A British Judge denounces the US position on torture as “not the same as ours” and states it “does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations” as the US dismisses a UN report calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay as a “rehash of allegations.”
Following on the heels of the White House rejection of the UN report, as well as the release of previously unpublished images from Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi Human Rights Minister called for “all Iraqi inmates at prisons run by the US-led coalition to be handed over to the Iraqi government,” according to the Guardian .
A British Cabinet Minister is also calling for closure of the Cuban prison, where nearly 500 prisoners are still being held without charge as ”enemy combatants.” British leaders have been criticizing US actions in Cuba since the summer of 2004.
In the four year imprisonment, “only nine detainees have had their cases reviewed by a military commission, whose validity is still being considered by the US Supreme Court,” the Boston Globe reported. The Supreme Court hears one case Friday.
“Chilling and depraved”
The conservative Financial Times reports on the release — against White House objections — of new “chilling and depraved” photos and video of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The images are from the same 2003 CD as those which were released in 2004; various groups have been trying to get the Bush Administration to release these images, without success.
The Financial Times observes that “Bush administration’s spokesmen and apologists [offer] … variants of … how Saddam Hussein’s regime was guilty of so much worse. This defensive moral comparison misses the point, unless those making it wish – as many Iraqis and Arabs are doing – to compare the world’s leading democracy to one of the vilest tyrants of modern times.”
The Financial Times is headquartered in the UK, the most loyal US ally in our Middle East adventure.
It’s doubtful you’ve heard much about this in the US. The new video and photos were first published in Australia (another ally nation) but were reportedly only carried in the US on ABC.
In related news, three British soldiers have been arrested in connection with a video of British troops beating rioting teenagers in southern Iraq in January 2005.
In the US, 10 soldiers — none of rank — have been convicted at military trials for the actions at Abu Ghraib. The Financial Times:
Abu Ghraib … should have been dealt with rigorously. But there was no independent investigation and no real accountability: the two most visible privates in the photos were jailed and a junior general was demoted. But responsibility lay – and lies – further up the chain of command, as far as Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, and officials such as Alberto Gonzales, now attorney general, who devised a framework for circumventing the Geneva Conventions. It is they who should be held to account.
The same applies in the British brutality case. It is not enough to cashier a few squaddies. Under whose command were they behaving in this sickening way, and is such treatment a pattern?
The US has criticized the UN 54-page report, the product of an 18-month investigation, because the investigators did not visit the prison. However, the five experts canceled their scheduled November visit because the US government refused to allow private interviews with the prisoners, something ignored in almost all
In what must be unintended irony, the Voice of America reports that the US has criticized the UN Human Rights Commission — which produced this report — because “the body has become a safe haven for the world’s worst human rights violators.”
According to the Miami Herald, “55 percent of the detainees haven’t been found to have committed any hostile acts against the U.S. or its allies.” In addition, only 8 percent have been labeled “al Qaeda” fighters.
This article first appeared at
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