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Amnesty slams U.S. on human rights

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by wnes, May 25, 2005.

  1. wnes

    wnes Contributing Member

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    link
    LONDON, May 25 (Reuters) -- Four years after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, human rights are in retreat worldwide and the United States bears most responsibility, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

    From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said.

    "The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behavior worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.

    "When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said.

    London-based Amnesty cited the pictures last year of abuse of detainees at Iraq's U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison, which it said were never adequately investigated, and the detention without trial of "enemy combatants" at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.

    "The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law," Khan said.

    She also noted Washington's attempts to circumvent its own ban on the use of torture.

    "The U.S. government has gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Convention and to 're-define' torture," she said, citing the secret detention of suspects and the practice of handing some over to countries where torture was not outlawed.

    U.S. President George W. Bush often said his country was founded on and dedicated to the cause of human dignity -- but there was a gulf between rhetoric and reality, Amnesty found.

    "During his first term in office, the USA proved to be far from the global human rights champion it proclaimed itself to be," the report said, citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
    'Blurred distinction'

    But the United States was by no means the sole or even the worst offender as murder, mayhem and abuse of women and children spread to the four corners of the globe, Amnesty said.

    "The human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan were far from being the only negative repercussions of the response to the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.

    "Since that day, the framework of international human rights standards has been attacked and undermined by both governments and armed groups," Amnesty said.

    The increasingly blurred distinction between the war on terror and the war on drugs prompted governments across Latin America to use troops to tackle crimes traditionally handled by police, the report said.

    In Asia too, the war on terror was blamed for increasing state repression, adding to the woes of societies already worn down by poverty, discrimination against minorities, a string of low-intensity conflicts and politicization of aid, it added.

    Africa too remained riven by regional wars and political repression, and the abject failure of the international community to take concerted action to end the slaughter in Sudan's vast Darfur region was a cause of shame.

    Khan also condemned the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for failing to stand up for those supposedly in its care.

    "The U.N. Commission of Human Rights has become a forum for horse-trading on human rights," she said. "Last year the Commission dropped Iraq from scrutiny, could not agree on action on Chechnya, Nepal or Zimbabwe and was silent on Guantanamo Bay."

    ===============================================

    Also on Fox News, Amnesty International Slams U.S. in Report
     
  2. ima_drummer2k

    ima_drummer2k Contributing Member

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    It's all America's fault. What a SHOCKING stance taken by amnesty international.
     
  3. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    "The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law," Khan said.

    Hard to argue with that.

    As long as the US has death penalties, Amnesty aint going to be happy with the US.
     
  4. flamingmoe

    flamingmoe Member

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    it is amazingly easy to expose the Bush administration's hypocricy. this time is no exception.


    http://thinkprogress.org/index.php?p=979
    The Bush Administration Was For Amnesty International Before It Was Against It

    Tonight, Vice President Cheney will appear on CNN's Larry King Live and reportedly condemn a recent Amnesty International report that faults the U.S. for its treatment of detainees in the war on terror. Cheney has said:

    "For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously."

    Other Administration officials have similarly been quick to lash out against the Amnesty report. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the allegations were "ridiculous and unsupported by the facts." Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Richard Myers called the Amnesty International report "absolutely irresponsible."

    But in the past, when it was convenient to the Administration, they did not hesitate to cite Amnesty to make its case. And nowhere did the Administration need more help than in selling the Iraq war. Secretary Rumsfeld repeatedly turned to Amnesty to highlight the repressive nature of Saddam.s regime. On March 27, 2003, Rumsfeld said:

    "We know that it.s a repressive regime...Anyone who has read Amnesty International or any of the human rights organizations about how the regime of Saddam Hussein treats his people..."

    The next day, Rumsfeld even cited his "careful reading" of Amnesty:

    "It seems to me a careful reading of Amnesty International or the record of Saddam Hussein, having used chemical weapons on his own people as well as his neighbors, and the viciousness of that regime, which is well known and documented by human rights organizations, ought not to be surprised."

    And on April 1, 2003, Rumsfeld said once again:

    If you read the various human rights groups and Amnesty International's description of what they know has gone on, it's not a happy picture.

    So the rule here appears to be: Amnesty is a legitimate source for human rights violations of other countries, but is an unreliable and irresponsible source for reporting on the U.S.
     
  5. wnes

    wnes Contributing Member

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    Playing devil's advocate here: Don't put Rummy's words into Dick's mouth!
     
  6. gifford1967

    gifford1967 Contributing Member
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    When the Sec. of Defense or the Vice President speak publicly, they should be presenting the Administration's positions, viewpoint. So, I think it's fair to call them on the inconsistency.
     
  7. wnes

    wnes Contributing Member

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    Agree, neocons?
     
  8. bnb

    bnb Contributing Member

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    Not sure you can make this link.

    The rule may be that Amnesty is a relatively reliable source for facts and data (ie the discretions of Saddam and others), but not necessarily a good interpreter of those facts.

    Amnesty has blasted the US for years over the death penalty (and righlty so..IMHO). However, even if you think the death penalty is just and you disagree that it's a serious human rights violation, you shouldn't necessarily discount their findings in other areas.

    I don't think it's at all surprising that Amnesty would blast the US for Guatanamo. It rather goes to the root of what they object to with regards to political prisons! Doesn't mean their comments on what Saddam was accused of are invalid even if you think the current US goings on are necessary.
     
  9. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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  10. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    In "gulag" row, Amnesty challenges US to open up Guantanamo Bay to observers


    The head of Amnesty International hit back at US outrage over the group labelling Guantanamo Bay a "gulag" and challenged Washington to open the military-run detention center to outside inspections.

    US leaders, including President George W. Bush, have said they were shocked that the human rights group accused the United States of running "a new gulag of prisons around the world beyond the reach of the law and decency".

    The secretary general of London-based Amnesty International, Irene Khan, said the US response has lacked substance.

    "Their response has been defensive and dismissive," she said during a visit to Japan. "We have not seen from them a more detailed response to the concerns we have expressed in our report.

    "Our answer is simple. If that is so (that the allegations are unfounded), open up these detention centers. Allow us and others to visit them," she told a news conference on a visit to Tokyo.

    "What is interesting is that we are actually getting response from the US government" after failing to do so for more than three years, Khan said. "We welcome an opportunity to sit down and have a debate with them on the issue."

    Because the US military base in Guantanamo Bay for prisoners from the "war on terror" is located in Cuba, the Bush administration argues its inmates do not enjoy the same legal protections as those held inside the United States.

    "We are concerned about allegations of torture that frequently emerge and are not independently and fully investigated," Khan said.

    The Amnesty report came after allegations that interrogators at Guantanamo had desecrated the Muslim holy book the Koran to pressure prisoners.

    Newsweek magazine retracted the report after it set off deadly riots in Afghanistan and stirred outrage in the Muslim world, saying its source had backed away from the allegation.

    Bush told a news conference Tuesday what he thought of Amnesty's findings: "It is an absurd report. It just is."

    "When there's accusations made about certain actions by our people, they're fully investigated in a transparent way," Bush said.

    "It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of and the allegations by people that were held in detention, people who hate America, people that have been trained in some instances to dissemble, that means not tell the truth," he said.

    Khan said the report was compiled mostly by American staff.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/2005060...BnVg1qs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2bW85OXIzBHNlYwNwbA--
     
  11. wnes

    wnes Contributing Member

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    The way news media report it ...

    Amnesty USA backs off Gitmo as 'gulag'
    Chicago Sun-Times, IL - 4 hours ago
    Amnesty International, which set off a storm by calling the US prison at Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our times," backed away from the label Sunday. ...

    Amnesty International refuses to back down from 'gulag' comments
    ABC Online, Australia - 4 hours ago
    ELEANOR HALL: Human rights group Amnesty International is refusing to back down from its description of the US American military base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba ...

    US running secret jails worldwide: Amnesty chief
    Xinhua, China - 12 hours ago
    BEIJING, June 6 -- The chief of Amnesty International USA alleged Sunday that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is part of an "archipelago" of US prisons ...

    US running 'archipelago' of secret prisons: Amnesty
    Japan Today, Japan - 15 hours ago
    WASHINGTON - The US government is operating an "archipelago" of prisons around the world, many of them secret camps into which people are being "literally ...

    Rights reprieve for US
    Calcutta Telegraph, India - 16 hours ago
    Washington, June 5 (Reuters): Despite highly publicised charges of US mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head of the Amnesty International USA said ...

    Amnesty USA-'Don't know for sure' about Guantanamo
    Reuters - 22 hours ago
    By Lori Santos. WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite highly publicized charges of US mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head ...

    Amnesty Chief: 'Gulag' Not the Best Analogy
    FOX News - Jun 3, 2005
    WASHINGTON - The American head of Amnesty International admits his group did not pick the best analogy when it compared detainee conditions at Guantanamo Bay ...

    Amnesty concedes no hard evidence
    Washington Times, DC - 8 hours ago
    By James G. Lakely. The head of Amnesty International's American branch yesterday acknowledged that he "doesn't know for sure" what ...

    Amnesty Int`l defends US gulag reference
    Monsters and Critics.com, UK - 59 minutes ago
    WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- The head of Amnesty International in the United States is standing by the human rights group`s claims the US government ...
     
  12. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    Like Amnesty said, the Bush administration could open up Gitmo for full observation. Then everyone would know things were on the up and up. But for a whitehouse with the record for dishonesty that this ones to just say it is absurd because it just is doesn't really do much to help push aside the doubts caused by this report.
     

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