The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights has warned Americans not to elect Republican Mitt Romney in next month’s presidential election, saying that doing so would be “a democratic mandate for torture.”
The UN’s Ben Emmerson was referring to Romney’s refusal to rule out the use of waterboarding in interrogating terror detainees, a practice that President Barack Obama has ended.
Colin Perkel of The Canadian Press reported Emmerson’s remarks from a symposium in Toronto on the impact of 9/11 on human rights:
“The re-introduction of torture under a Romney administration would significantly increase the threat levels to (Americans) at home and abroad,” Emmerson said.
“Such a policy, if adopted, would expose the American people to risks the Obama administration is not currently exposing them to.”
U.S. intelligence services were able to pinpoint Osama bin Laden’s location and carry out the successful mission to kill him in May 2011 based on information yielded during waterboarding of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and information from Al Qaeda operative Hassan Ghul, who was captured in Iraq in 2004.
Obama opposed both waterboarding and the Iraq War, without which bin Laden would not have been found.
Emmerson warned that Romney could reinstate waterboarding if he took office. He also criticized the Obama administration’s drone program–an initiative begun by the Bush administration but accelerated by President Obama, partly because of his reluctance to capture, detain or interrogate terror suspects.
In a second term, Obama may renew efforts to close the Guantanámo Bay prison, despite widespread public opposition.