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Friday, February 06, 2009


I keep hearing that there is a difference between renditon and EXTRAORDINARY rendition--I dont buy it...Sorry , but (e) (2) seems to cover both Bush and Obama's asses.(Clintons--both--too) I am not a legal scholar, but, it sounds FULL of loopholes, such as "must know" and "probably WILL (be tortured)". Also, what is all this crap about the "Senate"? How can that be allowed in an intl legal document?

Here are the uS objections to the Convention to which Obama refers:

9. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, New York, 10 December 1984


"The Government of the United States of America reserves the right to communicate, upon ratification, such reservations, interpretive understandings, or declarations as are deemed necessary."

Upon ratification :


"I. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following reservations:

(1) That the United States considers itself bound by the obligation under article 16 to prevent `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment', only insofar as the term `cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment' means the cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and/or Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

(2) That pursuant to article 30 (2) the United States declares that it does not consider itself bound by Article 30 (1), but reserves the right specifically to agree to follow this or any other procedure for arbitration in a particular case.

II. The Senate's advice and consent is subject to the following understandings, which shall apply to the obligations of the United States under this Convention:

(1) (a) That with reference to article 1, the United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from (1) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering; (2) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

(b) That the United States understands that the definition of torture in article 1 is intended to apply only to acts directed against persons in the offender's custody or physical control.

(c) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that `sanctions' includes judicially-imposed sanctions and other enforcement actions authorized by United States law or by judicial interpretation of such law. Nonetheless, the United States understands that a State Party could not through its domestic sanctions defeat the object and purpose of the Convention to prohibit torture.

(d) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the United States understands that the term `acquiescence' requires that the public official, prior to the activity constituting torture, have awareness of such activity and thereafter breach his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity.

(e) That with reference to article 1 of the Convention, the Unites States understands that noncompliance with applicable legal procedural standards does not per se constitute torture.

(2) That the United States understands the phrase, `where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture,' as used in article 3 of the Convention, to mean `if it is more likely than not that he would be tortured.

John--I just followed your link--

Yes, it was disappointing to see Greenwald be so dismissive of concerns that Bush's rendition policies might continue under Obama. But he's been willing to criticize Obama on other issues (including the missile strike you mention) so I don't see it as a general tendency on his part.

And I do think there's a tendency on the part of some on the left to pounce on Bush-like behavior by Obama, with a "See? I told you so!", while ignoring Obama administration actions that undo Bush policies.

I'm not saying every criticism has to be accompanied by an, "On the other hand...", but I think we all know there's a human tendency to filter out information that doesn't conform to our prejudices, and we should all try to resist that.

That's why I was glad to see you link to the Dave Sirota article yesterday, because I know that you have concerns (to put it mildly) that online libs will fall into lockstep behind Obama, and you were nevertheless able to note when that wasn't happening.

One can disagree with Greenwald on some issues, but I don't doubt his basic sincerity--look at what he just posted


There's no mistaking him for a deluded liberal Obamaphile.

I don't doubt his basic sincerity either, but it doesn't redeem his abysmal performance here. And there's no way he'd have given Bush the benefit of the doubt as he did with Obama in this case—so even though he's willing to call Obama on many of his offenses (to his credit), he's clearly employing a different standard now. Hopefully that will change as the evidence continues coming in.

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