Friday, December 09, 2005

Torturous Distinctions

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 8 - The Bush administration based a crucial prewar assertion about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda on detailed statements made by a prisoner while in Egyptian custody who later said he had fabricated them to escape harsh treatment, according to current and former government officials.

The officials said the captive, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, provided his most specific and elaborate accounts about ties between Iraq and Al Qaeda only after he was secretly handed over to Egypt by the United States in January 2002, in a process known as rendition.

As we're now aware, there were no ties to speak of between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The article I've excerpted from is an interesting read, and I recommend it. No one's mind will be changed about anything, but it does point out the aforementioned unreliability of torture.

Also - I could be wrong about this, but didn't Condi Rice specifically state in a conference that the US does not hand off prisoners to other countries for the purposes of torture?

Update: Apparently I'm half-right. We DO hand them off to third-parties for "interrogation," but not for "torture."

Ms. Rice:

"The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture." (emphasis mine)

I'm a little hazy on the distinctions being made here, but they seem sort of slimmish. If we were going to play nice with these folks and simply interrogate them, why would we need to ship them to Egypt?


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Scott Roche said...

Egyptians are better at tor.. sorry interrogating priso... sorry detainees.


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