Rice v. Pinter
Via Ed Strong.
Condoleezza Rice and Harold Pinter on the "war on terror", Iraq, torture and Guantanamo Bay:
RICE: The United States and many other countries are waging a war against terrorism. For our country this war often takes the form of conventional military operations in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
PINTER: The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law.
The invasion was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate American military and economic control of the Middle East.
A formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.
RICE: International law allows a state to detain enemy combatants for the duration of hostilities. Detainees may only be held for an extended period if the intelligence or other evidence against them has been carefully evaluated and supports a determination that detention is lawful.
PINTER: Look at Guantanamo Bay. Hundreds of people detained without charge for over three years, with no legal representation or due process, technically detained forever. This totally illegitimate structure is maintained in defiance of the Geneva Convention.
It is not only tolerated but hardly thought about by what's called the 'international community'. This criminal outrage is being committed by a country, which declares itself to be 'the leader of the free world'.
By Rice's own admission, these enemy combatants maybe held in custody until hell freezes over or until the "hostilities" are over, which ever comes first...
RICE: The United States is a country of laws. My colleagues and I have sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We believe in the rule of law.
PINTER: The US quite simply doesn't give a damn about the United Nations, international law or critical dissent.
Let me be facetious and correct Pinter: the US cares a lot about the UN as long as the US gets its way. When it doesn't it goes it alone anyway.
RICE: We consider the captured members of al-Qaeda and its affiliates to be unlawful combatants who may be held, in accordance with the law of war, to keep them from killing innocents.
PINTER: How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand? More than enough, I would have thought. Therefore it is just that Bush and Blair be arraigned before the International Criminal Court of Justice.
Condi, you sound thoroughly confused. If these people are indeed guilty of terrorist acts, then a fair trial, conviction and a long sentence would be the best strategy under all circumstances. Instead these "illegal combatants" can be held forever in poor conditions.
RICE: The United States [and its allies] will use every lawful weapon to defeat these terrorists.
PINTER: We have brought torture, cluster bombs, depleted uranium, innumerable acts of random murder, misery, degradation and death to the Iraqi people and call it 'bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East'.
The idea of "bringing of freedom to the Middle East" is of course nothing more than a bit of spin to give the entire failing campaign an air of respectability, a touch of humanitarianism...
RICE: Torture, and conspiracy to commit torture, are crimes under US law, wherever they may occur in the world.
PINTER: At least 100,000 Iraqis were killed by American bombs and missiles before the Iraq insurgency began. These people are of no moment. Their deaths don't exist. They are blank. They are not even recorded as being dead. Bush has been clever. He has not ratified the International Criminal Court of Justice.
Full text of the Harold Pinter Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
Keywords: Pinter, Harold Pinter, Nobel, Nobel Prize, US, Iraq, Nicaragua, Guantanamo, Bush, Blair, Rice, Condi