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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

 

Outsourcing torture

The United States is now routinely using torture against terrorist suspects. It circumvents its own laws, due process and the Geneva Convention by sending suspects to countries such as Egypt and Syria, which carry out torture on the USA's behalf under a policy called 'extraordinary rendition'.

Read this
astonishing article by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker (and this interview with the author). Read also this recent Guardian report on torture in Afghanistan. These practices are being justified by the 'war on terrorism', which appears to supply the pretext for throwing any civilised standard out of the window.

The abandonment of human rights by the USA, with the apparent consent of its UK ally, is nauseating and demonstrates the depths of depravity to which New Labour has sunk in its unwavering support for George Bush. If your local MP voted for the war, press him or her hard on this issue. Unless such MPs publicly repudiate the use of torture, they are morally unfit to be re-elected.

Kofi Annan warned in a recent speech in Madrid:

"Compromising human rights cannot serve the struggle against terrorism. On the contrary, it facilitates the achievement of the terrorists' objectives by provoking tension, hatred, and mistrust of governments among precisely those parts of the population where he is most likely to find recruits."
Such wisdom cuts little ice with the type of politician whose time horizon stretches no further than the next day's headlines and who prefers to play to the gallery with macho gestures.

New Labour is trying to outdo its opponents in terms of 'toughness'. The point Liberals must keep making is that our government's posturing isn't protecting us from terrorism but is making us more vulnerable.

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