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Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Geneva Conventions not so quaint after all

According to the Washington Post, the US has decided to apply the Geneva Conventions to all detainees. File this under "it's about damn time." Even CIA black sites and secret gulags will have to follow the Geneva Conventions, and I'm sure that everyone will be properly informed and they will act in full accordance with the law, because if there's one thing the CIA has a reputation for, it's legality and more importantly, transparency, so that interested parties can verify that they are indeed following the law.

(Speaking of proper information, guys in the field in Afghanistan, when asking how to treat detainees, were given rescinded torture-ahoy! memos intended for Guantanamo Bay. So decisions on the top only matter as far as they get out to people actually handling detainees. Link 1, Link 2)

The Bush administration continues to insist that torturing people into giving false confessions makes voters feel hopeful about the war on terror, but the Supreme Court apparently remembers that we have laws and treaty obligations and stuff.

The WaPo article does not mention extraordinary rendition, a practice in which we turn over wrongly grabbed innocent suspects to other allied countries known to use torture after the very solemnly promise (wink) not to torture these particular suspects. Then they share all the false, i'll-say-whatever-you-want,-just-stop-it information with our intelligence agencies, who use it to grab more innocent people who were randomly named as the last guy sought desperately to make it stop suspects. One thinks the Geneva Conventions and Jesus would disallow such a thing, but since the Supreme Court didn't rule on it (and how could they since it's secret?) and nobody is talking about it now, it will probably continue.

This is a small step. Very positive. But too small by itself.

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1 comment:

Demon Princess said...

EXCELLENT post! Right on target!