The US and the UK are dire threats to each other and the rest of the world

July 21, 2008

According the British government, the United States can no longer be trusted on its claims of torture and other abuses of human rights. According to the UK Guardian:

Britain can no longer believe what Americans tell us about torture, an MPs’ report to be published today claims. They also call for an immediate investigation into allegations that the UK government has itself ‘outsourced’ the torture of its own nationals to Pakistan.

In a damning criticism of US integrity, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said ministers should no longer take at face value statements from senior politicians, including George Bush, that America does not resort to torture in the light of the CIA admitting it used ‘waterboarding’. The interrogation technique was unreservedly condemned by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who said it amounted to torture.

Thus according to the Brits, the US has thus put the UK in ‘compromising positions’ regarding its behavior, not to mention I guess that US is going around torturing people.

In return, the UK is gravely threatening the free speech rights of Americans and others because of its archaic libel laws:

Perhaps you don’t live in England or Wales, so you think this has nothing to do with you. You’re wrong. English libel law now applies to everyone on earth. Make any accusation, anywhere in the world, and if the subject can demonstrate that a single person in England or Wales has read it, you could be sued here for every penny, cent, rouble, rupee or renmimbi you possess. The internet and the global nature of publishing ensure that these mediaevel laws have become the most powerful extra-territorial legislation ever drafted.

Yesterday two men with whom I seldom agree, the US senators Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman, launched a new bill, called the Free Speech Protection Act, to defend US citizens against English libel law. Our laws, they argue, threaten the “free-flowing marketplace of ideas” which “enables the ideals of democracy to defeat the totalitarian vision of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.”(3) English libel law is an international menace, a national disgrace, a pre-democratic anachronism. It defends crooks, terrorists and tyrants from investigation. It threatens the free speech of people all over the world and causes untold damage to the reputation of this country. And neither the British government nor the British parliament gives a damn.

With friends like this, are we all enemies?

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