UN Rep: Romney win would mean 'a democratic mandate for torture'

First of all, nobody asked him. Secondly, nobody asked the UN. Finally, what in the Wide, Wide World of Sports is he talking about?

The possibility that Mitt Romney will be elected president of the United States next month has raised the "alarming" prospect of an unprecedented public endorsement of torture, a prominent international expert said Friday.

Speaking out on the issue for the first time, Ben Emmerson, UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights, took fierce aim at the Republican candidate's refusal to condemn waterboarding.

"There is no doubt that the Romney administration would be able to claim - in the event of a Romney presidency - a democratic mandate for torture," Emmerson told The Canadian Press.

"That would put Romney as the first world leader in history to be able to claim a democratic mandate for torture."

Emmerson said he planned to raise his concerns in an address to the UN General Assembly later this month.

In the security panic that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks, former U.S. president George W. Bush endorsed "enhanced interrogation" techniques, including waterboarding. The practice involves almost drowning a suspect to soften them up and get them to reveal information.

For example, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the suspects now on trial in Guantanamo Bay for planning the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

During a debate in 2007, Romney said he opposed torture in any form, but ducked the question of whether he viewed waterboarding as torture. He also said he wanted other terrorists to face the same kind of treatment as Mohammed did.

Last month, when asked directly if he believed waterboarding to be torture, he responded, "I don't."

Romney has criticized his Democrat rival, President Barack Obama, for unequivocally ruling out the use of waterboarding. The Republican's advisers are pushing him to campaign on scrapping the president's ban on such techniques, the New York Times has reported.

So Romney says he opposes torture "in any form" and the UN lickspittle is telling Americans that if they dare elect the Republican, he would be "the first world leader in history to be able to claim a democratic mandate for torture." What is it that he's trying to say? I don't think he even knows.

Something is wrong with that picture, and it isn't Mitt Romney. Romney has not said he will waterboard terrorists. He has said that he doesn't agree that it is torture. There is a disagreement in circles outside of rabid liberal jurists and lawyers about this (Note: I have written in the past that waterboarding meets the standard definition of torture), and Romney is only leaving his options open.

On top of the news that some liberals want UN observers to monitor our elections, this interference by the United Nations is simply intolerable.

United Nations-affiliated election monitors from Europe and central Asia will be at polling places around the U.S. looking for voter suppression activities by conservative groups, a concern raised by civil rights groups during a meeting this week. The intervention has drawn criticism from a prominent conservative-leaning group combating election fraud.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner on democratization and human rights projects, will deploy 44 observers from its human rights office around the country on Election Day to monitor an array of activities, including potential disputes at polling places. It's part of a broader observation mission that will send out an additional 80 to 90 members of parliament from nearly 30 countries.

Liberal-leaning civil rights groups met with representatives from the OSCE this week to raise their fears about what they say are systematic efforts to suppress minority voters likely to vote for President Obama.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the NAACP and the ACLU, among other groups, warned this month in a letter to Daan Everts, a senior official with OSCE, of "a coordinated political effort to disenfranchise millions of Americans - particularly traditionally disenfranchised groups like minorities."

The request for foreign monitoring of election sites drew a strong rebuke from Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, a conservative-leaning group seeking to crack down on election fraud.

"These activist groups sought assistance not from American sources, but from the United Nations," she said in a statement to The Hill. "The United Nations has no jurisdiction over American elections."

If it's intimidation and voter fraud they want to stamp out, why in the name of all that is good and holy don't they pay a visit to some precincts on the south side of Chicago?

Voter fraud there is legendary, as is phyically assaulting GOP poll watchers. But they aren't interested in "fair" elections. They are interested in re-electing Barack Obama and if a few thousand extra votes here and there are added to his total, no matter.

It's not just Chicago, of course. Recent elections in Washington state and Minnesota saw GOP candidate's election night leads disappear as Democratic machine politics literally stole those elections.

GOP poll watchers should not be intimidated by these outrageous tactics. And as for the UN "observers," perhaps we could get them to observe the toe of someone's boot as they are kicked out of the country and told never to come back.

(Oh dear, someone is going to say I'm advocating "violence by metaphor." So please, don't take that last metaphorical shot literally - just hang the observers from the yardarm and leave it at that.)

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