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Who Tortures What Now?

11.08.2005

Yesterday, the big GW declared that the U.S. does not use torture to extract information from men languishing in the no mans land between guilt and innocence. I thought that the fact that the U.S. had gotten to the point where talk like that was necessary reflected on the decay within the administration for the position of Human Rights.

I also pointed out that Dick Cheney was spending a lot of time in the Senate trying his damnedest to keep a ban on torture off the statute book. EWI looked earlier at exactly why this might be, according to the International Herald Tribune, a Powell aide has said Cheney was complicit in torture of prisoners. The full post is required reading.

The fallout from the reports last week of the torture camps around Europe and Bush's ongoing wrong-footed comments to the press are ratcheting up pressure on the execution of the War on Terror. There is indeed as EWI says a need for some moral clarity, not the murky reassurances that this is necessary. Have we lost all concept of empathy in ourselves. Human torture is morally bankrupt as a means of doing anything. Instrumental arguments about its effectiveness belie the fact that a man will say anything if tortured enough.

Who exactly has the CIA on a leash, is there a leash, is there any control whatsoever over security apparatus in detaining and arresting suspects around the world? Torture is not freedoms delivery vector, otherwise Saddam would have been safe in office.

Final point is a response to EWI's very important question;

"Does Ireland have blood on its hands?"
To which I would add,
"Does anyone in Government or Power actually know, or has Charlie Haughey's habit of knowing little gotten contagious?"

I fundamentally agree that if we are at risk of being complicit in any so called renditions and facilitating the use of torture, if there is even a whiff of guilt, there must be an investigation. Amnesty would only go so far in getting access to documents and people. The whole thing must be a rigorous examination of what we know and what we allow to happen. Indeed perhaps the only way to get to the truth is as part of a broader investigation into complicity across Europe and North Africa. The sad fact is that this truth may be too hard to get to. Too well hidden and easy to obstruct access to.

RR


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