At the beginning of his first term, President Obama told the public to "look forward, as opposed to looking backwards," on the subject of the CIA torture program. However, many refused to take heed - and they are still pushing for answers. In October, human rights lawyers and activists testified at the European Parliament, arguing that the European Union has not done enough to investigate Europe's role in the CIA detention, rendition and torture program.
After the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee released its report on the CIA torture program in 2014 - declassifying more than 500 pages of a 6,000-page document, meaning that the majority is still classified - the European Parliament issued a resolution on it last February that welcomed the Senate report, condemned the CIA's torture program and called on the US and European Union member states to investigate the abuses and prosecute the perpetrators. However, in terms of real accountability, little has been done.
A Federal Communications Commission vote to regulate the prison phone industry has companies upset. The CEO of one company, Securus, has even taken to scolding a young woman because she is protesting expensive calls.
In my travels around Lebanon, I have met Syrian refugees struggling with various challenges, from depression to poverty. Members of Congress fail to recognize these hardships, reducing refugees to unsubstantiated security risks.