Friday, November 9, 2007

ACLU shocked, but I'm not

A civil liberties and human rights group says the US has failed to correct policies that violate international conventions on torture and cruel treatment, and it accuses the US of continuing to violate international treaties.
“With the debate over waterboarding front and center, it is shocking to see the U.S. government continue to defend its shameful record of sanctioning secret and indefinite detention and its lack of accountability for torture and abuse,” said Jamil Dakwar, Advocacy Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program. “The torture committee attempted to give the U.S. government a chance to correct its wrongs, but unfortunately the Bush administration responded with nothing more than empty gestures and hollow words.”
[snip]
The UN demanded an end to interrogation techniques including "sexual humiliation, 'waterboarding,' 'short shackling' and using dogs to induce fear." The US repeatedly insists that "torture" is a violation of US law, but it does not renounce the listed techniques. News reports have indicated that US interrogators have engaged in those practices.
[snip]
According to the ACLU, today’s response from the U.S. reveals that it has failed to respond to the torture committee’s directives from last year, including:
• Ensuring that no one is detained in any secret detention facility;
• Prohibiting the transfer or the rendition of persons to countries where they could be at risk of being tortured and providing detailed records on all diplomatic guarantees assuring that a person will not be tortured if expelled, returned, transferred or extradited since 9/11;
• Closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, and either permitting access by the detainees to a fair judicial process or releasing them as soon as possible while ensuring that they are not returned to any state where they could face a real risk of being tortured;
• Ending gender-based humiliation and the mistreatment of women detainees, including the federal Bureau of Prisons’ policy of shackling of women during childbirth in certain circumstances;
• Promptly, thoroughly and impartially investigating all allegations of acts of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by law enforcement personnel and bringing perpetrators to justice;
• Addressing sentences of life imprisonment for children, which could constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
• Ensuring that reports of brutality and ill-treatment of members of vulnerable groups by law enforcement personnel—including those related to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina—are independently, promptly and thoroughly investigated and that perpetrators are prosecuted and appropriately punished.
nerdified link
To those convinced that there is still something noble about the US, I suppose such news would be shocking. On the contrary, I would merely note that torture is as American as apple pie. Has been for quite a while. By all means we need to stop the practice of torture, but there's little need to even so much as feign surprise over its continued occurrence by our government.

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