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[The Times, U.K.]

 

Jornal de Noticias, Portugal

Poverty and Torture: Bush Has Company in Europe

 

"This was a chapter led by Bush and that counted on the political compliance of some European leaders, such as Blair, [ex-Spanish Prime Minister] Aznar and even [ex-Portugal Prime Minister] Duro Barroso. The only one that still holds a political position and remains relevant is the latter. Does it make sense for him to continue?"

 

Translated By Brandi Miller

 

April 20, 2009

 

Jornal de Noticias - Portugal - Original Article (Portuguese)

1. Two million poor. Close to half are children and elderly. This is the true measure of our backwardness and our shame, not the GDP percentages that go down one moment and up the next. Two studies, on GDP and poverty, were released this week. Both came from the same source, the Bank of Portugal. But while the first generated a lot of noise, the second was hardly heard of. It is entitled Nine Facts About Poverty in Portugal, by Nuno Alves and is available on the Bank of Portugal's Web page.

 

This study tells us that there were two million poor in 2006. Still, therefore, in a period of "prosperity." As always, the poor were amongst those who had nothing to offer to the collective. They were those that didnt add anything to GDP growth, in other words, 300,000 children and 600,000 elderly. The study tells us that the most vulnerable to poverty are single parent households, those that have elderly with low levels of education, and finally, families in which one or more adults are unemployed.

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:

Financial Times Deutschland, Germany: Obama: Inviting the Next Torture Scandal

Jornal de Noticias, Portugal: Poverty and Torture: Bush Has Company in Europe

Le Figaro, France: Obama's Moral Crusade: A Few Words of Caution

The Independent, U.K.: America Doesn't Need a Witch-Hunt

BBC News, U.K.: U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture Calls CIA Exemption 'Illegal'

Ottawa Citizen, Canada: Torture the 'Chicago Way'

Toronto Star, Canada: Winking at CIA Abuse

 

This conclusion, together with what has occurred in the mean time, in other words, with the significant increase in unemployment, particularly in recent months, leads to a frightening reality: that the contingent of poor in Portugal is already well above two million. Children and elderly included. Therefore, one wonders when the country and our political class will make this dark reality more of a priority than GDP percentages. If for nothing else, at least for reasons of electoral arithmetic. The poor may eat badly, wear torn clothing, contract many diseases and have a poor education - but they also vote.

 

2. Sleep torture, simulated death by suffocation, beating, keeping the detained person naked. These are tactics that the [Portugal's] International and State Defense Police agents would certainly not shy away from when interrogating Portuguese political prisoners. It happens that this list is not part of any memorial of the horrors from the Estado Novo [The New State - the authoritarian regime which ruled Portugal from 1933-1974], which is coming up on its 35th anniversary on April 25. This is the sinister catalog that a democratic regime like the U.S. allowed to be written to use against terrorist suspects. The memos were revealed this week. Particularly brutal is the description of waterboarding, a technique in which the detained person lies down and is immobilized and a cloth is placed over the mouth and nose, while water poured in. Thirty to forty seconds of fearing death by suffocation. It is a method that the CIA jailers recommended in conjunction with sleep depravation for up to seven days. It guaranteed a confession.

 

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These practices have been banned by Obama, who lamented a "dark and painful chapter" in American history. It's worth remembering, however, that it was a chapter led by Bush and that counted on the political compliance of some European leaders, such as [former British Prime Minister Tony] Blair, Aznar [former Spanish Prime Minister] and even Duro Barroso [President of the European Commission and ex-Portugal Prime Minister]. The only one that still holds a political position and remains relevant is the latter. Does it make sense for him to continue?

 

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