Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Amnesty International & Dick Cheney

Well, you know there's been a nerve hit in the White House when George's favorite attack dog is sent out on national TV to feign indignation and horror. We learn in this morning's Times:

''Frankly, I was offended by it,'' Cheney said in the videotaped interview. ''For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously.''

and then Dick tells us:

''Occasionally there are allegations of mistreatment,'' Cheney said. ''But if you trace those back, in nearly every case, it turns out to come from somebody who had been inside and released to their home country and now are peddling lies about how they were treated.''

Like wow, you trace these allegations back and in nearly every case it's a disgruntled former prisoner fomenting discontent by lying about the treatment they received in our custody? No, that's not quite true, Dick, and you should know that. I mean is he really making the case that this is the FIRST time he was made aware of this problem? Please, tell me it isn't so Dick, really. I first learned about trouble from what would be deemed a "credible" source, specifically
U.S. News & World Report, in its article Dodging a peck of trouble on torture. And the credible source in question? Well, dear me, FBI agents. Indeed, FBI agents, in their memos regarding what they were seeing in the "debriefing" of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, questioned the techniques being used by the U.S. interrogators there. They questioned the value of information obtained, and the legality of what it was they were seeing being done to prisoners. Now should we conclude that the White House doesn't read U.S. News & World Report, published by Mortimer Zuckerman, a prominent and well-established Republican? Hmmmmmm ... I guess when U.S. News runs an article about abuse in GTMO that's ok, but when Amnesty International calls the U.S. for it in an international forum that's the time to get one's dander up, ergo Mr. Cheney gets to spew his righteous indignation on national TV.

So we have FBI agents upset over what they saw at GTMO, and then we have the Times, and U.S. News but again, reporting about the rendering of prisoners to other countries. Let's just stick with U.S. News for now, you can read about it in Shipping terrorism suspects overseas to be grilled hard may make a lot of sense, but is it legal?. We won't torture prisoners here, at least not up to the standards exercised in some other countries, and someone in the system deems it appropriate that torture in fact be used on some prisoners, so we outsource the job to Uzbekistan, Egypt, Pakistan, and a few others. Again, Amnesty International makes a stink over this and the White House gets into a tizzy fit, but U.S. News outs it, along with the Times, and they just lay low.

I have to admire the ability to spin like the White House does, and how the likes of Cheney can so effortlessly get out there on the frontline and spin like a Sufi dancer. But it's all horse manure, from an administration that seems intent on fertilizing the entire American landscape with lies and mis-directions. Instead of stepping up to the plate and saying that we have a problem that we're working to correct we lie, and it's any wonder that so many in the world hate us.


Blogger Africanuck said...

"Instead of stepping up to the plate and saying that we have a problem that we're working to correct we lie"

James, the problem is that GW and his gang like it like this, and so don't recognize it as a problem, and have no intention of "correcting" anything. So they go into denial mode (do they ever tell the truth?), because to admit that they are doing it would make it much more difficult for them to continue to do so.

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Josh Canel said...

This is a fun thing to do when Republicans start harping on Amnesty International: go to their website and count how many times the U.S. is mentioned on the home page.

Okay, when I looked at it just now, there were absolutely zero. So, yes, they may be saying it, but to suggest that bashing the U.S. is the extent of its mission is unsupportable. I haven't read the report yet, but my guess is one would find a similar focus.

5:23 PM  
Blogger James said...

That's the thing, it's not that AI said the U.S. was the most egregious human rights abuser, merely that we were falling short of what we tell the world we stand for. Given our accomplishments in this regard in the last year or so I shouldn't think that this would come as any surprise to anyone that's been paying attention --- well, besides the White House staff, maybe.

5:42 PM  

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