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Old 05-25-2005, 09:37 AM   #1
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Guantanamo: the American Gulag

did we take 40 years to win the Cold War only to turn into our enemy, the Soviet Union?



Amnesty Takes Aim at 'Gulag' in Guantanamo By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 26 minutes ago



Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" as it released a report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centers around the world.

The 308-page report accused the United States of shirking its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections and said Washington has instead created a new lexicon for abuse and torture. Amnesty International called for the camp to be closed.

"Attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak, such as 'environmental manipulation, stress positions and sensory manipulation,' was one of the most damaging assaults on global values," the annual report said.

Some 540 prisoners from about 40 countries are being held at the U.S. detention center in Cuba. More than 200 others have been released, though some have been jailed in their countries; many have been held for three years without charge.

"Guantanamo has become the gulag of our time," Amnesty Secretary General Irene Khan said.

A spokesman for the Department of Defense declined to comment on the report, saying he had not seen it. But Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter said the U.S. government continues to be a leader in human rights, treating detainees humanely and investigating all claims of abuse.

At least 10 cases of abuse or mistreatment have been documented and investigated at Guantanamo. Several other cases are pending.

"During the year, released detainees alleged that they had been tortured or ill-treated while in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Evidence also emerged that others, including Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and the International Committee of the Red Cross, had found that such abuses had been committed against detainees," the report said.

The Geneva-based ICRC is the only independent group to have access to the Guantanamo detainees. Amnesty has been refused access to the prison camp, although it was allowed to watch the pretrial hearings for the military commissions. The commissions, which could try 15 prisoners facing charges, were stalled by a U.S. court's decision that is under appeal.

"There's a myth going around that there's some kind of rule of law being applied," said Rob Freer, an Amnesty official who specializes in detention issues.

Amnesty acknowledged the human rights deficiencies came with a rash of terrorist actions, including the televised beheadings of captives in Iraq.

Still, the group said, governments forgot many victims in the fight against terrorism.

Khan singled out Sudan as one of the worst human rights violations of last year, saying that not only had the Sudanese government turned its back on its own people, but that the United Nations and the African Union acted too late to help.

She also said the African Union needed to do more about speaking out against human rights abuses in Africa, singling out Zimbabwe. She talked about human rights failures being compounded by big business' complicity.

Amnesty's report also pointed to Haiti, saying human rights violators were allowed to regain positions of power after armed rebels and former soldiers ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide last year.

Amnesty said Congo's government offered no effective response to the systematic rape of tens of thousands of women and children and warned of a downward spiral of lawlessness and instability in Afghanistan.

In Asia, the report said violence and discrimination against women was rampant last year, ranging from acid attacks for unpaid dowries in Bangladesh to forced abortion in China, rape by soldiers in Nepal and domestic beatings in Australia.

Amnesty also said the ouster of the conservative Islamic Taliban regime in 2001 by U.S.-led forces did little to bring relief to women.

In the western Herat region, Amnesty reported that hundreds of women had set fire to themselves to escape violence in the home or forced marriage.

"Fear of abductions by armed groups forced women to restrict their movements outside the home," Amnesty said. Even within families, "extreme restrictions" on women's behavior and high levels of violence persisted, it said.

While criticizing the detention mission at Guantanamo, Amnesty said one sign of hope was the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in June that let prisoners challenge the basis of their detention. It also said it was encouraging that Britain's high court lords ruled on the indefinite detention without charge or trial of "terrorist suspects."

"The challenge for the human rights movement is to harness the power of civil society and push governments to deliver on their human rights promises," Khan said.

___

On the Net:

Amnesty International: http://www.amnesty.org
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:57 AM   #2
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Well, looking at how we're spending ourselves to death over Iraq, I can think of another comparison to the Soviet Union with how they spent themselves to death over Afghanistan.

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Old 05-25-2005, 11:19 AM   #3
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"Guantanamo Bay: According to US officials human rights are being violated in Cuba"
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Old 05-25-2005, 04:24 PM   #4
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Wow, I wish that if I was ever arrested in Soviet Russia I could get sent to a place as good as Gitmo, halal food, call to prayer, no summary execution, visits by the Red Cross. Sure I would be mistreated drastically by having to suffer the pain of fleetwood mac cover bands and being exposed to pornography (the highest form of torture, a fate worse than death).

They don't wear uniforms, they put innocent peoples lives at risk, they violated the principles of sanctuary ~ they have no entitlement to POW status. If the US really was the mirror image of the Soviet Union then it would do what it is legally entitled to and just shoot anybody captured without uniform.
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Old 05-25-2005, 05:18 PM   #5
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Would we expect something different from AI?
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Old 05-25-2005, 05:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer

They don't wear uniforms, they put innocent peoples lives at risk, they violated the principles of sanctuary ~ they have no entitlement to POW status.
That's absolutely right...oh wait no if we knew that for sure we'd put them on trial. But it's probably just easier this way.
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Old 05-25-2005, 06:25 PM   #7
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Would we expect something different from AI?
I know...AI having such the reputation as a corrupt, politically motivated, scheming body.
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Old 05-25-2005, 07:10 PM   #8
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I know...AI having such the reputation as a corrupt, politically motivated, scheming body.
You mean you haven't heard...
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Old 05-25-2005, 08:45 PM   #9
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Just a question...How vocal was AI regarding the USSR?
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Old 05-25-2005, 08:54 PM   #10
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Originally posted by Ft. Worth Frog
Just a question...How vocal was AI regarding the USSR?
Pretty damn vocal.

Don't tell me we're trying to pull the "woah is me" syndrome.

I love how some always hold themselves higher than other countries but when it comes to atrocities executed by the government we get back on the same level playing field and it's apples to apples, "oh yeah well what about them or what about this?" It's hypocricy at it's best.
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:01 PM   #11
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Actually, I was only just curious. AI does not seem to have any favorites.
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:05 PM   #12
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Actually, I was only just curious. AI does not seem to have any favorites.
Sorry to sound offensive, there have been many in here that accuse AI of having an agenda. I'm working on 3 days with very little sleep, my bad.
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Old 05-25-2005, 10:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Wow, I wish that if I was ever arrested in Soviet Russia I could get sent to a place as good as Gitmo, halal food, call to prayer, no summary execution, visits by the Red Cross. Sure I would be mistreated drastically by having to suffer the pain of fleetwood mac cover bands and being exposed to pornography (the highest form of torture, a fate worse than death).

They don't wear uniforms, they put innocent peoples lives at risk, they violated the principles of sanctuary ~ they have no entitlement to POW status. If the US really was the mirror image of the Soviet Union then it would do what it is legally entitled to and just shoot anybody captured without uniform.
Ehm the red cross has restricted acces but if you realy think that putting people away without trial is like hollyday and a good thing , i have more words from the past to describe you.
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Old 05-25-2005, 10:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by pax


I know...AI having such the reputation as a corrupt, politically motivated, scheming body.
Are they above reproach?

I doubt you would really suggest that any questioning of AI would be the equivalent of labeling them as "corrupt".
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Old 05-26-2005, 12:23 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Would we expect something different from AI?
Would we expect something different from the U.S. under a RepublicanĀ“s administration?

:unfriendly look:
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