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11/15/2004 Archived Entry: "Torture by Proxy"

59 US soldiers died in Iraq last week, with the number of troops wounded in Falluja alone at 275. As attacks spread through the Sunni-dominated areas of Iraq, the death rate of soldiers is unlikely to decline. Even if Iraqi troops are used in the assault on the city of Mosul, as Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has announced they will be, conflicts in Falluja and elsewhere will continue to engage American troops.

Meanwhile, there are credible reports that the US is flying "terrorist suspects" to countries that will torture them to obtain information. The Sunday Times (London) states, "An executive jet is being used by US intelligence agencies to fly terrorist suspects to countries that use torture in their prisons. The movements of the Gulfstream 5, leased by agents from the US Defence Department and the CIA, are detailed in confidential logs obtained by The Sunday Times which cover more than 300 flights. Countries with poor human rights records to which the Americans have delivered prisoners include Egypt, Syria and Uzbekistan, according to the files. The logs have prompted allegations from critics that the agency is using such regimes to carry out 'torture by proxy' — a charge denied by the American government." Hardly surprising, given that Alberto Gonzales -- the new US Attorney General (pending Senate approval) does not believe in the rights of prisoners of war, thinks the Geneva Convention is outmoded and authored the infamous "torture memo". A letter to the Boston Globe commented on the transition from Ashcroft to Gonzales, "As we lead the charge for democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, we are going to go from a lawyer who wants to ignore the civil rights granted to us by the US Constitution to one who wants to ignore the human rights recognized by world institutions."

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