Yesterday, Jordan’s King Abdullah the Diminutive was interviewed on Meet the Press. Along with his usual discourse of “the Israel/Palestinian issue is the cause of all problems of the world” the King also had some choice words about the “enhanced interrogation techniques that the US practiced the Islamist terrorist. Kind of strange though, since the Hypocritical King is a big proponent of torture in his own country Jordan (the original Palestinian State).
Meet the Press Transcript
Discussion Resumes after showing a videotape of President Obama talking about enhanced interrogation techniques:
MR. GREGORY: Do you think the United States lost its moral bearings?
KING ABDULLAH II: I, I think that the view of America was negatively affected by, by this issue. This–look, I mean, the questions that have been asked of the president, me as a non-American, it’s, it’s in a way none of my business. But all I will say is that when you want to go down that path that you’re opening sort of Pandora’s box of where, where does it end. We…
MR. GREGORY: Do you think the United States engaged in torture?
KING ABDULLAH II: Well, from what we’ve seen and what we’ve heard, that–there are enough accounts to show that that is the case. But there is still a major battle out there, and I think that America–and I think this is what President Obama is trying to do, is make sure that the, the legal system that America is known for is, is, is transparent to make sure that…
MR. GREGORY: Right.
KING ABDULLAH II: …illegal activities aren’t taking place.
MR. GREGORY: That’s an important point. You actually do believe that the United States engaged in torture.
KING ABDULLAH II: From what I see on, on, on, on the press, that shows that there were illegal ways of, of dealing with detainees.
MR. GREGORY: Does torture work?
KING ABDULLAH II: I…
MR. GREGORY: Does it produce valuable intelligence?
KING ABDULLAH II: I’m not an expert to be able to say one way or another if it does. Again, it’s such a gray area when it comes to, to a country at war. I think there, there are smarter ways of being able to deal with getting information.
MR. GREGORY: But yet Jordan is one of the most stalwart U.S. allies in the Middle East. There’s a lot of business that’s done between the two countries and a very tight relationship. Did Jordan engage in torture in concert with the United States?
KING ABDULLAH II: No. And I, I, I have been told by my people that I’ve asked on, on many occasions, as these international issues came up, I think that we have been very smart in, in, in being intelligent of convincing operatives that we have come across to, to end up working for us. And you can’t do that when it comes to torture.
MR. GREGORY: The Human Rights Watch issued a report about Jordan which contradicts that, and it said the following. I’ll put it on the screen and allow you to react to it. “From 2001 until at least 2004, Jordan’s General Intelligence Department served as a proxy jailer for the U.S. CIA, holding prisoners that the CIA apparently wanted kept out of circulation, and later handing some of them back to the CIA. More than just warehousing these men, the GID interrogated them using methods that were even more brutal than those in which the CIA has been implicated to date. … If the Jordanians did indeed promise the U.S. authorities that prisoners rendered there would not be tortured, it was a promise that neither the U.S. nor Jordan believed.”
KING ABDULLAH II: I–when that report came out, or when I was asked that question I think by one of your colleagues several years ago, I went straight back to my director of intelligence at the time and I said, “Is there any foundations to this?” And he said categorically no. And I made it quite clear to him and all the colleagues that have come up the ranks since then that we don’t tolerate that. So I’d like to think that my people were telling me the truth.
MR. GREGORY: Bottom line on this, do you think you can defeat an enemy like al-Qaeda without resorting to what some people would consider torture?
KING ABDULLAH II: Well, again, if we look at how Jordanians have been successful in the past in being able to get people to work for us back against terrorist organizations, I think using your intelligence and, and a good, sound argument have, for us, has shown a way of extreme success. And obviously I can’t go into any, any operations in the past or ongoing operations.
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
KING ABDULLAH II: But I think that your intelligence would probably tell you that our method works.
MR. GREGORY: Will the release of photographs of detained prisoners who are apparently abused, being released in the United States this week, will that inflame the situation even more? Will it hurt the U.S. in the Middle East and beyond?
KING ABDULLAH II: Well, it, it will–obviously any pictures or any cases like that will have a negative attitude internationally. But again, I think President Obama has been very clear in, in his campaign and very clear from, from the start that that is not tolerated. America is providing a new image of what and how things should be done. And I think that the world has a belief in the president, a lot of faith in what he has to say. Obviously the pressure on the president is to deliver. Source MSNBC Transcripts
King Abdullah, the Hypocritical said definitively that his country does not torture. Since Mr. Gregory would never challenge the King when he is bashing the US, I guess I have to.
The evidence does not support the claim that Jordan does not Torture. The Human Rights Watch (HRW) study Gregory discussed was from April 2008, in October 2008 HRW issued a 95 page report that makes Jordanian prisons sound like torture chambers:
In the 95-page report, “Torture and Impunity in Jordan’s Prisons,” the watchdog organization accused the Jordanian government of failing to prevent extensive human-rights violations of inmates, often political dissidents or government opponents,
“Torture in Jordan’s prison system is widespread even two years after King Abdullah called for reforms to stop it once and for all,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The mechanisms for preventing torture by holding torturers accountable are simply not working.”
The report is based on interviews with 110 prisoners in seven of Jordan’s 10 jails. The organization said that 60% of the inmates indicated they were victims of ill treatment, often amounting to torture. The group added that Islamic activists accused or convicted of crimes against national security face greater abuse than other prisoners.
Sometimes, the report says, prisoners are tortured for minor infractions of rules.
“Five days ago, guards beat me with the padlock on the door to our ward because I went to the toilet with the wrong clothes,” said a prisoner identified as Ghaith in the report. “Then they took me to the gate, hung me by the wrists with two separate handcuffs, spreading my arms out between two window grills, and punched me in my stomach and chest.”
According to the report, the most common forms of torture include beatings with cables and sticks and suspension by the wrists from metal grates for hours at a time. Although torture was not part of a general policy, the report indicated that prison directors and high-ranking guards “have ordered and participated in large-scale beatings.” LA Times
A 2006 Amnesty International Report claims Systematic torture of political suspects:
They put out their cigarettes on my hand, beat me with sticks on my body…then hit me on the feet continuously for a period of three hours…The men had their faces covered…The beatings were so painful. I told him I was ready to say anything he wanted, so they carried me on a stretcher, as I was unable to walk, back to the interrogation offices.” -Usama Abu Hazeem, who was sentenced to death on 12 March 2006 based on a “confession” extracted under torture. His sentence has since been commuted to 10 years’ imprisonment.
…Methods of torture and ill-treatment suffered by detainees in Jordanian places of detention and detailed in the Amnesty International report include “falaqa” — whereby the soles of the victims feet are repeatedly beaten with a stick; beatings with sticks, cables, plastic pipes, ropes or whips; and “shabeh” (“the phantom”), whereby the victim is suspended for up to several hours by his handcuffed wrists, and then beaten.
The methods, likelihood, severity and duration of torture varies according to a number of factors. Suspected “Islamists” and Palestinian-origin Jordanians, for example, are more likely to be tortured.
Despite Jordan’s record on torture, on 10 August 2005, the UK signed a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) with Jordanian authorities that supposedly provides “diplomatic assurances” that certain individuals of Jordanian nationality would not be tortured if they should be forcibly removed by the UK authorities to Jordan.
“Amnesty International has been documenting the same torture concerns in Jordan and the same absence of safeguards for more than 20 years,” said Malcolm Smart. “Given the complicity of the Jordanian authorities in the practice of torture it is inconceivable that the UK government would claim to be ‘assured’ by an agreement with them that is clearly not worth the paper it is written on”
On the bright side, there were no references to water boarding in either of those reports, but It seems that when the King talks abut a lack of torture in his country he is lying and when he criticizes America’s enhanced negotiation techniques on Meet the Press his is being very hypocritical.