the eventual withdrawal of combat forces by the end of next year, so why can’t training save the detention system, too?  A follow-up report was issued yesterday (pdf), and it serves as a complete slap-down to the US response.

The report finds that this training approach was a dismal failure, as torture has not abated:

Using internationally accepted methodology, standards and best practices, UNAMA’s detention observation from October 2011 to October 2012 found that despite Government and international efforts to address torture and ill-treatment of conflict related detainees, torture persists and remains a serious concern in numerous detention facilities across Afghanistan.

UNAMA found sufficiently credible and reliable evidence that more than half of 635 detainees interviewed (326 detainees) experienced torture and ill-treatment in numerous facilities of the Afghan National Police (ANP), National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan National Army (ANA) and Afghan Local Police (ALP) between October 2011 and October 2012 This finding is similar to UNAMA’s findings for October 2010-11 which determined that almost half of the detainees interviewed who had been held in NDS facilities and one third of detainees interviewed who had been held in ANP facilities experienced torture or ill-treatment at the hands of ANP or NDS officials.

And here is the UN concluding in the report that training alone won’t stop torture. Instead, real accountability is what is needed:

Similar to previous findings, UNAMA found a persistent lack of accountability for perpetrators of torture with few investigations and no prosecutions or loss of jobs for those responsible for torture or ill-treatment. The findings in this report highlight that torture cannot be addressed by training, inspections and directives alone but requires sound accountability measures to stop and prevent its use. Without effective deterrents and disincentives to use torture, including a robust, independent investigation process or criminal prosecutions, Afghan officials have no incentive to stop torture. A way forward is clear.

This seems like a particularly important message to take into consideration on the day that Barack Obama is involved in the pomp and circumstance of starting his second term in office. He gained the support of many progressives during the Democratic primaries in 2008 by issuing a strong call for torture accountability and then famously turned his back on it by expressing his desire to “look forward, not backward”. With this report, the UN shows the moral bankruptcy of such an approach and seems in fact to even be taunting him with the final “A way forward is clear.”

Emptywheel Twitterverse
JimWhiteGNV RT @NickdelaTorreGC: One week from today @GatorsBB will be back in action with Logan Shore on the mound. #Gators https://t.co/hUpHOp5YYe
22mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @kgosztola: UK govt considers opening supermax prison just for "Islamist terrorists"; in other words, a British Gitmo https://t.co/ijQC5
50mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel RT @tedhartii: Alarming story from @the_intercept on how Missouri prisoners routinely had calls with lawyers recorded: https://t.co/glTIFrn
54mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @LOLGOP: Whoever is making Bernie Sanders' ads knows how to jack into a brain https://t.co/36c9N7em4x
1hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel "In 2015 avg household in top 1% received pension subsidies worth >$13K while avg bene for middle-class only $1K" https://t.co/zHZWx2H5XJ
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MonaHol @EricMartin24 ...so be it. But the better the extent that any Clinton future can be brought left, the better. That's politics.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MonaHol @EricMartin24 Sanders may not have "experience" in FoPo, but at least what he has is not horrible. HRC will win, not Sanders...
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @MonaHol @EricMartin24 Well, I do not hate HRC. In fact, respect her in many ways. BUT, think she is effectively a status quo semi-neocon.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @EricMartin24 Also, ugh.
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @EricMartin24 Me too. My wife constantly reminds me of that....
2hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @EricMartin24 Maybe! but you have a young child. Mine is quickly headed to graduate school. Being pissed off at election helps me feel pain.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @EricMartin24 ...forces back then? Yes. The Obama hatred gestated out of that. And it was heinous. Still, her time then is not forgotten.
3hreplyretweetfavorite
February 2016
S M T W T F S
« Jan    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829