I don't know when Amnesty ceased to be politically neutral or at what point its leaders' views morphed into ordinary anti-Americanism. But surely Amnesty's recent misuse of the word "gulag" marks some kind of turning point. In the past few days, not only has Amnesty's secretary general, Irene Khan, called the U.S. prison for enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "the gulag of our times," but Amnesty's U.S. director, William Schulz, has agreed that U.S. prisons for enemy combatants are "similar at least in character, if not in size, to what happened in the gulag." In an interview, Schulz also said that foreign governments should prosecute U.S. officials, as if they were the equivalent of the Soviet Union's criminal leadership.Read the whole article here by Anne Applebaum.
Thus Guantanamo is the gulag, President Bush is Generalissimo Stalin, and the United States, in Khan's words, is a "hyper-power" that "thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights" just like the Soviet Union. In part, I find this comparison infuriating because in the Soviet Union it would have been impossible for the Supreme Court to order the administration to change its policies in Guantanamo Bay, as it has done, or for the media to investigate Abu Ghraib, as they has done, or for Irene Khan to publish an independent report about anything at all. (Emphasis added.)
So Schultz is asking foreign governments to arrest and prosecute Donald Rumsfeld and other American leaders (including the president?) when they visit their countries.
How does that differ from the way fascist regimes deal with their political enemies?
It’s easy to dismiss Amnesty as a bunch of fools, which they are, but their silliness still provides fodder for naïve America-haters around the world.
The Bangkok Post jumped on the story immediately. Unlike the Thai people, the editors of the Bangkok Post despise America and all that America stands for and will continue to do so until Americans come to rescue their worthless asses and perhaps, like the French, even after that. So of course the editors of The Bangkok Post loved the story and published letters and cartoons that supported it 100%. As usual, they never published a single dissenting word. They never allow two sides of a story to be aired. In fact, if you disagree with them, they will no longer accept your email. Does that sound kind of fascist too? It’s funny how liberals morph into totalitarians.
The irony is that I’m sure the detainees at Guantanamo Bay would much rather be where they are than in a Thai prison. I’ve seen the insides of a Thai prison. It’s not pleasant.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not criticizing Thai prisons. I think they are run correctly. Prison is not supposed to be a pleasant place. I’m sure that conditions in Thai prisons are better than in most prisons in the world.
The point is, with all the scrutiny the Guantanamo Bay facility has received, it is probably prisoner heaven compared to most of the prisons in the world.
Another largely overlooked irony is that under the Geneva Conventions, most of the detainees at Guantanamo could have been executed. They were combatants in civilian clothes.