Monday, June 06, 2005

One Last Word on Amnesty International

OK, I'm not quite signing off yet. I just wanted to point readers to two more sharp (and in my mind, devastating) attacks on Amnesty International's attempt to equate Guantanamo with "gulags". (A comparison that they have not backed away from, as Jon Adler notes here). One is by Kenneth Anderson in the Weekly Standard, and the other is by David Bosco in The New Republic. Both pieces make the points I have been trying to make, more eloquently and powerfully than I can.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gather the Amnesty report is upsetting because the Gulag comparison is offensive and wrong.

OK, so you find it offensive. Others don't. Some even agree with it. Deal with it.

6/06/2005 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a cute poke in the eye. Is it a solid legal argument?

6/07/2005 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a cute poke in the eye. Is it a solid legal argument?

6/07/2005 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the whole Amnesty polemic is that it suffers from the "dictatorships and double standards" charade so articulately pointed out by Jeane Kirkpatrick more than twenty years ago. The Amnesty page now has a banner headline--its first ever, to my recollection--denouncing the USA on Human Rights. This bumper-sticker attack lacks any context or nuance and up-stages the extensive laundry list of greater abusers, including France, which runs an effective police state complete with detentions without charge for terrorist suspects.

6/07/2005 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AI has literally become a Chomskyite organization:

http://news.amnesty.org/pages/usa-news-eng

it has a video of Chomsky on Guatanamo.

6/07/2005 8:07 PM  
Anonymous Tom Doyle said...

Amnesty International did not invent “gulag” as a metaphor for the US detention scheme. Excerpts from two articles which use the term synonymously, and pre-date the Amnesty statement, appear below. (Use the links to access the full texts.)

Google gulag + guantanamo to find more such instances.

December 5, 2004
TORONTO SUN

By Eric Margolis -- Contributing Foreign Editor

Uncle Sam Has His Own Gulag

The Lubyanka Prison's heavy oak main door swung open. I went in, the first western journalist to enter the KGB's notorious Moscow headquarters -- a place so dreaded Russians dared not utter its name....I explored the fascinating museum of Soviet intelligence and was briefed on special poisons and assassination weapons that left no traces. I sat transfixed at the desk used by all the directors of Stalin's secret police, on which the orders were signed to murder 30 million people...

I saw some of the KGB's execution and torture cellars, and special "cold rooms" where naked prisoners were beaten, then doused with ice water and slowly frozen...Other favoured Lubyanka tortures: Psychological terror, psychotropic drugs, prolonged sleep deprivation, dazzling lights, intense noise, days in pitch blackness, isolation, humiliation, constant threats, savage beatings, attacks by guard dogs, near drowning.

Nightmares from the past -- but the past has returned.

According to a report leaked to the New York Times, the ... International Red Cross has accused the Bush administration for a second time of employing systematic, medically supervised torture against suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay, and at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The second Red Cross report was delivered to the White House last summer while it was trying to dismiss the Abu Ghraib prison torture horrors as the crimes of a few rogue jailers. According to the report's allegations, many tortures perfected by the Cheka (Soviet secret police) -- notably beating, freezing, sensory disorientation, and sleep deprivation -- are now routinely being used by U.S. interrogators.

[...]
All of these practices flagrantly violate the Geneva Conventions, international, and American law. The Pentagon and CIA gulags in Cuba, Iraq and Afghanistan have become a sort of Enron-style, off-the-books operation, immune from American law or Congressional oversight.

Suspects reportedly disappear into a black hole, recalling Latin America's torture camps and "disappearings" of the 1970s and '80s, or the Arab world's sinister secret police prisons.

The U.S. has been sending high-level anti-American suspects to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and, reportedly, Pakistan, where it's alleged they are brutally tortured with violent electric shocks, savage beatings, drowning, acid baths, and blowtorching -- the same tortures, ironically, ascribed to Saddam Hussein.

Protests over this by members of Congress, respected human rights groups, and the public have been ignored. President George W. Bush just named Alberto Gonzales to be attorney general, his nation's highest law officer. As White House counsel, Gonzales wrote briefs justifying torture and advised the White House on ways to evade or ignore the Geneva Conventions.

Grossly violating the Geneva Conventions undermines international law and endangers U.S. troops abroad. Anyone who has served in the U.S. armed forces, as I have, should be outraged that this painfully won tenet of international law and civilized behaviour is being trashed by members of the Bush administration.

Un-American behaviour

If, as Bush asserts, terrorism suspects, Taliban, and Muslim mujahedeen fighters not in uniform deserve no protection under the laws of war and may be jailed and tortured at presidential whim, then what law protects from abuse or torture all the un-uniformed U.S. Special Forces, CIA field teams, and those 40,000 or more U.S. and British mercenaries in Iraq and Afghanistan euphemistically called "civilian contractors"?


Behaving like the 1930s Soviet secret police will not make America safer. Such illegal, immoral and totally un-American behaviour corrupts democracy and makes them no better than the criminals they detest.

The 20th century has shown repeatedly that when security forces use torture abroad, they soon begin using it at home, first on suspected "terrorists," then dissidents, then on ordinary suspects.

It's time for Congress and the courts to wake up and end this shameful and dangerous episode in America's history.



January 3, 2005

THE PROGRESSIVE
Matthew Rothschild
The Bush Gulag

Welcome to the Bush Gulag.

Unconstrained by a Supreme Court decision last June that required at least some semblance of due process for detainees, the Bush Administration is now contemplating lifetime detentions for suspected terrorists without granting them access to any courts, according to an article by Dana Priest in The Washington Post. So Bush will be sending detainees to some modern-day Siberia to rot for the rest of their lives.
[...]

6/10/2005 1:36 AM  
Anonymous Tom Doyle said...

Sorry. The link to the Rothschild article (above) doesn't work. This one does(or should, in any event <:8^o )



January 3, 2005

THE PROGRESSIVE
Matthew Rothschild
The Bush Gulag

6/10/2005 1:57 AM  
Anonymous Tom Doyle said...

“President Bush...continues to place the blame for the horrific consequences of his morally obtuse policies on the young privates and corporals and sergeants who may well be culpable as individuals for their actions, but who were certainly not responsible for the policies which set up the Bush Gulag and led to America's strategic catastrophe in Iraq.

“I call on the administration to disclose all its interrogation policies, including those used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan and those employed by the CIA at its secret detention centers outside the U.S., as well as all the analyses related to the adoption of those policies.”


This is from a speech that former Vice-President Gore gave at Georgetown Law Center on June 26, 2004.

(Source: Old Hickory’s Weblog, Torture in the Bush Gulag: How prissy should we be in talking about it?June 5, 2005.


The full text of Mr. Gore’s address is at Common Dreams .)


Excerpts from Gore’s speech:

“[T]here has been no more bizarre or troubling manifestation of how seriously off track this President's policies have taken America than the two profound shocks to our nation's conscience during the last month. First came the extremely disturbing pictures that document strange forms of physical and sexual abuse - and even torture and murder - by some of our soldiers against people they captured as prisoners in Iraq. And then, the second shock came just last week, with strange and perverted legal memoranda from inside the administration, which actually sought to justify torture and to somehow provide a legal rationale for bizarre and sadistic activities conducted in the name of the American people, which, according to any reasonable person, would be recognized as war crimes.

“In making their analysis, the administration lawyers concluded that the President, whenever he is acting in his role as commander in chief, is above and immune from the "rule of law." At least we don't have to guess what our founders would have to say about this bizarre and un-American theory.

“By the middle of this week, the uproar caused by the disclosure of this legal analysis had forced the administration to claim they were throwing the memo out and it was, "irrelevant and overbroad." But no one in the administration has said that the reasoning was wrong. And in fact, a DOJ spokesman says they stand by the tortured definition of torture. In addition the broad analysis regarding the commander-in-chief powers has not been disavowed. And the view of the memo - that it was within commander-in-chief power to order any interrogation techniques necessary to extract information - most certainly contributed to the atmosphere that led to the atrocities committed against the Iraqis at Abu Ghraib. We also know that President Bush rewarded the principle author of this legal monstrosity with a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals.”

[...]

“War is lawful violence, but even in its midst we acknowledge the need for rules. We know that in our wars there have been descents from these standards, often the result of spontaneous anger arising out of the passion of battle. But we have never before, to my knowledge, had a situation in which the framework for this kind of violence has been created by the President, nor have we had a situation where these things were mandated by directives signed by the Secretary of Defense, as it is alleged, and supported by the National Security Advisor.

“Always before, we could look to the Chief Executive as the point from which redress would come and law be upheld. That was one of the great prides of our country: humane leadership, faithful to the law. What we have now, however, is the result of decisions taken by a President and an administration for whom the best law is NO law, so long as law threatens to constrain their political will. And where the constraints of law cannot be prevented or eliminated, then they maneuver it to be weakened by evasion, by delay, by hair-splitting, by obstruction, and by failure to enforce on the part of those sworn to uphold the law.


“In these circumstances, we need investigation of the facts under oath, and in the face of penalties for evasion and perjury. We need investigation by an aroused congress whose bipartisan members know they stand before the judgment of history. We cannot depend up on a debased department of Justice given over to the hands of zealots. "Congressional oversight" and "special prosecution" are words that should hang in the air.


"If our honor as a nation is to be restored, it is not by allowing the mighty to shield themselves by bringing the law to bear against their pawns: it is by bringing the law to bear against the mighty themselves. Our dignity and honor as a nation never came from our perfection as a society or as a people: it came from the belief that in the end, this was a country which would pursue justice as the compass pursues the pole: that although we might deviate, we would return and find our path. This is what we must now do. "

6/11/2005 9:42 AM  
Blogger beautifuls said...

AC Milan Jerseys is very popular now, so please catch this chance to buy. maybe you will be surprised by spain jersey Brazil jersey. cheap Kaka Jerseys and real madrid jerseys 2012 now.

3/07/2012 3:40 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home