Archive for May, 2009

Jeremy and Reyna on CBS!

Stanford Student Speaks Out On Confronting Rice

http://cbs5.com/politics/condoleezza.rice.confronted.2.999686.html

A follow up to their story from Thursday

Stanford Student Confronts Rice On Interrogations
http://cbs5.com/politics/condoleezza.rice.confronted.2.998771.html

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Written by dan

May 3rd, 2009 at 2:53 am

Rice’s nonsense on torture

Oh wow, I only got around to watching this video now, and from some of the comments I thought she must have been making some half-convincing arguments… nope!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijEED_iviTA&feature=channel_page

Well, first we upgrade al Qaeda to tyrants, okay. Then one gets the impression that the US homeland was not attacked in WWII. Those little incidents at Pearl Harbor and on the Aleutian islands are called bombing and occupation, to most people.

Then we are informed that 500,000 deaths in WWII is “no!” Why? Perhaps we should have got the figure correct to the precise soldier?

The problem with the internet is that you can actually find obscure references instantaneously. In this case, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) report on Guantanamo. Turns out, with ten seconds of google:

* the OSCE people were only allowed in on the condition of not actually interviewing any detainees! These same conditions were rejected by other human rights organisations, like Amnesty.

* and, the guy who led the OSCE team, Alain Grignard, with the Belgian federal police, thought detaining prisoners for years with trial was a form of “psychological torture”.

http://intelligence-summit.blogspot.com/2006/03/osce-guantanamo-better-than-belgian.html

“Did you know that? Alright, no, well wait a second, if you didn’t know that, maybe before you make allegations about Guantanamo, you should read.”

But it gets better!

CR: “The ICRC also had access to Guantanamo, and they made no allegations about inerrogations about Guantanamo. What they did say is that they beleived indefinite detention…”

What sort of access did the ICRC have? Does anybody remember? Like, there were some prisoners that were deliberately kept away from the ICRC? And, like, this was such an official policy that it was actually written into the operating manual for the prison, there was an official level given to each prisoner, and the top level were kept away from the ICRC?

In fact, you can read various versions of the manual online.

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Chaplain,_Red_Cross_Muzzled_at_Gitmo_in_2004

In any case, with its access, the ICRC did write a detailed report, which was leaked recently. Perhaps you might actually like to read what the ICRC *did* have to say.

http://www.nybooks.com/icrc-report.pdf

From the introduction, the very first paragraph:

“The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has consistently expressed its grave concern over the humanitarian consequences and legal implications of the practice by the United States (US) authorities of holding persons in undisclosed detention in the context of the fight against terrorism. In particular, the ICRC has underscored the risk of ill-treatment, the lack of contact with the outside world as a result of being held incommunicado, the lack of a legal framework, and the direct effect of such treatment and conditions on the persons held in undisclosed detention and on their families.”

It’s clearly a glowing report, with sections entitled “Suffocation by water”, “Prolonged stress standing”, “Beatings by use of a collar”, “Beating and kicking”, “Confinement in a box”, “Prolonged nudity”, and so on. And clearly none of this involves any allegations about interrogations, surely.

And here is an example of non-allegations about interrogations, from the summary, section 1, page 5:

“as outlined in Section 4 below, and as concluded by this report, the ICRC clearly considers that the allegations of the fourteen [detainees interviewed] include descriptions of treatment and interrogation techniques — singly or in combination — that amounted to torture and/or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”

Can’t you see there are no allegations about interrogation?

And this is fantastic:

CR: “By definition, if it was authorised by the President, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture.”

I didn’t know we had monarchists left in this country!

Hmm, I wonder which article of the Convention has the “President said so” defence? Dang, that could have come in handy for Pinochet’s lawyers when he was being extradited for torture under the same convention! Pity he didn’t notice that provision, having been President of Chile and all, since by definition anything he authorises doesn’t violate the convention!

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Written by dan

May 1st, 2009 at 2:56 am