AMNESTY ACCUSES USA OF SELECTIVE DISREGARD - Bush Says Report "Absurd"

(06/08/2005)

AI CRITICAL OF AMERICA'S DOUBLE STANDARD

"It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of — and the allegations — by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble — that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report." — George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., May 31, 2005, on an Amnesty International report on prisoner abuse at Guantanamo Bay

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda." —George W. Bush, Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005 on Bush administration agendas

By Bob Weaver

Amnesty International, the London-based human rights' organization that leads a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights, released its annual report a few days ago on the state of the world's human rights.

Among the countries the group singled out are the United States, Sudan, Nepal, and Indonesia.

The group criticized the United States for what it called it's "selective disregard" for international law and the reported abuse of detainees.

The Bush administration widely criticized the report and right-wing political groups declared Amnesty a destructive left-wing organization out-of-touch with American values.

"The USA, as the unrivaled political, military and economic hyper-power, sets the tone for governmental behavior worldwide. When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a license to others to commit abuse with impunity," said Irene Khan.

Khan is described by American conservative groups as the leader of what they describe as a subversive, leftist organization.

Many governments showed a shocking contempt for the rule of law, with killings, mutilations and rape.

The Abu Gharib prison scandals brought to light serious offenses which the government has mostly blamed on low-grade military personnel, not national policy related to America's position on the Code of Military Justice.

Arbitrary detentions and unfair trials took place under security legislation in a number of countries.

Amnesty also says prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan are routinely held without charge or access to lawyers.

Dr. William F. Schultz, the executive director of Amnesty International USA says, that human rights abuses by the U.S. and other countries, will grow if the US does not hold those responsible accountable.

Schultz said the US should be setting the standard.

"Tolerance for torture and ill treatment, signaled by a failure to investigate and prosecute those responsible, is the most effective encouragement for it to expand and grow. Like a virus, the techniques used by the United States will multiply and spread unless those who plotted their use are held accountable," he said.

The report also denounced the violence between Israelis and the Palestinians, and pressed for an end to the killing of civilians by all parties.

Amnesty International declares itself independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion.

It's organizers and supporters say they do not support or oppose any government or political system, do not support or oppose the views of the victims whose rights they seek to protect.

Amnesty is "concerned solely with the impartial protection of human rights," although the organization is widely denounced by right-wing groups and conservatives as a leftist organization, out of touch with America's agenda.


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