Iran: This Is What Lack Of Accountability Looks And Feels Like
|Today is Torture Accountability Day.|
Events in Iran yesterday show exactly what lack of accountability looks and feels like. It's not a pretty picture. And it hurts. CNN provides this small vignette:
On Wednesday afternoon, security forces used overwhelming force to crack down on protesters who had flocked to Baharestan Square near the parliament building in Tehran, according to more than a half-dozen witnesses.
This is what happens when there is no accountability. The Government gives a "starkly different account." Deadly force dictates the events. Demonstrators are clubbed. Women and old men are beaten. Government approved goons launch surprise attacks. Government approved media say nothing happened. Repeat as necessary.
There is no
My heart goes out to the demonstrators in Iran. Because their Government shuns accountability, they are, each of them, in mortal danger. Their Government believes that it is appropriate to use deadly force to shore up a stolen election. It believes that violence will end civil unrest. And if the present level of violence proves to be insufficient to bring compliance, even greater violence is threatened. No other course is contemplated.
Of course, lack of accountability is nourished by lack of reporting, by officially imposed silence. It's important to the Iranian government to make sure that the whole world isn't watching (except on Twitter). It's important to Governments that are not accountable to thwart all inquiries about their activities, to impose secrecy, to resist disclosure, to disrupt investigations, to shield past misdeeds, to hide the truth.
The New York Times reports the difficulties in knowing what is happening in Iran and a different version of the same Wednesday afternoon brutality:
The government also stepped up its efforts to block independent news coverage of events all across the country. The government has banned foreign news media members from leaving their offices, suspended all press credentials for foreign correspondents, arrested a freelance writer for The Washington Times, continued to hold a reporter for Newsweek and forced other foreign journalists to leave the country.
That is what lack of accountability looks like. This is what it feels like. First it's the crime, the brutality, the torture, the violence. Then it's the lie, "We will not go one step beyond the law." That echoes previous official posturing in Washington, "The United States does not torture." That's what lack of accountability looks like. The Government can and does say anything it wants to about its activities. It lies when it wants to. And nobody dares to lift the curtain to see whether it's true. That's what lack of accountability is.