Saturday, September 11, 2010

United States, Torture is OK

Here is a post by Alex Tabarrok at the Marginal Revolution blog:
No Checks, No Balances

From the NYTimes
The lead plaintiff is Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and legal resident of Britain who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. He claimed he was turned over to the C.I.A., which flew him to Morocco and handed him off to its security service.
Moroccan interrogators, he said, held him for 18 months and subjected him to an array of tortures, including cutting his penis with a scalpel and then pouring a hot, stinging liquid on the open wounds.
Mr. Mohamed was later transferred back to the C.I.A., which he said flew him to its secret prison in Afghanistan. There, he said, he was held in continuous darkness, fed sparsely and subjected to loud noise — like the recorded screams of women and children — 24 hours a day.
He was later transferred again to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was held for an additional five years. He was released and returned to Britain in early 2009 and is now free.
and from the court's response:
First, that the judicial branch may have deferred to the executive branch’s claim of privilege in the interest of national security does not preclude the government from honoring the fundamental principles of justice.
Oh that's nice the U.S. government is not precluded from honoring the fundamental principles of justice. Tell me, what government ever was?
Supposedly the change of regime from Mr. Torture Bush to Mr. Change You Can Believe In Obama was supposed to shut down Guantanamo and end the reign of U.S.A. "Torturers Are Us". Apparently not.

So Binyam Mohamed is just another in a long line of innocents picked up by the US, handed over to third parties to torture (with or without a bit of CIA secret prison torture before, during, or after), and with a bit of time in Guantanamo as icing on the cake.

The most infamous case of a Canadian citizen is Maher Arar. He's not the only Canadian torture victim, but he is the most high profile. He got an apology from the Canadian government and a $10.5 million settlement from the Canadian government as an "oops, we didn't mean to let those nasty Americans torture for over a year". Of course the Americans are not willing to admit any mistake or pay any settlement. Nope. Good ol' USA never makes a mistake. Oh, and it doesn't "torture" either! (Aside: I believe the official US definition of torture is something so painful that you expire during the process. If you can survive the session, no matter how brutal, it wasn't "torture", it was just "enhanced interrogation". And of course Americans can be looking forward to "enhanced interrogation" technieques to be coming soon to their local police. It's legal, right? So why not let the police "properly" interrogate a suspect, even if it is a grandmother protesting her innocence claiming she can't possibly be a axe-murderer because she too ill and too weak to even lift an axe!)

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