Against Torture

The New York Times
John F. Burns & Alan Cowell
16 November 2010
Britain to Compensate Former Guantánamo Detainees

The settlement with the detainees came only weeks after Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, insisted that his operatives did not use or collude in torture. In the most declaratory statement anyone from the agency has made, Sir John called torture “illegal and abhorrent under any circumstances, and we have nothing whatsoever to do with it.”

[Justice Minister Kenneth] Clarke used similar words to disavow any British involvement in torture, calling it “a serious criminal offense,” whether committed at home or abroad. “And we will not condone it,” he said.

The path to Tuesday’s settlement in Britain opened in July when [Prime Minister David] Cameron approved negotiations on a deal. That followed a court order demanding the disclosure of a reported 500,000 confidential documents, prompting Mr. Cameron to say that reviewing the documents would take up huge amounts of time at Britain’s intelligence agencies. Mr. Cameron also announced the appointment of an independent inquiry into the accusations of MI5 and MI6 collusion with the C.I.A. and other foreign organizations in the torture of terrorism suspects.

via David Dayen @firedoglake

GENEVA (Reuters Legal)
Stephanie Nebehay & Terry Baynes
16 November 2010
UN expert urges full U.S. torture investigation

The new U.N. torture expert urged the United States on Tuesday to conduct a full investigation into torture under the Bush administration and prosecute offenders as well as senior officials who ordered it.
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"The United States has a duty to investigate every act of torture. Unfortunately, we haven't seen much in the way of accountability," said [Juan Ernesto] Mendez, himself a former torture victim, in the wide-ranging interview at the United Nations in Geneva.

"There has to be a more serious inquiry into what happened and by whose orders. It doesn't need to be seen to be partisan or vindictive, just an obligation to follow where the evidence leads," added Mendez, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture.

Under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, ratified by the U.S. in 1994, the government must conduct a "prompt and impartial investigation" where there is "reasonable ground to believe" that an act of torture has been committed.

A previous investigation by a U.S. special prosecutor into torture allegations was limited in scope, and congressional inquiries focused on the Pentagon but not the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), according to Mendez.

"There is a lot more to the story than has been revealed," said Mendez. "It is important to get to the bottom of what happened and under whose orders, and if necessary to bring charges."

via tristero @hullabaloo

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