Monday, February 02, 2009

More on Rendition

There's a blogger over at a place called Dissenting Justice who watches such things and he's noticed a major flip-flop from Human Rights Watch over the rendition program used by the CIA.

The problem with flip-flopping is that the Internet is very good at storing data, so old data is easy to find.

The guy over at Dissenting Justice shows us the stance of Human Rights Watch back during the Bush Administration.
The US government should:

Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA's rendition program;

Disclose the identities, fate, and current whereabouts of all persons detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody by the CIA since 2001, including detainees who were rendered to Jordan;

Repudiate the use of "diplomatic assurances" against torture and ill-treatment as a justification for the transfer of a suspect to a place where he or she is at risk of such abuse;

Make public any audio recordings or videotapes that the CIA possesses of interrogations of detainees rendered by the CIA to foreign custody;

Provide appropriate compensation to all persons arbitrarily detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody (emphasis added).
So, cool. They're against torture. We expect that. But now that the Obama administration is working the case, they've changed their mind.
"Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place" for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. "What I heard loud and clear from the president's order was that they want to design a system that doesn't result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured -- but that designing that system is going to take some time."
So, under the Bush Administration they were against rendition. Under the Obama administration, it's okay.

That's a huge hypocrisy.

For the record, I am generally against torture. I don't think it does much good and information gained during torture is tainted at best. However, under the doomsday scenario that there's an atomic device about to blow up an American city and we've got the bad guys, but they don't want to talk? Under that scenario, I say use all the tools at your disposal. It's a no-brainer to be against torture. We're supposed to be against it. I can see that it might be useful in some extremely limited circumstances. I'm not willing to make an absolute moral judgement that it's always bad.

However, President Obama never had that moral equivalence. As recently as January 9th, when our President was appointing the CIA director, the Associated Press recorded these remarks from our President.
"I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture," Obama said, when asked at the news conference whether he would continue the Bush administration's policy of harsh interrogation. "We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals."
Fine words. Good words.

The only problem is, that now he's decided that torture isn't such a bad thing. He just doesn't have the stomach for it, so he's going to outsource it to our allies. That's rank cowardice.

If you supported Obama, you're now officially pro-torture.

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