Monday, January 22, 2007

The US used to be a leader

Human rights has never been an area in which the US was perfect (slavery, segregation, Japanese internment camps...), but has been an area in which the US has historically improved, and in doing so provided leadership in the world. 
Under the current administration the US has begun to lead the world in the opposite direction, providing aid and comfort to those who would find an excuse to torture opponents in the darkest corners of military-run prisons. 
Fortunately there are still some in the world who hold high standards and criticize the US for its actions.
The U.S. detention center in Guantanamo fails to meet even basic British standards for prisoners, British lawmakers who visited the base said on Sunday.
Guantanamo "fails to achieve minimum United Kingdom standards on access to exercise and recreation, to lawyers, and to the outside world through educational facilities and the media," the Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report.

"We conclude that abuse of detainees at Guantanamo Bay has almost certainly taken place in the past, but we believe it is unlikely to be taking place now," the report added.

Washington risked undermining the Geneva Conventions by choosing unilaterally to interpret their terms and provisions, they said...

The consequences of US abuse appear clear in the case of accused terrorist Jose Padilla.

Jose Padilla rocked back and forth during the meetings with a psychologist, his chained hands sweating and facial muscles twitching, and insisted repeatedly in a voice devoid of emotion that he was not crazy.

He is a bit paranoid and believes the government is persecuting him, "but this does not appear to be delusional," wrote one of doctors who examined the alleged al Qaeda operative in a Miami prison cell at his lawyers' request.

Interesting statement by the doctor.  His belief that he is being persecuted is not delusional because he is being persecuted- not because he was arrested, but because he has been subject to abuse, has had counsel withheld until recently, and is still uncharged.  He may be guilty, but if he is, he should be tried and convicted.  What has been done to him virtually assures that he never will be.  To bring him into open court would be to expose the government's abuse.  In other words, to cover-up mistreatment, justice will be denied- to both perpetrator and victims. 


No comments: