Continuing on the human rights watch…
Quick recap: Last month in the USA a new act was signed into law - the Military Commissions Act, which suspended Habeus corpus. (Gave the right to any government agency to use torture on a detainee.)
What about the Geneva Convention ? The USA have reserved their right to ignore this a long time ago.
You may have read or heard mention of the story over the weekend about Dick Cheney, the Vice President talking about the use of waterboarding.
From the Guardian:
…The use of a form of torture known as waterboarding to gain information is a “no-brainer”, the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, told a radio interviewer, it was reported today.
Mr Cheney implied that the technique – a form of simulated drowning – was used on the alleged September 11 mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is being held at GuantÃ¡namo Bay.
In an interview with Scott Hennen, a conservative radio show host in Fargo, North Dakota, on Tuesday, Mr Cheney agreed with the assertion that “a dunk in water” could yield valuable intelligence from terror suspects….
… “Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?” Mr Hennen asked.
“Well, it’s a no-brainer for me,” Mr Cheney replied. “But for a while there, I was criticised as being the vice president for torture. We don’t torture. That’s not what we’re involved in.”
In some versions of waterboarding, prisoners are strapped to a board and their faces covered with cloth or cellophane while water is poured over their mouths to stimulate drowning. In others, they are forced head first into water.
Mr Cheney’s comments set him at odds with the Military Commissions Act, which bars, under all circumstances, treatment of prisoners that inflicts serious physical or mental pain or suffering.
Two of the chief sponsors of the legislation, senators John McCain and John Warner – both senior Republicans – say it outlaws waterboarding.
Last month, the US army also revised its field manual to specifically ban waterboarding and other techniques as “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” that is banned by the Geneva accords.
Military officials said such techniques did not yield reliable intelligence from prisoners.
Mr Cheney told his interviewer that the ability to interrogate high value detainees had “been a very important tool that we’ve had to be able to secure the nation … we need to be able to continue that”.
But it doesn’t end there !
A slightly-related story via Boing Boing:
Bush legalizes martial law — what Constitution?
On Oct 17, George Bush quietly signed a bill allowing him to declare martial law.
“The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called “illegal aliens,” “potential terrorists” and other “undesirables” for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. That’s right. Under the cover of a trumped-up “immigration emergency” and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.”
So you are reading all this and thinking, why should I care ? I’m in the UK, I live in Liverpool. Doesn’t affect me.
Well not now, but you never know…
This and the other posts are here to alert you (and hopefully many others) about the dangerous direction which America is going – and how it could happen here if we don’t take notice.
You think I’m kidding ? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment…