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Amnesty urging war on US?

Posted by Richard on June 9, 2005

Captain Ed notes that everyone was so preoccupied with Amnesty Irresponsible’s "gulag" remark that not enough attention has been paid to something even more outrageous: a call for foreign governments to ignore diplomatic immunity, seize traveling US officials, and put them on trial. Here’s part of the AI press release:

If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal. And if those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them. The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998. …

Amnesty International’s list of those who may be considered high-level torture architects includes Donald Rumsfeld, who approved a December 2002 memorandum that permitted such unlawful interrogation techniques as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping, and the use of dogs at Guantanamo Bay; William Haynes, the Defense Department General Counsel who wrote that memo, and Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is cited in the memo as concurring with its recommendations.

AI goes on for two more lengthy paragraphs listing other, lower-level, targets that foreign governments should kidnap and put on trial for "crimes against humanity." Most are military officers, all the way down to the Captain level. AI briefly describes the "torture" that constitutes each one’s "crime against humanity." The same few are repeated again and again — stress positions, isolation, use of dogs.

As I noted (and quoted) in this post, the 1987 Convention Against Torture defines torture as the infliction of "severe pain or suffering" under specific circumstances for specific purposes. Whether the actions AI cites fit that description is, as I said:

… at the very least debatable. I think it’s absurd, and it’s a slap in the face of those who’ve undergone real torture, of which there are plenty in Iraq.

As Captain Ed noted, Amnesty Indefensible has never called on foreign governments to seize and put on trial people who really do practice honest-to-gosh torture as a matter of policy, such as Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-Il, Robert Mugabe, etc., etc., etc. In fact, has AI ever used a phrase such as "high-level architects of torture" in reference to third-world leftist dictators or communist governments? Of course not — that would be undiplomatic, inflammatory, and counter-productive. But for the eeeevil Bush administration, who cares?

This is so patently a hate-filled anti-American screed, so blatant a demonstration of a double standard, that all decent and fair-minded Americans, regardless of political leanings, should reject it unequivocally and withdraw all support for or connection to this contemptible organization. But it’s worse than outrageous and contemptible. Captain Ed explains (emphasis added):

… Moreover, when we send our leaders abroad to interact with leaders of other countries, we expect those countries to extend normal diplomatic status, or to warn in advance when that status will not be extended. Violating that status by imprisoning our leaders and diplomats is an act of war against the United States. Those joining in Amnesty International’s call for other nations to commit an act of war against us should be held politically accountable for their position.

Damn straight.

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