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Transparency and change in the US under Democrats? ‘Don’t be fooled,’ says UN torture expert

Transparency and change in the US under Democrats? ‘Don’t be fooled,’ says UN torture expert
The notion that the Democratic Party would be better than Republicans at delivering transparency and accountability is flawed, because US government impunity is “systemic,” UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer has said.

With the November presidential election looming and protests raging across the US following the police killing of George Floyd, many on the Left are insisting that change will only come if people “vote Democrat” and “vote blue no matter who.”

Yet, Democrats taking the wheel in January 2021 would not necessarily bring any significant change in terms of transparency and accountability, Melzer implied. “Do not be fooled,” he wrote in a tweet blasting the party on Sunday, adding that US government “secrecy and impunity is systemic.” 

The UN torture expert noted that despite their alleged differences, “both” parties “persecute whistleblowers,” “describe dissidents as terrorists” and “murder with drones.” Both also “impose impunity for war crimes and torture,” he added.

To back up his argument, Melzer included a screenshot of a Guardian article about former VP and current Democratic candidate Joe Biden referring to WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange as a “hi-tech terrorist” – a reminder that the Obama administration was no kinder to those exposing wrongdoings than the Trump administration is.

Melzer has been an outspoken critic of Western governments’ treatment of Assange and has repeatedly chastised the British government for holding the ailing whistleblower at London’s maximum security Belmarsh prison.

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In earlier tweets, he warned that press freedom is “under deliberate attack” and that the persecution of Assange would lead to further infringement of rights.

Attacks on journalists by police forces across the US in recent days is now “proof” that this is happening, he said.

Assange is being “burnt at the stake” for exposing war crimes, he said in another tweet, but there is no difference between him and those who are now exposing police brutality and systemic racism. 

“It’s the same culture of impunity: high time to connect the dots!” he wrote.

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