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Obama And Congress Continue To Protect Bush’s Torture Architects

The following reminders come from the Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee Against Torture on the Review of the Periodic Report of the United States of America:

“The United States continues to shield senior officials from liability for these crimes, in violation of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

united states of torture“The Bush and Obama administrations and the United States Congress have repeatedly blocked attempts at redress in civil courts by torture survivors and the relatives of torture victims. The Department of Justice under both administrations has invoked jurisdictional and immunity doctrines to shield government officials from civil liability for torture.”

Of course, it isn’t just Barack Obama who is responsible for continuing to keep America’s record of torture swept under the rug. Congress has done its part of the job, too.

In the current U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman John Lewis introduced a H. Res. 283, a congressional resolution that should have been uncontroversial and universally supported. The resolution urged the Senate to strengthen the UN Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and would have, if passed, made opposition to torture the policy of the U.S. government.

Only 10 members of the House of Representatives co-sponsored the bill. They were: James McGovern, Barbara Lee, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Jim McDermott, Charles Rangel, Raul Grijalva, Frederica Wilson, Lloyd Doggett, Steve Cohen, and Shiela Jackson Lee.

Is your U.S. Representative not in this list? Ask yourself why, and ask yourself how that should affect your vote tomorrow.

Deserving extra scrutiny is U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte, from Virginia’s 6th congressional district. Goodlatte, as chair of the House Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, used his power to prevent H. Res. 283 from ever having the chance to advance to the floor of the House of Representatives for a vote. Before they vote on Election Day, Bob Goodlatte’s constituents need to ask themselves why their U.S. Representative opposed anti-torture legislation, and whether they are willing to endorse that action.

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