A Bogus U.N. Report On Gitmo
Wednesday - March 01, 2006
Surprise! Another United Nations report condemns human rights violations by the U.S. against enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The report was compiled by five members of the U.N. Human Rights Commission who have never set foot on the U.S. Naval Base on the southeastern corner of Cuba, and who declined the military’s invitation to visit the prison because they wouldn’t be allowed to talk directly to the prisoners - a standard U.S. policy with rare exceptions. They arrived at their conclusions through photographs, and testimony from detainees, their lawyers and their families.
Now there’s an objective group!
The “evidence,” collected over a year and a half, includes the use of shackles, hoods, “beatings” when prisoners resist movement within the prison, and “violent force feeding of hunger strikers” (to save their lives). These, along with nonphysical interrogation techniques, “must be assessed as amounting to torture.”
Supposedly the report will be released only after the U.S. government has a chance to comment and offer clarifications. But Manfred Nowak, one of the five commissioners who authored the report, and the U.N.‘s “Special Rapporteur on Torture,” said there would likely be few changes because of the U.S. government’s response.
In other words, “our minds are made up; your comments and clarifications are irrelevant!”
For the sake of perspective, these five commissioners represent a 55-member Commission on Human Rights with only 42 percent of these members from “free states.” Freedom House categorizes the rest as either “partially free” or “not free.” Overall, the general lack of human rights in the countries making up this commission is notorious.
Nevertheless, the mainstream media perpetuates, even features, the report with little concern about the hypocrisy of the commission’s “findings.”
Hello? Mr. Nowak? Have you and your fellow commissioners noticed it takes two to make a war? Where was the commission’s condemnation of the 9-11 attacks which violated the human rights - mainly the right to live - of nearly 3,000 innocents? Or of the medieval beheadings of innocent hostages in the Middle East? Or the ongoing suicide bombings targeting innocent women and children in Israel?
Pathetically, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan himself has recently characterized the commission as “dysfunctional” and calls for drastic changes in the way it operates. Now there’s a call I’d bet our new no-nonsense U.N. Ambassador John Bolton can hardly wait to answer.
Coincidentally, Hawaii’s own Army Reserve 305th Press Camp Headquarters unit will soon be deploying to Gitmo to handle public and media relations for the next year. The unit’s commander, Lt. Col. Lora Tucker, in preparation for her unit’s deployment, has already visited the prison facility. She has a “secret” clearance and access to most aspects of the operation there. She cites her “amazement” at the high quality and respectful care received by the detainees there, from the food and medical facilities to the personal handling. She reports a far different impression than the members of the U.N. Commission who have never been there.
The 305th, in dealing daily with visiting domestic and international media, will play an essential role in the formation of global public opinion -opinion that must be informed by the wartime perspective of our policies.
We in Hawaii will be fortunate to have our own neighbors’ firsthand reports on detainee treatment at Camp Delta. And personally, I’m already inclined to give more credence to the informed account of Lt. Col. Tucker than to the subjective and preconceived condemnations by Mr. Nowak and his ilk.
To members of the 305th and their families, we say mahalo for your service and Godspeed. We pray for success in your mission, and for your safe return.
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