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Dr. Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Press Conf
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 11:05 pm    Post subject: U-S officials reject U-N call to try Guantanamo detainees Reply with quote

U-S officials reject U-N call to try Guantanamo detainees or free them


WASHINGTON The White House is rejecting a call from the U-N to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center.

Spokesman Scott McClellan says the 490 inmates are treated humanely. And, in his words, "these are dangerous terrorists that we're talking about."

The Pentagon says the U-N report "suffers" because inspectors declined an invitation to see the Guantanamo operations firsthand.

The U-N investigator for torture, Manfred Nowak, says the detainess should be tried in an independent court or released. Nowak also tells The Associated Press the U-S ought to allow "a full and independent investigation" at all detention centers, including secret enclaves in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.


Posted on Thu, Feb. 16, 2006
U.S. rejects U.N. report on detainees
Knight Ridder Newspapers


WASHINGTON - The United States should close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, immediately and end violent treatment that amounts to torture, U.N. human-rights investigators said in a report released Thursday. The White House rejected the report.
The report recommended that the U.S. government either put the detainees on trial before an international tribunal or release them. Those facing trial should be transferred to detention facilities on U.S. soil, it said.
The report also found that excessive violence against detainees, including kicking and punching and force-feeding those on hunger strikes "must be assessed as amounting to torture" as defined in the international Convention Against Torture.
White House spokesman Scott McClellan dismissed the 54-page report as a "rehash of allegations" made by lawyers representing some detainees.
"We know that these are dangerous terrorists that are being kept at Guantanamo Bay," McClellan said. "They are people that are determined to harm innocent civilians or harm innocent Americans." He added that U.S. servicemen and women must deal with prisoners who are "trained to provide false information."
An interim report earlier this month by lawyers representing two Guantanamo detainees found that 55 percent of the detainees haven't been found to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its allies. Only 8 percent were characterized as al-Qaida fighters and 86 percent were handed over by Afghan forces or Pakistanis at a time when the United States was offering financial bounties for suspected enemies.
The U.N. report was based on interviews with former Guantanamo detainees, lawyers for some current detainees, information from the U.S. government and other data, including reports by nongovernmental organizations. Among the five investigators was Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture.
McClellan criticized the investigators for not visiting Guantanamo. The investigators had declined to do so after the government refused to let them interview detainees privately. The United Nations said in a news release that private interviews are accepted procedure in all countries that its human-rights investigators visit.
McClellan said it was a "discredit to the U.N. ... for rushing to report something when they haven't even looked into the facts."
The report said that the U.S. government should refrain from any practice "amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of detainees and that "all special interrogation techniques" approved by the Department of Defense should be revoked, including exposing detainees to extreme temperatures.
It said some now-discontinued techniques used at Guantanamo, such as stripping prisoners naked and using dogs, could have amounted to torture.
Other recommendations in the report:
_The U.S. government should ensure that all torture allegations are investigated by independent authorities and "that all persons found to have perpetrated, ordered or condoned such practices, up to the highest level of military and political command, are brought to justice."
_Detainees who have been tortured or abused should be compensated.
_No prisoners should be transferred to countries where they believe they would be tortured.
_The U.S. government should provide guards adequately trained in human rights issues.
The military prison at Guantanamo opened in January 2002 to hold suspected terrorists. The Bush administration contends that the detainees are "enemy combatants" who aren't subject to the usual prisoners' rights under the Geneva Conventions and that they can be held as long as they are a threat to the United States.
A military board is supposed to review the status of each detainee and determine whether he should be released, turned over to another country or tried by military commission.
According to the Pentagon, there are 490 men in the prison.
The military has cleared and released 187 detainees, and 80 have been transferred to other countries. President Bush has designated 17 of the detainees as eligible for trials by military commissions.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, speaking to reporters in New York, said he didn't "necessarily agree with everything in the report," but said that it was common legal practice to bring prisoners to trial or release them rather than detain them permanently.
"I think sooner or later there will be a need to close Guantanamo. I think it will be up to the government to decide, and hopefully to do it as soon as is possible," he said.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 11:18 am    Post subject: Republicans criticize Rice over Iraq, Iran, Hamas Reply with quote

Republicans criticize Rice over Iraq, Iran, Hamas

By Anne Gearan

10:30 a.m. February 15, 2006

WASHINGTON – Republican senators criticized the Bush administration Wednesday over its policies in Iraq, Iran and the Palestinian territories, as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's first testimony on Capitol Hill in months exposed her to a tough grilling from some members of her own party.
“I don't see, Madame Secretary, how things are getting better. I think things are getting worse. I think they're getting worse in Iraq. I think they're getting worse in Iran,” Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., told Rice as she appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Rice also had a tense exchange with moderate Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., over the pace of progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace and the implications of the Hamas victory in Palestinian legislative elections last month.

Typically soft-spoken, Chafee tersely questioned whether the United States could have prevented Hamas from coming to power. “Opportunities missed,” Chafee lamented after rattling off a list. “Now we have a very, very disastrous situation of a terrorist organization winning elections.”

Rice said she agrees it's a difficult moment for the peace process, but responded: “I don't think the United States of America is responsible for the election of Hamas. No I don't.”

“If Hamas will take the signals being given it by the international community as to what it will take to govern, it could, in fact, be a more positive development,” Rice added.

Though the moderate Chafee and Hagel, a frequent GOP maverick, are less conservative than many of their Republican colleagues, their criticism underscored a widespread frustration in Congress with the difficult problems the United States is facing across the Middle East.

Rice tried to take the offensive by announcing an administration request for $75 million this year to build democracy in Iran, saying the U.S. must support Iranians who are seeking freedoms under what she called a radical regime.

The U.S. and its European allies are confronting Iran over its nuclear program. But Tehran has remained defiant and said this week that it is resuming small-scale uranium enrichment, which many countries fear could be an early step toward production of fuel for a nuclear bomb.

“They have now crossed a point where they are in open defiance of the international community,” Rice said.

She declined to detail what punishment the United States is pursuing, although she did acknowledge that the United States has analyzed the impact of oil sanctions on Iran as part of a broad review of all available tools and has a “menu of options” available.

“You will see us trying to walk a fine line in actions we take,” Rice said.

The money Rice wants for Iran, to be included in an emergency 2006 budget request the White House is expected to send to Congress as early as this week, would be used for radio and satellite television broadcasting and for programs to help Iranians study abroad.

At one point, Rice and Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., interrupted one another as they argued about U.S. policy in the Middle East, where the Democrat accused the Bush administration of having a “tin ear” to Arab views.

Boxer, who was one of Rice's most persistent critics during a contentious confirmation process last year, also recalled Rice's warning before the 2003 Iraq invasion that the world could not afford to let the “smoking gun” of Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction become a “mushroom cloud.”

“That was a farce and the truth is coming out,” Boxer said.

Rice plans a trip to the Middle East next week, including stops in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, where the issue was sure to arise.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., challenged Rice over whether she was involved in leaking classified information or authorized the leak of such information to the press. “I have always acted lawfully within my duties as national security adviser and now as secretary of state,” Rice said. “I believe the protection of classified information is our highest, one of our highest duties.”

And, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, top Democrat on the panel, said “I'm not hopeful” of a unity government in Iraq.

“The policy seems not to be succeeding,” he said.

Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., pressed Rice on an issue related to her previous job as Bush's national security adviser: the president's domestic spying program.

Rice said she supported the program because the president had the authority and the program was necessary to prevent terrorism. “I frankly felt that we were blind and deaf at the time of September 11th and that our highest obligation was not to be blind and deaf again,” she said.

Eds: Associated Press reporter Liz Sidoti contributed to this report.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2006 1:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cyrus-You forgot on the list of newly imposed Islamist UN Laws that it is perfectly legal for an old man to force a nine year old girl to "marry" him and rape her, but any girl having consentual sex with anyone (Apart from her husband if she is married) is an offense punishible by death.

Oppenhiemer-I think a good guy for Kofi Annan's position would be Bat Yeor, now she would send the Mullahs packing and chase them to the ends of the earth.
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