This week in torture

Condoleezza Rice

Condi Rice continues to riddle her credibility at home and abroad on her never-ending talking points tour.

“Rendition” as they call it, has in fact been practiced since the mid-80s, REUEL GERECHT explained in an extensive debate/history of rendition that was Margaret Warner’s piece tonight on NewsHour. Truth be told, TalkLeft indicates in this post – Extraordinary rendition, as we know understand it — to countries that are not likely to respect the rights of detainees — can legally be considered kidnapping.

Andrew Tyree, Tory MP in The Guardian:

By apparently assisting the US in the practice of extraordinary rendition, the UK and the west are losing the moral high ground so valuable to foreign policy since the end of the cold war.”

See links to Rice’s speech today in which she interprets rendition as a “lawful exercise.” Full speech at BBC. Amnesty article, as reported by the Beeb, which alleges over 800 flights over EU airspace in recent years by CIA rendition planes (Thanks to mBlog for the links).

Human Rights Watch a warning Monday regarding Condi Rice’s mischaracterization of Rendition as lawful.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. writes in HuffPo that all one need know regarding official explanation for torture “not going to engage in torture” can be found in the text of Alberto Gonzales address to the Council on Foreign Relations last week. (Prepared remarks available here at the US DOJ website).

Regarding the Abu Ghraib scandal, Gonzales chided: “The day shift didn’t engage in that kind of conduct.”

Juan Cole hits this hard in his post today, in which he wonders why U.S. institutions abroad are not bound by the Bill of Rights – the backbone of our constitution.

The Heretik has a solid round-up of the reaction in the UK and what’s to come in Deutschland.

Harsher assessment are sure to follow at Rice’s next stop, Germany, where citizens are irate over alleged participation by their government in extraordinary renditions.

Statements from the administrations Venezuelan “arch-enemy” seem to be qualified in light of the European headlines.

From Monday’s Prensa Latina:

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez described the US as the world”s greatest destabilizing factor since WWII, since when no one has sown such instability “as the great US imperial power, particularly in recent years”.

In other news today, Iraqi Vice President Ghazi al Yawer disputed the U.S. government’s assessment that the training of security forces was gathering speed. To that, he agreed with Bush, that it would be ridiculous to set a timetable.

Elisabeth Bumiller writes in the New York Times of the Administrations apparent plans to shake up the staff as the year rolls to a not-so-merry close:

“I hope you know that coming into a new year, some people say, ‘I want to move on,’ ” Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, said in a recent interview.

Donald H. Rumsfeld spoke today at the School of Advanced International Studies at John Hopkins Univ. in D.C. In his speech (transcript) he alluded to a recent Pew Research poll that asserted:

* 63% of the people in the news media thought the enterprise would fail;
* So did 71% of the people in the foreign affairs establishment; and
* 71% in the academic settings or think tanks.

It was widely reported over the weekend that a “top” or “#3” member of al-Qaeda was killed in Pakistan. The United States has yet to confirm this death despite Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s “200 percent” certainty of the man’s death.

Editor & Publisher lashes out at those media outlets who once again fell for the “Number 3 Qaeda….” headline:

The Egyptian [Hamza Rabia] wasn’t on the FBI’s list of the world’s 15 most wanted terrorists, nor had he made Pakistan’s most wanted list. In fact, there had been little public mention of Rabia–before he was apparently killed last week in an explosion at his tribal hideout.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Advisor, addressed one of my deepest curiosities in a Washington Post editorial over the weekend. What does Islamic Radicalism have to do with Communism?

DocuTicker has links to the PDFs of the final assessment of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations, which remind me of the time in middle school that they gave “E”‘s instead of “F”s because of the implication “f=failure.”

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