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In Geneva, US Dodges on Drones and Spying, Stop & Frisk and Haiti Deportations

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 14 -- When the US delegation to the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva took the floor on March 14, it was a full court press. A Native America staffer of the Mayor of Salt Lake City sung the US' praises, assurances were given about "so-called drones or remotely piloted aircraft."

  But of the elephant in the room, NSA spying, the speaker from the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice used a single line: DOJ is "monitoring" a number of private action. You don't say.

  The head of the US delegation, Mary McLeod, said but did not explain why the US Administration has "no current expectation to become a party to the optional protocol" to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights -- which the US says does not apply to its actions outside of its borders.

 This seems noteworthy right now as the US talks of Russian actions in Crimea.

  On the New York City stop and frisk program, the DOJ speaker acknowledged that the Department had taken no position on the facts; he noted the appeal filed by former Mayor -- and now UN official -- Michael Bloomberg, but that Bill De Blasio as withdrawn the appeal.

On immigration, Alabama House Bill 56 on immigration verification came up, with the US saying it was "on the ground" in Alabama to make sure it didn't block undocumented children from schooling. One almost expected to hear that NSA surveillance could help in these local goals.

The morning session closed with a slew of questions: Walter Kalin asked why the US deports people to Haiti even amid the cholera epidemic -- for which, Inner City Press notes, the US has said the UN should be immune.

 Others questioned forced medication of those detained, lack of legal protection for farm workers and abuses in the guest worker program and, yes, Prism and NSA spying. And they they broke for a Geneva lunch. This is the UN. Watch this site.


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