Legal expert slams Straw’s position on torture


The Guardian – We must keep the last taboo: The events of September 11 2001 have sparked a series of counter-terrorist campaigns around the world that are described by the US administration as amounting to a global war on terror. It is easy to laugh at such overinflated language but we should recognise the ambition that lies behind the claim. It involves nothing less than a reworking of our natural responses to cruel behaviour by state authorities from countries of which we approve, replacing what has (at least since the second world war) been our critical, human-rights-oriented response to such behaviour with an excusatory or even justificatory one, rooted in a new and overriding emphasis on national security and the need to respond to the threat of the outsider Other… The foreign secretary’s is the kind of duplicitous moral position that the law lords will have the opportunity to expose and destroy. They should certainly do so, stressing not only the moral repugnancy of torture but also its ineffectiveness. Torture evidence is utterly to be rejected here not only because of its iniquity but also because of its manifest unreliability. Do we seriously think overseas torturers are better or more efficient than ours?

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