The idiocy of President Bush's stance, that he rejects torture but refuses to clarify which acts he would consider to be torture, were highlighted in the transcript of the US tribunal against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who the US accuse of involvement in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa in 1998 and allegedly organising the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.
His lawyer stated:
"The detainee states that he was tortured into confession and once he made a confession his captors were happy and they stopped torturing him," Nashiri's representative read to the tribunal, according to the transcript. "Also, the detainee states that he made up stories during the torture in order to get it to stop."As any confession obtained through torture is ultimately useless, certainly in obtaining any conviction that carries any certainty of fairness, one wonders why Bush allows such ambiguity on America's position on this?
Tortured people would say anything to make the torturer stop, isn't that the very reason that they are being tortured in the first place? Therefore, no confession obtained by such means can be considered reliable.
And, as Bush refuses to clearly state that the US does not indulge in such practices, isn't he holding out this as a form of defence for every al-Qaeda suspect that he is going to bring before these tribunals?
I am sure the detainee's claims will have no effect on the military tribunal that Bush has formed for the express purpose of finding these guys guilty; however, it does have an effect on how the rest of the world view any guilty findings made by this same tribunal.
The fact that the US are engaging in torture has already been established by Amnesty International.
H (Name withheld) could not see what went on inside the interrogation room but she could hear the screams and some of the questions asked during the interrogations. Whenever interrogators brought in a new prisoner, they would always bring in a block of ice. She did not know why they brought the ice or how they used it during interrogation. But the interrogation sessions always included the ice block and were followed, a few hours later, by a visit to the prisoner, who by then would be unconscious, by two doctors, an American and an Iraqi. The prisoners were invariably taken out of the interrogation room unconscious.Nor are these isolated incidents, but rather seem part of an established pattern.
Amnesty International has presented consistent allegations of brutality and cruelty by US agents against detainees in Iraq and other US detention facilities across the world at the highest levels of the US Government, including the White House, the Department of Defense, and the State Department for the past two years.Supporters of the Bush administration will no doubt dismiss any claims from prisoners that they only confessed because of torture, but surely even the most ardent supporter of the Bush regime would have to concede that, the very fact that there is even a hint that US authorities are engaging in such a practice, makes any guilty verdict carry less moral conviction than it would otherwise have done?
A confession gained by such means would not be admissible in a civilian court of law, which is perhaps the real reason why the Bushites are so determined to try these men in front of military tribunals.
Getting an American civilian jury to convict swarthy foreigners accused of terrorism against Americans can hardly be the most difficult job any American prosecutor has ever been handed.
Therefore, there are many of us who suspect that there must be other reasons as to why Bush is so adamant that he will not go down that path. As more and more of them take the stand and profess that their confessions were obtained through torture, many of us will believe that this is one of the reasons that Bush chose this path.
But, more importantly, none of us will ever be sure that they have got the right people behind bars. How does that make anyone feel more safe?
The policy is not only immoral, it's dumb.
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