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October 24, 2006

UN says other countries cite US example on torture

The United Nations says that other nations are citing the American example as an excuse to mistreat detainees:

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 23 -- Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in fighting terrorism, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture said Monday.

Manfred Nowak said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right. He would not name any countries except Jordan.

"The United States has been the pioneer . . . of human rights and is a country that has a high reputation in the world," Nowak said at a news conference. "Today, many other governments are kind of saying: 'But why are you criticizing us? We are not doing something different than what the United States is doing.'"


Nowak added that, as badly as the US treats its detainees, the Iraqi militias and the Interior Ministry have a much worse record on torture.

Hooray. We're not number one!

Can we still look down on state-sponsored death squads if we're sponsoring the state that sponsors the death squads?


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Hooray. We're not number one!

Indeed. You are both number one and number two.

That journalist group, pulls the same trick to make out that the US is only about 50th in a ranking of media freedoms; they count the abuses in Iraq separately (and even divided in two the ranking of Iraq is very low). It's as if Stalin had created a dummy state in Siberia and hived off all his attrocities to "Scapegoatistan". Hey we don't torture people - Sacpegoatistan does that.

The US is no more a democracy than Israel is; if you don't count all the non-democratic bits of the empire they both look good, but who'd be fooled by that?

"Scapegoatistan" has a nice ring to it.

I guess President McCain would restore the War Crimes Act, or at least some of it. I don't know if President Clinton would; you never know what might get triangulated.

Anyway, I think Manfred Nowak is exaggerating. "The United States has been the pioneer ... of human rights." Right. Every country in Europe banned slavery before America, even Russia. But human rights pioneer is a big part of America's imperial myth, so I think Nowak's point still makes sense.

Thanks for posting this, Lindsay.

I picked it up from here and posted something at my place, but it doesn't look like my 'trackback' worked.

Thanks for the link Montag. I got an auto-generated email for the trackback, so I think it went through. It should show up soon.

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