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Torture: Obama Administration, One Step Forward

John Yoo

Dan Froomkin on the Intercept: Nov 12 2014

1.  Obama Administration Reverses Bush Policy, Says U.S. Torture Ban Applies Abroad

As Charlie Savage of the New York Times reported last month, President Obama’s legal team was debating whether to reaffirm a Bush administration position that the United Nations Convention Against Torture imposes no legal obligation on the U.S. to bar cruelty outside its borders.

The debate is over. And the good guys won — this time. See the following statement issued by the White House this morning, even as State Department officials were answering questions about the administration’s position in Geneva before the United Nations Committee Against Torture….


2.  An Innocent Man, Tortured by the U.S., Asks the U.N.: Where’s the Accountability?

U.S. officials are in for a serious grilling on Wednesday as they get hauled before the U.N. Committee against Torture and questioned about about a multitude of ways in which the U.S. appears to be failing to comply with the anti-torture treaty it ratified 20 years ago…..

The ACLU’s “shadow report” to the committee is a profoundly grim indictment of the nation’s failure to live up to its principles.

And although Obama claims to oppose torture, the New York Times recently reported that he could well fail another key test of his sincerity by reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the international Convention Against Torture imposes no legal obligation on the U.S. to bar cruelty outside its borders.

Obama has already flouted the convention’s requirement that member states hold torturers accountable. I have long argued that his failure there has been particularly profound.

U.S. non-governmental agencies were allowed to address the U.N. committee today, and Murat Kurnaz (pictured above), who was tortured and detained by the U.S. at Kandahar and then Guantanamo over a period of five years, traveled to Geneva with his attorney, Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy. He made the following statement:…..


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