Asshats International


Can you freakin believe these people, sometimes I think they are more certifiable then the idiots at DU:

Amnesty International?s 2005 ?Report? on worldwide human rights was released this week, and its contents have justly outraged Americans who support U.S. efforts in the war on terror ? including the Washington Post which noted that Amnesty had ?lost its bearings? and joined ?in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse.? Among other things, the report accuses the United States of ?war crimes,? and openly compares the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with the Gulag Archipelago. In addition, the executive director of Amnesty International USA has called on foreign governments to seize and prosecute American officials traveling abroad, just as a Spanish judge attempted to prosecute former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1998. In fact, the report says much more about the nature of Amnesty International ? and the agenda of similar left-wing nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) ? than it does about the human-rights record of the United States.

Comparing Guantanamo with a gulag is just plain stupid. A gulag was a place that the Soviet Union sent political prisoners so they could put down the opposition to the Soviet state. Those held at Guantanamo are definately not political prisoners rather they are captured enemy combatants. The fact that they would even try to compare the two show’s that this report is politically motivated, plain and simple.

First and foremost, Amnesty?s report is emphatically not an honest assessment of American compliance with international law. Rather, it is an assessment of how well the United States complies with Amnesty International?s political and ideological agenda ? equivalent to the grading of individual members of Congress by domestic advocacy groups. This is obvious from the report?s three fundamental measures of a good human-rights record, which are applied to every included state: (1) whether the death penalty has been retained; (2) whether the International Criminal Court treaty has been ratified; and (3) whether the U.N. Women?s Convention, and its Optional Protocol, has been ratified. All of these criteria involve controversial political issues where there is fundamental disagreement between right and left and ? from Amnesty?s perspective ? George Bush?s America fails on all counts. This, of course, is what you would expect, since the president is a conservative, elected by increasingly conservative American voters.

With respect to the war on terror, Amnesty?s principal complaint is that ?[h]undreds of detainees continue to be held without charge or trial at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.? This, of course, is the installation that Amnesty?s secretary general, Irene Khan, characterized as ?the gulag of our times.? Khan is either profoundly ignorant of the actual gulag, where Communist regimes ?re-educated? political dissidents through murderous hard labor, starvation diets, and exposure to the elements, or engaging in highly improvident hyperbole. It is most likely the latter. (As the Washington Post editorialized, the ?modern equivalent? of the gulag can be found not at Guantanamo Bay, but in Castro?s Cuba, North Korea, China and, until recently, Saddam Hussein?s Iraq.) In a calmer moment, Khan might reflect that comparing American policies with which she disagrees to genuine atrocities committed by some of the most vicious and repressive regimes in history effectively trivializes the actions of those regimes.

Of course, the men held at Guantanamo Bay are not political dissidents. They are captured enemy combatants. Under the laws of war, they can be detained until the conflict, or at least actual hostilities, are concluded. This has been the practice of the United States, and of every other major power in Europe and elsewhere, for centuries. It is not illegal; it is not immoral. In fact, this rule is one of the first and most important humanitarian advances made in warfare. The right to detain is the necessary concomitant of the obligation to give quarter on the battlefield, to actually take prisoners alive.

To be fair, Amnesty International knows this. (Indeed, it restated the traditional rule in the report?s chapter on Morocco, which notes that the rebel Polisario Front was obliged ?[u]nder international humanitarian law? to release its government prisoners when hostilities ended in 1991.) What Amnesty is really saying is that, in its view, America?s fight against al Qaeda is not an armed conflict, to which the laws of war apply, but a criminal-enforcement matter where the rights to a speedy, civilian trial are applicable. This is evident in the report?s description of the Guantanamo detainees as individuals ?held without charge or trial . . . on the grounds of possible links to al-Qa?ida or the former Taleban government of Afghanistan.? Despite the fact that the vast majority of detainees at Guantanamo were captured on the battlefield, in arms against the United States or its allies, this ?criminal enforcement? view is widely held on the Left. It is also a historical and legally incorrect.

This article goes on to spotlighting some irony:

Indeed, Amnesty?s insistence on applying a criminal-law model to captured al Qaeda and Taliban members is particularly ironic, since similar advocacy groups, like the International Committee of the Red Cross, spent much of the later 20th century promoting rules that applied the laws of war to non-state actors, albeit with special privileges and advantages for irregular forces. Their goal at the time was precisely to avoid the criminal trial and punishment, including imposition of the death penalty, on captured members of ?national liberation movements.? For its part, the United States properly resisted efforts to grant special privileges to guerillas and terrorists. It remains fully entitled to rely on the customary law of war in combating al Qaeda ? and in classifying that group as ?unprivileged? or ?unlawful? combatants who do not qualify for prisoner of war (POW) status upon capture.

POW status, as defined in the 1949 Geneva Conventions, requires treatment ? in terms of food, clothing, shelter, and medical attention ? on a par with the detaining power?s own armed forces, along with an array of other privileges designed to make captivity as pleasant as circumstances permit. Captured unlawful combatants are not entitled to POW status because such men are associated with groups that do not comply with even the most basic law of war requirements ? such as the prohibition on targeting civilians. They do not enjoy special privileges under the Geneva Conventions, although customary international law provides that they must be treated humanely. That, of course, is exactly what President Bush ordered ? clearly and unequivocally.

The Washington Post had a few great comments on this idiotic report also:

IT’S ALWAYS SAD when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It’s particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike. True, Amnesty continues to keep track of the world’s political prisoners, as it has always done, and its reports remain a vital source of human rights information. But lately the organization has tended to save its most vitriolic condemnations not for the world’s dictators but for the United States.

That vitriol reached a new level this week when, at a news conference held to mark the publication of Amnesty’s annual report, the organization’s secretary general, Irene Khan, called the U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the “gulag of our times.” In her written introduction to the report, Ms. Khan also mentioned only two countries at length: Sudan and the United States, the “unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power,” which “thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights.”

I’m gonna end this post with a look at a real regime that thumbed its nose at human rights, that even AI used to report on:

— Under Saddam’s regime many hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of his actions – the vast majority of them Muslims.

— According to a 2001 Amnesty International report, “victims of torture in Iraq are subjected to a wide range of forms of torture, including the gouging out of eyes, severe beatings and electric shocks… some victims have died as a result and many have been left with permanent physical and psychological damage.”

— Saddam has had approximately 40 of his own relatives murdered.

— Allegations of prostitution used to intimidate opponents of the regime, have been used by the regime to justify the barbaric beheading of women.

— Documented chemical attacks by the regime, from 1983 to 1988, resulted in some 30,000 Iraqi and Iranian deaths.

— Human Rights Watch estimates that Saddam’s 1987-1988 campaign of terror against the Kurds killed at least 50,000 and possibly as many as 100,000 Kurds.

— The Iraqi regime used chemical agents to include mustard gas and nerve agents in attacks against at least 40 Kurdish villages between 1987-1988. The largest was the attack on Halabja which resulted in approximately 5,000 deaths.

— 2,000 Kurdish villages were destroyed during the campaign of terror.

— Iraq’s 13 million Shi’a Muslims, the majority of Iraq’s population of approximately 22 million, face severe restrictions on their religious practice, including a ban on communal Friday prayer, and restriction on funeral processions.

— According to Human Rights Watch, “senior Arab diplomats told the London-based Arabic daily newspaper al-Hayat in October [1991] that Iraqi leaders were privately acknowledging that 250,000 people were killed during the uprisings, with most of the casualties in the south.”

— Refugees International reports that the “Oppressive government policies have led to the internal displacement of 900,000 Iraqis, primarily Kurds who have fled to the north to escape Saddam Hussein’s Arabization campaigns (which involve forcing Kurds to renounce their Kurdish identity or lose their property) and Marsh Arabs, who fled the government’s campaign to dry up the southern marshes for agricultural use. More than 200,000 Iraqis continue to live as refugees in Iran.”

— The U.S. Committee for Refugees, in 2002, estimated that nearly 100,000 Kurds, Assyrians and Turkomans had previously been expelled, by the regime, from the “central-government-controlled Kirkuk and surrounding districts in the oil-rich region bordering the Kurdish controlled north.”

— “Over the past five years, 400,000 Iraqi children under the age of five died of malnutrition and disease, preventively, but died because of the nature of the regime under which they are living.” (Prime Minister Tony Blair, March 27, 2003)

— Under the oil-for-food program, the international community sought to make available to the Iraqi people adequate supplies of food and medicine, but the regime blocked sufficient access for international workers to ensure proper distribution of these supplies.

— Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces have discovered military warehouses filled with food supplies meant for the Iraqi people that had been diverted by Iraqi military forces.

— The Iraqi regime has repeatedly refused visits by human rights monitors. From 1992 until 2002, Saddam prevented the UN Special Rapporteur from visiting Iraq.

— The UN Special Rapporteur’s September 2001, report criticized the regime for “the sheer number of executions,” the number of “extrajudicial executions on political grounds,” and “the absence of a due process of the law.”

Executions: Saddam Hussein’s regime has carried out frequent summary executions, including:

— 4,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in 1984;
— 3,000 prisoners at the Mahjar prison from 1993-1998;
— 2,500 prisoners were executed between 1997-1999 in a “prison cleansing campaign”;
— 22 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in February/March 2000;
— 23 political prisoners were executed at Abu Ghraib prison in October 2001;
— At least 130 Iraqi women were beheaded between June 2000 and April 2001;

But of course it was a bad thing to remove this regime, it’s a bad thing to actually be at war with terrorists…according to AI and the left its a law enforcement issue only…sigh.

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