The commentators 15-12-14
...on CIA torture
America’s misfortune, and ours, was to have allowed ideologues and men of weakness to occupy some of the highest legal offices of state. They failed to provide independent advice and became advocates for a cause. Those who did stand up and object were sidelined.
Philippe Sands, Financial Times
Despite the CIA's use of torture and the rendition of many others to torture in other countries including Syria and Libya, al-Qaeda-type movements have succeeded in creating their own state in Iraq and Syria, and today control large parts of Afghanistan, Libya and Somalia. While the CIA was forcing confessions to fabricated conspiracies, the heirs to the perpetrators of 9/11 were winning victories in the real world.
- Patrick Cockburn, The Independent
Sometimes it is a moral imperative to use limited ill-treatment if the purpose is to save innocent lives. If the alternatives are the prolonged sleep deprivation of a shackled and hooded detainee or a dirty bomb in the middle of Birmingham, which would you choose? It’s like the distinction between murder and war. Killing is wrong — except in a just war, where it becomes essential in order to avoid the murder of the innocent.
- Melanie Phillips, The Times
To break the cycle needs more than law, which can always be circumvented. It needs a public willingness to confront torture’s detail, the psychological and physical harm it causes to its victims, and the self-deception, degradation and loss of discipline experienced by institutions that use it. And it demands the proactive prosecution of those who perpetrate it.
- Paul Mason, The Guardian
The Muslim nations and their leading voices are the most deceitful of the lot. The Senate report had them hyperventilating, yet torture is rife in every Muslim nation. Many happily signed up as contract torturers for the Western allies. There is no safety, no respect for human rights in any of those places. But at least they do not claim to be the upholders of democracy and human dignity. That doesn’t make them any better than the United States or the UK. Just a tad less imperious and delusive.
- Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent
A small country with ten national newspapers (a dozen, if you count the FT and Morning Star) might be expected to see its society accurately reflected on the newsstands. So what do we see today? Diversity? Multiculturalism? Do we see that warmth that Paddington was promised?
No, we see rejection, selfishness, triviality. Five papers splash on our terror of immigration; eight carry stories and/or photographs of people fighting to buy a cut-price coffee maker that will sit unused in a cupboard. The only paper to feature neither on the front - The Times - addresses a different kind of consumerism with an oversized cake and the word Eat! in huge letters.
- Editor's blog
Tuesday 25 November The Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards were announced at a breakfast ceremony this morning. David Aaronovitch was named Commentariat of the Year and his newspaper, The Times, won the award for the best comment pages. Stevie Spring, who led the judges, made it a hat-trick for the Times by choosing Melanie Reid for the chairman's award.
The FT, Guardian, Mail and Sunday Times each picked up two awards. SubScribe was also among the winners. You can see the full list of awards here. A video of the presentations will be posted online later.
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