World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

CIA use of Torture: Contradicts US Law, Practice

CIA Whitewashing Torture

Statements by Goss Contradict U.S. Law and Practice

Porter Goss, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has made misleading statements about the CIA’s use of torture and mistreatment of detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. Goss was quoted today in USA Today stating that the CIA does not use torture and that the CIA’s interrogation techniques are legal.

“A growing body of evidence shows that the CIA has tortured detainees,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Many interrogation techniques authorized for use by the CIA amount to torture. Their authorization by higher-ranking officials is illegal and potentially criminal.”

Goss is quoted as saying: “This agency does not do torture. Torture does not work. We use lawful capabilities to collect vital information, and we do it in a variety of unique and innovative ways, all of which are legal and none of which are torture.”

But contrary to Goss’s assertions, the CIA is alleged to have authorized interrogation techniques which do constitute torture, and which the United States has historically considered as such.

A November 18 ABC News report quoted several CIA officials stating that CIA leadership approved six interrogation techniques in March 2002 for use against detainees held at CIA-run facilities in Afghanistan. The techniques included slaps, sleep deprivation, forced standing, exposure to cold, and “waterboarding,” in which interrogators immerse or pour water over a detainee’s face until he believes he will suffocate or drown.

Waterboarding is intended to cause a victim to believe he is about to die, and is similar to a mock execution. Earlier this year, in March 2005, Goss justified waterboarding as a “professional interrogation technique” during a Senate hearing. Other Bush administration officials, when questioned about waterboarding, have refused to rule it out.

There is no doubt that waterboarding is torture, despite the administration’s reluctance to say so,” said Roth.

Waterboarding is prohibited under international law and domestic U.S. law. Known as the “submarino” in Latin America, where it was used extensively in the 1970s and 1980s, waterboarding has been condemned as torture for decades.

Other techniques described in the November 18 ABC News report—prolonged forced standing, sleep deprivation, and exposure to cold—are illegal and may possibly amount to torture. These techniques were used by Soviet and North Korean interrogators, and have been reported more recently in Egypt, Burma, Iran and Turkey. For descriptions of these techniques and their effects – both historical examples and accounts from the State Department’s own human rights reports.

The administration has argued that the CIA has and should continue to have latitude to use techniques that are “cruel, inhumane, or degrading” so long as the victim is a non-American held abroad. This claim is wholly at odds with international law.

Human Rights Watch renewed its call for Congress to appoint an independent, bipartisan commission to examine interrogation practices. In light of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ conflict of interest as an architect of U.S. interrogation policy, Human Rights Watch also called on the Bush administration to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate criminal activity in the military and CIA, including the conduct of military and civilian officials.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Syria: Economic Decline, Rising Hunger And Surging Humanitarian Needs

Syria’s fragile economy has “suffered multiple shocks” over the past 18 months, with its currency plummeting and joblessness swelling as people struggle to cover their basic needs, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator told the Security Council ... More>>

OECD: Final Quarter Of 2020 Shows Continued Recovery In G20 International Merchandise Trade

G20 international merchandise trade continued to rebound in the fourth quarter of 2020 ( exports up 7.2% and imports up 6.8%), following the sharp falls seen in the first half of 2020, as lockdown measures affected trade globally. Although growth ... More>>

UN Report: Civilian Casualties Surged After Peace Talks Began In Afghanistan

Monitoring by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, and the UN Human Rights Office has revealed that despite a drop in civilians killed and injured overall in 2020 there was a rise in civilian casualties following the start of peace negotiations ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


2021: Critical Year To ‘reset Our Relationship With Nature’ – UN Chief

During this time of “crisis and fragility”, the UN chief told the United Nations Environment Assembly on Monday that human well-being and prosperity can be vastly improved by prioritizing nature-based solutions. Painting a picture of the turmoil ... More>>


Paris Agreement: UN Secretary-General António Guterres To Mark U.S. Reentry With Envoy For Climate John Kerry

Watch live at webtv.un.org UN Secretary-General António Guterres will join U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry at an event marking the United States’ reentry into the Paris Agreement this Friday. The discussion with the Secretary-General ... More>>

WeBeliev: Scoop In Conversation With Abhishek Sinha, Founder Of WeBeliev, An NZ Crowdfunding Platform

WeBeliev supports 17 SDGs, launching sector specific campaigns every month Q. What is WeBeliev and why did you start it? A. WeBeliev is a Singapore-registered crowdfunding platform aimed at fundraising for all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) ... More>>