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U.N. draft: Acts 'amounting to torture' at Guantanamo

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Merkin.Muffley, Feb 13, 2006.

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  1. Merkin.Muffley

    Merkin.Muffley member

    Feb 12, 2006

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- A U.N. investigation has concluded that the United States committed acts amounting to torture at Guantanamo Bay, including force-feeding detainees and subjecting them to prolonged solitary confinement, according to a draft report obtained Monday.

    U.S. officials rejected the report, saying it was riddled with errors and treated statements from detainees' lawyers as fact.

    The report from five U.N. human rights experts also recommended the United States close Guantanamo Bay and revoke all special interrogation techniques authorized by the Department of Defense.

    It accused the United States of violating the detainees' rights to a fair trial, to freedom of religion and to health.

    "The apparent attempts by the U.S. administration to reinterpret certain interrogation techniques as not reaching the threshold of torture in the framework of the struggle against terrorism are of utmost concern," the draft report said.

    The draft report, which follows repeated claims by prisoners at Guantanamo Bay that they have been mistreated or denied their rights, was delivered to the United States on January 16. It was first disclosed Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.

    American officials said the most significant flaw of the report was that it judged U.S. treatment of detainees according to peacetime human rights laws. The United States contends it is in a state of conflict and should be judged according to the laws of war.

    "Once you fail to even acknowledge that as the legal basis for what we're doing, much of the legal analysis that follows just doesn't hold," a State Department official said.

    The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the United States has not formulated an official public response to the draft.

    The five U.N. experts have mandates that cover torture, freedom of religion, health, independent judiciary and arbitrary detention. They started working together in June 2004 to monitor conditions at Guantanamo Bay.

    They were appointed to their three-year terms by the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission, the global body's top rights watchdog.

    About 500 people are being held in Guantanamo on suspicion of links to al Qaeda or Afghanistan's ousted Taliban government and charges have been filed against 10 detainees.

    The draft report, which will be presented to the next session of the human rights commission, dismissed the U.S. claim that the war on terror constitutes an armed conflict. It also said that the detainees at Guantanamo had a right to challenge their detention, and that right was being violated.

    "In the case of the Guantanamo Bay detainees the U.S. executive operates as judge, as prosecutor, and as defense counsel," the report said. "This constitutes serious violations of various guarantees of the right to a fair trial before an independent trial."

    Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture and one of the five experts, said the report was a draft and had not incorporated U.S. comments. It was expected to be made public later in the week.

    "It is a preliminary version," Nowak said, refusing to comment on its substance. "This is an unauthorized preliminary report which might be changed."

    U.S. officials faulted the experts for rejecting an invitation to visit Guantanamo Bay, saying it fundamentally undermined the accuracy of their findings.

    "The U.N. rapporteurs were invited to visit Guantanamo Bay and they chose not to," said Richard Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations in New York. "Had they visited, they would have found that there is no torture going on."

    The five experts had sought invitations from the United States to visit Guantanamo Bay since 2002 and accepted the offer in December. But they reversed that decision when they were told they would not be allowed to interview detainees.

    "Fact-finding on the spot has to include interviews with detainees," Nowak said. "What's the sense of going to a detention facility and doing fact-finding when you can't speak to the detainees? It's just nonsense."
  2. LAK

    LAK Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    This is like a Miami organized crime family writing a "report" about the "abuses" committed by a South American drug cartel during the course of doing business.

    But in this particular case it is just another piece of the priming for "good" global governance.

  3. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    I recommend not dismissing this out of hand because it comes from the U.N. This is going to haunt us in ways we can't imagine for generations.
  4. LawDog

    LawDog Moderator Emeritus cum Laude

    Dec 20, 2002
    Why call them "Acts amounting to torture"?

    It's either torture, or it isn't.

    I've not seen the U.N. be shy accusing us of torture in the past, so why the pussy-footing around with word-games now? :scrutiny:

  5. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    The U.N. probably wants money from us.
  6. BigRobT

    BigRobT Member

    Dec 11, 2005
    North Central Texas
    Ask the POWs of Viet Nam what "torture" was. Ask any surviving WWII Vets that were detained in the Japanese POW camps what "torture" was. Ask the men from Bravo Two Zero what "torture" was during Gulf War 1. This molly-coddling of prisoners of war just sickens me. "Force-feeding" prisoners?? Sheesh, I wish the Holocaust survivors could have complained of that !!! All in all, I find the UN laughable, corrupt, and impotent.

    My question is, WHEN is the UN going to act on the atrocities in Darfar and the rest of Africa?? Talk about "torture":rolleyes:
  7. ReadyontheRight

    ReadyontheRight Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Minnesota - nine months of ice and snow...three mo
    'Cause it ain't torture.

    It IS one more opportunity to squeeze the good old USA for more concessions and more $$$.
  8. eastwood44mag

    eastwood44mag Member

    Oct 25, 2005
    I thought torture was starving someone to death.

    Oh, wait, that's OK according to the courts.....
  9. engineer151515

    engineer151515 Member

    Oct 6, 2005
    US Southern Gulf Coast
    Like the impotent League of Nations before them, it will be a good day when the UN ultimately dissolves. They have grown to be the quintessential symbol of everything that is wrong with uncontrolled, bureaucratic, monopolistic, irresponsible power. The actions (or failures to act) of the UN is responsible for mega-more deaths in the last 30 years than plague or natural disasters. Millions. I mean MILLIONS of people have gone to their deaths either waiting for UN help,or worse, within reach of UN troops who are ordered not to interfere.

    The beauty of the 2nd Amendment is that I, and many of my good fellow Americans, will not be among those victims.

    Am I rambling again? sorry..
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2006
  10. Sergeant Bob

    Sergeant Bob Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    The Swamps of Goldwater, MI
    How can they honestly expect U.N. "experts" to actually go to GITMO and see the conditions for themselves?
  11. bakert

    bakert Member

    May 1, 2005
    Where do the UN experts get their expertise?? Or the experts and advisors of the European Union?? Exactly where does all this information come from. Seems to me like the main theme in both places is if the United States does something it is wrong regardless. Because a few prisoners were maybe humiliated a bit or treated less than gently especially the ones that were dancing in the streets with Gear and body parts of American GIs or known to have committed various crimes against innocent people we should coddle these people. The US should tell the UN and the europeans to go pack salt in a dark place!!
  12. Headless Thompson Gunner

    Headless Thompson Gunner Member

    Jul 28, 2003
    North Carolina
    There are a number of words that the UN doesn't dare to use. The UN is obligated by its charters to step in and prevent things like torture, genocide, and so forth.

    By calling it "acts amounting to torture", rather than torture itself, they get to bad-mouth the US and extort us for all sorts of concessions, without any obligation to get involved. Being cowardly bureaucrats in a glorified debating society, that's exactly what they want.

    Also, had they accused us of torture directly, they would have to back up those claims. There's a reason they refuse to visit Guantanamo to see for themselves. They know we're not actually torturing anybody, but they don't want to admit it.

    It's sort of like the Rwanda situation, where memos were circulated throughout the UN telling people not to use the word "genocide". Everyone knew it was happening, but nobody wanted to do anything about it. So they refused to admit it was happening. Cowards!
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