Tuesday, March 01, 2005


US Criticizes Saudi Arabia for Torture???

Let me understand this correctly - the State Department issues a human rights report criticizing Saudi Arabia for torturing prisoners:

Saudi Arabia and Russia come in for heavy criticism in the US state department annual human rights report.
Source: BBC News US raps Russia and Saudi rights
The Washington Post puts the State Department's report into perspective:
State Dept. Study Cites Torture of Prisoners
Rumsfeld Approved Similar Practices

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page A10

The State Department's annual human rights report released yesterday criticized countries for a range of interrogation practices it labeled as torture, including sleep deprivation for detainees, confining prisoners in contorted positions, stripping and blindfolding them and threatening them with dogs -- methods similar to those approved at times by the Bush administration for use on detainees in U.S. custody.
(Emphasis added)

Meanwhile, the US "Justice" Department placed a man on trial for an alleged assassination plot using evidence obtained (apparently under torture) from Saudi Arabia.

Additionally, the US Government's practice of indefinitely imprisoning without trial anyone labelled as an "enemy combatant" is coming under increased fire:

U.S. Must Charge Padilla With Crime or Release Him

By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 1, 2005; Page A02

A federal judge in South Carolina ruled yesterday that the Bush administration lacks statutory and constitutional authority to indefinitely imprison without criminal charges a U.S. citizen who was designated an "enemy combatant."
In a strongly worded 23-page ruling, Floyd said "to do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country's constitutional tradition, but it would also be a betrayal of this Nation's commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and our individual liberties."
Using a phrase often levied by conservatives to denigrate liberal judges, Floyd -- who was appointed by President Bush to the federal bench in 2003 -- accused the administration of engaging in "judicial activism" when it asserted in court pleadings that Bush has blanket authority under the Constitution to detain Americans on U.S. soil who are suspected of taking or planning actions against the country.

Floyd said the government presented no law supporting this contention and that just because Bush and his appointees say Padilla's detention was consistent with U.S. laws and the president's war powers, that did not make it so. "Moreover, such a statement is deeply troubling. If such a position were ever adopted by the courts, it would totally eviscerate the limits placed on Presidential authority to protect the citizenry's individual liberties."
(Source: Washington Post emphasis added)
Shouldn't the State Department have a little chat with the CIA and the "Justice" Department before making fools of themselves (and the United States) on the world stage? Or is the State Department really engaged in oblique criticism of the CIA's outsourcing torture to countries like Syria and Saudi Arabia - jobs that could be done in the US if the Democrats would stoip filibustering Bush's favored judicial nominees?


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