Thursday, December 08, 2005

Rice Fails to Clarify U.S. View on Torture

Los Angeles Times: Rice Fails to Clarify U.S. View on Torture: "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that an international ban on torture applies to U.S. personnel overseas, in a statement that was apparently meant to ease growing concerns but that sowed new confusion about controversial American policies on treatment of terrorism suspects.

Rice said that 'as a matter of U.S. policy,' American obligations under the U.N. Convention Against Torture, which also bans cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, applies to U.S. personnel both in the United States and around the world.

Rice's remarks came amid complaints from Europeans about what they see as harsh and possibly illegal American treatment of terrorism suspects overseas. Rice's comments were interpreted by some U.S. lawmakers and human rights advocates as a sign that the Bush administration was giving ground in the face of international and congressional pressure, but it was unclear whether her statement heralded any change in policies or practices.

The confusion underscored how much suspicion and uncertainty surrounds the subject, even among lawmakers, analysts and advocates who follow the subject closely."

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