Monday, September 10, 2012

Hmm. Who To Believe...

The Guardian (and others) are reporting on a new report from Human Rights Watch, alleging:
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the US government of covering up the extent of waterboarding at secret CIA prisons, alleging that Libyan opponents of Muammar Gaddafi were subjected to the torture before being handed over to the former dictator's security police.
The New York-based human rights group has cast "serious doubt" on Washington's claim that only three people, all members of al-Qaida, were waterboarded in American custody, claiming in a new report to have fresh evidence that the CIA used the technique to simulate drowning on Libyans snatched from countries in Africa and Asia.
The report, Delivered into Enemy Hands: US-Led Abuse and Rendition of Opponents to Gaddafi's Libya, also says that the CIA, Britain's MI6 and other western intelligence services were responsible for "delivering Gaddafi his enemies on a silver platter" by sending the captured men to Tripoli for further abuse after the American interrogations.
"only three people, all members of al-Qaida, were waterboarded in American custody" Now, two things spring to mind. First, the acknowledgement that three people were waterboarded opens up members of the Bush administration to charges of torture at the International Criminal Court. Now that it's been acknowledged, this should make arrest easier in any country other than the US.
Second, do I believe them that they only tortured three people? I certainly can't think of any other country that has restricted its use of torture so strictly. By the time you've begun torturing, you've pretty much abandoned "civilized" behaviour. So no, I don't believe them. Do I think that HRW might make a few mistakes, be mislead by others for their own political ends? Of course. Which is why I think members of the Bush administration should be standing trial. Courts may be imperfect, but they are the best venue we currently have for determining were the truth lies when we're faced with a Rashomon situation.

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