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Hurriyet, Turkey

Dick Cheney's Torture Logic is 'Deeply Offensive'


"The reason U.S. policy is so important to us is that our own struggle to rein in heinous practices in Turkey is directly related to the standards set in Washington. … Cheney’s logic is that of the Spanish Inquisition. It is deeply offensive."




April 23, 2009


Turkey - Hurriyet - Original Article (English)


Former Vice President Dick Cheney: His comments on the propriety of 'harsh interrogation techniques' have sent a chill up the spines of Turkish journalists all too familiar with the consequences of the practice.


BBC NEWS AUDIO: North America editor Justin Webb explains why former Vice President Cheney has called for the release of further documents explaining where results have been achieved by using such techniques, Apr. 21, 00:04:32RealVideo

In this space we are reluctant to issue comments on American policy - outside of occasions like a U.S. presidential visit or other dramatic event. There is plenty in Turkey to demand our attention and no shortage of international pundits to opine on the actions of the U.S. Congress or White House officials.


But yesterday, during our daily news meeting in which we discuss the subject of the day’s "Straight" section, our unanimous attention was captured by a story that appeared on Wednesday: "Obama Defends Memo Release During CIA Visit." The topic of discussion, of course, was the ban by President Obama and his new CIA chief Leon Panetta on the use of techniques widely regarded as torture.


The reason U.S. policy is so important to us, in particular this new policy, is that our own struggle to rein in such heinous practices in Turkey is directly related to the standards set in Washington. Like most newsrooms in Turkey, ours is intimately familiar with the topic. In the past, torture as an instrument of state power was common in this country. Today, much progress has been made. But not enough. And as is the case in Washington, official attitudes are the key.



One item that drew our special attention was the revelation that one al-Qaeda suspect, alleged September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Muhammed, was "waterboarded" some 183 times in March 2003. By our math, that works out to 5.9 torture sessions a day. The question inevitably arose: What information wasn't forthcoming in the first 182 sessions that justified the 183rd?



It's perhaps helpful to note that a room of Turkish journalists shared collective shock when discussing Vice President Dick Cheney's contention that the revelations about such practices should accompany a release of the information extracted. According to Cheney, the public should be permitted to judge whether such harsh tactics are warranted. Of course, valuable information results from torture - and nonsense and fabrications, too. Cheney’s logic is that of the Spanish Inquisition. It is deeply offensive.


The inescapable fact is that the work of large numbers of activists, law enforcement officers, lawyers and other leaders in places like Turkey is undermined when the world’s most powerful nation stoops to the atrocities of Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib. But in the course of this reform, it's a struggle for us to understand why Obama must allow the CIA torturers or torture-abetting lawyers to walk free. 



Nevertheless, the order for these practices to halt echoed loudly among us. The message Obama and Panetta are sending America's torturers is a message to torturers everywhere. Torture has no place in states and societies that strive to respect the rule of law. It is barbaric and must always be condemned.



Die Tageszeitung, Germany: America and Torture: 'Just Following Orders'

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

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[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US April 24, 12:39pm]


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