Thursday, September 28, 2006

Does America torture?

Since 9/11, the United States has frequently outsourced torture to countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria, that are known to use brutal methods.

This procedure is called "extraordinary rendition." It is expressly forbidden by the U.N. Convention against Torture (Part I, A. 3.1), which the U.S. has signed and ratified. It also violates section 2242 of the 1998 Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act.

When you outsource a task, you remain the primary agent. If I hire someone to murder another person, I am guilty of murder. George Bush is guilty of torture.

The U.N. Convention defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person." Waterboarding would certainly qualify, as would any technique that was really effective at getting information from a terrorist determined to remain silent.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Convention applies to al Qaeda detainees. This article prohibits "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." In his Sept. 6 address, Bush announced that he wanted Congress to "clarify" article 3 by stipulating that it is consistent with his "alternative" interrogation techniques.

When Bush refuses to call his "alternative" methods torture, when he wants to clarify "cruel" and "degrading" as allowing waterboarding, he reminds me of what Humpty Dumpty told Alice in Wonderland: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less

Read the full article Here


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