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"Torture? What torture?" — Pentagon Disputes Red Cross Criticism

Lo and behold, the shining beacon of peace, prosperity and democracy believes that the indefinite confinement of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay is is A-OK. (AP):

A Pentagon spokesman said Monday that Red Cross officials have “made their view known” that the indefinite detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, amounts to torture.

Lawrence Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, said, “It’s their point of view,” but it is not shared by the Bush administration.

He noted that the administration believes it has the legal right to detain such suspects until the end of the war on terrorism because they are unlawful combatants not subject to the protections of the Geneva conventions.

The New York Times reported Monday that the International Committee of the Red Cross has accused the American military of using techniques “tantamount to torture” on prisoners at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo.

Red Cross inspectors who visited the site in June said interrogators used “humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions” to break the will of prisoners, according to the article on the Times Web site.

The Red Cross accusations came in a report to lawyers at the White House, Pentagon and State Department and to the commander of the Guantanamo facility, the Times said.

Di Rita said he could not comment on specific Red Cross reports because they are provided to the U.S. government on condition they be kept confidential.

He added that he was unaware of any Red Cross accusations that specific interrogation techniques or treatment of detainees amount to torture.

Until the end of the war on terrorism? What the hell does that mean?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding