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Today's Torture News + Bolton is a Jerk

by Chris Kulczycki Thu Dec 8th, 2005 at 10:40:04 AM EST

I think the tide is finally turning. The press, the populace and even some governments are starting to say enough is enough. We will not stand for it any longer. Here is some of what's happened in the past 24 hours.

More below:


As I'm sure you've heard by now, we really won't torture anymore, really, says Rice. From CBS News:


The United States has made a clear, direct, unequivocal statement about the use of torture. Its official policy now is to honour the United Nations ban on cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, not just at home, but around the world as well. -snip-

Speaking in Kiev, Rice made a definitive statement. "Those obligations [against the use of torture] extend to U.S. personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the United States or outside of the United States," she said.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said it was "about time." "Shame on us that it took so long for the administration" to make the determination not to use torture, she said.

A Democratic Senator called Rice's statement an "almost total reversal of U.S. policy."

From the Guardian . Evidence obtained by torture is inadmissible, at least in the UK. It's still fine in the US, but not really relevant, because no evidence is required to imprison you for life if someone calls you an enemy combatant.  Londonbear posted this diary on dKOS about the ruling that should be recommended.

Evidence that may have been obtained by torture cannot be used against terror suspects in British courts, the House of Lords ruled today.

A panel of seven Law Lords voted unanimously to allow an appeal by eight detainees who are being held without charge on suspicion of being involved in terrorism, against a controversial Court of Appeal judgment passed in August 2004.

The appeal court voted last year that if evidence was obtained under torture by agents of another country with no involvement by the UK, it was usable and there was no obligation by the government to inquire about its origins.

But today's ruling means such evidence is inadmissible under British law. It also means the home secretary must re-examine all cases where evidence obtained by torture has been used against suspects.

And our favorite apparatchik, Ambassador John Bolton, says the UN has no business second-guessing the US's conduct. Imagine, the UN is protecting human rights; how dare they. Is Bolton not the biggest jerk in to ever live? From Japan Today :

Governments watering down definition of torture, says U.N.

NEW YORK -- U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour warned on Wednesday that the global ban on torture is becoming a casualty of the "war on terror," expressing concern that governments are changing their views on torture.

"Governments in a number of countries are claiming that established rules do not apply anymore: that we live in a changed world and that there is a 'new normal,"'* Arbour said ahead of U.N. Human Rights Day on Saturday. "They argue that this justifies a lowering of the bar as to what constitutes permissible treatment of detainees."

Arbour's comments sparked an Pimmediate rebuke from U.S. Ambassador John Bolton*, who said it was "inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we're engaged in in the war on terror, with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers."

This is from the Hindustan Times :

Nobel literature laureate Harold Pinter has slammed U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a harsh award lecture, saying they should be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq.

In a pre-recorded lecture presented at the Swedish Academy in Stockholm on Wednesday, the British playwright said Bush and Blair should be arraigned before the International Criminal Court. "The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law," said Pinter, known for his outspoken criticism of U.S. foreign policy.

And finally, just in case you misses it:

Dec. 7 (Bloomberg) -- House Republicans today agreed to accept Senator John McCain's measure barring mistreatment of enemy combatants in U.S. custody, rejecting White House efforts to have the legislation exempt the Central Intelligence Agency, according to two congressional officials.

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This is a longer version of the description of Karski's tour of the Warsaw Ghetto: link

And here is a radio interview with him. It's very moving. There are actually several short files here, scroll down:link

And here are more accounts by and about him (links are on the left):link

Do not feel safe. The poet remembers.
Czeslaw Milosz

by Chris Kulczycki on Thu Dec 8th, 2005 at 10:44:00 AM EST
...accusatio manifesta.
"Governments in a number of countries are claiming that established rules do not apply anymore: that we live in a changed world and that there is a 'new normal,"'* Arbour said ahead of U.N. Human Rights Day on Saturday. "They argue that this justifies a lowering of the bar as to what constitutes permissible treatment of detainees."

Arbour's comments sparked an Pimmediate rebuke from U.S. Ambassador John Bolton*, who said it was "inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we're engaged in in the war on terror, with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers."

The UN's spokesperson says "some countries" and Bolton gets all defensive...

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 8th, 2005 at 11:07:27 AM EST
It seems that Condoleezza Rice lied about not using torture by proxy...
by IdiotSavant on Thu Dec 8th, 2005 at 04:24:29 PM EST
They not only lie, they attack you, if you just doubt them telling the truth. They count on you being impressed with their own righteous certitude. Bolton has absolutely no business to lecture or bully anyone but himself. The question is how you defend yourself against those kind of jerks.
by mimi on Thu Dec 8th, 2005 at 05:47:51 PM EST
Unfortunately, he's not the world's biggest jerk. He is a JERK, though. I think if you've ever really known a compulsive bully like that, you recognize it in him instantly.

He'll be there for a moment and gone, is how I look at it. Sadly, he's part of a process of whittling the US back down to size, so it can be a better global citizen. I'd say "again", but I'm not too sure about that. Sigh.

by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Dec 9th, 2005 at 05:38:00 AM EST
Maybe not, but that would only be because of the stiff competition (paging the Iranian prez)...
by Bernard on Fri Dec 9th, 2005 at 03:47:27 PM EST
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