Saturday, May 28

AI Calls for arrest of Top US Officials

During a statement on the release of it's annual report, Amnesty International President William Schultz called for the investigation, arrest, detention and prosecution of senior U.S. Officials - either by an Special Prosecutor or by foreign government prosecutors - who authored and authorized policies which lead to inhumane treatment and torture of persons held at Guantanemo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram Air Force Base. "The Government investigation must climb all the way to the top...", stated Schultz. Quoting former Secretary of State Colin Powell he went on to point out that permitting Torture by U.S. personnel "undermines the moral authority" and can allow such techniques to "spread like a virus" thruout the world.

Amnesty International then offered a "Hit List" of high level U.S. officials whose actions have directly lead to torture.

Donald Rumsfeld: For approving a Sept 2002 Memorandum that permitted unlawful torture techniques such as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping and the use of dogs at Guantanemo Bay.

William Haynes - Department of Defense General Counsel : Who wrote that Memo.

Douglas Feith : Who was listed in the Sept 2002 Memo as concurring with it's conclusions.

Maj General Geoffrey Miller - Commander of Joint Task Force at Guantanemo : Whose subordinates used some of those same torture techniques (as approved by the Haynes Memo), and was then sent to Iraq where he recommended that prison guards - "soften up" detainees for interrogation.

George Tenet - former CIA Director : Whose organization kept "Ghost Detainees" off registration logs and hid them from members of the Red Cross, and whose operatives reportedly used such techniques as water-boarding, suffocation, stress positions and incommunicado detention.

Roberto Gonzales - Attorney General and former White House Council: Who called the Geneva Conventions "quaint and obsolete" in a Jan 2002 memo, and requested the "Bybee Memo" which fueled the atrocities at Abu Ghraib.

Lt General Ricardo Sanchez - former commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq and his deputee: Who failed to ensure proper oversight at Abu Ghraib.

Capt. Carolyn Wood : Who oversaw interrogation operations at Bagram AFB in Afghanistan, which permitted the use of dogs, sensory deprovation and stress positions.

George W. Bush - President : Whose Administration has repeatedly justified it's interrogation policies as legitimate, under the Presidents powers as Commander-in-Chief, and President Bush also signed a Feb 2002 Memo stating that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees, and that their humane treatment should be contigent upon "Military Neccesity" - which clearly set the stage for the tragic use of torture by U.S. forces.

Amnesty International on National security and the ‘war on terror’

President Bush’s refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to those captured during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan and transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was challenged by a judicial decision in November. The ruling resulted in the suspension of trials by military commission in Guantánamo, and the government immediately lodged an appeal. The US administration’s treatment of detainees in the “war on terror” continued to display a marked ambivalence to the opinion of expert bodies such as the International Committee of the Red Cross and even of its own highest judicial body. Six months after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal courts had jurisdiction over the Guantánamo detainees, none had appeared in court. Detainees reportedly considered of high intelligence value remained in secret detention in undisclosed locations. In some cases their situation amounted to “disappearance”.

The “war on terror” and the “war on drugs” increasingly merged, and dominated US relations with Latin America and the Caribbean. Following the US elections in November, the Bush administration encouraged governments in the region to give a greater role to the military in public order and internal security operations. The blurring of military and police roles resulted in governments such as those in Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico and Paraguay deploying military forces to deal with crime and social unrest.

The US doubled the ceiling on the number of US personnel deployed in Colombia in counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics operations. The Colombian government in turn persisted in redefining the country’s 40-year internal conflict as part of the international “war on terror”.

The blatant disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law in the “war on terror” continued to make a mockery of President George Bush’s claims that the USA was the global champion of human rights. Images of detainees in US custody tortured in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq shocked the world. War crimes in Iraq, and mounting evidence of the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in US custody in other countries, sent an unequivocal message to the world that human rights may be sacrificed ostensibly in the name of security.

Click for more details from Amnesty International Report on the USA.


1 comment:

Vyan said...

Cheney offended by Amnesty criticism
Rights group accuses U.S. of violations at Guantanamo Bay

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 Posted: 5:13 AM EDT (0913 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday he was offended by Amnesty International's condemnation of the United States for what it called "serious human rights violations" at Guantanamo Bay.

"For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously," he said in an interview that aired Monday night on CNN's "Larry King Live."

Amnesty International was scathing last week in its criticism of the way the United States has run the detention center at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

"We have documented that the U.S. government is a leading purveyor and practitioner of the odious human rights violation," William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said Wednesday.

On its Web site, the London, England-based human rights group says: "As evidence of torture and widespread cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment mounts, it is more urgent than ever that the U.S. government bring the Guantanamo Bay detention camp and any other facilities it is operating outside the USA into full compliance with international law and standards. The only alternative is to close them down."

The vice president said the United States has freed millions of people from oppression.

"I think the fact of the matter is, the United States has done more to advance the cause of freedom, has liberated more people from tyranny over the course of the 20th century and up to the present day than any other nation in the history of the world," he said.

"Just in this administration, we've liberated 50 million people from the Taliban in Afghanistan and from Saddam Hussein in Iraq, two terribly repressive regimes that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of their own people."

Cheney denied American wrongdoing at the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, which Amnesty International compared to a "gulag."

"Guantanamo's been operated, I think, in a very sane and sound fashion by the U.S. military. ... I think these people have been well treated, treated humanely and decently," Cheney said. "Occasionally there are allegations of mistreatment.

"But if you trace those back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who has been inside and been released ... to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated."

Schulz responded to Cheney's comments: "It doesn't matter whether he takes Amnesty International seriously.

"He doesn't take torture seriously; he doesn't take the Geneva Convention seriously; he doesn't take due process rights seriously; and he doesn't take international law seriously.

"And that is more important than whether he takes Amnesty International seriously."

On Thursday, the commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention center said an investigation had identified five incidents in which the Quran appears to have been mishandled by his personnel.

But Brig. Gen. Jay Hood said he has found "no credible evidence" that personnel at the military prison flushed a Quran in a toilet. (Full story)

On the issue of Iraq, Cheney told King that he believes the insurgency there is "in the last throes." He also predicted the fighting would end before the Bush administration leaves office. (Full story)