NoonShadow

An expat's commentary on current events in national security, foreign affairs, the media, culture, technology and assorted trivia.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

_______________________________________

WaPo agrees with NoonShadow

I find myself agreeing quite a lot with today's Washington Post editorial:


IT'S ALWAYS SAD when a solid, trustworthy institution loses its bearings and joins in the partisan fracas that nowadays passes for political discourse. It's particularly sad when the institution is Amnesty International, which for more than 40 years has been a tough, single-minded defender of political prisoners around the world and a scourge of left- and right-wing dictators alike. True, Amnesty continues to keep track of the world's political prisoners, as it has always done, and its reports remain a vital source of human rights information. But lately the organization has tended to save its most vitriolic condemnations not for the world's dictators but for the United States.

That vitriol reached a new level this week when, at a news conference held to mark the publication of Amnesty's annual report, the organization's secretary general, Irene Khan, called the U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the "gulag of our times."

In her written introduction to the report, Ms. Khan also mentioned only two countries at length: Sudan and the United States, the "unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power," which "thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights."

Like Amnesty, we, too, have written extensively about U.S. prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. We have done so not only because the phenomenon is disturbing in its own right but also because it gives undemocratic regimes around the world an excuse to justify their own use of torture and indefinite detention and because it damages the U.S. government's ability to promote human rights.

But we draw the line at the use of the word "gulag" or at the implication that the United States has somehow become the modern equivalent of Stalin's Soviet Union. Guantanamo Bay is an ad hoc creation, designed to contain captured enemy combatants in wartime. Abuses there -- including new evidence of desecrating the Koran -- have been investigated and discussed by the FBI, the press and, to a still limited extent, the military. The Soviet gulag, by contrast, was a massive forced labor complex consisting of thousands of concentration camps and hundreds of exile villages through which more than 20 million people passed during Stalin's lifetime and whose existence was not acknowledged until after his death. Its modern equivalent is not Guantanamo Bay, but the prisons of Cuba, where Amnesty itself says a new generation of prisoners of conscience reside; or the labor camps of North Korea, which were set up on Stalinist lines; or China's laogai , the true size of which isn't even known; or, until recently, the prisons of Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Worrying about the use of a word may seem like mere semantics, but it is not. Turning a report on prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or America-bashing undermines Amnesty's legitimate criticisms of U.S. policies and weakens the force of its investigations of prison systems in closed societies. It also gives the administration another excuse to dismiss valid objections to its policies as "hysterical."


(Emphasis added.)

AI doesn't stand for Amnesty International. It stands for Absence of Intelligence.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

_______________________________________

Amnesty points out top human rights violators

Just for you, gentle readers, I waded thru Amnesty International's report (intro here in PDF).

Flipping thru the country sections (PDF link), I got a strange feeling. (I confess, I had a hint earlier when reading the BBC's headline about the report: Amnesty accuses US over 'torture')

Looking thru the individual country reports, I began feeling as if I were living in Cloudcuckooland.

So I went thru the entire thing, toting up the number of pages for each country to the nearest quarter-page. Then I rank-ordered the amount of ink spilt on each one.

How many pages did Amnesty International spend discussing the human rights violations of each country?

Here are the results:




# of pages
Country Rank


4.00
USA 1


3.50
Iraq 3


3.50
Russia 3


3.25
China 8


3.25
Colombia 8


3.25
Israel 8


3.25
Serbia-Montenegro 8


3.25
Sudan 8


3.00
Zimbabwe 9


2.75
Brazil 16


2.75
Burundi 16


2.75
France 16


2.75
Iran 16


2.75
Liberia 16


2.75
Syria 16


2.75
Turkey 16


2.50
Bosnia Herzegovina 26


2.50
Congo - DR 26


2.50
Egypt 26


2.50
Haiti 26


2.50
Indonesia 26


2.50
Mexico 26


2.50
Romania 26


2.50
Saudi Arabia 26


2.50
UK 26


2.50
Yemen 26


2.25
Afghanistan 40


2.25
Algeria 40


2.25
Central African Republic 40


2.25
Georgia 40


2.25
India 40


2.25
Italy 40


2.25
Kenya 40


2.25
Libya 40


2.25
Myanmar 40


2.25
Nepal 40


2.25
Nigeria 40


2.25
Sierra Leone 40


2.25
South Africa 40


2.25
Spain 40


2.00
Albania 52


2.00
Angola 52


2.00
Bulgaria 52


2.00
Ethiopia 52


2.00
Greece 52


2.00
Lebanon 52


2.00
Morocco 52


2.00
Pakistan 52


2.00
Somalia 52


2.00
Switzerland 52


2.00
Tunisia 52


2.00
Uzbekistan 52


1.75
Belgium 63


1.75
Croatia 63


1.75
Eritrea 63


1.75
Korea, North 63


1.75
Macedonia 63


1.75
Malaysia 63


1.75
Mozambique 63


1.75
Palestinian Authority 63


1.75
Portugal 63


1.75
Sri Lanka 63


1.75
Turkmenistan 63


1.50
Bangladesh 84


1.50
Belarus 84


1.50
Cambodia 84


1.50
Cameroon 84


1.50
Chad 84


1.50
Chile 84


1.50
Cote d'Ivoire 84


1.50
Equatorial Guinea 84


1.50
Germany 84


1.50
Guatemala 84


1.50
Ireland 84


1.50
Laos 84


1.50
Peru 84


1.50
Philippines 84


1.50
Rwanda 84


1.50
Swaziland 84


1.50
Sweden 84


1.50
Thailand 84


1.50
Uganda 84


1.50
Ukraine 84


1.50
Vietnam 84


1.25
Armenia 102


1.25
Azerbaijan 102


1.25
Cuba 102


1.25
Czech Republic 102


1.25
El Salvador 102


1.25
Fiji 102


1.25
Honduras 102


1.25
Hungary 102


1.25
Jamaica 102


1.25
Japan 102


1.25
Korea, South 102


1.25
Kuwait 102


1.25
Malta 102


1.25
Mauritania 102


1.25
Papua New Guinea 102


1.25
Tanzania 102


1.25
Togo 102


1.25
UAE 102


1.00
Argentina 118


1.00
Australia 118


1.00
Austria 118


1.00
Bahrain 118


1.00
Congo - R 118


1.00
Guinea-Bissau 118


1.00
Guyana 118


1.00
Jordan 118


1.00
Kazakhstan 118


1.00
Maldives 118


1.00
Moldova 118


1.00
Slovakia 118


1.00
Solomon Islands 118


1.00
Timor-Leste 118


1.00
Venezuela 118


1.00
Zambia 118


0.75
Bhutan 139


0.75
Bolivia 139


0.75
Canada 139


0.75
Cyprus 139


0.75
Dominican Republic 139


0.75
Ecuador 139


0.75
Finland 139


0.75
Kyrgyzstan 139


0.75
Latvia 139


0.75
Lithuania 139


0.75
Malawi 139


0.75
Mongolia 139


0.75
Namibia 139


0.75
New Zealand 139


0.75
Paraguay 139


0.75
Poland 139


0.75
Senegal 139


0.75
Singapore 139


0.75
Taiwan 139


0.75
Tajikistan 139


0.75
Trinidad and Tobago 139


0.50
Bahamas 149


0.50
Brunei 149


0.50
Burkina Faso 149


0.50
Estonia 149


0.50
Ghana 149


0.50
Guinea 149


0.50
Nicaragua 149


0.50
Niger 149


0.50
Slovenia 149


0.50
Uruguay 149

(Emphasis added.)

Number 63?!?!? North friggin' Korea comes in at #63?!?!? Less than two pages on the land of lunatic L'il Kim?!?!? Two million dead in famine? Three generations in jail for the crimes of a family member? Public firing squads for crossing the border without permission?

Cuba gets less than one-third the space of the USA?

The USA outpaces Myanmar? Belarus? Syria? North Korea?!?!?!?

These transnational progressive goons must have lost touch with reality.

This piece of briny shite masquerading as a report documenting human rights violations represents a crystal-clear example of what former uber-blogger Steven den Beste called 'searching beneath a streetlight.' (Follow the link and read his post on the topic. I do heartily miss his blog posts.)

It is patently obvious that these blinkered clowns pretending to be humanitarians don't care in the slightest about human rights violations unless the USA can take the blame.

In their eyes, the world has no evil in it but America. Only America can ever do wrong.

UPDATE: I adjusted the rankings to take consideration of the many tie scores. Mea culpa. Sorry, after reading so much Shamnesty propaganda last night, I think my IQ dropped several dozen points.

_______________________________________

Amnesty head continues work

According to the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Irene Zubaidah Khan, the UN Commission on Human Rights has failed.
Ms Khan also condemned the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for failing to stand up for those supposedly in its care. "The UN Commission of Human Rights has become a forum for horse-trading on human rights," she said.


I won't argue with that.

The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) is not to be confused with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), but the two are very similar.

The UNHCR was once a widely-respected institution which did some unalloyed good. Not a lot, but it was not such a positively malign object of ridicule now, where the boss-man was recently sacked by Don Kofi for groping the staff.

It was not so very long ago, really, that it did some real good. The UNHCR won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1954 (for helping refugees in postwar Europe) and 1981 (primarily for aiding refugees from fighting and famine in Ethiopia and Afghanistan).

The UNHCR, like the UNCHR, used to be respected.

The UNHCR's bad name doesn't result from isolated incidents such as dirty old men with names that sound like 'Rude Lover' chasing the secretary around the desk.

No. Now, the UNHCR, like the UN peacekeepers, are implicated in all sorts of sex crimes against poor, frightened, oppressed, hungry refugees in the poorest, most war-ravaged parts of the globe (UNHCR pedophiles paying for sex-with food aid food in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea).

The BBC reported in 2002:
...poverty was the principle cause, with parents feeling compelled to offer their children to aid workers for sex in order to survive.

"They want us to love to them (sic) so they can give us money," one refugee told the BBC.

Another said she was continually sent to the back of the queue for aid because she had refused to have sex with one aid worker...

Condoms were said to be rarely used by the staff involved...

One senior aid worker said ending the sexual exploitation of under age refugees would be an uphill task because gender discrimination was deeply rooted in many cultures, not only here in West Africa but all over the world.

(Emphasis added.)

Was that the 'But everybody does it' defense that I just saw?!?

Back to Amnesty...

Now let's take a look at Ms. Khan's official biography as posted on Amnesty International's website, shall we?

Irene joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in 1980, and worked in a variety of positions at Headquarters and in field operations to promote the international protection of refugees.

From 1991-95 she was Senior Executive Officer to Mrs. Sadako Ogata, then UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

She was appointed as the UNHCR Chief of Mission in India in 1995, the youngest UNHCR country representative at that time, and in 1998 headed the UNHCR Centre for Research and Documentation.

She led the UNHCR team in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia during the Kosovo crisis in 1999, and was appointed Deputy Director of International Protection later that year.


(Emphasis added.)

Ms. Khan worked in the UNHCR from 1980-2001.

That is exactly the period when it went from being an esteemed humanitarian organisation to being a gravy train for chickenhawks.

I am not saying that Ms. Khan caused it, although her Secretary-Generalship of Amnesty International seems to be bringing that formerly august institution into some disrepute as well.

I am merely making an observation.

Monday, May 23, 2005

_______________________________________

Cognitive dissonance, v. DCCLII: Salvadore Allende

This one hasn't got much press, but it should. Maybe I can help...

Of all places, Der Spiegel reports that Leftist icon Salvador Allende thought like a Nazi.

A new book (by Victor Farias) on Chilean President Salvador Allende is causing a stir by suggesting that the now-legendary icon of the left -- who killed himself during a 1973 putsch -- was both racist and anti-Semitic...

His newest book is titled: "Salvador Allende: Antisemitismus und Euthanasie" (Salvador Allende: Anti-Semitism and Euthanasia)...

In many ways, the young Dr. Allende was, indeed, in line with the Fascism-infected streams that were so prevalent during the first half of the last century. For example, he argued that mental illnesses, criminal behavior, and alcoholism were hereditary. Or further, he argued that homosexuality is an illness curable by implanting testicle tissue into the abdomen. Another example: Allende proclaimed that the hot climate prevented people in southern regions from acting morally. Referring to other studies, Allende wrote ominously about Jews in his dissertation saying, "The Hebrews are well-known committers of certain types of crimes including: fraud, deceit, defamation, but most notably usury."

... Allende served as health minister in that (1939-1942) administration and promoted a law on the forced sterilization of the mentally ill. The law was never passed.

(Farias) writes that the new revelations about Allende give more meaning to Allende's refusal to turn Nazi criminal Walter Rauff over to Germany in 1972, after Rauff had found refuge in Chile. Even attempts by the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal to intervene with the president failed at the time. In a letter, Allende responded that the president was not allowed to get involved in judicial matters. Formally speaking, Allende was right. Chile's Supreme Court had previously ruled that Rauff -- who had been a senior official in the SS and headed the development of portable death chambers -- could not be handed over because the statute of limitations on his case had expired.

...Farias, meanwhile, calls the accusations from the Allende camp "rubbish" and points to the clear words taken from Allende's dissertation.

For the record, the young Allende received a mediocre grade for his dissertation.


(Emphasis added.)

So Comrade Allende thought like a Nazi, and like the top man, when opposing forces closed in on his armoured bunker, he took the coward's way out.

So he was a right-wing Jew-hater as well as a left-wing tyrant.

Say to yourself, "There is no contradiction..." Repeat as necessary.

Why not? It worked for Francois Mitterand.

Don't stand in front of the memory hole. This one is headed straight for it, at supersonic speed.