Former UN chief: US unclear over issue of torture

The Bush administration remains "ambivalent about what constitutes torture" and has not made clear whether it is shipping terror suspects secretly through neutral countries such as Ireland, former United Nations human rights chief Mary Robinson said Monday. Robinson said US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's denial that CIA-chartered planes were shipping terror suspects overseas "for torture" had been "extremely carefully framed." She said legal advice within the US administration exhibited "a tendency to be ambivalent about what constitutes torture." She said Rice's statement "doesn't mean that people weren't rendered - and secretly brought in and secretly brought out." "What now constitutes torture in the United States? That's a big problem, especially when the acts are carried out outside the United States," Robinson, Ireland's president from 1990 to 1997, told Irish state broadcasters RTE.