Thursday, November 03, 2005


It looks like the CIA may have been holding people in secret prisons in Afghanistan and Eastern Europe. They're not admitting anything, but the Red Cross has had reports the US has been hiding detainees from it. Which is pretty creepy if you think about it: why would the US want to hide detainees from the organization whose primary mission is do determine they are not being mistreated? There's a bill in the Senate right now that would ban "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of US detainees. The White House wants an amendment that specifically exempts the CIA from that.

On a tangential note, Digby questions why we are hearing over and over about prisoners being raped by American interrogators. I would suggest it's because rape is probably an effective tool for degrading and humiliating someone before an interrogation, in other words, "softening them up."

What I find really dangerous is that there's this meme coming from the right wing that a terrorism suspsect has NO rights. None at all. Now, I really doubt we are doing the same things in these CIA prisons that Saddam did in his. But if we aren't willing to draw a line against torture, we might wind up being no better. There's always a stubborn suspect. Lines always get pushed. And before you know it, you've got some guy's finger in a pair of bolt cutters and you're screaming, "Where's the bomb, Akmed, you've only got six left!"

Coincidentally, the US submitted a report to the UN about our foreign detainees, although it only covered those in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Gitmo. It reads:

There is no question that under the law of armed conflict, the United States has the authority to detain persons who have engaged in unlawful belligerence until the cessation of hostilities...

Of course, there will never be a cessation of hostilities. That's the whole point of the Global War Against Violent Extremism. As long as someone, somewhere on the planet doesn't like someone else, there will be terrorism. Or the threat of a bomb. Or a dictator with an active WMD program. Or at least the desire to start a WMD program. And so on.

Oceana has always been at war with terrorism.

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