Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: UN Statement On United States' State Sanctioned Inhumanity Towards Man - via Torture ...

17 February 2006

UN Statement On United States' State Sanctioned Inhumanity Towards Man - via Torture ...

What follows is for the benefit of all those who aren't yet fully aware of the civilised world's view of America's inhumanity towards man.

This Old Brit and Richard have highlighted several key sections and rearranged 'white spaces' paragraphwise to facilitate easier reading.

In all other respects, this is IT verbatum: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth -- straight from the horses mouth.

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UNITED NATIONS ~ Press Release



16 February 2006

The following statement was issued today by the Chairman Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Leila Zerrougui; Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy; the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak; the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Asma Jahangir, and the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Paul Hunt:

Five independent investigators of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights are calling on the United States to close immediately the detention centre in Guantánamo Bay and bring all detainees before an independent and competent tribunal or release them.The call comes in a report published today following an 18-month joint study by the experts into the situation of detainees at that United States Naval Base.

The report's findings are based on information from the United States Government, interviews conducted by the experts with former Guantánamo Bay detainees currently residing or detained in France, Spain and the United Kingdom and responses from lawyers acting on behalf of some current detainees. It also relies on information available in the public domain, including reports prepared by non-governmental organizations (NGOs), information contained in declassified official United States documents and media reports.

The experts expressed regret that the Government did not allow them the opportunity to have free access to detainees in Guantanamo Bay and carry out private interviews, as provided by the terms of reference accepted by all countries they visit.The five experts – specializing in issues related to arbitrary detention, freedom of religion, the right to health, torture and the independence of judges and lawyers – conclude that the persons held at Guantánamo Bay are entitled to challenge the legality of their detention before a judicial body and to obtain release if detention is found to lack a proper legal basis.

The continuing detention of all persons held at Guantánamo Bay amounts to arbitrary detention, they state, adding that – where criminal proceedings are initiated against a detainee – the executive branch of the United States Government operates as judge, prosecutor and defence counsel in violation of various guarantees of the right to a fair trial. According to the experts, attempts by the United States Administration to redefine "torture" in the framework of the struggle against terrorism in order to allow certain interrogation techniques that would not be permitted under the internationally accepted definition of torture are of utmost concern. The confusion with regard to authorized and unauthorized interrogation techniques over the last years is particularly alarming.

The interrogation techniques authorized by the Department of Defense, particularly if used simultaneously, amount to degrading treatment. If in individual cases, which were described in interviews, the victim experienced severe pain or suffering, these acts amounted to torture as defined in article 1 of the Convention against Torture. Furthermore, the general conditions of detention, in particular the uncertainty about the length of detention and prolonged solitary confinement, amount to inhuman treatment and to a violation of the right to health as well as a violation of the right of detainees to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

They add that force-feeding of competent detainees violates the right to health as well as the ethical duties of any health professionals who may be involved. Among their recommendations, the experts say terrorism suspects should be detained in accordance with criminal procedure that respects the safeguards enshrined in relevant international law. Accordingly, the United States Government should either expeditiously bring all Guantánamo Bay detainees to trial or release them without further delay.

They also call on the Government to close down the Guantánamo Bay detention centre and to refrain from any practice amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, discrimination on the basis of religion, and violations of the rights to health and freedom of religion. The investigators also request full and unrestricted access to the Guantánamo Bay facilities, including private interviews with detainees. Consideration should also be given to trying suspected terrorists before a competent international tribunal.

Chronology leading up to report: The five mandate holders have been following the situation of detainees held at the United States Naval Base at Guantánamo Bay since January 2002. In June 2004, the Annual Meeting of special rapporteurs/representatives, experts and chairpersons of working groups of the special procedures and the advisory services programme of the Commission on Human Rights, decided that they should continue this task as a group because the situation concerns each of their mandates.

In studying the situation, they have continuously sought the cooperation of the United States authorities. They sent a number of letters requesting the United States Government to allow them to visit Guantánamo Bay in order to gather first hand information from the prisoners themselves.

By letter dated 28 October 2005, the Government of the United States of America extended an invitation for a one-day visit to three of the five mandate holders, inviting them "to visit the Department of Defense's detention facilities [of Guantánamo Bay]". The invitation stipulated that "the visit will not include private interviews or visits with detainees".

In their response to the Government dated 31 October 2005, the mandate holders accepted the invitation, including the short duration of the visit and the fact that only three of them were permitted access, and informed the US Government that the visit was to be carried out on 6 December 2005.

However, they did not accept the exclusion of private interviews with detainees, as that would contravene the terms of reference for fact-findings missions by special procedures and undermine the purpose of an objective and fair assessment of the situation of detainees held in Guantánamo Bay. In the absence of assurances from the Government that it would comply with the terms of reference, the mandate holders decided on 18 November 2005 to cancel the visit.

Click here for direct link to this UN press release/statement.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to mention Abu Graihib, extraordinary rendition and the imprisonment with representation, charge or time limitation of their own people in their own country.

Huh. Some kind of "Christian" country - NOT.

I wonder which Bushco culprit Jesus would call to account first?

It seems any US versions of the Bible omit the part where Jesus said: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

1:36 am  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

Richard, there is some really excellent information about CIA torture techniques and history of experimentation currently available at "Flash Points" website. It is contained in the audios of two of the programs they did this week.

The two dates are 14 and 16 February. It comprises about the last half hour of each of those programs These are from an excellent interview with Alfred McCoy, author of, "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror."

Here is the link to their archive:
scroll down to those dates and give it a listen. (last half hour of each).

I learned things from that program that I did not know before. This author is particularly concerned about psychological torture and the very long term effects it can have. Also drug experimentation and the longterm effects. CIA is involved in both. The effects are far worse than all the physical stuff we see in those gruesome pictures that have been released. It takes many forms that leave no mark to show in the pictures: sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, severe fright, and so on. The CIA has found psychological torture to be by far more "effective"
than the physical stuff.

What I learned from those audios helped me to "connect some dots" about a long term (20 year) acquaintance of mine in California. I knew him pretty well because he rented a room from me for a time and we stayed in touch on and off over most of those years. He had mysterious months-long episodes where he was totally unable to function. When he was OK he was a reasonably competent engineer, bright and sociable. We did not stay in touch after I moved from California. I learned 10 years or so ago that he had committed suicide.

He had told me once long, long ago that he had been a participant in some psychological experimentats, something connected with the government. I never asked him any more about that. (I was brought up not to pry). And I had sort of forgotten that info. But I believe now that whatever happened to him in those experiments was probably CIA induced. The timeframe fits. It would have happened in the late 50s I think.

I don't mean to be dismissing the physical side of torture. It is horrifying. But I notice all official definitions of torture refer to physical evidence or severe pain. That's what most people think of. There is more to it than that.

Thanks for helping get this subject out there.

6:28 am  
Blogger J.UL1R4 said...

Great post Richard.

Anon: Sadly, this Christian Fundementalism seems to have poisoned quite a few Americans into a false Christianity which amounts to little more than a crackpot puppeted cult.

Similarly, Gitmo is a momument to what the Neocons are all about. Torture, pillage, destruction. 'We need to be embrace evil for the greater good'. I think it even says something like that in one of the PNAC documents.

In our country of the UK, Blair has said nervously when pressed the Guantánamo detainees should be released, but he's hardly made it a major point in Anglo-American relations and that should tell you something.

Gitmo is an appalling horror on the world, and should serve as a massive warning for Americans.

11:19 am  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

On the subject of the strange, seeming acceptance of torture among so many Americans (or at least, willingness to overlook or ignore it), I think there is a profound truth in the proverbial frog in the pot of water, the temperature rising very, very slowly ...

For many it manifests itself in religious fundamentalism, (that's easy to identify), for others it is more subtle, the ability to easily switch certain things off -- like "changing the channel."

The TV metaphor fits. The frogs have been in that water about as long as television has existed.

3:42 pm  
Anonymous kiwi said...

Good thing to post Old Brit and good comments too.

Unfortunately their are too many - not just Americans, but I think mainly Americans - who simply don't give a damn about anyone that's not a virtual clone of themselves.

4:24 pm  
Anonymous Rex said...

Richard - you were right to help get this out, and you were right to say it's how 'The Civilised World' sees it [correctly] and comes right out and says so. See links below - they are worth seeing.

Or will the ignorant of the US still say it's the rest of the world that's out of step with them?

Amnesty International.

Koffi Anan.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu - a REAL Christian.

A Blair crony and Government Minister - Peter Haine AND Liberal Democrat leader - Menzies Campbell. In fact Even Blair himself has been forced to say that Guantanamo must go - soon.

Along with the International Red Cross -- and plenty more.

6:07 pm  
Anonymous me said...

And look at this disgusting, shameful, degrading, unforgivable stuff. This is from the BBC too.

Those who condone such crimes are as guilty as those who perpetrate them. No ifs and no buts. They are complicit. They are aiders and abettors. The are accesories both before and after the fact.

6:16 pm  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

As an American- I am so horrified and ashamed by the actions of this government- I didn't vote for any of them and don't support them, and most people I know don't either. We have all done what we can , we write and call out elected reps, and we nag the media to report what matters, and we will keep doing ALL of this- but on many levels we are heartbroken and trapped- we are stuck and don't know what to do. I am someone that is on Watchlists and No Fly lists- I would give anything to have our country back, and an end to this dangerous fascist regime- the torture, the spying, rendition flights, the illegal war, the spying, and more.Gitmo and Abu Gahrib- all of it is Criminal. Last year I finally wrote letters to the UN about it, as well as about how Katrina was handled....To your readers I can only say there are those of us that are trying to end this ..for everyone's sake....

3:20 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No wonder most American tourists have been pretending they're Canadian when they're abroad.

12:27 pm  
Blogger Gert said...

Ah, JOY!! This comment section finally opens up in the same window... I've been tapping away to my heart's content in Word, no sweat... Thank you, Ricardo! I'm a little surprised you've switched word verification off though...

As regards the UN and this report, it's all very well but the US will simply dismiss it as per usual. In many respects the UN has outplayed its part. The US uses it whenever it suits them and ignores it when it doesn't. On the US's far-right, there are still plenty who see the UN as a conspiracy out to go and occupy the US and install a "world government" at best, or a bunch of "commies" at worst.

And the part the UN played in the sanctions on Iraq was also not a great episode...

1:42 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Sorry I'm so late responding again. I'm getting worse [as well as older & slower]. I honestly have been very busy though. On pretty important stuff too. Really. Trust me.

Anyhow, thanks so much again everyone. So many sensible people all in one place - and it's "my" place. I am in awe, and I am flattered and I am proud to 'know' you all.

Yet again, all the comments here are a credit to the respective authors, as are all the extra [and excellent] relevant links, to their respective providers.

Please keep on, keeping on. Between us, I'm sure we must eventually help even some of the most profoundly 'deaf' to 'hear'.

12:42 am  
Anonymous Mike said...

I must say, I do like the Star Fleet Technical Manual version of the UN emblem (or perhaps it's from a different Trek-related manual, as it's in colour, and the original SFTM was black-and-white).

(It was the 'Planet Earth (Sol System)' caption that gave it away.)

Ah, the future seemed so much brighter then....

11:47 am  
Anonymous graniab said...

Of course this issue is getting no traction in the US. The publication of more pictures of torture at Abu Ghraib passed with ne'er a whisper. Individual Americans care alot about the path the Neocons have taken but en masse it would appear as if most Americans couldn't give a tinker's curse. Why is this I wonder? I think we are isolated from the horrors of Iraq and so accepting of whatever the mainstream press throws at us. It appears that we don't really want to think for ourselves at all!

5:45 pm  
Anonymous bluey said...

I've just been catching up here. I'm glad I did. I like the info I find here, and the 'style' of it's presentation, and the links, and the commentors and their sane, civilised, informed comments --- and the lack of loony trols.

BTW, the world knows that not ALL Americans are the same. So those decent ones posting here (and elsewhere) shouldn't feel bad.

12:06 am  
Blogger St!ff M!ttens said...

And then, of course there was this from last month:

Strange bedfellows, eh? If there's one thing the neocons hate more than Islamic fundamentalists it's them unholy queers and dykes.

I think Gert's got it right here. The UN has become an impediment to the US Gov. That's why Bolton is there, so he can f%@k s#!t up and undermine the whole thing. Then they can make the case that the UN is ineffectual and should be dissolved.

Graniab, it may appear that most Americans couldn't give a tinker's curse, but I think that is, at least in part, an illusion. The right has been pretty effective over the past decade or so in directing media attention where they want it. And they definitely do not want the American people thinking and talking about anything really meaningful and important. The gritty details of presidential blowjobs or the implications of mistaking an old man for a fatted, pen-raised quail and then shooting him in the face are acceptable public debate topics. But openly discussing oppressive US policies and humans rights violations? Not on curious George's watch (almost makes you wonder if Cheney shot Whittington at Rove's behest). But, since Katrina and the massive public outrage over the handling of that, some cracks are beginning show in the right-wing disinfo veneer. We just gotta' keep the pressure on and it will eventually crumble.

Keep the faith, baby!


6:07 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! I just came by from RINF alternate news. Nothing like this is published in the US, likewise a lot of your other stuff. Do NOT stop what you are doing - 'cos I wanna keep coming back for more.

11:18 am  
Anonymous Arnie said...

Same here...from another new reader.. it's great what you're doing Old Brit. Americans need to know this stuff.

Btw, you must be getting noticed by the big boys... I read Danny Schecter/News Dissector every day ... and I dropped by from his place... he's citing you too. I can see why.... I'll also be back.

4:08 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Hi Richard,

I've started a blog called with great originality markfromireland. it's a free service hosted by an Irish company and I was beginnig to get a bit fed up with blogger's bluggering things up.

The other thing was I wanted categories and the ability to have permanent pages.

So far so good.

Consider yourself invited

12:35 am  
Blogger markfromireland said...

OK now that I've blog-you-know-whatted the Council of Europe are inviting comments on their report:

International Standards Concerning Freedom Of Expression And Information In Times Of Crisis

(Use that link and don't bother with the PDF link it doesn't work.)

Here's the Terms of Reference

The chap to send comments to is this guy (text version of link:)

Email link

12:47 am  
Blogger Reverend X said...

Honestly, I am surprised the American Media has yet to excuse/cover this as,
"Bush keeps Gitmo open. Successfuly halts increased homelessness"
It really is that bad here.

9:36 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Okay, so I'm begining to sound like an echo chamber - but believe me, it's a sincere echo chamber.

Thanks again to all, for such sensible & enlightening comments and for the excellent links -- readers' blog urls included -- [both old and new, Mark]. As I always say, I do eventually get to them all, and will continue to do so. (I recommend others do, too. Many 'regulars' here have 1st class sites of their own.)

And last but not least, a warm welcome to our new posters. Both your praise and 'heads' ups' are greatly appreciated.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous three bureau credit report said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:06 pm  

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