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Thread: Alberto Gonzales Lies About Torture

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    Alberto Gonzales Lies About Torture

    Top US official denies 'torture'

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4782594.stm

    3/7/2006

    US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has defended the treatment of terrorism suspects held at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay.

    Speaking on a visit to the UK, Mr Gonzales denied prisoners at the camp in Cuba had been tortured.

    He told the BBC that of thousands of allegations of mistreatment, only five had been found to be genuine.

    He also denied the US had used airports in Europe to transfer prisoners to countries where they would be tortured.

    Last month a UN report called for the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay to be closed immediately, saying prisoners had no access to justice and were subjected to treatment that amounted to torture.

    Mr Gonzales said his message to critics was "we hear what you're saying".

    "We are aware of your concerns, we are here to communicate exactly what's going on in Guantanamo," he said.

    "If there are alternatives, we are always willing to look at that."

    'Interests of America'
    In an interview with the BBC, Mr Gonzales said the detention camp was necessary in the interests of America and was consistent with the provisions of the Geneva Convention, which deals with the treatment of prisoners of war.

    He would not say whether the US government planned to close the camp.

    "We have been and continue to reassess all of our activities in the war on terrorism to ensure they are in fact effective and to ensure they are in fact lawful," Mr Gonzales said.

    The attorney general said only five cases of torture had been verified at Guantanamo Bay.

    He acknowledged some people had a different interpretation of what constituted torture.

    "There is a disagreement about what constitutes cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. The notion that you can't embarrass or insult someone, I would question if that makes sense today," he said.

    Mr Gonzales also said the relevance of some provisions of the Geneva Convention were questionable in respect to "this new kind of war, against this new kind of enemy".

    "I'm not talking about the basic provision of human dignity - I'm talking about provisions that say you have to provide these detainees with commissary privileges, a monthly allowance - I think the average British citizen would say that sounds rather strange."

    UK airspace
    Mr Gonzales said the US respected the sovereignty of every European country when asked if rendition flights had moved through UK airspace or UK airports without the government's permission.

    The UK government has said there have been no requests for such flights since 11 September 2001.

    "We do not render individuals where we believe it's more likely than not that they will be tortured," Mr Gonzales added.

    Mr Gonzales also said he wanted to see the UK-US extradition treaty ratified as soon as possible.

    The UK government is unhappy their parliament has ratified the treaty, but the US Senate still has not - which makes extradition easier for prosecutors in the US than in the UK.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    Gonzales defends conditions at Guantanamo

    http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jh...rc=rss/topNews

    By Gideon Long
    Tue Mar 7, 2006 12:43 PM ET

    LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. government's leading lawyer defended the Guantanamo Bay prison camp on Tuesday, saying detainees there were granted state-of-the-art health care, good food and "unprecedented legal protection."

    Responding to complaints by the United Nations, human rights groups, religious leaders and some national governments, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the camp was entirely lawful and essential to the protection of the United States.

    "We operate Guantanamo because there's a necessity, a need, for the United States to detain enemy combatants somewhere," he said in a speech in London. "That was the genesis of Guantanamo. This need continues today."

    Gonzales said all detainees at the camp in eastern Cuba were granted an assessment by U.S. authorities, a right of reply and a separate, formal hearing of their case before a three-member tribunal with a right to appeal.

    "We are aware of no other nation in history that has afforded such protection for enemy combatants," he told the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

    Included among the 500 detainees at the camp are terrorist trainers, bomb makers, former bodyguards of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and potential suicide bombers, he said.

    "Detainees are permitted access to state-of-the-art medical care, healthy meals consistent with their cultural and religious requirements and an opportunity to observe religious beliefs."

    Organizations across the world, from the United Nations to the Vatican, have decried U.S. use of indefinite detentions without charge at Guantanamo. In four years, only 10 detainees from the camp have been formally charged with a crime.

    "Gonzales appears to be missing the point completely. He completely fails to acknowledge the numerous allegations of ill treatment coming from Guantanamo," human rights group Amnesty International said.

    "If the conditions of detention for detainees are as great as he claims then why not allow the U.N. and human rights Organizations such as Amnesty to visit Guantanamo and speak directly to the detainees themselves," it added.

    Former detainees have also accused U.S. authorities of using torture at Guantanamo, a charge denied by the Pentagon.

    "Some say that in pursuing the war on terror, America has failed to respect human rights and the rule of law," Gonzales said. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

    He said around 265 detainees had been either freed or transferred from Guantanamo since it opened in the wake of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

    Of those, 15 had since been recaptured or killed.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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