A medical specialist has assured me that pain is a sure symptom of an injury to someone’s body. Psychologists, in like manner, determine that behavioural patterns are dictated by some emotional trauma suffered earlier by the subject under evaluation. Human rights victims have invariably been members of a minority and/or unconnected with the mainstream elite, belonging, as it were, to the shadows of society populated mainly by the vulnerable and dependent class. Democracy is no guarantee of fair play and equality of treatment and, in the real world of politics, justice becomes a chimera of moral values. The USA has from its Declaration of Independence in 1776 trumpeted its democratic values and its sense of justice. Yet, by way of example, it was President Abraham Lincoln, before his assassination, who had invited Andrew Johnson to replace his then Vice-President in his 1864 campaign, who in 1866 upon his accession to the presidency wrote, “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President it shall be a government for white men.”
It is in this context that observers ought to locate the recent deaths, if not killings, of the three African Americans in Ferguson, Missouri, and in New York City by white police officers in circumstances where the justice system has been used to validate conduct which, on the surface, ought to have been subjected to a public prosecution, and not confined to the private recesses of a grand jury room. These unacceptable norms of inhuman conduct that characterize the relationship between white police officers and African Americans must cease. The irony is that both President Obama and Attorney-General Eric Holder are African Americans!
This is the kind of Gestapo justice which we were led to believe the Free World condemned at the end of the Second World War by way of the Nuremberg trials. It may be fair to state that this manoeuvre is antithetical to the principles of the kind of democracy to which the USA holds developing states, through its satellite NGOs, Transparency International, human rights groups, et al. No other country in this world would be permitted to establish a regime of simulated drowning or “waterboarding” and sexual abuse, including “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” such as that which was perpetrated against the Guantanamo Islamic detainees, on suspicion of being al Qaeda operatives; more so in secret facilities in Poland, Afghanistan and Romania. Senator Feinstein’s belated public affront makes a mockery of justice but facilitates the opportunity for CIA Director John Brennan’s obtuse defence of the EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) which constitutes an egregious disregard for the basic principles of a human’s entitlement, if not expectation.
Given the campaign promise of President Obama in 2008 that the Guantanamo Bay facility would be closed, and the revelations of 2014 in the Senate Report on the excesses of the CIA against its detainees, perhaps the next presidential aspirant would advocate for legislation to dissolve this institutional abomination which appears to have been the brainchild of another ‘democrat,’ Harry Truman, who signed the National Security Act into law on July 26, 1947, and with it, the Central Intelligence Group morphed into the Central Intelligence Agency, directly answerable to the President through the National Security Council. Its forays into the internal affairs of other countries are legendary and contrary to the international law rule that the sovereignty of every state must be respected. Its legislative history through Congress had never contemplated international coercion by way of “clandestine operation, paramilitary operation, secret operation and special operations,” since these terms appear nowhere in the legislation. It should not be forgotten that our own Guyana became one of its victims during the Cold War and resulted in regime change in 1964. Signs of more of the same interference continue 50 years after, albeit in a more sophisticated form. Double standards are indeed the order of the day.
Justice Charles.R Ramson, SC
Retired Attorney-General and
Minister of Legal Affairs