Thursday, December 08, 2005

Three bits of good news

The House of Lords have ruled that evidence obtained by torture is inadmissible as evidence in a British court:
"Secret evidence that might have been obtained by torture cannot be used against terror suspects in UK courts, the law lords have ruled.
The decision means the cases of eight detainees facing deportation are expected to be reconsidered by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission."
The decision was unanimous. One member of the panel, Lord Carswell said:
"The duty not to countenance the use of torture by admission of evidence in judicial proceedings must be regarded as paramount and to allow its admission would shock the conscience, abuse or degrade the proceedings and involve the state in moral defilement."
Amen. Also on the use of torture, the Scotsman has news of a U-turn by Condoleezza Rice:
"THE United States performed a U-turn over the treatment of prisoners abroad yesterday when the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, ruled out the use of torture.

She said no US personnel could use cruel or degrading practices at home or abroad - contradicting a previous policy, which held that a ban on such treatment did not apply to Americans working overseas.

The old rules meant CIA employees could use methods abroad that would not be allowed in the US. But yesterday Ms Rice said that, as a matter of policy, the United Nations Convention against Torture "extends to US personnel wherever they are, whether they are in the US or outside the US".

Ms Rice's comments came amid increasing European anger over CIA flights of terrorist prisoners to secret jails where it is alleged they have been tortured. There has been criticism over techniques such as "waterboarding", in which detainees are strapped to a plank and dumped in water. As many as 400 CIA planes carrying detainees have passed through 18 UK airports in a process known as "extraordinary rendition"."
Note the phrase 'old rules'. The practice of outscoring torture was not an invention of the Bush Administration but that's no excuse for extending the slide into barbarism. I'm sceptical but I hope she means it - I don't want to live in a country whose airports play host to the CIA's stinking torture flights just because some public school boy who obviously bunked off too many history classes thinks "the rules of the game have changed".

And finally on a more trivial note - speaking of public school boys in charge of politcal parties, Third Avenue brings us the heartening news that the election of David Cameron has pissed Melanie Phillips off no end:
"So stand by for (almost) all-women Tory candidates' short-lists, and almost certainly support for the whole multicultural, libertine, victim culture lifestyle - and who knows, maybe a dash of exciting, trendy drug legalisation too, just to be in touch with 'Britain as it now is'."
Being in touch with Britain as it is now, as regular readers of Ms Phillips know, is a profoundly grubby and distasteful thing to even consider. Multiculturalism and drug legalisation is one thing but all women short-lists? The horror of it all Mel, the sheer horror.

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