Tag Archives: Alston

Yes, We Kill Civilians, But You Have No Right To Say So

The election of Barack Obama raised hopes there would be a new willingness on the part of the American government to confront its mistakes and engage in dialogue rather than pretending there never are mistakes. Philip Alston, the UN Human Rights Council’s special investigator on illegal killings charged American forces in Afghanistan were not addressing issues of the deaths of innocent civilians. The Obama administration is not refuting his charges, but they claim he has no right to make such accusations. “We do not believe that military and intelligence operations during armed conflict fall within the special rapporteur’s mandate.”

The issue is not whether Philip or John or Harry has a mandate to investigate deaths of innocent people, the issue is are such killings taking place and are those responsible being properly punished. What the heck has happened to Barack Obama??

What Has Happened To The Soul Of America?

Once upon a time people looked to America as a nation which upheld constitutional principles of due process and respect for individual rights. The Bush fiasco in Iraq has stained the soul of America because of its desire to gain victory at any cost even if it meant losing one’s soul and self respect. Philip Alston, the UN Human Rights Council’s special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings issued a report which accuses the United States of failure to properly investigate or punish crimes against human rights. According to Alston, “there has been chronic and deplorable accountability failures with respect to policies, practices and conduct that resulted in alleged unlawful killings–including possible war crimes– in the United States’ international operations.”

Among the cases cited by Alston was the death of General Abed Mowhoush, an Iraq general who was suffocated to death after his head was covered with a sleeping bag and an electrical cord wrapped around his neck. Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer who was responsible for the death was fined and reprimanded but did not serve any jail time.

America must cooperate with UN officials like Alston and get to the heart of what has been going on from the moment George Bush unleashed the dogs of torture and disrespect for law.