Monday, July 21, 2008

U.S. Found Not Trustworthy

British officials are convinced of the same thing that the U.S. public has learned the hard way, that the occupants of the White House are not to be trusted. Their word is not good, and the British government can no longer act on it. The American government is not directed toward the good of its allies, any more than it is the good of the citizens it was elected to serve.

The British government should not rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, a report by MPs says.

The foreign affairs select committee said the UK and US differ on their definitions of what constitutes torture and it urged the UK to check US claims.

It recommended the government carry out an "exhaustive analysis of current US interrogation techniques."

The MPs also said the government should check claims that Britain is not used by the US for "rendition" flights.

The committee highlighted the technique of "water-boarding" - a practice which simulates drowning.

The US describes it as "a legal technique used in a specific set of circumstances" and President Bush has refused to ban it.

Given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture
Foreign Affairs Select Committee

However, the UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said it is torture and "the UK unreservedly condemns the use of torture."

In its report, the committee said: "Given the clear differences in definition, the UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the government does not rely on such assurances in the future."
The MPs also urged the Foreign Office to investigate allegations that the UK "outsourced" interrogation of six terror suspects to Pakistan's ISI intelligence agency, where they were tortured and interrogated by British intelligence officers.
The committee's conclusions amount to saying that we can no longer rely on assurances from a US administration that purports to uphold the civil and political standards of behaviour, while in fact kidnapping people and taking them to places where they may be maltreated.

"Only by practising what we preach will we be able to win back the support of Muslim communities at home and abroad and build the strongest coalition around the world against terrorism."

The damage done by this executive branch filled with criminals is immense, internationally and at home. The infection is being excised by the British, has already been tossed by many other nations. Now we need to get serious about cutting it out, down to its hideous roots in criminality, here in our own country, while we can still call it our own.

Cngress last Wednesday passed a bill the White House threatens to veto, which would set up an inspector over intelligence, give Congress basis for cutting off funds when it has not been properly informed and require sharing of intelligence information with the Congress so that it can perform its oversight function.

As for the demand to up the flow of classified information to congressional oversight committees, the White House says it "goes beyond any legitimate oversight function" and simply encourages "micromanagement of [Intelligence Community] activities." If the bill makes it to the president's desk with any of these provisions attached, "senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."

This is not the first time that an intelligence authorization bill has run smack into White House instransigence. It's now been three years since Congress and the White House have been able to reach an accommodation. Why? "This administration wants maximum authority and maximum discretion," says Steve Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, who blogs at Secrecy News. "It lashes out at any semblance of checks and balances."

The Congress needs to take charge, it is obvious that we have an executive branch that is determined to end the rule of law. The mantra of war powers cannot continue to be allowed to take the reins from the constitutionally mandated controlling branch.

A beginning has been made, by the bare majority given to Democrats in Congress in 2006. It hasn't been enough. We need to elect progressives everywhere we can, and get the criminal element under control. It will take more than casual observation, it will take intense remedial action.

The Whole World Is Watching.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Except for the last part. What beginning was made in 2006? Democrats have been torturing for a lot longer than the Republicans, and they have NEVER in their 200 year old history investigated any serious war crimes or abuses. There's no question that the Democrats in Congress knew very well that torturing was going on (as did the British, despite their hypocrisy), and that it didn't bother them. None of them have suggested investigations, and they never will.

As far as the questions of war and torture goes, the Democrats and Republicans are identical. There's no possibility either party will ever do anything about torture. All of American history proves that. We do need to elect progressives, but no Democrat, no matter who, can be considered that any longer.

10:05 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

Strange that anyone would equate the Dems and GoPervs, after the last seven+ years. What we are seeing is the end of the rule of law, and altho I won't contend the Dems are perfect, any diversion of votes away from the Dems is a move to destroy this country and constitutional gov't - All of American history proves that we have to get the progressives in office, and are literally doomed if we do not. This is not a parlor game.

7:58 PM  

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