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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Torturers take note

Chile's Augusto Pinochet always thought he was above the law so his arrest in London in 1998 surprised the world.

International law is developing to the point where administrators and advocates for unacceptable norms will soon face justice. And this includes those in the West.

How about individuals who advised the Bush administration to avoid the Geneva Convention and advocate torture? John Yoo, a UC Berkeley law professor, is one such man.

Philippe Sands is professor of law at University College London and practicing barrister and he recently debated Yoo:

"Yoo was well aware of the torture convention. However, when I raised the Pinochet precedent in our debate, he seemed slightly taken aback.

"It seems he may not have turned his mind to the possibility that a legal adviser associated with a policy that permits torture contrary to international legal obligations could be subject to international investigation."

Nobody should be immune.

16 Comments:

Blogger Shabadoo said...

Wait a second wait a second wait a second...you do realise that you are proposing thought crimes, don't you? I mean, under your regime anyone who writes a memo that explores something extra-legal that later gets put into action could be put under the gun. And you complain about sedition laws? Get real - and get a clue.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 10:44:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thought crimes? Actually, these provisions were directly related to US forces torturing detainees. It happened and it still happens and you can defend torture all you like. I notice you seem incapable of condemning torture. They're only Arabs, right? Yep, your hilarious war on terror will be won through torture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 10:52:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Jesus, Anty, you cannot make an argument without resorting to calling your opponents bigots, can you? Weak mind, mate.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 11:04:00 am  
Blogger Wombat said...

With due respects Shab,

I can't help but feel you would be this first to express outrage if it were whites people on the receiving end.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 1:11:00 pm  
Blogger brokenleg said...

Antony,
I strongly recommend you read Sands' latest book on international law. "The USA and The making and Breaking of international law" (or something like that). it is a ripping read and it explores the legal consequences of Bush's actions, International trade law, the laughabole legal opinions about the "legal war" in Iraq, and the abandonmenet of the geneva convention.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:15:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Thanks, will do.
I remember him recently on Lateline. Western leaders and their little minions should be fearful of international law. If people like Saddam are culpable - and they are - so should people like Bush, Blair and Howard.
That rather scares those who believe in Western exceptionalism.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:37:00 pm  
Blogger Woodge said...

This is a smal step for all mankind, even the Shabadoo's of the world. I hope to live to see the day all criminals - regardless of who they are and which party they belong to - are accountable for their actions. Especially those crimes involving women, children and any form of torture.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 4:38:00 pm  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Alrighty, simple yes or no question - no hedging, no "sure, when such-and-such also happens"-ing, etc:

Would you all have supported bringing Yasser Arafat before an international court of some sort for his crimes?

Show me you guys aren't totally in the tank for the other side...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 5:50:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

The 'other side'? Whatever.
Arafat should have been charged with many crimes. Along with every Israeli leader since '48.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 5:59:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

"Would you all have supported bringing Yasser Arafat before an international court?"

Yes.

George W. Bush? Yes.
Slobodan Milosevic? Yes.
Haji Soeharto? Yes.
Henry Kissinger? Yes.
Omar el-Beshir? Yes.
Nuon Chea? Yes.
Radovan Karadzic? Yes.
Saddam Hussein? Yes.
Bill Clinton? Yes.

That's just an arbitrary sample, of course.

The list of "respected" leaders for whom there is sufficient evidence to bring charges [not necessarily convictions - a different thing entirely] goes on and on and on.

Yes, applying international law impartially would certainly thin the ranks of the world's political "elite" (at least temporarily) ... but that's probably not a bad thing after all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 6:41:00 pm  
Blogger brokenleg said...

Shabadoo,
You may not have noticed this but Antony clearly argues that international laws apply to everyone equally. The neo-con's absurd exceptionalism is just as offensive as Mugabe thumbing his nose at the international community.
The fact the neo-cons won't sign up to the ICC is stunningly hypocritical and diametrically opposite to their rhetoric.
Given that administration penchant for torture and their love of personal freedom ("their" being the key word) it comes as no suprise Bush and his cohorts do not want to be held accountable by an ICC.
This arrogance will cause others to justify torture and will have serious legal consequences for decades.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 9:44:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

brokenleg said...
"This arrogance will cause others to justify torture and will have serious legal consequences for decades."

Exactly. And as the next quarter century rolls on, we can look forward to China pointing to today's US as a precedent-setter for "international standards" of human rights protection. Who then will argue against such standards? The US?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005 11:52:00 pm  
Blogger Wombat said...

We are already seeing this take place in Iraq on a micro level. With the discoverty of the Sunnis being totured by the Shiites, one has to ask, how can th eUS police this? How do they lay down any guidelines, when the Abu Graib man standing on a box with a sheet over is head has become the poster boy for this war?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 12:29:00 am  
Blogger Shabadoo said...

Interesting, interesting...now here's a question: would you bring Golda Meir up charges for having auth'd targeted assassinations of the Munich Olympics killers, and not having taken them to court?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 5:55:00 pm  
Blogger leftvegdrunk said...

Shabadoo, you're getting worse, "mate". Don't you ever get bored with this? Antony's post was clear, and his follow up comments are equally unambiguous. What exactly are you looking for?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005 9:07:00 pm  
Blogger Edward Mariyani-Squire said...

"would you bring Golda Meir up on charges for having auth'd targeted assassinations of the Munich Olympics killers, and not having taken them to court?"

Murderers and attempted murderers should be tried for the crimes they commit, be they no-name terrorists or world leaders.

Thursday, November 24, 2005 4:23:00 am  

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