Sunday, May 21, 2006

Since U.S. Doesn’t Torture, Why the Defense to the U.N. Recommendations?

Dear President Bush,

As America does not torture, implementing the U.N. recommendations should be no problem, a piece of cake for our transparent government. The Committee Against Torture found several concerns about U.S. treatment of detainees. John Bellinger III, a State Department attorney admitted “some acts of abuse had occurred in the past” before blasting the reports conclusions.

While he may argue over the detailed findings, there should be no problem with implementing the recommended improvements. They fit with Mr. Bellinger’s other comments regarding the U.S. taking steps to prevent any repeats of abuse and “we take our obligations under the convention seriously”.

In that spirit I am sure you will work hard to implement the Committee Against Torture’s next steps. The committee recommended in its 11-page report that the US should:

1. Register all those it detains in territories under its jurisdiction
2. Eradicate torture and ill-treatment of detainees
3. Not send suspects to countries where they face a risk of torture
4. Enact a federal crime of torture
5. Broaden the definition of acts of psychological torture

The committee also said the U.S. no comment position on secret prisons is regrettable. How is the Committee Against Torture to do its job with a possible offender refusing to answer the question? How would the International Atomic Energy Agency feel if Iraq had a no comment policy on nuclear weapons development?

Please write me back and explain how a country can ignore its obligations under an international treaty and then be defensive when a critical report is issued. And please specify if you are referring to the U.S. or Iran.

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