TCS Daily


Shamnesty Rides Again

By Melana Zyla Vickers - May 26, 2006 12:00 AM

"Hundreds...faced detention, torture or ill-treatment, and up to three year's imprisonment in appalling conditions. Prisoners reportedly died from malnutrition in labor camps ... and in detention centers, which were severely overcrowded. ... About 70 had been executed in public in January after being forcibly repatriated."

Pretty horrible stuff. Too bad it's nowhere near the top of Amnesty International's new annual report. Why isn't it? Because it's not about the 480-odd detainees in Guantanamo Bay or about the U.S. military, but rather about a Communist country, North Korea. Moreover, it has nothing to do with George Bush or Tony Blair, the world's greatest human-rights violators according to Amnesty's secretary general and leftist peace activist Irene Khan.

In recent years, Khan, from Bangladesh, and her executive director William Schulz, author of Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights and a former director of People for the American Way, have turned the human-rights group into a two-trick pony whose main concerns are opposition to the Bush administration's war in Iraq, the war on terror, and free markets, as well as the downplaying of human-rights violations by leftist regimes.

Sure, this year's report avoids the ridiculous gulag comparison that scored Khan some headlines last year. But the message is the same: With the exception of a short reference to Nepal's oppressed leftists, Khan's opening letter in the new report cites "grave abuses in Afghanistan and Iraq" before any other example of a human-rights problem. It also says U.S. detainee treatment is responsible for global terrorism by saying "torture and terror feed off each other in a vicious cycle." A few paragraphs later, under the heading "Torture and counterterrorism," Khan lists the world's biggest problem as the counter-terrorism legislation Tony Blair introduced after London subway bombers killed 52 people and injured 700 in July 2005.

Still don't believe Amnesty has a pro-leftist, anti-democratic-capitalist, anti-Anglo-American bias? Here are some of the countries and the activities AI gives short shrift in order to attack Britain and the United States:

  • North Korea, whose one-party regime starves its people and terrorizes its neighbor with nuclear blackmail, gets precisely two pages in Amnesty International's entire annual report. The summary executions of refugees forcibly returned from China aren't even elaborated upon beyond the tiny quote reprinted here.
  • Cuba, a Communist regime that denies freedom of assembly, conscience and all the other biggies, has all its sins covered in a mere page and a half. The second line of that 1.5-page Cuba report blames the U.S. for Cuban human rights repression, saying the trade "embargo continued to have a negative effect on the enjoyment of the full range of human rights in Cuba." Amnesty goes on from there, bizarrely reporting condemnation of Cuba's human rights record by the UN not as a virtue but as the result of "a highly politicized process."
  • Belarus, a one-party Communist state that incarcerates political opponents and holds sham elections, restricts freedom of assembly and other basic rights, is mentioned with one word in the report's regional summary only because it continues to have the death penalty on its books.

By contrast, the United States was covered 197 times, Mexico 57 times, the UK 48 times. Amnesty only wrote 10 releases or reports about Cuba.

Indeed, according to a new report from the Capital Research Center called Amnesty International's Gulag Confusion, the United States, while rated by Freedom House in the highest group in political and civil liberties, has received the highest scrutiny by Amnesty.

So eager are Khan and Schultz to oppose Washington that they've hurt the cause of human rights globally at the United Nations. Earlier this month, a new U.N.-body called the Human Rights Council went against other human-rights groups' criticism by electing human-rights violators, including Saudi Arabia, to its 47 seats. The move made the U.N. Council weak and a sham from the moment of its inception -- it looked just as bad as its predecessor the Commission on Human Rights had become. Yet unlike other human rights groups, Amnesty chose not to criticize the new body and the rights violators that comprise it. Instead, Amnesty criticized the U.S. for declining to run for a seat.

Amnesty also has other pet issues that take it away from the mainstream. Domestic violence against women, the death penalty, and the global arms trade are discussed in detail, often at the expense of the freedoms enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Amnesty International's leftward leanings are not new. But until recently it still played a role in the important work of defending those who could not defend themselves. These days, the more the group's leaders abandon the human-rights agenda in favor of their petty concerns, the more Amnesty looks like an American anti-war group instead of a watchdog for the world. And the closer Amnesty gets to becoming old, blind, and forgetful, and to signing forgotten political prisoners' death warrants.

The author is a TCS contributing writer.
Categories:

98 Comments

Sad
First Greenpeace, now Amnesty...good, humane organizations taken over by idiotic, control-freak Socialists with an agenda that has nothing to do with the function of the organization.

Really, really sad.

Missing a critical difference
When a democracy with established traditions of the rule of law and justice suddenly begins to run extrajudicial prisons and find excuses to torture people, that is troubling. We expect this from North Korea. We don't from the U.S. Nobody is saying AI is being inaccurate. The message is, they shouldn't be making a big deal of this. Why?

Get with the program
We're supposed to be thinking it's okay, everybody's doing it. Besides, it's necessary to curtail a bunch of people's human rights because they're all terrorists out there. Subhumans like that have no rights.

This is how it starts.

where's the shame?
If you're an American used to American "values", the shame is that America appears is being compared at all to North Korea. We're not as bad as they are says the author. Thank goodness that's still true.

Since America is a democracy filled with ethical people, putting America first might actually have an impact on Americans and stop some prisoner abuse. It's less likely to affect North Korea, at least in the short run.

Bah.
>"Nobody is saying AI is being inaccurate."

I am. We are not running "extrajudicial prisons" and finding "excuses to torture people". There is no torture and the prisoners held in Gitmo and other places are being processed according to military law. They are treated well even though they are not fighting under any country that has signed the GC. When abuses occur, the troops that inflict those abuses are processed through military law.

AI is extremely biased. If you believe, as Roy does, that you can equate Sudan, North Korea, Cuba, etc. with illegal combatants and terrorists, all of whom are provided culturally correct foods and whose religious freedoms are being upheld, being detained for questioning then there is really no hope for your sense of right and wrong.

In the end, I would rather support GWB, who freed 50 million people from horrible human rights abusers, than AI who has done nothing but criticize those efforts.

Just look at this statement:

>"We expect this from North Korea."

This is how jaded you, and AI, have become. The brutality inflicted by leftists and fascists has become a fact of life that you are unwilling to change. You no longer go after the real purpetrators of human desecration because they won't be swayed by your silly rhetoric because you have no teeth nor the will to change them. The US, on the other hand, listens. Much US policy changes on the changing opinions and castigations of its people. Hell, US policy even changes on the outcry of illegal foreigners.

So just sit back with Roy "slippery slope" Bean and wail about how far the US has fallen while real human misery goes unnoticed.

The real shame...
is that AI is a hollow shell of what it used to be, which wasn't much. There is no shame in being called names by idiots with an anti-American agenda. Have the French taught you nothing?

>The US on the other hand listens
So why don't you? Why the denial?

>. We are not running "extrajudicial prisons" and finding "excuses to torture people" There is no torture and the prisoners held in Gitmo .... bla bla bla

That's what you say. Voluminous evidence indicates the contrary. You don't want to believe it; that doesn't mean it's not true.

As far as this:

>The brutality inflicted by leftists and fascists has become a fact of life that you are unwilling to change.

I'm perfectly willing to work on changing it. The point is, I am outraged if my own government does it. Because it makes it more difficult to build the necessary international coalitions if our country has dirty hands.

> The US, on the other hand, listens. Much US policy changes on the changing opinions and castigations of its people.

And that's why I would support Amnesty and others who raise objections to documented abuses: I'm listening. You have your fingers in your ears.

Fingers in your ears
singing "I can't hear you," and blaming the messenger. And, sure, throw in a knock on the French.

>There is no shame

You certainly don't seem to have any. Do you think that's a virtue?

reality
Prisoners of war and illegal combatants have never been put through the legal system. Not in the US. Not in any country.

There has never been any torture, unless you consider being fed enough food so that you gain weight, to be torture.

There's no reason to make a big deal about it, because to people who aren't gone to reason, it is not a big deal.

I could compare Americans to Martians
It would be just as accurate as this report.

Denial
Mark, you have no credibility on this or any other subject. Shut up and stop spamming this site with your fictions and useless noise.

You could also do all of us a favor
By finding something else to do with your time besides flooding this site with meaningless noise and made-up facts.

evidence
Gulliver, you got any links or books to recommend to show this voluminous evidence? I'm interested in seeing it.

amnesty international
Read the Amnesty International report. They don't make stuff up and they tell you exactly what their methods are. Of course, you could instead just say that the report is biased because it concludes the US did some abuse.

By all means...
please present the "voluminous evidence" that "indicates the contrary."

>"You don't want to believe it; that doesn't mean it's not true."

I believe whatever has evidence behind it. So far I have seen nothing that indicates that the US government has implemented a policy of torture and human rights abuses. Have there been abuses? Yep. And the abusers are brought to trial as they should be.

Simply having the death penalty puts you on the list of cruel overlords in AI's book so I am pretty sure that any other practises that inconvenience hardened criminals, terrorists, and illegal combatants in any fashion would be considered the most dire of humans rights abuses. AI is as laughable as the morons who support it.

>"You have your fingers in your ears."

I do? I keep listening to people like you and I actually look into your charges. If ever I could find any reliable evidence that supports your insane ranting I would support your point of view.

AI "evidence"
A few things about AI:

1. AI has been found to have intentionally lied about the Jenin massacre.

2. It regards the PLO itself as a reliable source about “abuses” committed by Israel.

3. Has been condemned by the ADL.

4. It considers the forced transfer of people involved in terrorism from one town to another town in the “occupied territories” to be a human rights abuse. How dare you move a prisoner!

5. Has failed to demonstrate any constitutional or international law violations with regards to the detainees in Gitmo.

6. Issued an official protest that the al-Qaida and Taliban prisoners in Gitmo were being forced to listen to background music by Barney. Oh, the suffering! Bert and Ernie are apparently sadistic violators of human rights far worse than Saddam Hussein ever was, in AI opinion.

To listen to AI rants is to be informed about them and there agenda (anti-Americanism combined with a strong dislike for Israel as well). To believe AI is to be an utter moron.

A tired screech Gully ol' boy.
>"You certainly don't seem to have any. Do you think that's a virtue?"

Well, first I need to be shown that I have something to be ashamed about. I doubt you have that ability since you are just a useful idiot that works against anything American because you were taught that to be successful is to be an oppressor.

And second, why should one not blame the messenger when the messenger is biased and a liar? As for the knock on the French, well, I am not ashamed of that either.

So wallow in your shame and anti-Americanism if you like. In the US you have that right so I urge you to enjoy it.

Wow!
The pot and the kettle come to mind here.

I'm sure Amnesty would tell me their reporting is fair...just like Fox News would.
This article is not saying that Amnesty is making things up. It's stating that Amnesty is underreporting human abuses in other countries, whilst grinding an axe on the US and Britain.

That's very different from merely saying "the US did some abuse."

Lots of countries are committing human abuses. This article says Amnesty has decided to ONLY focus on capitalistic first world countries and barely mentions the abuses of Communist or other totalitarian countries.

I want to see the EXTERNAL evidence that Amnesty's reporting is fair and your friend Gulliver seems pretty confident that the evidence is out there.

So...let's see it.

Re: The US on the other hand listens
"That's what you say. Voluminous evidence indicates the contrary. You don't want to believe it; that doesn't mean it's not true."

Gulliver doesn't provide the slightest bit of evidence for his assertions. It is because there isn't any, beyond the hate and lies of the "Blame America First" movement he belongs to.

The claim he promotes, that torture of the terrorists incarcerated at Gitmo is the official policy of the United States, is a lie from beginning to end.

And of course his lack of interest in condeming states like North Korea where torture and mass murder are in fact official govenment policy, is not the least suprising.

This is news??
Shamnesty International has been on this bandwagon for year. They only seem to discuss real Human Rights violators when the U.S. and other Western powers are sitting at home doing nothing. Even then, they have come up with the bogus "death penalty" argument as a human right violation.

This group should be listed as a terrorist sympathizer group and shut down.

Eric, fortunato, Gulliver,????…
I see you are back to your old self; especially as it concerns Mark. Try changing your name less and reading a bit more than just you personal book of quotes from the communist manifesto.

No Subject
Gulliver>"By finding something else to do with your time besides flooding this site with meaningless noise and made-up facts."

Your refusal to provide any citations of your claims that American policy is to torture prisoners makes it quite clear who is "flooding this site with meaningless noise and made-up facts."

But that's all modern liberals have to offer American anymore, isn't it?

Spooky...
how new Fortunato clones seem to be popping up.

Why not go the site & see for yourself
It's not as though they make this stuff up. They research it and if it's wrong, they correct it. As far as EXTERNAL evidence, what would count in your book? The same things have been widely reported in newspapers around the world.

Here are the 30 latest reports.
Go here to read them:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/eng-recent/index

Does this list suggest unfair U.S. bashing?

26/05/2006 Burundi: Prisoners of Conscience/Detention without charge (URGENT ACTIONS)
AFR 16/008/2006
26/05/2006 Colombia: Fear for safety: Members of the human rights organisation Consultoría para los Derechos Humanos y el Desplazamiento (CODHES) and other human rights groups (URGENT ACTIONS)
AMR 23/027/2006
25/05/2006 Colombia: Further information on fear for safety: 15 students, teaching and other staff at the University of Antioquia (URGENT ACTIONS)
AMR 23/026/2006
25/05/2006 Pakistan: Further information on Imminent Execution (URGENT ACTIONS)
ASA 33/021/2006
25/05/2006 Azerbaijan: Fair Trial Concerns in Cases associated with the 2005 Parliamentary Elections (NEWS)
EUR 55/002/2006
25/05/2006 Sudan: UN Security Council must meet 'responsibility to protect' civilians (NEWS)
AFR 54/019/2006
24/05/2006 Eritrea: Independence Day call for a year of urgent human rights improvements (NEWS)
AFR 64/004/2006
24/05/2006 Pakistan: Further information on imminent Execution / Unfair trial: Mirza Tahir Hussain (m) (URGENT ACTIONS)
ASA 33/019/2006
24/05/2006 Iraq: Death penalty/fear of imminent execution (URGENT ACTIONS)
MDE 14/023/2006
24/05/2006 Pakistan: Imminent execution: Raja Anir (m) (URGENT ACTIONS)
ASA 33/020/2006
23/05/2006 Amnesty International Report 2006 shows growing Human Rights deficit in Europe (NEWS)
IOR 61/015/2006
23/05/2006 Report 2006: World's poor and disadvantaged pay price of war on terror (NEWS)
POL 10/018/2006
23/05/2006 FACTS AND FIGURES: Report 2006: The state of the world?s human rights (NEWS)
POL 10/023/2006
23/05/2006 Amnesty International Report 2006. The state of the world's human rights (Leaflet) (REPORTS)
POL 10/004/2006
23/05/2006 Egypt: Violent attacks and arrests of peaceful protesters must stop (NEWS)
MDE 12/010/2006
23/05/2006 Report 2006: Address by Irene Khan, Secretary General, Press conference, Foreign Press Association, London (NEWS)
POL 10/026/2006
23/05/2006 Iraq: Further information on fear of torture/ fear of unfair trial (URGENT ACTIONS)
MDE 14/022/2006
23/05/2006 Peru: Further information on prisoners of conscience (URGENT ACTIONS)
AMR 46/013/2006
23/05/2006 Human Rights Defenders from Iran and Zimbabwe share 2006 Martin Ennals Award (NEWS)
IOR 80/004/2006
23/05/2006 Chile: Further information on Medical Concern (URGENT ACTIONS)
AMR 22/002/2006
23/05/2006 Sudan: Further information on incommunicado detention/fear of torture (URGENT ACTIONS)
AFR 54/018/2006
23/05/2006 USA: Further information on Prisoner of conscience, Kevin Benderman (m) (URGENT ACTIONS)
AMR 51/083/2006
23/05/2006 Belarus: Mikita Sasin, Prisoner of Conscience (REPORTS)
EUR 49/008/2006
22/05/2006 Georgia: Amnesty International urges the Georgian government to implement recommendations of the UN Committee against Torture (NEWS)
EUR 56/008/2006
22/05/2006 Moldova: Further information on torture: Vitalii Kolibaba (m), aged 27 (URGENT ACTIONS)
EUR 59/004/2006
22/05/2006 Sudan: Further information on Fear for Safety/ Incommunicado Detention (URGENT ACTIONS)
AFR 54/017/2006
22/05/2006 Colombia: Fear for Safety: Members of human rights NGO Corporación COMPROMISO (URGENT ACTIONS)
AMR 23/025/2006
22/05/2006 Tunisia: A member of the Executive Committee of the Swiss Section of Amnesty International is expelled from Tunisia (NEWS)
MDE 30/013/2006
19/05/2006 As Russia Takes Over the Chair of the Council of Europe It Must Show Respect for Human Rights (NEWS)
EUR 46/028/2006
19/05/2006 USA: Guantánamo reports worrying (NEWS)
AMR 51/080/2006

As Gulliver's alter ego, let me try to oblige.
The most recent AI reports can be found at:
http://web.amnesty.org/library/eng-recent/index

As far as condemning N. Korea -- why is criticising the U.S. when it condones torture inconsistent with condemning N. Korea? Why in the world does one preclude the other?

If you haven't seen this evidence, you haven't been looking
Tell Benyam Mohammed al Habashi he's mistaken

http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511522005?open&of=ENG-USA

It is not "Anti-American" to object to your nation torturing people. It is in fact shameful not to.

He is not mistaken.
Merely a liar. Where is the evidence of rendition outside of Amnesty and DailyKos?

sadly true
Creepy is more like it

The New Yorker went into this in some detail
But you're setting up a dynamic: you automatically dismiss as a lie anything that doesn't confirm your preconceptions.

What evidence could convince you? Here's another extremely circumstantial story, including background, from the New Yorker, a magazine that goes to enormous care to make sure that its stories are factually accurate.

Here's how it begins:

On January 27th, President Bush, in an intervie with the Times, assured the world that “torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture.” Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was born in Syria, was surprised to learn of Bush’s statement. Two and a half years ago, American officials, suspecting Arar of being a terrorist, apprehended him in New York and sent him back to Syria, where he endured months of brutal interrogation, including torture. When Arar described his experience in a phone interview recently, he invoked an Arabic expression. The pain was so unbearable, he said, that “you forget the milk that you have been fed from the breast of your mother.”

Arar, a thirty-four-year-old graduate of McGill University whose family emigrated to Canada when he was a teen-ager, was arrested on September 26, 2002, at John F. Kennedy Airport. He was changing planes; he had been on vacation with his family in Tunisia, and was returning to Canada. Arar was detained because his name had been placed on the United States Watch List of terrorist suspects. He was held for the next thirteen days, as American officials questioned him about possible links to another suspected terrorist. Arar said that he barely knew the suspect, although he had worked with the man’s brother. Arar, who was not formally charged, was placed in handcuffs and leg irons by plainclothes officials and transferred to an executive jet. The plane flew to Washington, continued to Portland, Maine, stopped in Rome, Italy, then landed in Amman, Jordan.

During the flight, Arar said, he heard the pilots and crew identify themselves in radio communications as members of “the Special Removal Unit.” The Americans, he learned, planned to take him next to Syria. Having been told by his parents about the barbaric practices of the police in Syria, Arar begged crew members not to send him there, arguing that he would surely be tortured. His captors did not respond to his request; instead, they invited him to watch a spy thriller that was aired on board.

Ten hours after landing in Jordan, Arar said, he was driven to Syria, where interrogators, after a day of threats, “just began beating on me.” They whipped his hands repeatedly with two-inch-thick electrical cables, and kept him in a windowless underground cell that he likened to a grave. “Not even animals could withstand it,” he said. Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say. “You just give up,” he said. “You become like an animal.”

A year later, in October, 2003, Arar was released without charges, after the Canadian government took up his cause. Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador in Washington, announced that his country had found no links between Arar and terrorism. Arar, it turned out, had been sent to Syria on orders from the U.S. government, under a secretive program known as “extraordinary rendition.” This program had been devised as a means of extraditing terrorism suspects from one foreign state to another for interrogation and prosecution. Critics contend that the unstated purpose of such renditions is to subject the suspects to aggressive methods of persuasion that are illegal in America—including torture.

Arar is suing the U.S. government for his mistreatment. “They are outsourcing torture because they know it’s illegal,” he said. “Why, if they have suspicions, don’t they question people within the boundary of the law?”

continued at:
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050214fa_fact6

Syria doing American dirty work…
is about as believable as Hamas hunting down Palestinian terrorists for Israel. I'm sure the U.S. does have the program in place - to force suspected terrorists back to their native country.

It seems obvious to me that Syria had a serious desire to talk to this individual. Could it actually have been over the assination in Lebanon perhaps?

Suing the U.S. over this should be an exercise in futility, but it will probably go through because people like you actually believe that Syria would do this for their good friends the Americans.

This story is not credible, it is nothing but a work of pure fiction, as it relates to U.S. involvement beyond deportation.

What about the story don't you believe?
>I'm sure the U.S. does have the program in place - to force suspected terrorists back to their native country.

Um, that's not the way it looks to the Europeans.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/27/world/europe/27cia.html?ex=1303790400&en=f28193a7c7a919c0&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

The facts of Arar's movements are documented. As for this:

>It seems obvious to me that Syria had a serious desire to talk to this individual. Could it actually have been over the assination in Lebanon perhaps?

And our reasons for sending him to gratify Syria's "serious desire" would have been what? You say, Syria doing American dirty work seems fishy. What does America doing Syria's dirty work seem?


Sure
and the urinal and the toilet come to mind. Mark consistently shows gross intellectual dishonesty. He has zero credibility. If he wants to bring facts, he should. He never has. Never.

Made his own bed
If Mark had ever displayed any respect for fact or argument, or began doing so, it would be one thing. He has not. He has no credibility. He is nothing but a noisemaker. Even people who agree with him should see that.

I have provided citations up the wazoo
You have provided nothing but whines. The documentation of rendition is extensive. Why not look it over instead of making up a bogus version of this dialog.

Humbug
I guess we're just slated to rile each other up. We fall on the opposite sides of all these issues.

Prior to liberation by the forces of Good, the Afghans and Iraqis were oppressed by their governments. Post liberation, their lives are in chaos. I see no forward progress here, and the prognosis for the future is for it all to get worse, until some despot comes back into power and restores order.

According to your understanding of international law and the norms of civilized nations, it is legal for us to invade such places, but illegal for anyone there to fight back. Do I capture the essence of your argument here?

America ignored the advice of the UN on this, just as it ignored the decision of the International Court of Justice back when we were supporting Nicaraguan terrorism. If they're against our decisions they must be the enemy, as is Amnesty International now for refusing to waive the US in the matter of human rights violations.

Just because it is possible to find somewhere on earth governments that behave more hideously, does it follow that we need to excuse the US for deciding to imprison people with impunity? Even if they are given a Quran and three squares a day, aren't they still political prisoners?

No one fails to notice the real and immense misery created by the despots of the world. Events in Darfur, Zimbabwe and elsewhere are reported in depth every day. Amnesty International is honest about these events. But they also feel that when the world's most important player reserves the right to seize people at will and declare them to be "illegal" that is worth reporting also.

Keeping one's mind tightly closed
Before formulating your opinion you should at least check the facts. Meher Arar is a Canadian citizen who was renditioned by the United States to Syria, where he spent nearly a year in highly unpleasant detention. The facts are abundantly well known, and the story has been reported worldwide. If you haven't heard of him it only points to your having a restricted news diet.

He was renditioned to Amman, Jordan and then transferred by the Jordanians into Syria. The more you read about his story the harder it will be to continue denying everything. Here's a start:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=20051229&articleId=1664

The whole rendition program has been evidenced by hundreds of news articles, reporting the data gathered by plane watchers around the world. We have the ID numbers of the planes, and thus their ownership history. We have the dates and locations where they took off, and where they arrived. And we have the stories of those who've survived and come back. Khalid al Masri, a German citizen, was kidnapped off the street and taken to Afghanistan. You could look him up, or look into the botched Nasr kidnapping, which created an international embarrassment both for us and for Italy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-adv/advertisers/amex/popunders/050806/Washington_One_720x300_News.htm

But I see I'm just flapping my gums. In your world, Syria would never accept a prisoner from the US. So it is not necessary to review the evidence. Spit spat. Nothing to it. A closed case, based on information you've never examined.

It is always easy to complain against....
America and other western nations. Apparently, when China, Russia, Korea, Iran, and the others do it...."We just lost our balls" and will not say anything. It is just a simple institution for western bashing. Those who deny it are just lying. I just say keep on doing what you are best at doing.

The part where Syria tortured him at U.S. request
The U.S. didn't care what Syria did with him, they just wanted him back in the middle east and deported him to his country of origin. Turned out to be a bonus for Syria who wanted to talk to him.

You seem to be right on this…
Either that or the group is run by people from the worst offender nations.

Bush should execute them all
Every one who contributes to AI, or lock 'em up in secret prisons. Then people will think twice about accusing America of doing anything wrong.

WHY DON'T YOU LOOK AT THE AI WEB SITE???
It's got voluminous documentation of abuses in just about every country in the world. I know: those facts are useless; they just get in the way of your close-minded fingerwagging?

And you know this how?
This is truly obsessed. You don't know the facts of the case, and you really just don't care. You can't be bothered to look at the documentation, no matter how well supported and corroborated. Instead, you just imagine a circumstance that might support your preconceptions and assert is as established fact. Is the word "fact" in your vocabulary?

(cue pauled kneejerk accusation of lack of patriotism)

A mistaken self perception
Paul, let me point out something I've noticed in your comments for a while now. You have an opinion of yourself as being fair and balanced, well read, measured and moderate in your opinions and above all, well thought out.

Then let me ask whether you have even visited the AI web site to see the kinds of things they are actually writing. Because it seems to me what you are doing here is just parroting the opinions you've read in this article. Isn't this kind of a ditto headed approach?

Have you actually looked through this archive?

http://web.amnesty.org/library/eng-recent/index

Of ninety recent articles, I find only six on the US and one on Israel. Most of the articles are taken up with places like Colombia, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Belarus, Myanmar, Egypt, Somalia, Syria, Iran, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Moldova and the like. The only important omission I see in this list is Zimbabwe, and I'm sure if you search the site you'll find something on them. Access might be the problem there.

I seem to recall, maybe incorrectly, you have had some experience in journalism. Why don't you put it to use and perform an analysis of the places AI actually DOES write about-- rather than just assume everything that appears in some rant in TCS is the gospel truth?

Tell us what your conclusions are, in other words, after you've actually looked at the issue.

Say what you will wingnut
I read what was posted and looked into it a bit further. Nothing points to the U.S. picking this guy up and sending him to Syria so that the U.S. could have him tortured.

Did the U.S. have him sent back to HIS COUNTRY OF ORIGIN, yes. Did the Syrians than lock him up and torture him? He says they did and there is no reason to dispute his claim.

But 1+1 does not equal 3. There are any number of reasons the U.S. might want this guy out of North America; there are any number of reasons the Syrians might have to interrogate him.

The legal question is whether or not the U.S. had the right to send an apparantly naturalized Canadian Citizen back to his country of birth.

Beyond that it is all speculation.

Eric, Fortunato, Stephen, Gulliver is a shameless liar and a terror sympathizer. His idea of a good time is to bash veterans for re-counting their experiences. Yes, I reacted to this. But only you, and other left wingnuts like you, would go where you go. Gulliver, you aren't "on the fringe", you are so far past it you think the left fringe is conservative.

No, you are trying to inform…
and I can appreciate that. Some of this I knew, some I didn't. Admittedly I am behind a bit on this story. But I read your posts and your references and looked up others.

I agree the U.S. appears to have done some of this (probably quasi-illegally). But to infer that the U.S. sent this man to Syria for the purpose of torturing him for U.S. purposes just doesn't wash in the present political climate. Sure, Syria might accept a prisoner from the U.S.; if they had a reason to want to interrogate the man for their own purposes.

Masri to Afghanistan makes some sense; and the Nasr incident appears to have been an ugly bit of work. But sending a Syrian to Syria? The claim is that this man was held by the Syrian government (or am I missreading something here) and I can't imagine Syria doing the U.S. any favors. Nor, I might add, can I see the U.S. doing Syria any favors.

Therefore, after reading this, I have to wonder what this guy did to have the U.S. want him removed from North America and to have Syria want him for "intense questioning" (torture).

Thank you
Yes I do see myself that way on may issues; this isn't one of them. yes I have a little experience in journalism, and I did look at the amnesty page. In the last 30 posting my AI the Sudan is mentioned twice while the U.S. gets two directly and two by proxy through actions in Iraq.

Does that seem accurate and balanced to you?

Part of the problem is the als the MSM, who back pages any other HR violations (if they run them at all) but make U.S. and Western Europe violations front page news, sometimes with mulitple side bars, graphics and additional Op/Ed pieces. There are numerous reasons for this, some I agree with.

But the combination of AIs over concentration on, usually, comparative small violations by Western countries and the medias sometimes overzelous watchdog attitude about violations by these countries, creates an attitude that countries like the U.S. are no better than Sudan. If you think that than I suggest you move there.

I've spent considerable time in third world countries, a couple that are not 100% friendly to the U.S. and with pretty opressive governments. I would never live in such a place; certainly not by choice.

My conclusion on AI is that the group has good intentions, but needs to use the best of the world's governments to try and improve things in the worst countries. Alienating countries like the U.S. is self-defeating if their purpose is to try and get anything done to improve things in the worst Human Rights offending nations.

One of the worst bits of stupidity by AI is calling the death penalty a human rights violation. I will agree, for countries that give out the death penalty for traffic tickets or perform summary executions. But having no line between that at the death penalty in the U.S., with all its expense and appeals, is rediculous.
(I am personally opposed to the death penalty in most instances, but I'm on the fence when it comes to aggregious offenders who commit apalling crimes. I think it should be reserved only for death crimes. Serial killers, especially torture killers, certainly make my list.)

Oops! many corrections
I got in a hurry and didn't correct my errors. Usually I don't wory about this as it is just one or two, but there were some really bad ones here. It should read…

Yes I do see myself that way on many issues; this isn't one of them as I think this group should be working harder on the real HR violators.
Yes I have a little experience in journalism, and I did look at the amnesty page. In the last 30 posting by AI the Sudan is mentioned twice while the U.S. gets two directly and two by proxy through actions in Iraq.

Does that seem accurate and balanced to you?

Part of the problem is also the MSM, who back-pages any other HR violations (if they run them at all) but make U.S. and Western Europe violations front page news, sometimes with mulitple side bars, graphics and additional Op/Ed pieces. There are numerous reasons for this, some I agree with.

But the combination of AI's over concentration on, usually, comparative small violations by Western countries and the media's sometimes overzelous watchdog attitude about violations by these countries, creates an attitude that countries like the U.S. are no better than Sudan. If you think that than I suggest you move there.

I've spent considerable time in third world countries, a couple that are not 100% friendly to the U.S. and with pretty oppressive governments. I would never live in such a place; certainly not by choice.

My conclusion on AI is that the group has good intentions, but needs to use the best of the world's governments to try and improve things in the worst countries. Alienating countries like the U.S. is a self-defeating policy, if their purpose is to try and get anything done to improve HR in the worst Human Rights offending nations.

One of the worst bits of stupidity by AI is calling the death penalty a human rights violation. I will agree, for countries that give out the death penalty for traffic tickets or perform summary executions. But having no line between that at the death penalty in the U.S., with all its expense and appeals, is rediculous.
(I am personally opposed to the death penalty in most instances, but I'm on the fence when it comes to aggregious offenders who commit apalling crimes. I think it should be reserved only for death crimes. Serial killers, especially torture killers, certainly make my list.)

Not hard to figure out
I gave you the outline. Examine the story for plausibility, Paul.

A man has a friend whose brother is on one of our lists. We do a lot of snooping through Canadian documents and find that this "person of interest" has cosigned a car rental lease with our man (Arar). Thus Arar is also placed on a watch list.

Returning to Canada from a trip home, Arar is taken from the plane and detained. It doesn't matter that as he was on a transfer flight he had not even touched a foot on American soil. So after a brief review persons unknown decide the best thing to do is to deport him. They ask him where he wants to go and he says Canada. So instead they send him to the Syria that his parents escaped from years before. One can assume they knew that Arar would be interrogated and roughed up once he fell into Syrian hands.

Is there anything about his story that seems implausible? Not to me. They wanted to hassle the guy, so that's just what they did. If you've ever been with a group of guys who enjoyed power over others, like GI's in a war zone or cops in the ghetto, you know how they are about doing this kind of thing.

Read it over again. This time, with understanding.

BTW, Syria does favors for the US all the time. It's a separate issue from Arar, who was just turned over by the Jordanians at the border, but the US has so gravely threatened Syria so many times with regime change, invasion, occupation, etc that they have a tendency to carry out such favors/demands as we ask for/insist upon. Syria walks the straight and narrow-- or gives a semblance of doing so-- when it comes to US terms and conditions.

In other words, you may have read the words, but your understanding of what MUST be the case has so clouded your comprehension that you can't even readily see what is actually going on. There's nothing at all hard to understand about Arar's story.

Also, Syria obviously had nothing on the guy, or they would really have given him a hard time. He got beatings, mistreatment and threats. But this is kid glove stuff over there. They did nothing really disgusting to him, and in fact grew tired of toying with him and released him.

I'm not sure I understand this lecture
It pretty much agrees with what i said, in a longer version.

The only difference here is why? The inference I drew from the original post, and somewhat from the articles I read, is that the U.S. sent this guy to Syria to be tortured (to get some information from him??).

Yet there seems to be a real disconect from what was actually done and any U.S. material intent to have this guy questioned. Nothing in any of this points to the U.S. even attempting to get any benefit from this.

Again, that begs the question: What is not being said? What did this guy do that Syria wanted to hold and question him (very roughly)?

I suppose the deal about the car rental lease does explain why the U.S. might want to question him or get him out of North America. But, it seems to me, that the U.S. would have been better served to question him here or ship him off to Iraq or Afghanistan for rough interogation.

Nothing that has yet been said makes sense as to why he was sent to Syria, except that the U.S. wanted him out of North America, perminantly if possible.

I don't question the complaint again the U.S. doing this kind of thing. I agree that it is very probably being done since it seems the U.S. operatives doing it are not very good at covering their tracks.

Is it illegal? When done with the cooperation of the host country it is at least legitimate, though probably not "legal". In the case of Arar, he was in the U.S.; in international space, if you will, making it something of a no-man's land in some views.

But all of this is not relavent.

The point is that Arar was snatched and sent to Syria where he was handled very roughly and kept locked up for a while. The inference that the U.S. had him tortured does not stand up to the evidence I've seen presented.

The arguement of whether or not the U.S. had the right to "deport" him is, therefore, the only legal question at hand. I do hope he takes this to the U.S. courts as I would be interested in seeing what the outcome is.

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