Friday, March 03, 2006

Torture: from regress to redress

Neal Ascherson has written a brilliant article discussing the book by Kenneth Roth & Minky Worden (eds.), Torture: Does It Make Us Safer? Is it Ever O.K.?: A Human Rights Perspective (New Press/ Human Rights Watch, 2006)

He looks at the shocking regression which sees us debating state torture as an actual policy option, the arguments for and against such a possibility, and the failure of the EU to fill the leadership void created by US policies.


At 4:36 pm, Blogger Mussolini said...

Unfortunately, as long as there are wars, there will always be torture.

Some bad; some really bad.

At 12:34 am, Blogger beatroot said...

That's a ridiculous thing to say.

I know the justification for the war in Iraq and the war on terror has shifted just about every single time Bush, their mouths ( It's WMD, they have nuclear sites, they were nasty to their people adn we are liberating them) none of that justifies torture and imprisonment without trial.

Using terms like 'war' is just an attempt to trample on peoples rights.

but we are not 'at war' and we have no right to tirture someone or invade their country.

At 3:26 pm, Blogger Mussolini said...

Beatroot, I'm surprised you're being so deliberately obtuse. You're not really that dumb, are you?

War was declared on US. You might not like it, but the truth is never appealing to most.

Did you read the 9/11 Report? All of it? I did. So before you go off on your cliche rant about how Iraq didn't attack us, refresh yourself with the bi-partisan 9/11 report. Saddam begged Osama to be a participant, even though Saddam had no knowledge of the details of the upcoming strike against America. Call it, revenge for Kuwait.

Osama turned him down, but links and agreements were made to host training camps within Iraqi borders. Terrorists were trained inside Iraq. Those terrorists went on to blow up people in a war THEY declared.

Yes, it's a war. Don't like it? Go cry in a corner.

At 10:15 am, Blogger beatroot said...

“I'm surprised you're being so deliberately obtuse. You're not really that dumb, are you? Yes, it's a war. Don't like it? Go cry in a corner.”

I am not going to lower myself and trade personal insults with someone who goes under the alias ‘Mussolini’. And no, I ‘don’t like it’, but I can tell that you do.

The ‘it’ though’ is not a war. By the 9/11 report I think youmean the national Commission on terrorist attacks on the US. I didn’t read it all but I saw bits, which are frequently hysterically funny.

I have it in front of me now.

At one point they site Bush’s ‘experience as a pilot’ as part of their evidence. :-)) But mostly they see the world through the same paranoid eyes as you do.

But the report does not support any link between Saddam and bin Laden. It says that there is ‘No compelling case" that Iraq had either planned or perpetrated the attacks’…and that there is ‘no confirmed reporting on Saddam cooperating with Bin Ladin on unconventional weapons.’

They do seem to have the wit to realize that Ba’athists and al-qaeda were two completely different things. One being secular and the other being crazy religious. ‘Bin Ladin resented the secularism of Saddam Hussein's regime’.

But the report does seem to think, as Mussolini does, that a war was ‘declared’ on the US.

Unfortunatly they seem to be a little confused about the 'decleration' and who they are actually at war with. They say that bin laden issued a fatwa in 1998 to kill Americans, but then they say that he is not a religious authority and has no power to issue fatwas. They then say ‘Al-Qaeda represents an ideology, not a definite group of people’.

So, if you are at war with someone,Musso, then it is not with a country, or a people, or a group of people, but an ideology.

I would go further and say that you are at war with a phantom of your own, rabid imagination. You are at war with an abstract noun (and Bush is at war with the English language in general).

That does not justify invading other people’s countries, holding people for years without trial and making repressive laws in your own country and many others.

I am glad you are ‘liking it’ but most of us aren’t.

At 6:15 pm, Blogger Mussolini said...

If you think the 9/11 report does not show a link between bin Laden and Saddam on future cooperation - then you aren't reading the same report.

Other sources report the link also, but you are in fact being deliberately obtuse.

Note: here

Apparently you also know nothing of the Jerusalem Conference of 2001, the Jerusalem Project, or the two decades long Saudi funding of textbooks WORLDWIDE that tell muslim kids that Islam is in a "total global war with the West and all other religions."

Islam is at war with over 4 billion other people. Your dense sensibilities and desire to look the other way keeps you from seeing it. The majority of the wars in the world right now feature Islam on at least one side of the conflict.

You just don't get it, do you?

At 11:33 am, Blogger beatroot said...

I can only repeat what it says in the report:

No compelling case" that Iraq had either planned or perpetrated the attacks’…and that there is ‘no confirmed reporting on Saddam cooperating with Bin Ladin on unconventional weapons.’

What part of ‘no compelling case’ don’t you understand, Muso?

The Washington Post 2004 concluded:

The [9/11] report of the commission's staff, based on its access to all relevant classified information, said that there had been contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no cooperation. In yesterday's hearing of the panel, formally known as the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, a senior FBI official and a senior CIA analyst concurred with the finding.

The staff report said that bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq" while in Sudan through 1996, but that "Iraq apparently never responded" to a bin Laden request for help in 1994

The (nutty rightwing) article you recommend makes a lot of the a meeting in Prague with Atta, the 9/11 guy. The British Independent reported in 2003:

‘The only problem is that [the] stories were untrue. The allegation of the Prague meetings - first made by Czech intelligence - was extensively investigated by the Czech government. President Vaclav Havel informed the White House that the allegation could not be substantiated. The CIA's director, George Tenet, told Congress last October that the CIA could find no supporting evidence.’

There were also stories from similar sources suggesting that 9/11 bomber Atta had something to do with the anthrax attack in October 2001.

This time they suggested that a flask of anthrax spores had been given to Atta during another meeting in Prague, apparently confirming that Iraq was assisting his group of al-Qa'ida terrorists.

Of course, we now know that it someone working in a US lab that sent the parcels…

This was the kind of rubbish that was presented by Powell at the UN to justify the invasion of Iraq.

But don’t let that get in the way of your Islamo-fantancies and delusions. Cheeny and you must be the only two left with thses delusions.

But not at war with anyone.

At 6:11 pm, Blogger Mussolini said...

You write with an education, but you're being deliberately obtuse and ignoring what I have written.

Does it make you feel better to ignore the facts to make your own world-view fit?

Apparently, you have NOT read the 9/11 Report because you only quote other people's commentary about it. Apparently, you believe the media before bothering to check the facts.

Page 61 of the 9/11 Report goes thus:

"Bin Ladin was also willing to explore possibilities for cooperation with Iraq, even though ... Saddam Hussein had never had an islamist agenda..."


"In 2001, with Bin Ladin's help, they (Iraqi islamists) reformed into an organization called Ansar al Islam. There are indications that by then the Iraqi regime tolerated and may even have helped Ansar al Islam against the common Kurdish enemy."

This in preface to a jump back to initial contacts between Osama and Iraqi agents - NOT in Prague as you keep harping about like a politically correct monkey.

"With the Sudanese regime acting as an intermediary, Bin Ladin himself met with a senior Iraqi intelligence officer in Khartoum in late 1994 or early 1995. Bin Ladin is said to have asked for space to establish training camps..."

Note: for that particular meeting, no evidence exists of an answer. However,

"As described below, the ensuing years saw several efforts to establish connections."

Why the hell am I doing this? Is it my responsibility to correct your blatant ignorance? What the hell do I care what YOU think on some leftist's site? This is going to go nowhere. ....

Page 66: "In mid-1998, ... it was Iraq that reportedly took the initiative. In March 1998, after Bin Ladin's public fatwa against the United States, two Al Qaeda members reportedly went to Iraq to meet with Iraqi intelligence. In July, an Iraqi delegation travelled to Afghanistan to meet first with the taliban and then with Bin Ladin."

"Similar meetings between Iraqi officials and Bin Ladin or his aides may have occurred in 1999 during a period of some reported strains with the Taliban... Iraqi officals offered Bin Ladin safe haven in Iraq."

Hell I'm not going to bother with the rest. You claimed you read it but you obviously have not. You take my points and claim I'm saying something else and then quote editorialists to support your position.

You ignore the Jerusalem Conference of 2001, the Jerusalem Project based in Palestine, the Saudi two-decade long funding of WAR teaching to muslim kids all over the world - all of this documented, and claim I'm having some "islamo-fantasy."

Beatroot, you are plainly ignorant and too bigoted to consider the facts.

Someday you might understand what Dar al Harb means... nah, you'll ignore it.

Best to ignore what doesn't fit your little worldview. When you ignore fact and throw opinion at me, then we're not going to see eye-to-eye. Pointless to discuss this further.

At 7:51 am, Blogger Becca said...

Ok Mussolini, enough of the personal insults. I think you'll find Beatroot quoted from the report AS WELL as from the media.

You both have different perspectives and both use the facts that support your side. This is normal.

I think Mussolini you are ignoring too lightly the 'reportedly' and 'may have's in the report and taking this as evidence.

If you could take some of the agression out of your responses, maybe you would see eye to eye with more people.

At 11:42 am, Blogger beatroot said...

Muso: as I have quoted before from the report: There is 'no compelling case' according to the report, that Iraq had either planned or perpetrated the attacks’…and that there is ‘no confirmed reporting on Saddam cooperating with Bin Ladin on unconventional weapons.’

That's not my words but the report's.

It is taken from the first page of the report. If you do not recognise it then maybe it is you that has not read it. Or mayeb you being deliberatly obtuse?

The Saddam/bin Laden thing is a bust flush, an argument that only the most dilluded (Dick Chenney etc) are clinging to. Forget it, Muso, and get on with your life.

At 2:17 am, Blogger Mussolini said...

I can see I'm being labelled with "hate" and "anger" because I don't agree.

Pretty typical of bigots.

Personal insults? Calling ignorance because he won't even read his report? Dismisses everything I quote even when it is the report itself and not someone else's opinion of it?

You both have a lot to learn to reach maturity.

Originally I was welcomed, but I think the welcome was facetious.

Excuse me for intruding with a differing view.

At 8:17 am, Blogger Becca said...

No, you are welcome. Just don't be surprised when people don't agree with you. Healthy debate.

At 9:33 am, Blogger Roman Werpachowski said...

Torture may be sometimes morally acceptable, but it should never be made a standard practice. In fact, it should be illegal all the time, so anyone choosing to do it will have to accept the fact that he can be punished for it by law.

There was an example of this police officer in Germany who threatened a kidnapper with physical violence, so that he tell where he hid the kid (they found the kid dead, alas). He was a national hero but he was fired from the police. And justly so.

Torture should be something which is used only very, very rarely and with personal consequences for those using it.

At 4:48 pm, Anonymous Access to justice Blog said...

Torture is a key issue nowadays. Democratic countries are using it in the name of the "democracy". But is it right to use terror to fight terror? Torture should never be morally acceptable, it only creates more of what it is willing to end.

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