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Message 258518 - Posted: 7 Mar 2006, 6:07:22 UTC
Last modified: 26 Aug 2007, 20:20:35 UTC

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Message 258523 - Posted: 7 Mar 2006, 6:11:16 UTC

A U.N. fraud - Supposed 'reform' ill-serves human rights

UNION-TRIBUNE EDITORIAL

March 6, 2006

Reform of the United Nations' laughably dysfunctional Human Rights Commission is desperately needed and long overdue. But the pathetically weak version of reform produced in draft resolution form by months of U.N. deliberations is more than a disappointment. It's a disgrace.

For decades, the world body's Human Rights Commission has been sabotaged and discredited from within by a membership that typically includes some of the world's worst tyrannies. Thus, for example, the world is treated to the travesty of having such repugnant regimes as Cuba, Libya, Sudan, Vietnam and Zimbabwe help decide whether the commission will even consider human rights violations in a given country.

This fatally flawed system yields results so skewed that the commission often barely manages to condemn some of the world's worst police states, Cuba among them.

The obvious remedy for this would start with a screening process that would disqualify gross violators of fundamental human rights from membership on the commission. To this end, the Bush administration's U.N. ambassador, John Bolton, pushed for requiring a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly to approve prospective members. Bolton also wanted the commission's unwieldy total of 53 members reduced to a manageable number of 30 countries, all with decent human rights records.

What the United States and other human rights advocates got, instead, were cosmetics. The commission's name would change to council, the membership would drop to 47 (one fewer for each global region) and a mere majority in the General Assembly would be sufficient to approve membership. Prospective members would still be nominated by regional blocs with no absolute requirement that their human rights records meet minimal standards.

This virtually guarantees that thuggish regimes would again find their way onto the United Nations' new Human Rights Council.

Jan Eliasson, the Swedish diplomat currently serving as president of the General Assembly, oversaw these negotiations and defends their product as “my best effort” and a “consensus.” Eliasson predicts an overwhelmingly favorable vote when the draft resolution goes to the General Assembly.

Bolton leaves no doubt, however, that the United States would vote no, as it certainly should. A supposed reform this feeble is hardly better than no reform at all.

What should worry Eliasson, Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the rest of the United Nations bureaucracy is what the U.S. Congress may do soon. If this sham reform is the best the U.N. can manage, Congress may react by withholding the sizable U.S. contribution that helps fund the current commission.

As Eliasson correctly notes, defending and promoting human rights are, or should be, the “soul of the United Nations.” Shame on those who so ill-served that sacred trust.

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Message 258577 - Posted: 7 Mar 2006, 10:46:06 UTC

Assessing Bush’s National Victory Strategy in Iraq: Eight Key Problems

President Bush’s National Victory Strategy in Iraq ignores reality and growing calls from Republicans and Democrats for a new direction.  Instead, the Bush plan for Iraq is a re-statement of President Bush’s “stay the course” plan – a vague, open-ended commitment that plays into the hands of our enemies.  By staying the course, the President is holding U.S. national security hostage, allowing terrorists, insurgents, and cynical Iraqi politicians to dictate the direction and terms of U.S. policy. 

There are eight critical problems with President Bush’s approach:

1.  The Bush plan undermines the security of the United States at home and abroad. 

By failing to present a reasonable plan for drawing down U.S. troops, the Bush plan seriously weakens our military’s ability to protect Americans at home and abroad.  Several recent studies highlight that extended deployments in Iraq have eroded U.S. ground forces and overall military strength, including a Pentagon-commissioned study that concluded that the Army cannot maintain its current pace of operations in Iraq without leaving permanent damage.

The massive deployment of National Guard and Reserve units overseas has undermined the ability of the United States to deal with terrorist attacks or natural disasters.  For example, state officials in Louisiana and Mississippi struggled to overcome the absence of National Guard members from their states in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  U.S. vulnerability is particularly apparent on the Korean peninsula, where an Army brigade stationed in South Korea has been sent to Iraq.

2.  The Bush plan fails to recognize that the open-ended U.S. military presence in Iraq has become a rallying cry and recruitment tool for global terrorist networks.

By invading Iraq without a plan to stabilize the country, the Bush administration created a new terrorist haven where none had previously existed.  By maintaining an open-ended military presence in Iraq, the Bush administration is presenting U.S. terrorist enemies with a recruitment tool and rallying cry for organizing attacks against the United States and its allies. 

3.  The Bush plan ignores our military commanders’ advice to reduce U.S. troop presence in order to counter the insurgency and motivate Iraqi security forces to take control. 

Military commanders on the ground like Generals George Casey and John Abizaid have repeatedly said that the United States must reduce its military presence in Iraq to counter the insurgency, reduce perceptions of occupation, and encourage the Iraqi leaders to take charge.  The administration took limited steps to draw down the U.S. military presence in Iraq to 136,000 since the December 2005 Iraqi elections.  But a larger drawdown is necessary in 2006 to put Iraqi leaders on notice and tell them to take charge.  Signals from the United States in the fall of 2005 that it was planning to reduce its military presence in Iraq led Iraqis to assume more responsibility and spurred new regional diplomacy. 

4.  The Bush plan does not define the costs of the plan. 

To date, most estimates place the direct financial cost of the Iraq war at over $250 billion and rapidly rising, but these estimates depend on what is included in the assumptions.  A recent study by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard budget expert Linda Bilmes suggested that the total costs of the Iraq war may exceed $2 trillion.  The Bush plan fails to outline the costs of the activities proposed in the strategy – a key issue when the legislation for supplemental funding for Iraq and Afghanistan comes to Capitol Hill later this spring. 

5.  The Bush plan ignores a central strategic threat to a free and stable Iraq – ethnic and sectarian militias controlling large segments of the country. 

The “clear, build, and hold” slogan touted to pitch the Bush administration’s anti-insurgency approach merely restates the same failed approach used during the last three years.  Operation Steel Curtain, a series of raids and sweeps initiated in Al-Anbar province in advance of President Bush’s latest public relations campaign, is the latest in a series of more than 100 operations conducted since May 2003 that has failed to bring stability to Iraq. 

One key strategic question that remains unanswered by the Bush plan is how to deal with the several ethnic and sectarian militias which control large parts of the country, including an estimated 100,000 Kurdish pesh merga forces; 10,000 members of the Badr Brigade, a Shiite militia with close ties to U.S. adversary Iran; and the Madhi militia, which attacked and killed members of the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces in 2004.

In addition, the White House is also silent on the crucial question of militias operating as “death squads” in the Iraqi security forces. 

6.  The Bush plan cuts and runs on Iraq’s reconstruction. 

Though the Bush plan talks a good game about helping Iraqis build a stable and prosperous society, the administration’s actions and plans speak louder than words.  In early January, reports emerged that the Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress next month. 

Yet a recent report by the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction found that the United States will not complete basic water and electricity projects, and much work remains undone in Iraq.  Oil production in Iraq, vital because it provides nearly 90 percent of the Iraqi government’s budget, remains below pre-war level at 1.57 millions of barrels a day, down from 2.51 millions of barrels of day in January 2003.

President Bush claims to have a plan to defeat the insurgency and stabilize Iraq.  Yet the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) issued a $1 billion bid for contracts for 10 “strategic cities” considered crucial for defeating the insurgency.  The USAID request for proposals for this project, as well as an in-depth analysis of the situation in Iraq by the agency, contradict the rosy tone of progress that President Bush has emphasized in his public relations campaign.

Finally, President Bush and his team have heralded the concept of provisional reconstruction teams as key to helping Iraq rebuild.  But like the broader concept of “clear, build, and hold,” the provincial reconstruction teams have been hampered by some difficult realities, including disputes with the administration about how to design these teams for Iraq and problems finding qualified personnel.

7.  It lacks a diplomatic plan for getting Iraq’s neighbors more involved in Iraq’s reconstruction and renewal. 

The Bush plan says little about regional diplomacy and its plans for getting Iraq’s neighbors involved in the process of making Iraq more stable and prosperous.

8.  It is based on a flawed assumption that democracy, narrowly defined as elections, will end terrorism. 

The Bush plan for Iraq is solidly grounded in a flawed view of combating terrorism, arguing that promoting a narrow vision of democracy will crowd out and defeat terrorists. 

The United States must and should support real democratic transitions around the world.  But the Bush administration’s naïve approach to democracy promotion – narrowly focused on elections – has failed by giving terrorist organizations an opening to seize the reins of power, as seen by the Hamas triumph in last week’s Palestinian elections. 

Despite impressive gains in Iraq’s political transition, the country remains in the very early and fragile stages of a long-term process of building a real democracy.  Contrary to the rhetoric put forth by the Bush administration, Iraqis do not live in freedom, according to Freedom House, which has provided the gold standard for measuring trends in political rights and civil liberties over the past three decades.
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Message 258673 - Posted: 7 Mar 2006, 17:15:30 UTC


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Message 258823 - Posted: 7 Mar 2006, 22:30:58 UTC - in response to Message 258577.

So, the Democrats don't have a plan

E.J. DIONNE JR.
THE WASHINGTON POST

March 7, 2006

It is now an ingrained journalistic habit: After a period of bad news for President Bush, media outlets invariably devote time and space to “balancing” stories that all say more or less: “Yes, the Republicans are in trouble, but the Democrats have no alternatives, no plans,” etc.

The pattern began to fall in place this weekend in the wake of two truly miserable weeks for Bush.

The stories about the Democrats are by no means flatly false – Democrats don't yet have a fully worked-out alternative program – but they are based on a false premise, and they underestimate what I'll call the positive power of negative thinking.

The false premise is that oppositions win midterm elections by offering a clear program, such as the Republicans' 1994 Contract with America. I've been testing this idea with such architects of the 1994 Republican Revolution as former Rep. Vin Weber and Tony Blankley, who was Newt Gingrich's top communications adviser and now edits The Washington Times' editorial page.

Both said the main contribution of the contract was to give inexperienced Republican candidates something to say once the political tide started moving the GOP's way. But both insisted that it was disaffection with Bill Clinton, not the contract, which created the Republicans' opportunity – something former Sen. Bob Dole said at the time.

The Democrats' real problem is that they have failed to show that their critique of the Republican status quo is the essential first step toward an alternative program.

This failure has made it easier for Republicans to cast anti-Bush feeling (aka, “Bush hatred”) as a psychological disorder. The GOP shrewdly makes the president's critics look crazed and suggests that opposition to Bush is of no more significance than, say, the loathing that many watchers of “American Idol” love to express toward Simon Cowell, the meanest of the show's judges.

The president's critics need to identify precisely why they oppose him, not only so they can make clear that they are not psycho basket cases, but also to convey that they know what needs to be put right.

Bush critics will almost always point first to the administration's arrogance, a word used recently not by some left-wing Bush hater, but by the loyal conservative writer Byron York. In The New Republic, York chose the A-word to explain why Republicans are turning on the White House's “we-know-best approach.”

The cure for an arrogant government that doesn't take critics seriously is accountability. Divided government never looked so good. That's especially true at a moment when polls suggest that a majority is yearning for more competence and greater moderation.

For example, moderates and liberals alike are mystified by budget policies saddling our kids with debt tomorrow to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy today. Moderating this radical fiscal approach is something the voters clearly could accomplish with their ballots this fall.

But Democrats have no good answer to Iraq. True. And neither does Bush, who started the war and should be held accountable for where we are now.

The philosophical man who owns our neighborhood Chinese restaurant recently shared with me a brilliant aphorism to describe how to build a good business. “You have to do the right thing,” he said, “and you have to do the thing right.”

That summarizes what unites Bush's Iraq critics. Many Americans opposed the war in the first place, but many who supported it are aghast that the administration did the thing so badly by not dispatching enough troops to achieve order at the outset, and by failing to plan for the inevitable conflicts that would arise among the country's ethnic and religious groups.

What comes from this is not isolationism but an awareness that even a very powerful country needs to be a careful steward of its power. It should never go into a war without considering the probability of unintended consequences or without planning for the worst case and not just the best one.

This is the basis for a saner foreign policy in the long run. As for Iraq, the voters should let the president know that he can no longer keep repeating his rah-rah mantras about standing down when the Iraqis stand up. Presidents deserve to be punished for insulting our intelligence.

Thus, the real shortcoming of Democratic leaders is not that they don't have a program, but that they have not yet persuaded opinion-makers that fighting bad policies can be a constructive thing to do – and that keeping matters from getting worse is sometimes the most positive alternative on offer.

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Message 258851 - Posted: 7 Mar 2006, 23:09:28 UTC - in response to Message 258823.

So, the Democrats don't have a plan

Although this offers some useful advice for Democrats (funny most of the press feels no compulsion to offer useful advice for Republicans), it does make some naive statements about the state of things.

Taxrates went down for everyone, and not as far as the Administration initially requested. Most small businesses in the United States are either sole proprietorships or Subchapter S corporations, both of which are taxed at the rates for individuals. The profits of these businesses become the "income" of the taxpayer. To lower the taxrate for the majority of small businesses (the doctor's offices, harware stores, family restaurants, remodelers, niche manufacturers, etc. that are collectively the largest private employer) one must also lower the rate on people who earn between roughly $50,000 and $1,000,000 in annual wages.

The simple answer might be "Why not just treat small businesses differently than wage-earners?" Under the Gordian Knot of US tax law, to be treated differently the business owner must file as a Subchapter C corporation and issue stock (even if one person holds all of the shares). Subchapter C puts the small business in the same tax category as Walmart, Microsoft and General Motors. Needless to say, the paperwork is a tad more complex and most business owners are not willing to go thru the bother.

The other naive bit in the original story is the 1994 Republican Revolution. The distinguishing difference in that election was the relatively large number of open seats. Incumbancy was and is still the best predictor of House election outcomes. There are competitive seats, but most journalists seem to think that at least as many are competitive as there were in 1994 (considering the open seats as competitive). There aren't that many, but there are enough to threaten the Republican majority.
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Message 258883 - Posted: 8 Mar 2006, 0:17:03 UTC - in response to Message 258851.



Taxrates went down for everyone,


Isolating personal income tax rates from all other tax rates and costs greatly misrepresents what the Bush tax cuts mean to ordinary citizens...

Yes, technically it can be stated, ....but it doesn't reflect what the Bush tax cuts truly represent.... those tax cuts can't be viewed in isolation.

As a result of the tax cuts, revenue was lost, and because revenue was lost, revenue sharing with state and local governments was lost.....

State and local governments have raised their tax rates to make up the shortfalls...

.....resulting in many of the ordinary citizens of this country now paying a larger percentage of their incomes to taxes....

The Bush tax cuts cost dearly, they don't cost the wealthiest citizens more, but they do cost the median wage earners very much....

For perspective on overall costs of tax cutting read below:

http://www.pkarchive.org/economy/TaxCutCon.html


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Message 258974 - Posted: 8 Mar 2006, 4:59:00 UTC

L.A. South Central Farm Receives 3-Day Eviction Notice (for a Walmart warehouse)

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Message 259123 - Posted: 8 Mar 2006, 12:52:47 UTC




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Message 259313 - Posted: 8 Mar 2006, 23:39:58 UTC




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Message 259375 - Posted: 9 Mar 2006, 2:02:09 UTC

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Message 259635 - Posted: 9 Mar 2006, 19:30:16 UTC

U.S. cuts off aid to Mexico over ICC dispute

Mexico´s support for the international court led to the punitive action

WASHINGTON.- Since last fall, the United States has halted military assistance to Mexico because of a dispute over whether U.S. citizens should be exempt from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The sanctions were imposed in October after Mexico became a signatory to the Hague-based ICC, which was set up in 2002 to hunt down perpetrators of genocide and other crimes against humanity.


Mexico was the 12th country from the Latin America-Caribbean area to be sanctioned under a law approved by the U.S. Congress four years ago.


In each case, the sanctions have been imposed without an official announcement. Jan Edmonson, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department bureau of Western Hemisphere affairs, confirmed the sanctions against Mexico in response to an inquiry from The Associated Press.


The penalties involve the loss of US$1.1 million budgeted for English-language, counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics training. Also affected was a US$2.5 million program to provide counter-terrorism equipment to the Mexican military.

http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/miami/17317.html
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To it's credit, Mexican spokesman for the Vincete Fox government said last month that:

Mexico "will be irrefutable in supporting the protocols of the international court, whatever the cost.

Nobody in the world should be immune from the action of justice."
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Message 259704 - Posted: 9 Mar 2006, 23:01:46 UTC

Has anybody else just watched The Road to Guantanamo on channel 4? An excellent film and quite chilling. You can down load the film to watch (although it's not free).

Extract from the review "In this compelling docudrama by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross, the 'Tipton Three' narrate their own experiences in America's controversial offshore detention camp."

I know there are some here who think that torture is necessary to help in this so called war on terror, but even if you take that view..does information gained in such a manner have any value?
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Message 259738 - Posted: 9 Mar 2006, 23:38:42 UTC - in response to Message 259704.

I know there are some here who think that torture is necessary to help in this so called war on terror, but even if you take that view..does information gained in such a manner have any value?

Haven't seen the 'docudrama' so I can't comment on it, but there is an effort on the far left to define 'torture' so broadly as to make any interrogation impossible. I'm not trying to defend anyone who thinks that cutting off fingers is a good idea (the information you get will almost certainly be made up on the spot), but being the good cop doesn't work on everyone. No one method works on everyone, but the far left appears to want to make the good cop routine the only legal method.

On a related note, Abu Graib is going to be shut down... the name and location are so 'tainted' that it's worth it to the US to build brand new prisons rather than re-use the existing facility. The facility will be handed over to the Iraqi government, which will likely demolish it.
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Message 259867 - Posted: 10 Mar 2006, 1:20:35 UTC
Last modified: 10 Mar 2006, 1:25:55 UTC

Revealing, isn't it?

It's always notable to see who jumps up and tries to 'minimize' the torture at the hands of the American government.

...and how pitiable those efforts to minimize the atrocities are.

It's interesting to note, that if you question illegal and atrocious acts of this government that you're branded as being one of the 'far left', one of the unspeakable evil liberals who only wish to aid the enemy.... the far left indeed.

This late in the unmistakably real unfolding story of illegal torture and illegal rendition, ...with the atrocities clearly delinieated in graphic detail.... there are still those who try to equate what happens with phrases like good cop/bad cop.

As if it's not a case of unspeakable atrocities commited by our government but just a little something like a good cop/bad cop TV crime drama interrogation.

Torture and rendition are not about gaining any credible information through the use of those illegal means, ... information gained through torture is universally accepted as not creditable to the point of uselessness.

It's all about a rein of terror, designed not for it's effectiveness at intel gathering but instead, it's all about instilling fear and terror in those who may be caught in the cross-hairs of those who must maintain their charade that they are 'fighting for freedom'.

And make no mistake, those criminals have their enablers, .... those who still wish to 'explain away' the crimes.....

Torture and rendition can't be explained away as anything but the unworthy atrocities of criminals.... and disgust with a government that practices the same can't be attributed to something only the far left may feel.

As far as closing Abu Ghraib.... the prisoners will be moved to another US run prison by the name of Camp Crawford, located within the confines of a secure US military base, .....where security controls will be much tighter and further atrocities can be kept under tighter wraps.....
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Message 259878 - Posted: 10 Mar 2006, 1:40:22 UTC

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Message 259916 - Posted: 10 Mar 2006, 3:02:56 UTC
Last modified: 10 Mar 2006, 3:04:13 UTC




And one for Misfit...




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Message 259998 - Posted: 10 Mar 2006, 6:14:05 UTC

Iran warns U.S. not to obstruct its nuclear plans
Talk of sanctions spurs strong words


By Molly Moore and Colum Lynch
THE WASHINGTON POST

March 9, 2006

VIENNA – Iran yesterday threatened the United States with “harm and pain” if the U.N. Security Council imposes sanctions on the Islamic republic over its nuclear program, as all sides hardened their positions in the escalating dispute.

“The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain, but it is also susceptible to harm and pain,” Javad Vaeidi, head of the Iranian delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the agency's board during an all-day, closed-door meeting here. “So if the United States wishes to choose that path, let the ball roll.”

The board was meeting in advance of the Security Council's consideration of Iran's program, a major escalation in international pressure against the country. In New York, council ambassadors began discussing first steps the body might take, probably a formal call from the council's president for Iran to stop enrichment of uranium.

Responding to the Iranian words, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters in New Orleans that “provocative statements and actions only further isolate Iran from the rest of the world.”

Vice President Cheney on Tuesday said Iran would face “meaningful consequences” if it does not back down.

The director general of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, told reporters after the meeting that “we need coolheaded approaches.” He called on factions to “lower the rhetoric.”

“We need to engage in political dialogue,” ElBaradei said. “We need to help Iran to get themselves out of the hole they're in today.”

His tone was far more solemn than on Monday, when he opened the IAEA meeting expressing optimism for a negotiated agreement with Iran, perhaps within the week.

Vaeidi did not elaborate on steps Iran might take against the United States. Iran's oil minister, Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, said yestersday that Iran would not curtail oil exports as a response to developments at the Security Council, but some analysts consider that to be a possibility.

The debate over Iran's nuclear energy program – which the United States and some European countries allege is a cover for an effort to develop nuclear weapons – now enters a new, potentially more volatile political phase. The Security Council has the authority to order sanctions or other action against Iran.

After the meeting here, ElBaradei forwarded the Security Council president, Cesar Mayoral of Argentina, his latest report on Iran's nuclear activities. Ambassadors from the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain, the five permanent members of the council, subsequently met to discuss its reaction to Iran's failure to halt its nuclear enrichment activities.

Following that meeting, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton urged the council “to build the international pressure on Iran” to adhere to its treaty obligations “and to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons that they have been carrying on for nearly 20 years.”

The United States is working with France, Britain and Germany to fashion a statement from the council's president calling on Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment activities.

ElBaradei's report said that inspectors from the agency have “not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other explosive devices. . . . Regrettably, however, after three years of intensive verification, there remain uncertainties with regard to both the scope and the nature of Iran's nuclear program.”

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Message 260100 - Posted: 10 Mar 2006, 15:08:50 UTC - in response to Message 259738.
Last modified: 10 Mar 2006, 15:09:19 UTC

I know there are some here who think that torture is necessary to help in this so called war on terror, but even if you take that view..does information gained in such a manner have any value?

Haven't seen the 'docudrama' so I can't comment on it, but there is an effort on the far left to define 'torture' so broadly as to make any interrogation impossible. I'm not trying to defend anyone who thinks that cutting off fingers is a good idea (the information you get will almost certainly be made up on the spot), but being the good cop doesn't work on everyone. No one method works on everyone, but the far left appears to want to make the good cop routine the only legal method.

I'm not sure where you draw the line between interrogation and torture. The boys depicted in the film did not have any fingers cut off, but as far as I could see they were still tortured. You can call it clinical names like "stress positions" but that does not change what it is. They were subjected to sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, isolation bombardment with white noise and flashing strobe lights along with regular beatings.

Is this your idea of playing "bad cop?"

Do you think if you were innocent and subjected to these treatments you would not confess to anything just to make it stop? It certainly looked like torture to me. The boys in the film were being accused of being at a rally with Osama Bin Laden, one wonders why American Military were so keen to extract a confession from them via these "bad cop" methods when all they had to do was make a phone call to the British police to discover that two of them had been in police custody at the time.

On a related note, Abu Graib is going to be shut down... the name and location are so 'tainted' that it's worth it to the US to build brand new prisons rather than re-use the existing facility. The facility will be handed over to the Iraqi government, which will likely demolish it.

Yes, a good thing..but I'm sure Abu Graib was not an isolated incident, and while the US government refuses to allow prisoners the rights granted to them under the Geneva convention, then you can be sure these atrocities are continuing elsewhere.
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Message 260316 - Posted: 11 Mar 2006, 0:11:39 UTC - in response to Message 260100.

I know there are some here who think that torture is necessary to help in this so called war on terror, but even if you take that view..does information gained in such a manner have any value?

Haven't seen the 'docudrama' so I can't comment on it, but there is an effort on the far left to define 'torture' so broadly as to make any interrogation impossible. I'm not trying to defend anyone who thinks that cutting off fingers is a good idea (the information you get will almost certainly be made up on the spot), but being the good cop doesn't work on everyone. No one method works on everyone, but the far left appears to want to make the good cop routine the only legal method.

I'm not sure where you draw the line between interrogation and torture. The boys depicted in the film did not have any fingers cut off, but as far as I could see they were still tortured. You can call it clinical names like "stress positions" but that does not change what it is. They were subjected to sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, isolation bombardment with white noise and flashing strobe lights along with regular beatings.

Is this your idea of playing "bad cop?"

Again, I haven't seen it, but as a rule of thumb think of police interrogations (from a US perspective). There is a difference between keeping a suspect uncomfortable/off-balance and inflicting suffering for the sake of getting the detainee talking. In the latter case, unless there have been quantum leaps in EEG technology, there is no way to put any credence into the information gathered.
Do you think if you were innocent and subjected to these treatments you would not confess to anything just to make it stop? It certainly looked like torture to me. The boys in the film were being accused of being at a rally with Osama Bin Laden, one wonders why American Military were so keen to extract a confession from them via these "bad cop" methods when all they had to do was make a phone call to the British police to discover that two of them had been in police custody at the time.

On a related note, Abu Graib is going to be shut down... the name and location are so 'tainted' that it's worth it to the US to build brand new prisons rather than re-use the existing facility. The facility will be handed over to the Iraqi government, which will likely demolish it.

Yes, a good thing..but I'm sure Abu Graib was not an isolated incident, and while the US government refuses to allow prisoners the rights granted to them under the Geneva convention, then you can be sure these atrocities are continuing elsewhere.

There is considerable confusion about the status of the detainees. Only warfighters that obey the international laws governing warfare get the protection of Prisoner of War status. The laws of warfare do prohibit torturing anyone, but all of the rights that those on the left acribe to these detainees (right to consel, right not to be punished for acts of war, etc.) simply do not exist for warfighters that flagrantly violate the international laws that govern warfare. Those same international laws that the Left says it is so important to enforce on the US/UK/Australia side of this war.

Briefly, the international laws of warfare dictate that warfighters are to make every opportunity to minimize civilian casualties. They do this by, among other things:

- Wearing uniforms
- NOT hiding in private residences
- NOT hiding in religious sites
- NOT attacking civilians
- NOT using human shields

The al Qaeda side is shooting 0 for 5 there. So are the Baathists in Iraq. Those captured have human rights and that is it. Prisoners of War must be repatriated at the end of hostilities, but illegal combatants have no such rights. Spies, which are in the same legal category, languish for decades in prison long after the attached war ends. There is certainly no requirement to do anything with them before the end of the war. Since al Qaeda is highly unlikely to sign a formal surrender, the end of the war is whenever the US/UK/Australia decide it is. Presumably the UN could pass a resolution, but both the US and UK have veto power over that. There may well be a formal end to hostilities with the Baathists, but the overwhelming majority of Iraqi insurgents violated the aforementioned international laws of warfare.
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