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Lies, half truths and failures

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The United States admits to torture, and Rice lies over progress in Afghanistan

After months of half truths, mendacity and outright falsehoods, it is finally out in the open: the United States has endorsed the practice of waterboarding.

The Central Intelligence Agency has confirmed that it waterboarded three al-Qaeda suspects at its Guantanamo Bay detention center some five years ago, but has since not engaged in the practice.

Could these three be the subjects of the video tapes that were mysteriously destroyed - despite a very specific court order banning the destruction of any evidence obtained in the interrogations of terror suspects at the Gitmo facility? Interesting times ahead.

Amnesty International has demanded a criminal investigation, describing the method that simulates drowning as torture, pure and simple.

The United Nations has urged the U.S. government to give up its now very hollow defense of waterboarding, calling the practice "absolutely unacceptable" under international law.

The White House, and in a very vague way the Justice Department, maintain that waterboarding does not amount to torture. Having said, when testifying to a Senate committee, Attorney General Michael Mukasey did admit that if he were the subject, then he might consider it to be torture.

Brian Becker, a Washington-based political analyst, says the Bush administration knew that at some point this information would come out, so they've attempted some sort of damage control.

"They've admitted that they've waterboarded three individuals, but not for five years. They are trying to say 'perhaps this is a form of enhanced interrogation that is controversial, but its something far in the past," he told PressTV via satellite during a regular newscast.

"Anyone who has been following the case," he said, "knows the Bush administration has been following a pattern of torture not only at Guantanamo, but also at secret prisons that are housed all over the world. And of course through the use of secret renditions or extraordinary renditions, taking prisoners who have been arrested without any due process to third countries where they are in fact tortured."

Everyone knows this is against the law, its against the United Nations Covenant on Torture, the United States is a signatory to these laws. It was no accident that the announcement was made during Super Tuesday when everyone's focus was elsewhere.

"Obviously the timing of the news release was another part of the cover up," Becker said.

"They knew the news would come out, so they picked a day when all attention would be on the upcoming election. Its is very important that people realize," Becker said, "that the announcement that these three individuals were waterboarded is the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg."

Is it possible that the cover up has failed, and the door to impeachment has been pushed a little further open?

"If the United Nations and if all the international organizations assert as they do that waterboarding is a form of torture, then those officials, including President Bush, including Cheney, including Gonzales, including Rumsfeld, all of them to the extent that they violated international law to which the United States government is a signatory, they must be held responsible for committing what would be declared as high crimes and misdemeanors, in other words, impeachable offenses."

The damage to America's image overseas is incalculable.

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British journalist currently based in Tehran, Iran.
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