Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Diplomatic immunity: An assassin’s best friend?

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This story in the NY Times raises some intriguing questions, which the article totally fails to address. But we must remember what we’ve learned about Bill Keller’s editorship of the Times: the paper now routinely seeks government approval for its stories and prints only what the government wants—at least until other papers break the stories, whereupon it turns out the NY Times had the facts all long but had either not published them at all, or had published only a cover story as requested by the government.

In other words, the NY Times has decided to follow the Pravda path, defining “the news that’s fit to print” as “the news report the government wants you to believe.” And Keller is quite open about this. I think the poor guy is so removed from journalism that he thinks the paper is being a “good citizen” by allowing the government to control its reportage.

But in the story about the shooter in Pakistan, the thing won’t hold together.

First, diplomatic immunity is to protect our diplomats and their staff from arbitrary actions of the host government, taken under coverage of law. It was never intended to be a “00” license to kill citizens of the host government with impunity. Indeed, if that was its purpose, governments would stop giving diplomatic immunity. To claim that diplomatic immunity allows our governmental assassins to walk the streets, gunning down citizens in a foreign country with no fear of repercussions, is (to my mind) insane. I don’t think we in this country would take kindly to someone gunning down a couple of Americans in the street and then claiming diplomatic immunity, especially if he represented a government that routinely killed innocent civilians in the country through drone-fired missiles.

Second, President Obama seems to want cover under an international treaty. But the US government has ignored treaties whenever it wants—not just with Native Americans, but more recently the Geneva Convention and the Convention Against Torture, and to this day President Obama refuses to heed the requirements of the Convention Against Torture, which requires him to follow the advice he so freely handed to Indonesia: that it is the responsibility of the government in power to investigate credible allegations of criminal behavior that violates the laws of the land. For Indonesia, President Obama (and Secretary Clinton) thought it very important to investigate past crimes and bring to justice those responsible. For the US, the same President believes that we should not obey the requirements of the law, but rather allow the guilty to go free and uninvestigated.

So I do not believe Obama has a leg to stand on when he appeals to treaties. His own actions completely belie his words, and I think increase the revulsion people are starting to feel about the actions of the US government.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2011 at 7:43 am

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