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Amnesty International’s shameful silence
Posted by on Friday, March 30, 2007 at 11:04 am

And here I thought the Geneva Conventions were really, really important. Apparently not:

I just checked Amnesty International’s web site for to get a copy of their demand that the Iranians release the British prisoners and condemning the statements made under coercive conditions and the broadcast of the images of the prisoners.

Surprise. There isn’t one.

There is, however, a report titled “USA: Justice delayed and justice denied? Trials under the Military Commissions Act.” I eagerly await the report similarly condemning the show trials Iran may be planning for the kidnapped soldiers.

Speaking of useless international organizations, the U.N. has expressed “grave concern” over the standoff between the U.K. and Iran — but heaven forbid it go further and, you know, specifically condemn the Iranian action and demand the soldiers’ immediate and unconditional release. That would be taking sides! Nevermind that one side is violating international law, and the other isn’t…

The Security Council’s statement was a watered-down version of a stronger draft sought by Britain to “deplore” Iranian actions and urge the immediate release of the prisoners, primarily because Russia and South Africa opposed putting blame on the Tehran regime, diplomats said.

As I said: useless.




68 Comments on “Amnesty International’s shameful silence”

  1. Concerned Says:

    Did someone get beat-up by a liberal last night or something? What’s happening to this blog. There’s an anti-nyt post followed by an anti-amnesty international post from redstate.com. I’m concerned.

  2. SoDamn Insane Says:

    I believe Brendan will be voting for Newt this time around.

  3. Joe Mama Says:

    Source bias re redstate.com and lame assertions that once has to be a Newt supporter to appreciate the ineffectiveness of the UN or Amnesty Int’l are expected; actual refutations of the uselessness and hypocrisy of such organizations are not.

  4. Concerned Says:

    So I take it that you endorse the appeal to source bias concerning the NYT below, just not the appeal to source bias regarding redstate.com? That’s expected. Actual refutations are not.

  5. SoDamn Insane Says:

    Brendan attacks Amnesty International but praises Mickey Kaus and Michelle Malkin. I wonder which one has done more to help people. Hmmm.

  6. Brendan Loy Says:

    There’s a difference — a huge, huge, huge difference — between analyzing the bias of a given source in order to prove something about that source, and analyzing the bias of a given source in order to prove something about the story that the source is reporting on.

    Kaus is doing the former. Joe Mama is suggesting that you are doing the latter.

    Kaus is not saying that the facts being reported by the Times are false. He is not saying that the Times’s bias alters the reality of the immigration debate. He is simply saying, hey look, here’s another example of the Times being biased. The topic of his post is not about immigration, it’s about the Times and its bias.

    The topic of this post, on the other hand, is not Redstate’s bias, but the facts of the response to the Iran/U.K. crisis by Amnesty International and the U.N. No one is denying that Redstate is a conservative publication. It would retarded for me to call their coverage of this issue unbiased; of course it’s not. It’s biased. But you seem to be suggesting — if your snarky commentary has any actual meaning at all — that the whole discussion of this issue is stupid because it was Redstate that raised it. That makes no sense. These issues REALLY ARE NOT on the Amnesty website. You can check that for yourself. That Redstate said it, doesn’t change whether it’s true or false.

    The difference between the two situations is completely obvious. That you apparently couldn’t figure out what I just wrote above on your own, bespeaks either myopia or intellectual dishonesty on your part.

  7. SoDamn Insane Says:

    Actually, if you want to attack ineffective institutions, Joe Mama, why not attack the U.S. military. I mean, we haven’t won the war, now have we? Who do you blame for that?

  8. SoDamn Insane Says:

    Mickey Kaus is attacking the NY Times for making his factually incorrect argument that illegal immigrants are becoming citizens because illegal immigrants get better benefits than do citizens. That’s just stupid. He is criticizing the NY Times for NOT having its head up its ass, like he does.

  9. Brendan Loy Says:

    SoDamn, what a ridiculous comment. First of all, I have said both postiive and negative things about Malkin, but mostly what I do is hat-tip her when she tips me off to a story, and a hat tip in no way constitutes an endorsement of a person’s moral character, so please, do yourself a favor and spare us the spectacle of watching you foolishly trot out such guilt-by-association absurdity. As for Kaus, all I did was quote something that he said which I thought was snarky and interesting; again, that is not tantamount to an endorsement of his moral character. But third of all, and this is the really important point, you seem to be suggesting that because Amnesty International has “helped people,” therefore it should be immune to criticism (or at least somewhat immune, as compared to others who have done less humanitarian good, such as random bloggers whose names you pulled out of your ass, as if it makes any sense whatsoever to compare the good works of a humanitarian organization with those of a random individual). This is obviously absurd. Amnesty International should be criticized if they deserve criticism, notwithstanding that they may be extremely praiseworthy in other areas. This is true of all organizations and people: they should be criticized if they deserve it, not spared deserved criticism because they’ve done other good things. Off the top of my head, here are some organizations that have “helped people” — a lot of people — and yet sometimes deserve criticism:

    • The United States Military
    • FEMA
    • The Catholic Church

    Would it be wrong to criticize these organizations for their shortcomings, simply because they have “done more to help people” than random individuals who I might praise or quote or say positive things about, like, say, Glenn Reynolds or Barack Obama or O.J. Mayo or Brady Quinn or my dog Robbie? There is simply no connection whatsoever along the lines of what you are trying to suggest. Please go away and grow a brain.

  10. Brendan Loy Says:

    LOL SoDamn, I hadn’t even seen your comment #7 when I wrote my comment #9. But now it’s even more delicious. So it’s okay to attack the U.S. military, even though it has clearly helped many people over the years, but it’s NOT okay to attack Amnesty International, because it too has clearly helped many people over the years? The military can be held to account for its shortcomings, despite the fact that it’s praiseworthy in other areas, but Amnesty International cannot?

    Remind me again why I should take your comments seriously?

  11. Brendan Loy Says:

    P.S. By all means –

    feel free —

    really and truly –

    to make the slightest hint of an attempt

    at ACTUALLY REBUTTING ANYTHING I SAID in this post

    (rather than just sniping at me uselessly from the sidelines about irrelevancies).

  12. Concerned Says:

    That’s a fair point about the difference between the two cases. My original point was not to disqualify redstate.com because of their bias, but rather to question why these points were chosen as posts. Fair enough, it’s your blog, but I want to make a larger point. It’s a feature of public debate these days to offer criticism of one position in order to validate another. Such arguments, I think, are flawed. Consider the following example. In a situation like Iraq, there are no good available options. So, it does no good to cite as an argument against option x, that option x will lead to a bad conclusion. Someone might say, “If we leave Iraq before they can stand on their own, there will be more children’s shoes to count than ever before.” Let’s suppose that this is correct. I can always cite that if we stay in Iraq, more US soldiers will die than if we leave Iraq. The point is that for any option in Iraq, someone can cite a probable bad effect. But this is not to say that this means that the option being discussed is worse than any other option. The fact that you can cite a bad conclusion to any given option is just the result of there being no good options.
    This is my real concern, especially concerning your criticism of the UN.

  13. SoDamn Insane Says:

    Brendan-

    If you read my post, it is apparent I wasn’t attacking the U.S. military. I was attacking Joe Mama’s statement that the UN and Amnesty International are “useless.” Amnesty International not mentioning the British sailor thing doesn’t negate the good it has done, just as the U.S. military’s inability to stop the insurgency doesn’t make it “useless.”

  14. Brendan Loy Says:

    They were chosen as posts because I happened to see them both and felt like posting about them both. The Kaus post was more of a snarky aside, not an overwhelmingly serious point. It was more something that I wanted to throw out there and see what people would say about it. My blog has been somewhat less political than usual recently because of all the basketball, so when I saw that quote, I thought, heh, this is kinda funny, and should stir some good argument, so what the heck, let’s post it. The Amnesty/UN thing is more serious, something I feel more strongly about. That said, I really don’t sit there with an ideological scale and try to make sure my blog’s new content meets some sort of centrist test at any given moment. I also make no bones about the fact that I have opinions and I express them here. That the New York Times has a liberal bias, and that the U.N. and Amnesty International are relatively useless when it comes to geopolitical issues because of their own ridiculous biases, are two of my opinions, and this has never been a secret, so it really shouldn’t surprise anyone that I would post these two things. I understand how it might seem jarring after so many non-political posts, but it certainly doesn’t mean I’ve suddenly become a right-wing nutjob or something. And I do think the impulse to talk about my editorial choices, and the nature of my sources, rather than actually addressing the issues I’m bringing up, says something about you, much moreso than it does about me. Again, I invite anyone to actually attempt to address the issues at hand, rather than asking the relatively pointless question “why are you posting about this?”

    With regard to your “real concern,” I’m afraid I don’t understand its applicability here. What is the “other bad option” that you’re referring to, in the U.N.’s case? How is straightforwardly condemning Iran’s violations of international law a “bad option”? If that’s anything but the 100% obvious, completely correct option, then the U.N. might as well disband right now, because if it doesn’t exist to tell member-states “you cannot randomly kidnap other nation’s soldiers and hold them hostage,” then I don’t know what it exists for.

  15. Brendan Loy Says:

    SoDamn, I’ll admit that “useless” is somewhat hyperbolous. I think my refined statement above says it more clearly: “Amnesty International [is] relatively useless when it comes to geopolitical issues because of [its] own ridiculous biases.” In other words, it may serve some useful purposes, but those useful purposes do not relate to providing any sort of reasonably reliable lens through which to make judgments or comparisons of what’s happening in different countries.

  16. Brendan Loy Says:

    P.S. One final, obvious point about the NYT vs. Redstate thing.

    What the Times is doing, in the article that Kaus links to, is looking at a socio-political trend, and analyzing the causes thereof. That is the sort of thing where bias can very easily come into play.

    What Redstate is doing, in the post that I link to, is literally surfing to another website, noticing that something isn’t there, and saying, “Hey! That’s not there!” A trained monkey could do that. Whether the monkey is liberal or conservative really doesn’t matter. The observed facts are not altered by the biases of the observer. I wish I’d noticed the Amnesty thing myself, because then I could have posted about it without linking to Redstate, but blogospheric honor demands that I link the site that actually pointed this out to me. However, the issue at hand is the underlying fact that Redstate noted, which is readily verifiable (and which I verified before posting this), namely the lack of anything on Amnesty’s homepage about the Iran-U.K. issue. The identity of the site which noticed it really isn’t relevant.

  17. Joe Mama Says:

    WRT the U.S. military, trying to paint it as “ineffective” because an insurgency remains in Iraq after the U.S. military ousted the prior regime in weeks is just plain asinine (to say nothing of the fact that the U.S. military has been quite effective since the “surge,” not least of which is because the strategy and rules of engagement coming from the U.S. military’s civilian leadership have changed. To the extent the desired results haven’t been achieved in Iraq, the U.S. military is hardly to blame).

  18. Concerned Says:

    I suppose you’re right that if you take your precise criticism of the UN, there might be a good option to choose. I was taking your criticism more broadly to apply to the UN in general, which you called “useless.” Correct me if this meant only “useless in this situation,” rather than “useless in general.” No doubt any alternative to the UN would be a bad option, if only because the job of the UN is impossible. I think even anti-UN folks could agree with this. Where we might disagree is that I think that while the UN is very flawed, such an organization is necessary, where others might think this is grounds for eliminating it altogether.

  19. David K. Says:

    First off I think that Iran is completely in the wrong here. That said, i think your comparison to a situation that is years old (the detainees) vs. a situation that is days old (the Brits) is somewhat unfair. So far, other than detaining them we don’t have examples of mistreatment (thats not to say they aren’t being mistreated, hell it wouldn’t surprise me if they were, i think Amadinjackass is nuts). On the larger question of Iranian justice and show trials you might have a point but your examples here were limited to the soldiers.

    Now if you want to say that in any situation like this AI should condemn the action as soon as possible, i’d buy that argument, especially if they have done so in the past for other similar situations.

  20. David K. Says:

    To the extent the desired results haven’t been achieved in Iraq, the U.S. military is hardly to blame

    I agree, the Commander in Chief is to blame.

  21. atticus Says:

    Once again, Brendan, you overreact to someone calling out your sloppy writing. You are correct that no organization — no matter how much good it’s done — is immune to criticism. But you’re not just criticizing AI’s failure to condemn Iran’s actions; you’re implying that it’s useless. Instead of lashing out, go back and read again what you wrote.

    I also think David’s right that it’s a little early in this situation to be in the full-throated outrage-at-international-pansies mode.

  22. Brendan Loy Says:

    David, the parading of the soldiers on TV and having them read “confessions” is itself a violation of the Geneva Conventions, as the linked post points out. So we do, in fact, “have examples of mistreatment.”

    You’re right, of course, that we don’t know all the facts yet, and that makes the comparison with the years-old detainee situation somewhat imperfect. But as the U.S. and U.K. don’t make a habit of taking people hostage and parading them on TV in blatantly obvious violation of international law, it’s hard to find a perfect analogy. My point is simply that there’s a double-standard, and I do believe that’s true. Can you imagine what Amnesty’s response would be if the U.S. or U.K. or Israel took 15 foreign soldiers hostage while they were in the midst of a routine, non-aggressive mission in waters that they were entitled to be in; paraded the kidnapped soldiers on TV; forced them to read “confessions”; and denied the foreign nation’s consulate’s repeated requests for access to them, or even information about exactly where they are being held? I don’t think Amnesty would be waiting for further facts to unfold before making a statement in that situation, nor should they. If the facts are sufficiently uncertain, release a statement with a caveat like “assuming the facts are as we understand them to be…” But don’t just remain silent in the face of blatant human-rights violations that are happening as we speak. That very seriously erodes Amnesty’s credibility.

  23. Brendan Loy Says:

    Atticus, I admitted above that “useless” was hyperbole. If the people who criticzed me had limited their criticism to that point, I wouldn’t have reacted as strongly as I did. But they basically hurled a whole bunch of miscellaneous, largely irrelevant verbal vomit at me, and only after I swatted it away did we get to the point (the “uselessness” issue). It’s a little ridiculous to claim that it’s “calling out my sloppy writing” to say:

    Did someone get beat-up by a liberal last night or something? What’s happening to this blog. There’s an anti-nyt post followed by an anti-amnesty international post from redstate.com. I’m concerned.

    or:

    I believe Brendan will be voting for Newt this time around.

    or:

    Brendan attacks Amnesty International but praises Mickey Kaus and Michelle Malkin. I wonder which one has done more to help people. Hmmm.

    Those are not criticisms that focus on the question of whether I was “sloppy” in using the term “useless.” They are criticisms that question the very topic selection itself, imply that because I selected this topic I must be a right-winger, and… well, I don’t even know how to characterize the third one, it’s so absurd. Also, throw in the suggestion that my post was somehow tainted by the link to RedState, even though the basic fact reported by RedState is independently verifiable and thus RedState’s bias isn’t really relevant except for purposes of pure distraction.

    The discussion doesn’t start focusing on the use of the term “useless” until comment #13. All of the above is what I was reacting to in my initial “lashing out.”

    So, perhaps I overreacted a bit, but I’m hardly the only guilty party… and much of what I vehemently shot down, deserved to be vehemently shot down.

  24. Jay Johnson Says:

    This comment thread has a lot of words, and I got tired of reading them all.

  25. Brett Says:

    I find it interesting that South Africa opposed putting blame on Tehran.

    What the heck is that all about?? I’m too lazy to search, but I’m curious what bed they’re lying in with Iran.

  26. Andrew Says:

    Sigh. When is Europe going to recall all their diplomats from Iran in protest and/or kick out the Iranian diplomats out of Europe? If Iran still doesn’t budget, Tony Blair should make an ultimatum: return the prisoners by xx date, or we’ll sink your entire Navy — with or without America’s help.

  27. David K. Says:

    I understand what your saying Brendan and you may be right, i didn’t read the RedState article, i just wanted to comment that it seemed a bit absurd to compare the too situations. Also, not knowing how AI handles situations like this in the past i don’t reallly have a frame of reference from which to draw from. Perhaps they feel they should wait a little while diplomatic efforst are being carried out? I just don’t know. That said i think your outrage at AI is disproportional to the fault you are observing. Thats not to say they don’t deserve some critcism, i’m definitely leaning that way without reading the article myself, but is it really something to be so vehement about? No, not really. And the fact that it comes from RedState is relevant in that it seems like they are intentionally directing disproportionate partisan criticism at a group in a rather opportunistic manner. Bottom line, while i feel that yes AI should say something, the fact that they haven’t yet in this particular case doesn’t begin to raise any red flags (pun intended) unless you allready have it in for them.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    Whoa, nice rationalization.

  29. Aaron Says:

    Bottom line, while i feel that yes AI should say something, the fact that they haven’t yet in this particular case doesn’t begin to raise any red flags (pun intended) unless you allready have it in for them.

    That seems about right. And even if they never do say anything about this, it doesn’t strike me as a big deal. Certainly not “shamefull.” Much of what Amnesty does is to call attention to human rights violations that would not otherwise get much attention, and to act as an advocate for those who might not otherwise have one. Neither situation seems to apply here.

  30. Joe Mama Says:

    Yes, I’m sure if the U.S. captured an Iranian woman and paraded her before the cameras in western dress as a prize, Amnesty Int’l would similarly hold their wad to get all the facts, just like they did when the pictures of Saddam’s dead sons were made public by the U.S. (so that fearful Iraqis could be certain these monsters were actually dead).

    Puh-puh-puh-lease . . .

  31. Joe Mama Says:

    From that link:

    Kamal Samari of Amnesty International asserted, “It is true that there is no explicit prohibition in the laws of war to show pictures of dead bodies. However, the spirit of the rules is that the dignity of everyone—dead or alive, be they Iraqis, United States nationals, British or others—must be respected.”

    Uh-huh.

  32. Anonymous Says:

    The rest of that article is hysterical.

  33. Sandy Underpants Says:

    First off, it’s about 5 years too early to compare this situation to Gitmo. Second off, why are the I-rainians being such dicks about this? The British aren’t at war with I-ran. If the Limeys were in Iran’s waters, can’t the poodle just say, “I’m quite sorry if our soldiers were a bit off course, can you kind sirs please let them free? Tell ya what, we’ll pay their airfare and we won’t do it again, thanks so much”. I haven’t really heard anything about the Iranians position on this, like– what’s next? Convert the troops to muslims and force them to join the insurgency in Tatooine?

    Maybe the soldiers like Persian food. I know I’d trade my freedom for good kabobs if I were British. But then again I can’t think of anything worse then being forced to eat 3 meals a day in England the rest of my life. Bleck!

  34. Aaron Says:

    Joe Mama,

    The article you link to is indeed outrageous, but that’s to be expected when the header is World Socialist Web Site: Published by the International Comittee of the Fourth International.

    What does the Uday/Qusay episode reveal about Amnesty International? That’s a different story. What we have here is one guy who, when asked, gave the (fairly inoccuous, in my opinion) quote you excerpted. If you can find an Amnesty press release, or even another Amnesty spokesman making the same complaint, I’d like to see it. I just spent five minutes and didn’t come up with anything.

  35. David K. Says:

    Yes, I’m sure if the U.S. captured an Iranian woman and paraded her before the cameras in western dress as a prize, Amnesty Int’l would similarly hold their wad to get all the facts, just like they did when the pictures of Saddam’s dead sons were made public by the U.S. (so that fearful Iraqis could be certain these monsters were actually dead).

    Puh-puh-puh-lease . . .

    First off, as Aaron has pointed out that article isn’t even referencing an official stance by AI. Second, even if it was, now they AREN’T acting that same way so either:

    A) Their initial position (re: Uday/Qusay) was correct and they are wrong for not applying it here
    B) Their action regarding Uday/Qusay was wrong, in which case you should be happy that they aren’t making the same mistake again.

    My guess is you think they held the wrong position regarding uday/qusay and should have waited for more info. Now that they appear to be doing just that you are criticizing them again, let me guess, for flip-flopping or something?

    See thats your problem, and the problem with blind partisans like you, you either bitch and moan cause they aren’t doing what you want them to do, and then when they change, suddenly they are inconsistent/hypocrites/etc.

  36. Brett Says:

    David calling someone a blind partisan. Now THAT’S funny. Hee hee.

  37. Mad Max, Esquire Says:

    Brendan-

    You do realize what Mickey Kaus is bringing up is a total non sequitar to what the New York Times story covers, right? The Times story covers the factors that are motivating “illegal” immigrants to become “legal,” while the CNN item Kaus refers to discusses why illegal immigrants are chosing to remain “illegal” because they receive more benefits than legal immigrants.

    Kaus’s argument is incredibly sloppy and wrong - not based on the accuracy of the information provided, but based on logic.

  38. Mad Max, Esquire Says:

    Brendan-

    I’m kind of surprised you didn’t raise the issue of the Geneva Convention when the US captured Iranian diplomats earlier this month…

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=1745&sectionid=351020101

  39. Anonymous Says:

    “See thats your problem, and the problem with blind partisans like you, you either bitch and moan cause they aren’t doing what you want them to do, and then when they change, suddenly they are inconsistent/hypocrites/etc.”

    Funny how that “change” just so happens to be at the expense of the US/UK here, but then again, that’s the one glaring constant in Amnesty International’s behavior in the instances mentioned thus far — or does recognizing that fact make one a “blind partisan?”

  40. Mindsurfer Says:

    Constant indeed. As in AI’s response to the Hezbolla attack on Israel, and the placing of missile lauchers in populated areas and beside hospitals and schools. The respose changed when Israel struck back. They responded so quickly to condemn Israel that they didn’t even have time to notice the faked video footage at some of the sites.
    Blind partisans, like the blind guys who felt the elephant (no I won’t repeat the story) are always SO sincere in their different understandings. Sometimes one of them stands too close to the exhaust though, and finds themselves covered in doo-doo.
    I’ve been watching AI for a long time and it’s my different understanding that AI have their collective head so far up that exhaust …

  41. David K. Says:

    Really Brett? Why is that exactly?

  42. gahrie Says:

    I find it interesting that there is an article on the official Amnesty International site dated 3/28/07 about Zimbabwe, and another one dated 3/30/07 about Vietnam, but no mention of the British hostages in Iran, and the Iranian violations of their human rights and the Geneva Conventions.

  43. Sean Says:

    AI does have a an s-load of criticism for Iran specifically for detentions and torture and possible executions.

  44. Mad Max, Esquire Says:

    While showing the British on television may be a violation of the Geneva Conventions, their detention for supposedly being in Iranian waters is not. If you want to bash the Iranians for showing the British on TV, you should also bash the U.S. government for doing the same when Saddam was captured and when his sons’ corpses were shown on TV.

  45. Brendan Loy Says:

    The key word being “supposedly.” Considering the Iranians have produced absolutely no evidence whatsoever (aside from obviously forced “confessions”) that the soldiers were in Iranian waters; and considering the British have released GPS evidence proving they weren’t in Iranian waters; and considering it would make absolutely no sense for them to be in Iranian waters, whereas it makes perfect sense for Iran to pretend they were; I don’t understand why any rational person would lend a single iota of credence to the self-serving claims that they were in Iranian waters. One can’t evade the requirements of international law by bald-facedly and obviously lying.

  46. Brendan Loy Says:

    P.S. The Saddam & Sons situation is obviously different. The U.S. needed to provide visual evidence of their capture in order for the Iraqis to believe that they really were captured, and prevent (as much as possible) conspiracy theories from erupting on the Arab Street. It was absolutely necessary to the success of the mission in Iraq that the Iraqi people understand that the Husseins would never be able to tyrannize them again… that they no longer had anything to fear from Saddam and his sadistic sons. So, was a technical violation of the Geneva Conventions committed? Maybe, but if so, there was a compelling reason to make an exception in that case. If the U.S. had been parading random miscellaneous Iraqi Army prisoners in front of the cameras and forcing them to make “confessions,” then I absolutley would bash us for that, just as I bashed us for the inexcusable abuses at Abu Graihb. But I’m not going to bash us for doing something as obviously necessary as showing Saddam & his sons on TV, even if it was technically a violation. Here, no such compelling justification — indeed, no justification at all — exists for what the Iranians are doing. They are committing the paradigmatic violation of those rules, violating them for the exact reason everyone always wants to violate them (the propaganda victory of showing another nation’s average soldiers on TV). There is really no comparison between the two situations.

  47. Brendan Loy Says:

    P.P.S. I’ll take the comparison a step further, in order to prove that I’m being even-handed here. If the Iranians were to capture the prime minster of Iraq straying into Iranian territory, and put a picture of him on TV to prove that they had really captured him, I wouldn’t object on Geneva Conventions grounds. It’s obviously a very, very different thing when you’re using a TV broadcast to prove that you really have captured a particular high-profile person, a current or former head of state, versus when you’re using a TV broadcast simply to show enemy soldiers in a compromising situation, when there is no dispute over whether you’ve captured them and nobody is going to try and start conspiracy theories that you’ve made the whole thing up.

  48. Mad Max, Esquire Says:

    I think, given the fact we have used dogs on prisoners in Iraq, water-boarding on prisoners at GITMO and forced out JAG officers who tried to plead “not guilty” on behalf of their clients at Military Tribunals, it would be foolish for the U.S. to bring up the Geneva Conventions.

    As for the Iranian claims, the British are saying that the ships were in Iraqi waters. The same British who claimed Saddam was buying Yellowcake from Niger.

    I’m not saying Iran isn’t lying. I’m saying the world should be skeptical of claims from both sides, given the history of both sides.

  49. Brendan Loy Says:

    Max, please concede that your first paragraph has no relevance whatsoever to this discussion (since no one is saying the “U.S.” should “bring up” anything; I am bringing it up, and I didn’t do any of the things you mentioned, nor did I condone or excuse them), and perhaps there will be some point in continuing this conversation. Otherwise I can only assume you are employing the age-old rhetorical strategy of throwing sh*t at the wall and waiting to see what sticks… and in this case doing so in a manner that implies two wrongs make a right.

  50. gahrie Says:

    1) Al Queda is not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, and the terrorists are not soldiers. In fact, the wording of the Coventions specifically excludes terrorists from their protections. The U.S. is under no obligation to extend the protections to them.

    2)It is not only the British who supplied GPS coordinates that showed the British sailors and marines were not in Iranian waters. The first set of coordinates that the Iranians themselves provided were not in Iranian waters.

    3) Iraq was interested in buying Uranium from Niger according to Niger’s Prime Minister. The reason why the transaction did not occur was the U.S. led sanctions against Iraq, which you probably opposed Max.

    4) Your attempt to make an equivilency between the government of one of our loyalist allies and the terrorist regime in Iran is disgusting.

  51. gahrie Says:

    While the UK could be accurately described as loyalist…I meant loyalest.

  52. David K. Says:

    1) Al Queda is not a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, and the terrorists are not soldiers. In fact, the wording of the Coventions specifically excludes terrorists from their protections. The U.S. is under no obligation to extend the protections to them.

    One more time since you clearly don’t get it yet, Iraq DOES NOT EQUAL Al Qaeda. Being an Afghan DOES NOT EQUAL Al Qaeda. Being an arab DOES NOT EQUAL Al Qaeda. Being Muslim DOES NOT EQUAL Al Qaeda. Your premise that they don’t deserve Geneva Convention protections because they are terrorists is faulty because the current behavior of the government grants Bush the ability to simply call them terrorists without proof, and to deny them a trial to defend themselves against even the accusation of being a terrorist. On top of THAT you are basically lowering us to their level. We are the FUCKING USA we are supposed to be BETTER than that. We shouldn’t NEED conventions to hold ourselves to a higher standard. Whats the point of defending freedom and spreading democracy if at the same time we are denying basic human rights to those who no longer present a threat to us. And before you even bring up the idea that we need intel from them, fine, we might, but gathering it through torture is unreliable at best and likely provides us with little useful information according to the testimony of people who are intelligence experts.

    While i agree with you that the rest of Mad Max’s arguments are weak at best, saying that the British are our allies and Iran is led by terrorists (neither of which i’m disagreeing with mind you) and that Max is making an equivalancy is stupid. He’s making a comparison based on behavior, he is not in fact saying they are equal in all things. Again i disagree with his attempt at comparison but your conclusions are also strained.

  53. gahrie Says:

    Your premise that they don’t deserve Geneva Convention protections because they are terrorists is faulty because the current behavior of the government grants Bush the ability to simply call them terrorists without proof, and to deny them a trial to defend themselves against even the accusation of being a terrorist. On top of THAT you are basically lowering us to their level. We are the FUCKING USA we are supposed to be BETTER than that. We shouldn’t NEED conventions to hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    1) The terrorists are terrorists because they deliberately target civilians. There is no further proof required, and the fact hat you can’t see this is either proof that your case of BDS has truly deranged you, or you were never comptent in the first place.

    2)If we were lowering ourselves to their level, we would be killing them outright instead of taking them prisoner, sawing off their heads when we took them prisoner, and we would have already destroyed the Ka’Bah. Putting them in a POW camp, feeding them gourmet food and giving them first class medical treatment is hardly lowering ouselves to their level. Every one of those slime has gained weight and is healthier than they have ever been. I would tell you to ask Nick berg if he thinks we are lowering ourselves to their level, but unfortunately he was murdered, but I’m sure they were planning on giving him a trial.

  54. David K. Says:

    The terrorists are terrorists because they deliberately target civilians.

    So you have evidence that every single person held in Gitmo and the like have deliberately targeted civilians and engaged in acts of terorrism? Fantastic, lets see it, in fact you can try them all, as convicting them should be pretty easy.

  55. gahrie Says:

    So you have evidence that every single person held in Gitmo and the like have deliberately targeted civilians and engaged in acts of terorrism?

    No. However, the fact that you are insisting on legalistic standards shows that you still don’t understand the conflict we are in. These are not criminals, they are men captured on the battlefield, carrying weapons, engaged in combat against us. They are POWs at the most…These are men sworn to die trying to kill as many of us as possible.

    I do have some evidence however.

    I have evidence that many of the men released from Gitmo have been either re-captured or killed fighting Americans again.

    I have evidence that others of those released are busy today encouraging their fellow Muslims to kill Americans.

    I have evidence that not one of them has had their head sawn off live over the internet.

    I have evidence that every single one of them has gained weight, and is in better health then when they were captured.

  56. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t come here much any more and posts like this are exacly why.

    This is a perfect example of a totaly stupid, nonsensical post on this blog.

    There is a TON of stuff on AI’s website about Iran, about Iran’s human rights abuses. But Brendan is all pouty because they don’t immediately post about a less than week old standoff that isn’t really even a HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

    God, this guy needs to get a clue.

  57. Mad Max, Esquire Says:

    Gahrie-

    1. There are a lot of people in GITMO besides Al Qaeda. Besides, water-boarding is defined as torture and torture is in violation of the UN charter, which has been ratified by the US Senate. Violating international agreements is in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

    2. And the second set were in Iranian waters. I’m not saying Iran isn’t trying to pull something. But does it seem out of the question that the British and US forces in the region have been spying on the Iranians in some manner? It would be foolish to think otherwise.

    3. I supported the sanctions against Iraq. In fact, I supported the sanctions over launching a poorly planned and executed war.

    4. That’s a red herring, gahrie. Anyone with any level of intelligence would know that all governments will distort the truth when they deem it necessary. I know you live in Southern California, but I hadn’t realized you lived at Disneyland.

  58. Mad Max, Esquire Says:

    You are right, Brendan. I shouldn’t have said it was foolish for the U.S. to bring up the Geneva Conventions. It was foolish for YOU to bring up the Geneva Conventions.

    I was actually trying to be nice.

  59. Joe Mama Says:

    So you have evidence that every single person held in Gitmo and the like have deliberately targeted civilians and engaged in acts of terorrism? Fantastic, lets see it, in fact you can try them all, as convicting them should be pretty easy.

    If we were to use the U.S. criminal justice system to try Gitmo detainees, as many critics would like, it certainly would not be. For one thing, it would be virtually impossible to prosecute many al Qaeda detainees captured overseas because of the hyper-technical nature of the evidentiary rules in our legal system. Convicting people based upon physical evidence gathered on overseas battlefields or relying on testimony of soldiers and intelligence agents who at the time of capture were operating in a stressful combat environment would be exceedingly difficult. The likely result of trying captured al Qaeda members under criminal justice rules is that many of them would go free and return to the fight.

  60. David K. Says:

    I have evidence that every single one of them has gained weight, and is in better health then when they were captured.
    Prove it. And on top of that they were TORTURED.

    And again the fact that SOME of the people in Gitmo are bad people, something which i have NEVER denied does not mean that they ALL are. You and Joe Mama and your ilk are willing to throw out the baby with the bath water, to ignore the very principles you claim to be fighting for, just so you can beat those damn towel heads.

    These are not criminals, they are men captured on the battlefield, carrying weapons, engaged in combat against us.
    Actually this is demonstrably false, and not even the Bushies claim this one.

    If we were to use the U.S. criminal justice system to try Gitmo detainees
    Did i say use the criminal justice system? No, i did not. But again you demonstrate a distinct lack of ability to differentiate between more than two views. There aren’t two options here, its not simply lock them up forever OR put them through our civil justice system. There are many many degrees in between. Just like dealin with the war on terrorism in general, its not simply do it Bush’s way or let the terrorists win. But again you are too blindly partisan to see that…

  61. gahrie Says:

    From the Wall Street Journal:

    Nothing illustrates this better than the continuing challenges to Guantanamo Bay. Even European officials who have visited the American base acknowledge conditions there—including housing, food, medical care and recreation—are better than in most civilian penitentiaries around the world.

  62. gahrie Says:

    Here is a link to a great article about how the detainees at GiTMO are treated:

    http://richardminiter.pajamasmedia.com/2007/01/23/none_dare_call_them_prisoners.php

  63. Anonymous Says:

    Jesus, David K. is obnoxious.

  64. David K. Says:

    Fine, i’ll grant you they are kept in hovels. They are still however kept without a chance, a CHANCE to defend their freedom, and some have been tortured which as has been pointed out is against the Geneva conventions and even if its not is still wrong.

  65. David K. Says:

    Jesus, David K. is obnoxious.

    Yeah i guess not kissing Bush’s ass and actually believing in things like freedom really make someone obnoxious…

  66. Anonymous Says:

    No, posting nasty and ridiculous comments make someone obnoxious.

  67. Alasdair Says:

    Anonymous - David K is just being himself … once you have been reading this blog for a while, you’ll recognise the characteristic ’style’ of his posts … some people comment occasionally from the sidelines … David K seems to like to comment frequently from the snidelines - but that’s just him being himself …

    And, yes, as a Brit, I am embarrassed by the current responses from the British Government … and I look forward to learning why the 15 captured folk weren’t under better protection from larger vessels or the air …

  68. Joe Mama Says:

    The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from Guantanamo detainees who want to challenge their five-year-long confinement in court, a victory for the Bush administration’s legal strategy in its fight against terrorism.

    The victory may be only temporary, however. The high court twice previously has extended legal protections to prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. These individuals were seized as potential terrorists following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and only 10 have been charged with a crime.


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