- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 14, 2006

British critic rapped

The U.S. ambassador to Britain yesterday rebutted charges by the head of Britain’s judiciary, who denounced the U.S.-run prison for terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay as a “shocking affront to democracy.”

Ambassador Robert H. Tuttle said the United States is “disappointed” by the charges leveled by Charles Falconer, who criticized U.S. policies in a speech Wednesday on a visit to Australia.

Mr. Falconer, one of the top legal advisers to Prime Minister Tony Blair, accused the Bush administration of “deliberately” trying to put the 450 prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba “beyond the reach of the law.”

Mr. Tuttle responded with a strongly worded statement on the U.S. Embassy Web site (https://london.usembassy.gov) and defended the detention policy, saying it was in compliance with U.S. law and with the Geneva Conventions on prisoners of war.

“We are disappointed by the Lord Chancellor’s suggestion that the United States has tried to place the detainees at Guantanamo beyond the reach of the law,” said Mr. Tuttle, adding that U.S. policy gradually evolved to the point where prisoners now have an “unprecedented level of legal protections.”

“No country, including the United States, possessed a ready legal framework to combat the legions of transnational al Qaeda terrorists we faced as part of and after the September 11 attacks,” the ambassador said.

“Our practices have evolved over time, consistent with the self-correcting mechanisms inherent in the U.S. system of checks and balances. Today the detainees at Guantanamo receive an unprecedented level of legal protections.”

He noted that U.S. law “prohibits torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment of any detainee in U.S. control anywhere in the world.” Mr. Tuttle added that the U.S. military recently revised its field manual to specify that terror suspects are due the same kind of treatment as legitimate prisoners of war under international treaties.

Mr. Tuttle recounted President Bush’s request to Congress for the authority to establish military tribunals to try the prisoners.

“Thus, contrary to the Lord Chancellor’s statement, the detainees at Guantanamo receive significant protection under U.S. and intentional law,” the ambassador said.

Aid for AIDS relief

A religious coalition in Uganda that promotes abstinence and faithful marriages to avoid the spread of AIDS received a $15 million U.S. grant, the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Kampala, announced yesterday.

The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, which includes Christians and Muslims, said it plans to use the money for programs that include “promoting delayed initiation of sex among adolescent youth [and] increasing mutual fidelity among couples.”

Embassy official Alyson Grunder told Agence France-Presse that health units affiliated with the council offer more than 40 percent of the health care services in the central African nation.

AFP noted that some critics have complained that the council fails to promote the use of condoms, which is a key component in Uganda’s successful campaign to reduce the spread of the deadly disease. The other two pillars of the program are abstinence and fidelity.

Good will to Lebanon

The U.S. ambassador to Jordan yesterday oversaw the departure of the first convoy of trucks with wheat for Lebanese victims of the war between Israel and Hezbollah.

“It is my desire to demonstrate the good will of the American people to the people of Lebanon,” Ambassador David Hale said during a ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Amman.

More trucks are scheduled to leave over the weekend to complete the shipment of 700 tons of wheat to help feed 350,000 Lebanese.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]washingtontimes.com.

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