From Fri Dec 9 10:01:06 2005
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2005 16:49:21 -0600 (CST)
Subject: [NYTr] News Summary from RHC—Dec 8, 2005
Article: 229409
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;

Legal Experts Say US Defense of “Rendition” Makes No Sense

Radio Havana Cuba, 8 December 2005

London, December 8 (RHC)— The strong defense of rendition offered in recent days during a tour of Europe by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice makes no sense, according to legal experts. And many in both Europe and the United States say that her assurances that spiriting terror suspects away to clandestine prisons is a legitimate tactic does not carry much weight with human rights organizations.

According to the London-based The Guardian, the sole use of extraordinary rendition is to transport a suspect to a location that was beyond the reach of the law and at risk of torture. David Luban, a law professor at Georgetown University who is presently a visiting professor at Stanford University, told reporters that “the argument makes no sense unless there is an assumption that the purpose of rendition is to send people to a place where things could be done to them that could not be done in the United States”—adding that such actions are specifically designed to send suspects to countries “where they can be interrogated harshly.”

Amid the growing outrage in Europe over secret CIA prisons, the Bush administration faces calls at home for an investigation into the treatment of so-called “ghost detainees.” U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, has been heavily criticized for resisting efforts to include the CIA in a ban on “cruel, inhumane and degrading” treatment of detainees.

In her comments during visits to Germany and Romania, Condoleezza Rice claimed that so-called ‘terror suspects' transported to clandestine prisons for interrogation would not be subjected to torture. But critics say that depends on one's definition of torture—pointing out that the Bush administration has adopted an exceedingly narrow definition of abuse and torture, allowing interrogators to use a variety of harsh techniques such as stress positions, sleep deprivation and a technique called waterboarding, where suspects are strapped to a board and plunged into water.

Tom Malinowski, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch, said that “the reason she (Secretary of State Rice) is able to say that the United States does not engage in torture is that the administration has redefined torture to exclude any technique that they use.” For example, he noted that the State Department continues to condemn techniques such as waterboarding when they are used by other countries.