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Reduced to double talk in defending torture policy


By HELEN THOMAS

How long will the American people tolerate the shaming of their nation by the inhumane treatment of prisoners of war and the spiriting of detainees to secret prisons outside the United States?

Is it any wonder that other countries believe that America has lost its moral purpose by surrendering our well-earned reputation for human rights?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is facing the music on her quick trip to Germany, Russia, Romania, Ukraine and NATO headquarters in Brussels.

She had hoped to mend relations that have been strained by the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Instead, to her exasperation, she has been hounded with questions about whether the United States has maintained secret prisons in two European nations — as reported by the Washington Post. She has steadfastly refused to answer yes or no, thus providing inadvertent confirmation of the report.

In a departure statement before she left, Rice tried to define the perimeter of acceptable questions. "We cannot discuss information that would compromise the success of intelligence, law enforcement and military operations," she declared.

She stressed that other nations are cooperating and the United States would not transgress their sovereignty without permission.

At the same time, she confirmed that the United States has used "renditions" — the secret transport of terrorist suspects from the country where they were captured "to their home country or to other countries where they can be questioned, held or brought to justice."

Rendition is a "vital tool" in combating international terrorism, she said.

The whole process raises the question of why U.S. officials believe that interrogators in another country would be more successful than American questioners in obtaining information from the person being "rendited." And that raises the possibility that the other questioners could use torture to get answers.

Not so, says Rice, speaking very carefully.

"The United States has not transported anyone, and will not transport anyone, to a country where we believe he will be tortured," she asserted.

Get this: "Where appropriate," she added, "the United States seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured." That assumes that some of the destination countries have the reputation for torturing people.

She has a sad mission as she naively tries to defend the indefensible among Europeans, some of whom have long memories of living under inhumane governments.

German officials confronted her with a long list of overflights by CIA airplanes, apparently carrying detainees to clandestine prisons.

At a White House briefing last Tuesday, press secretary Scott McClellan was asked repeatedly why we sent prisoners to other countries to be questioned.

He evaded providing a direct answer, saying: "I'm not going to talk further about intelligence matters."

Nor did he respond to questions on whether there is U.S. oversight of those we send away to make sure they are not tortured.

While Rice insists that the United States does not tolerate torture, many studies by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and Human Rights First have come to the opposite conclusion.

Torture under the law is described as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. Waterboarding or mock drownings, sleep deprivation, beatings, shackles and other horrors apparently do not fall into the administration's definition of torture.

This is the same administration that is threatening a presidential veto of pending legislation that would explicitly prohibit the use of torture. The White House led by Vice President Dick Cheney insists on an exception for the CIA.

The ban is being pushed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who was tortured when he was a prisoner of war in the Vietnam era. Stephen Hadley, Bush's national security adviser, is now seeking a compromise.

How do you compromise torture? Fortunately, McCain says: "No deal."

Human Rights First — a human rights advocacy group — charged that Rice's departure statement continued to fuzz up U.S. obligations under the U.N. convention against torture.

As for detainees, Rice said, "We must treat them in accordance with our laws, which reflect the values of the American people," she added. "We must question them to gather potentially significant, life-saving intelligence. We must bring terrorists to justice wherever possible."

Rice has yet to master the art of diplomacy but she certainly excels in double talk.

Thomas is a Washington, D.C.-based columnist for the Hearst Newspapers.

hthomas@hearstdc.com

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I see Dr. "Mushroom Cloud" Rice & Son-Of-Read-My-Lips Bush are at it again with the "DENIAL" Machiavellian Doublespeak. They are both telling us emphatically, "We don't Torture!!!" (we just redefined torture so that what we do is legal and/or we pay someone else to do it for us . .. you know like how we got around both the US Constitution AND the Geneva Conventions by inventing a new word, "Enemy Combatant" . . . see, neither document says ANYTHING about "Enemy Combatants" so these humans aren't covered. "This is TRUE", said John Ashcroft . .. "It is GOOD and will keep you safe", said Pat Roberston)

Who are you going to trust? These two "wrapped in the flag" and "folded in the bible" Patriarchal Fascists or your own lying eyes? Face it, America, your tax dollars (as well as illegal drug money . .. *gasp*) are going to fund TORTURE all over the world and it is being carried out by men & women who are using the "tricks" learned by the German NAZI Scientists the US Capitalists smuggled over under "Operation Paperclip" to teach them how to fight COMMUNISM. Those millions and millions of dollars that went to fund research projects under the guise of the "National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)" were mainly to perfect these techniques under such programs as MK-ULTRA.

For you younger kidz, Daddy Bush was the master of wrapping himself in the flag anytime someone dared confront him with "Objective Truth." Junior has surpassed him by being able to pull off not only the great "flag wrapping" trick, but the great "Billy Graham/Jerry Swaggart/Pat Robertson/Jerry Falwell/Jim Bakker-Folded-Up-In-the-Bible" trick.

They try to tell us that "Torture Saves Lives." Bullshit!!! Anyone that has researched this and isn't on their payroll will tell you that Torture does NOT work. It is unreliable and it does NOT yield any useful "information". Torture is good for only two things . . . BREAKING the wills of the "leadership" of those that oppose you and putting Paralyzing FEAR into those that are considering opposing you.

Look at the median age of those being tortured. Just yet another WAR on YOUTH to "BREAK" any that dare stand in the way of this archaic New World Order "Eugenics" dream based on the bad 19th century pseudo-science of a bunch of OLD DYSFUNCTIONAL WHITE RICH MEN who "just didn't get it" when it came to the concept of America. They considered themselves to be "The Supermen" and were above such Game Rules as "All Men (people) are created equal".

(Condi, how long do you think they are going to let you come in the "big house" once they get what they want? Just like Colin Powell, you are being played, dearie .. . you have some SERIOUS "denial" issues. . . blinded by wanting to "BE SOMEBODY."
Can't you see that you ARE already somebody???)

Like all Dominant Predators, if you let these dysfunctional frat brats get away with it OVER THERE, it is only a matter of time before they are doing this crap to kidz HERE!!! They are already labeling all of us "Peace Activists" as "Terrorists" . .. just ask the ACLU. They are already force drugging your kidz here by coming up with a "new" disease classification . .. "Yeah, smart kid that challenges authority and doesn't feel they have to do everything that the Grown-Ups say . .. definitey ADD . .. drug 'em, Danno."

IMPEACH THE SON-OF-A-BUSH NOW!!!!

"The image and the empire may be falling apart
The money has gotten scarce
One man's word held the country together
But the truth is getting fierce"
- Say It Ain't So, Joe by Murray Head

peace.

How can we expect the Bush inc. group to ever change since they are
committed to the NWO takeover due to bloodlines? It's like dealing with an army of clones brought up to function for the Empire.They are
sworn to lying or they go against their Secret Top Brass.

Believing and practicing any form of torture or just general non caring opposes reverence for life.

We have to use our own power for good to cancel out their sworn committment to evil.

alcyone

SLIP, SLIDING AWAY

It's like watching a "B" movie with bad actors. The hero (our beloved country) is hanging over the cliff, grasped by the fragile grip of her citizens. With enough of them to help, it would be possible to pull the hero back onto firm ground. But the bad guys have weapons of mass deception, and they fool too many of those who would help if they knew the truth, and our hero slips further and further out of reach into the abyss.

One of their bad actors went to the United Nations environmental treaty talks in Montreal. The conference wrapped up this past weekend with the calamitous walkout of the American representative, who left last minute midnight-oil discussions aimed at finding some common ground that could move the process of reducing "greenhouse gas emissions" forward. The United States and China, the two worst offenders, refused to agree to any mandatory steps to make reductions. Former U.S. President, Bill Clinton spoke to the thousands of delegates, noting the "precautionary approach" the Bush administration had taken to fighting terrorism, saying, "There is no more important place in the world to apply the principle of precaution than the area of climate change........We know what's happening to the climate, we have a highly predictable set of consequences if we continue to pour greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and we know we have an alternative that will lead us to greater prosperity."

With the close of this environmental conference, the focus shifted to the International Peace Conference which began on Dec. 10 in London, a gathering of people from the US, UK and IRAQ who want PEACE.......not WAR. This gathering follows closely on the high heels (and high horse) of Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice's trip around the continent trying to reassure those who are anxious and concerned (all) that the president was telling the truth when he said "The U.S. does not torture." Rice applied the usual tactic of repetition + repetition = truth. The wary and weary world did not fall for her hollow and false assertions, which made matters worse instead of better. British playwright Harold Pinter had some words for her and the president in his lecture upon receiving the Nobel Prize for literature, raining shame down on all the lies, distortions and deceptions that our country and the world have endured since our fateful contested elections of 2000 and 2004. He reminds us that the U.S. now occupies 702 military installations throughout the world in 132 countries, and has 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads, 2,000 of which are on hair trigger alert, ready to be launched with 15 minutes warning. Maybe those are different from the NUCULAR weapons George talks about, and he doesn't know he already has gobs? Maybe George and Condi didn't see the photographs taken of the TORTURE at Abu Garib prison. Maybe they are hiding the rest of the photographs the American courts ordered released to the public. We all know they're too horrible to see - precisely why they must be seen. The ACLU has a lawsuit pending to hold Rumsfeld and other high officials accountable for torture documented in 77,000 pages of records they have obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

In trying to accuse Europe of complicity with the U.S. on the rendition of hundreds of suspected terrorists to "black sites" and spread the guilt, Rice caused a firestorm of fury among those she sought to mollify. The Italians, who have issued indictments of 22 current and former CIA operatives for the rendition of an Egyptian suspect, say emphatically that they are not involved. The UK also scrambled to deny involvement and clarify their policies. In a lead opinion, Lord Bingham of Britain's highest court, the Law Lords, ruled that evidence obtained through torture, no matter by whom, is not admissible in British courts. This ruling overturns the existing tacit acceptance that torture can be condoned under certain circumstances, and renews adherence to the UN 1994 Convention Against Torture. In a rebuke of the fuzzy definitions employed by the Bush administration, Lord Bingham states that "prohibition against torture has become one of the most fundamental standards of the international community.....an absolute value from which no one must deviate." Germany is intensely investigating the U.S. regarding our rendition activities, and claims it has records of 400 U.S. rendition flights over European airspace. Most shameful was Rice's attempt to mend fences with Germany's Chancellor Merkel, who applauded Rice's admission to her of the U.S. "mistake" in the rendition of German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, to the CIA jail "the Salt pit" in Afghanistan. el-Masri was tortured there for 5 months in a case of "mistaken identity." After their meeting, Rice denied she had admitted the mistake. The European Council declared that any member nation harboring a CIA prison would be put under sanctions by the European community.

In America, the press broke the story of the Al Queda operative, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was tortured into providing the mis-information of a
9/11 Al Queda and Saddam Hussein connection, and says he gave the information he thought they wanted to hear so they would stop the torture. The president used his mis-information to make the case for war, even though it was discredited at the time by the CIA. Claiming that our invasion of Iraq is a necessary part of the War on Terror, our military has spent $277 BILLION on the War on Iraq to make the world a safer place because of the danger of Saddam Hussein to the U.S.. According to Representative John Murtha, who knows, the military will ask for an additional $100 Billion for operations in Iraq next year. U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says the Geneva Convention is "quaint." Dick Cheney insists that the CIA needs an exemption from John McCain's proposed anti-torture legislation. McCain says that there is no information obtained by torture worth the shame it would cause the United States. Over last weekend he and others tried and tried to broker a solution to this impasse with the White House, so far to no avail.

We are obviously witnessing a colossal clash of values, both within and without our borders. As citizens of this noble nation, we are left with a terrible quandary. Shamed by our leaders, who control all three branches of our government and repeat lies in order to create truth out of falsehoods, our power is limited. We have only our voices. Harold Pinter has some words for us to consider: " I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us - the dignity of man." Men and women, mere citizens all, are gathered in the pursuit of peace in London. Iraqis who want their country healed will be there. Americans and Brits who long for peace and the return of their brave soldiers will be there. The future will be there.

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