Wednesday, June 29, 2005

UN is investigating US detention torture allegations

Now before you read the story, think of something totally slapstick stupid and that's probably not as dumb as this:

VIENNA (AP)-[off the wire, no link]-U.N. human rights experts have started questioning former terror suspects released from U.S. detention, as they investigate prison conditions and allegations that some people are being held in secret locations, a top U.N. official said Wednesday.

"Sir, you were just released from prison for being a suspected terrorist how do you feel?" It's like asking the loser of the championship game, "How do you feel right now?" What kind of moron is going to ask that question. Oh wait. We are talking about the UN.

Manfred Nowak, the U.N.'s special expert on torture, said some undeclared holding areas could include U.S. ships cruising international waters. He said there were "serious" allegations to that effect from Amnesty International and other non-governmental human rights groups.

Oh good God. They have a special torture expert. And praytell what makes him an expert. I want to see his qualifications and unless there's mention of time spent being tortured, he should just shut up right now about these "serious" allegations we put women's underwear on their heads and made them stand naked for hours at a time. That sounds like your average weekend Frat party.

"I have heard these rumors, and we have to follow them up," Nowak told The Associated Press, urging the U.S. government to cooperate with the investigation.

Rumors. You just said serious two seconds before. Do we really have time to allow UN probes into every rumor that they some loony makes up because he's bitter he was forced to live in a tropical paradise for a few months and forced to eat three square meals a day simply because he held beliefs that allowed him to blow up innocent civilians? Is that really fair?

Nowak, a Vienna law professor, is one of several independent human rights experts appointed by the 53-nation U.N. Human Rights Commission, the U.N.'s top rights watchdog.

More "experts." I still want to see their scars from the times they were tortured that makes them experts.

Nowak, who also reports to the U.N. General Assembly, has great autonomy in deciding what to investigate, and did not need to seek outside approval in launching the probe into U.S. detention practices and locations.

Oh, that's great. He can give us an anal probe on a whim because he answers to no one.

The U.S. has criticized the commission because its members include countries with poor human rights records. But the experts operate independently and sometimes reproach their own countries for violations.

Duh. Maybe it's because they have total autonomy to investigate any passing fancy on western countries while turning a blind eye to their own country.

A spokesman for U.N. human rights chief Louise Arbour, whose official title is U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said Nowak had "great authority in investigating suspected abuses."

"Our long-standing position is that we encourage countries to cooperate with the special rapporteurs of the commission," the spokesman, Jose Diaz, said from Geneva. "Their dialogue with the U.S. should continue so that they can be allowed to carry out their work."

Sweet, they're throwing around hefty titles again. Unfortunately all it means is mid-level paper pusher. And all they can do is "encourage [us] to cooperate" because we all know nothing will happen if we say no. What will they do to us, coordinate us to death, because Lord knows they sure can't actually enforce their rules. That conversation would be: "Cooperate." "No." "OK."

Nowak said he and three fellow experts decided last week to launch the inquiry without waiting for U.S. cooperation after holding off for more than three years in the hope that Washington would give members access to the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other facilities holding terrorist suspects.

Just last week, the four cited "persistent and credible" reports of torture at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo in urging Washington to allow them to check conditions there.

Make up your minds. In the span of 2 minutes these "reports" have gone from "serious" to "rumors" to "persistent and credible." Are they getting these from the Weekly World News?

Nowak expressed disappointment at a lack of U.S. response. Still, he said, he was assured that after recent high-level meetings with U.S. officials, the request was "being given highest consideration at the top level of the State Department (and) the Pentagon."

I can see it now. "Mr. President we got another memo from the UN for top-level consideration" "Go put it in the fireplace with the others. At least we can use them to keep the fire going."

Diplomats with the U.S. Mission to the U.N. in Vienna said they weren't authorized to respond to Nowak's comments.

Nowak said the four-member team would also like to visit Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and other U.S.-run sites, as well as to track down allegations of clandestine prisons - including reports of U.S. ships in extraterritorial waters in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere.

Team members have begun "seeking firsthand information" by interviewing former suspects held and subsequently released by U.S. authorities, Nowak said.

How long ago was abu Ghraib and they're just concerned about it now? And I'm interested in finding these clandestine prisons. When they find those maybe they can find those coandestine WMDs that have been eluding them and us for so long. Oh and I've heard Wonder Woman's invisible jet is lost. I'm sure she'd appreciate the help since they've obviously got nothing better to do.

U.S. officials so far have allowed only the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit detainees at Guantanamo, used as a detention center for suspects allegedly linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan and to al-Qaida. The ICRC keeps its findings confidential, reporting them solely to the detaining power, though some of the reports have been leaked by what the organization calls third parties.

The U.N. experts would be expected to make a public report.

Terror expert Magnus Ranstorp said Diego Garcia, a British-held island in the Indian Ocean that the U.S. uses as a strategic military base, has figured in reports as the location of a secret U.S. detention facility.

Ranstorp, director of the center for the study of terrorism and political violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, said most experts believe "possibly one or two ships, and not a mini-fleet," could be used as possible floating detention centers.

"Having them in extraterritorial waters don't have to deal with a host country" that might not want such detainees on its territory, he told the AP.

Yeah we'll allow the Red Cross because they actually put (some of) their money where their mouth by doing good work for the poor around the world.

I can't believe these guys. How much more useless can they get?