Thursday, June 02, 2005

Rumsfeld, Iraq, and Amnesty Int'l

In a statement released yesterday, Amnesty International USA Director William Schulz said that this wasn’t their first report about the administration’s mistreatment of prisoners. "Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration ignored or dismissed Amnesty International’s reports on the abuse of detainees for years," says Schulz. Amnesty International (AI) first communicated its concerns about the treatment of prisoners to Rumsfeld in January 2002 and continued to raise these concerns at the highest levels as allegations of abuse mounted from Afghanistan, Guantanamo and Iraq. The administration, says Schulz, responded by preventing human rights workers from investigating or visiting the detention facilities in question. Schulz contrasted the administration’s actions in this regard to countries such as Libya and Syria that have allowed independent monitors to examine prison facilities.

Schulz also found it ironic that AI had criticized the human rights record of Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s at the same time Donald Rumsfeld had been sent by the Reagan administration to establish friendly ties and trade relations with the dictator.

An Amnesty International press statement cited numerous references by Donald Rumsfeld to AI’s work, including the following: On March 27, 2003, Rumsfeld said:
We know that it’s a repressive regime? Anyone who has read Amnesty International or any of the human rights organizations about how the regime of Saddam Hussein treats his people? The next day, Rumsfeld cited his "careful reading" of Amnesty:
[I]t seems to me a careful reading of Amnesty International or the record of Saddam Hussein, having used chemical weapons on his own people as well as his neighbors, and the viciousness of that regime, which is well known and documented by human rights organizations, ought not to be surprised. And on April 1, 2003, Rumsfeld said once again:
[I]f you read the various human rights groups and Amnesty International’s description of what they know has gone on, it’s not a happy picture.

from Bush vs. Human Rights: Amnesty International Strikes Back

Rumsfeld friends with Saddam = ignore AI
Rumsfeld not freinds w/ Saddam = site AI
Saddam gone = ignore AI


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