White House bashes China torture, vetoes bill banning torture

The US State Department’s new annual human rights report accuses China of “extrajudicial killings, torture and coerced confessions of prisoners and the use of forced labor.” Russia and Sudan were also especially criticized. Ten countries were named as under “unaccountable rulers [who] remained the world’s most systematic human rights violators”: North Korea, Burma, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Eritrea and Sudan. It noted improvements in Mauritania, Ghana, Morocco and Haiti, but little or no progress in Nepal, Russia, Georgia Kyrghyzstan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan or Iraq. (AlJazeera, March 11)

Congressional Republicans March 11 upheld President Bush’s veto of a bill to bar the CIA from using “waterboarding” and other such “interrogation methods” against “enemy combatants.” John McCain opposed the bill, saying: “I think that waterboarding is torture and illegal, but I will not restrict the CIA to only the Army Field Manual.” Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both backed the bill and denounced Bush’s veto. (Reuters, March 11)

[Insert obligatory Orwell reference here.]