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World Opinion Turns Against the US: Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib

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A British Judge denounces the US position on torture as “not the same as ours” and states it “does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations” as the US dismisses a UN report calling for the closure of Guantanamo Bay as a “rehash of allegations.”

Following on the heels of the White House rejection of the UN report, as well as the release of previously unpublished images from Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi Human Rights Minister called for “all Iraqi inmates at prisons run by the US-led coalition to be handed over to the Iraqi government,” according to the Guardian .

A British Cabinet Minister is also calling for closure of the Cuban prison, where nearly 500 prisoners are still being held without charge as ”enemy combatants.” British leaders have been criticizing US actions in Cuba since the summer of 2004.

In the four year imprisonment, “only nine detainees have had their cases reviewed by a military commission, whose validity is still being considered by the US Supreme Court,” the Boston Globe reported. The Supreme Court hears one case Friday.

“Chilling and depraved”
The conservative Financial Times reports on the release — against White House objections — of new “chilling and depraved” photos and video of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. The images are from the same 2003 CD as those which were released in 2004; various groups have been trying to get the Bush Administration to release these images, without success.

The Financial Times observes that “Bush administration’s spokesmen and apologists [offer] … variants of … how Saddam Hussein’s regime was guilty of so much worse. This defensive moral comparison misses the point, unless those making it wish – as many Iraqis and Arabs are doing – to compare the world’s leading democracy to one of the vilest tyrants of modern times.”

The Financial Times is headquartered in the UK, the most loyal US ally in our Middle East adventure.

It’s doubtful you’ve heard much about this in the US. The new video and photos were first published in Australia (another ally nation) but were reportedly only carried in the US on ABC.

In related news, three British soldiers have been arrested in connection with a video of British troops beating rioting teenagers in southern Iraq in January 2005.

In the US, 10 soldiers — none of rank — have been convicted at military trials for the actions at Abu Ghraib. The Financial Times:

Abu Ghraib … should have been dealt with rigorously. But there was no independent investigation and no real accountability: the two most visible privates in the photos were jailed and a junior general was demoted. But responsibility lay – and lies – further up the chain of command, as far as Donald Rumsfeld, defence secretary, and officials such as Alberto Gonzales, now attorney general, who devised a framework for circumventing the Geneva Conventions. It is they who should be held to account.

The same applies in the British brutality case. It is not enough to cashier a few squaddies. Under whose command were they behaving in this sickening way, and is such treatment a pattern?

Guantanamo Bay
The US has criticized the UN 54-page report, the product of an 18-month investigation, because the investigators did not visit the prison. However, the five experts canceled their scheduled November visit because the US government refused to allow private interviews with the prisoners, something ignored in almost all

In what must be unintended irony, the Voice of America reports that the US has criticized the UN Human Rights Commission — which produced this report — because “the body has become a safe haven for the world’s worst human rights violators.”

According to the Miami Herald, “55 percent of the detainees haven’t been found to have committed any hostile acts against the U.S. or its allies.” In addition, only 8 percent have been labeled “al Qaeda” fighters.

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About Kathy

  • I’m sure you’re right, Ruvy. Once an international leftist like Kerry gets into the White House I imagine all my worst expectations will be realized. Let’s hope we still have a Constitution bu the time the electorate sees sense and votes them out again.


  • Dave says (comment #2), When we start basing our national policies on world opinion we’re well and truly screwed as a nation.

    I’m gonna remember that line. I have the feeling it won’t be too long before I get to throw it back at you

  • beast
  • prophet

    Dear Lu, you are right.

    “We have to look at the morality of our actions – making people suffer in prison is not right, those people in prison who might have attacked americans, their actions are wrong as well. But it is not up to us, to be judge, jury and executioner .”

    They should never have landed in jail, they should have been shot immediately, as all who plan the downfall of a democratic governement, to bad we have so few democratic governements on this globe (if any).

    If I would have been an advisor to Mr. Bush, I would have suggested giving all iraquies and other moslem countries weapons (not atomic), and watch them killing each other over the interpretation of the koran, then one could have made a parking place for the rest of the world and also have their oil for the takeing (but one can’t eat oil), maybe the moslems will find that out in the near or far future, when the west doesn’t need their oil anymore and they can’t import food, and the desert doesn’t supply anything anymore, maybe that is why so many moslems have infiltrated our countries and we fools let them.

  • Dave Nalle

    I can’t believe there are peple in the world who think what America is doing in Guantanamo is morally defensible.

    What is this ‘morality’ you speak of, Shocked? All I know is that it’s unquestionably legally defensible both under US and international law. Morality is a fiction used by extremists to justify their bigotry.


  • troll

    beast – so where’s the ‘war’ – ?


  • beast

    Proof that civilians cannot, should not, and must not conduct war.

    War is about killing people, and breaking up things, not about being nice and looking good.

  • Shocked

    I can’t believe there are peple in the world who think what America is doing in Guantanamo is morally defensible. You then sit there like confused children wondering why the rest of the civilised world despises you. Bring on the superquake I say, that should get rid of some of the rubbish.

  • Shane — I find your comments racist, offensive and chock full of assumptions.

    Neither you — nor I — know if the people who are being held at Gitmo have committed a crime. That’s because they haven’t had a trial.

    Lovely rhetoric, though. You’re a poster child for two great thoughts on differences between the left and the right:
    Do Bush followers have a political ideology? and The Conservative Faith.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Dave Nalle

    The US constitution was written for its citizens, not for some conspiring camel loving ragheads

    Are you sure about that? Mightn’t the universal principles of the Declaration of Independence and the rights in the bill of rights be things which all people are entitled to as a principle of natural law?


  • arcticwaste

    The US constitution was written for its citizens, not for some conspiring camel loving ragheads, if it takes torture and long term hell given out, then so be it, what really matters is no individual or small force militia should EVER be allowed to prevail against civilians in the US, Canada Australia, Great Britain, ETC ETC. We should all stand for our individual countries and what we believe in, we, like or not are in the west and have it pretty good and despite some tree huggers claiming foul, the VAST majority of us prefer to go shopping without some raghead trying to blow our families up. If it takes pouring melted lead into there ears to make them talk then I am all for it.

    Death to ALL who oppose us.

    Shane, Brit expat residing in Canad

  • Hi, A.L.

    Thoughtful answer; good questions. “When” seems to be 9/11 — a watershed event that led to the “with us or against us” rhetoric/mindset.

    Dave – thanks for the link to the AG post.
    Your corporate tax “data” is as vacuous as Bing’s. Going “up” relative to … what? Doesn’t change the fact that almost 3/4 of the tax revenue in the country is from individuals — a signficant change since WWII.

    The logic behind the rates is, umm, not obvious:

    In 2000, MSN money says that “94% of all U.S. corporations paid less than 5% of their total income in corporate taxes, the GAO said in a report” … “more than 21% of the $302 billion in tax refunds distributed last year went to corporations, IRS data show” (but they paid only about 17% of the taxes, IIRC)

    “Nearly one-third of the nation’s largest and most profitable corporations paid no federal income tax between 2001 and 2003—yet still received billions of dollars in tax rebates, according to a new study.”

    All F500. All profitable in the three year period.

    This isn’t including the off-shore movement of headquarters/$.

    Those companies paying taxes must feel like wussies.

  • Wow – from Gitmo to tax code — but NO one has mentioned the release of Abu Ghraid pix. Why is that?

    It might be because we already had an extensive discussion of that topic on this thread.

    If it were, we wouldn’t have corporations with net gross of millions paying no income taxes.

    Let’s see as I recall corporate tax paid last year went up $184 billion and during the course of Bush’s terms I believe it’s up over $400 billion. Bush sure is giving those corporations a break.


  • Kathy –

    I think Guantanamo is the tragedy. In every sense of the word. That a country that prides itself on it’s defence of freedom should so casually and ruthlessly rob so many of theirs without a backwards glance.

    I think that the loss of independant thinking in the US is the tragedy. That so many would blindly believe a politician or a government without true consideration.

    I think that the loss of freedom in the US is the biggest tragedy of all. That it is seen as unpatriotic to express true concern at the actions of the government, or to disagree with the actions that are being taken in your name.

    When did this happen? When did patriotism become brainwashing? When did it become a cult?

  • Hi, AL:

    What do you see as the real tragedy?

  • Wow. Lots of thoughts here. And yet none of them actually touch on the real tragedy that is happening.

  • Wow – from Gitmo to tax code — but NO one has mentioned the release of Abu Ghraid pix. Why is that?

    Nancy – 100% concurrance on the state of the media in America, from one who studied journalism in the late 70s (UGA, ABJ, not like the NASA guy).

    Bing – WTH does taxes have to do with AB and Gitmo?

    You can cite your interpretation of the tax code from here til dawn, but that’s not how it’s applied, and you know it. Or you should.

    If it were, we wouldn’t have corporations with net gross of millions paying no income taxes.

    In 2001, **marginal** tax rates ranged from 15 percent to 39.6 percent. In 1997, only four percent of tax filers saw a marginal rates of 31 percent or more.

    From CBO (200):

    Total effective tax rate for lowest quintile is 5.4% in 2001 and 8.3 in 2014. For the upper 1%, it moves from 33.0 to 33.6.

    These charts, of course, are theoretical, as the upper 1% have the resources to hire lawyers and attorneys to lower those rates.

    This chart shows it better:

    BTW — average pre-tax income by group in 2001:

    lower quintile: $9,300
    4th quintile: $56,400
    upper 5%: $210,000
    upper 1%: $1,117,000

    As the following graph shows — those most caught in the tax trap and folks we think of as middle class: two-earner families with a little education. They’re going to be in the upper quintile — and if they’re in urban areas (where average incomes are greater cause costs of living are greater) they’ll be in the upper 5%: “Rich On Paper”

    From the tax foundation (2005): “The vast majority of taxpayers who face the highest marginal tax rates tend to be married couples. But aside from being married, they also tend to be dual-income, live in high-cost urban areas, are older, college educated, and are engaged in business activities.”

    In the 40s, about 33% of tax revennue came from corporations and 44% from individuals. Today, it’s 15% corp and 73% individuals.

    Also, before WWII, less than half of all Americans paid income tax. Eisenhower was correct when he warned about the military-industrial complex.

    Of course, none of this addresses Nancy’s point about media abdicating its role as watchdog, fact-truth-checker.

    Also – to be clear – our rhetoric about the
    UN human rights commission is, in itself, suspect, since we’re probably still POed that we got kicked off in 2001 – the first time ever. (Voted back in for 2003)


  • Lu

    You cannot achieve long-term peace through violence, all you have to do is look at the middle-east. It’s an inherent contradiction to think that you can “kill” all your enemies, and protect all your friends, and be able to attain peace and happiness through such methods.

    The natural result of violence is more violence, not less.

    The political argument made is that its in self-defense, in that, sometimes it’s necessary with minimal force.

    But let’s all agree that invading another country has never been considered self-defense. If that were the case, then you could say the Germans had a right to start WWII, Japan had a right to attack Pearl Harbour, early Colonials had the right to exterminate native americans and so forth.

    We have to look at the morality of our actions – making people suffer in prison is not right, those people in prison who might have attacked americans, their actions are wrong as well. But it is not up to us, to be judge, jury and executioner .

  • Nancy

    As for politicians, I find that both parties as currently constituted, seem to consist of individuals cut out of the same nasty bolt of goods, and all intent on gorging themselves at the public trough, while playing games with peoples’ lives. Class warfare, you betcha.

  • Nancy

    When I read about corporate CEOs with quarter-billion-dollar Golden Parachutes laying off thousands – or tens of thousands – of people, cheating them of their retirement, their investments, their livelihoods, and then giving themselves even bigger, fatter “bonuses” for it, goddamn right I do, as does anyone with a sense of decency and fair play.

  • zingzing

    that’s what i’m saying, bing! the american people shouldn’t allow these first steps toward the eventual police state! cut it off before someone uses it to legally create the police state we all fear. show them that the american people can see that shit coming, and tell them to cut it out.

  • troll

    pretty neat how that works…nice catch gonzo


  • gonzo marx

    just for a Laugh…

    Bing sez…
    *Those in the top 10% of income earned pay over 50% of the taxes in this nation.*

    what he fails to mention is that those folks MAKE over 95% of the money

    so..they take in 95%, then pay 50% of the taxes

    nice scam , eh?


  • Bing

    As for you Nancy….well you can just take your class warfare propaganda and go somewhere else with it.

    The tax code requires the more that you make the higher percentage of your income you must pay in taxes. Those in the top 10% of income earned pay over 50% of the taxes in this nation.

    If you’re goign to counter these facts with some bullshit argument about the rich using tax shelters and deductions I would say to you that those who aren’t wealthy can also take advantage of these tools to reduce the amount of taxes they pay.

    I am so sick of hearing you left wing pinheads whine about “oooooohhh the rich ruin it for the rest of us.” It’s horseshit.

    How does an American citizen who came from a middle or lower class background, went to college and maybe grad school, got a good job because they were intelligent, professional and had skills to offer, then worked their way up to better jobs and now makes a six figure salary screwing everyone else Nancy?

    We all know you resent anyone who has more money or a better lifestyle than you or the people you feel sorry for Nancy regardless of how that person made that money or obtained that lifestyle. But your irrational hatred of anyone who has made it in this country has nothing to do with reality.

    How does your brain work Nancy? When a person reaches a certain income level do you automatically begin hating them and believeing they are immoral and corrupt? Do they have to have their personal posseions taken away fromt hem so that soemone who may not have worked as hard as them can have them?

    Maybe you ought to stop living in the theoretical world and start living in the real world Nancy.

  • td

    Just out of curiosity. The repeat offender rate in the US is above 50%. Much higher than the rate for the terrorists.

    So why are we letting criminals go once there sentences are up if we know 50% are just going to commit more crimes?

    What’s up with that.

  • Bing

    Zing I can’t count the number of times leftist goons have implied that we are either living ina police state now or are 2 steps away from it.

    Neither of these is true. That is the point. Those on the far left are consumed by thier hatred for Bush and will say things like this even though it is not true.

    Unlike you Zing I don’t believe it could happen in this nation either regardless of who or what party holds power. The American people wouldn’t allow it.

  • zingzing

    oh nancy… it’s too bad you’re right. the press should be the people’s check on the government… but it’s become the people’s check up on celebrity. the only things they report on anymore are sex, drugs, murder and scandal, not anything of substance.

  • zingzing

    bing: “America didn’t turn into a police state or completely fall aprt then and despite what you left wing spazez are currently claiming it is not in the process of happening now either.”

    it’s not a question of whether or not america is becoming a police state now, it’s the fact that it most definitely could with these practices in place. the constitution protects us from this shit. ever wonder how dictatorships start? not as dictatorships.

  • Nancy

    Zing, I fear you misunderstand: the media are no longer an investigative body. They are (for the most part) a self-aggrandizing pack of pundits & publicity whores who are in it for Fame & Money. Further, far too many of them are actually part of the very in-crowd of power brokers they are supposed to be critically overseeing. Think Judith Miller, Robert Novak, Williamson, and even (oh, cruelest cut) Bob Woodward himself. They spend most of their time mingling socially with the pols & lobbyists & corporate CEOs, live in the same posh neighborhoods, send their kids to the same private schools, shop in the same high-end designer gourmet groceries. The posturing of investigating & reporting is just that: a posture. The members of the media are just salivating at the prospect of JOINING socially the same group they’re supposed to consider their natural fodder, under purer circumstances. So that’s why the media are wimping. Also, the fact that, while most of the commentators may be lefties, the OWNERS are all way to the right, if not actual neocons. In any event, Naderites they ain’t.

    As for congress…this is the same crowd that, after 9/11, couldn’t cede their authority to wage war fast enough to Dubya, because they were/are too chickenshit to shoulder the burden & take responsibility themselves, lest they lose a vote & their fat cat existence of privilege among the elites. Remember, being a member of congress means never having to say you’re sorry. Or damn close. It means living above the hoi-polloi (that’s you & me, Jacko). It means, when bird flu/nukes strike, they & their families & buddies will have medicines/shelter/security, while the rest of the world dies. It means there will always be parking, and money, and a table at the best restaurants, & media types & other wannabes to grovel. It means belonging to a group which has legislated that no sitting member may be arrested (!); it means even if they are convicted of crimes, they still get lifelong retirement & medical benefits (!!!) – no worrying about social security or medicare for congressmen, Jacko; that’s for the great unwashed – who, by the bye, are the ones footing the bill for these privileged clubmembers.

    So. What was your question again?

  • Bing

    The patriot act is nothing compared to what was done by that liberal icon FDR who actually had American citizerns of Japanese heritage placed in internment camps.

    America didn’t turn into a police state or completely fall aprt then and despite what you left wing spazez are currently claiming it is not in the process of happening now either.

  • ya release them

    ok heres something to think about… what would you do after being held captive for four years for no reason??? me oh i’d probly sit back and go have a cup of tea with my parents and bless america for being so kind as to let me go after wrongful imprisonment… ohh hell no after i was released i would want some revenge for being locked up for no reason… in other words if the detainees weren’t al-qaeda before there sure as hell would be tempted to be after release… but thats just my thought…

    oh btw if this had already been mentioned i’m sorry didn’t read other posts…

  • zingzing

    damn straight. why is it that congress doesn’t do something about this? has one peice of legislation even been proposed to put a stop to this? would that do any good? i’m sure they are busy discussing things, but what are they discussing? why is the press being such a big pussy about this? if they are left wing, why don’t they pull some sort of power move? afraid of losing readership!? horseshit. someone should be doing something, but nothing happens.

  • Nancy

    I don’t want either “wing” to have this kind of unchecked, unconstitutional power. And if the cowards in congress – including the GOP members currently helping this BushCo administration perpetrate these crimes – won’t do more than sit & whine & yap endlessly about the insults to their authority without exercising that authority & pulling BushCo to a sudden, definitive halt, then they’re going to lose (if they haven’t already) what little ability they are willing to use to assert themselves. What gripes me is that pols in both parties are less concerned about violations of constitutional rights than they are about affronts by the WH to congress! If ANYONE on the hill had an ounce of integrity, s/he’d be firing an AK47 in the air & demanding Dubya’s head & nuts on a platter NOW for treachery against the US constitution & Bill of Rights.

  • zingzing

    put them on trial, or you could be next. all of this crap that bush, et al are pulling (p.a.t.r.i.o.t. act, wire taps, secret prisons, torture, suspending the right to trial, etc.) is very dangerous, not because of what he has done so far (which is bad enough), but what he, or anyone else, could get away with because these things exist. when the left wing comes to power, do you right wingers want us having this power? christ, i wouldn’t.

  • Nancy

    I also don’t think the US should ever base policy of any kind on what those elsewhere in the world think, but I DO think we should at least adhere to our own stated principles & laws, and in that respect, BushCo is clearly in violation of both the constitution & the law, & has been from the inception. As it stands at this moment, The Law seems to be whatever BushCo thinks they can get away with by bullying a craven, corrupt congress.

  • Well put, RedTard. When we start basing our national policies on world opinion we’re well and truly screwed as a nation.

    I just wrote an article on this same subject which takes a more balanced view and addresses some of your concerns. Check it out here on BC in the politics section. It’s called Free the Gitmo 500!.


  • RedTard

    Who gives a rat’s ass what a buffoon committee made up of Cuba, Zimbabwe, and the Sudan thinks about guantanamo. The fact is out of the 200 prisoners released from the prison 12 have come back to fight us and either been killed or captured on the battlefield (probably many more have not been caught). Those were the ‘good’ ones who were released.

    If that percentage holds for the remaining 500 we would end up with a bare minimum of 60 more dedicated Al Quaeda fighters in the field. Is that what your pushing for?

    These terrorists don’t get a US trial because soldiers don’t collect and bag evidence or get warrants for search in the midst of a firefight. They are terrorists from around the world who went to Iraq and Afghanistans to kill Americans. They got caught and I don’t have any pity for them.

    They have access to lawyers at will, the red cross has full run of the facility, they are given complete nutrition and allowed to observe their religious practices.

    The loony nutjobs on the left have been having a fit about this since it opened. As usual, they concoct an evil conspiracy without even considering the obvious truth.

    The reason that Guantanamo is still open is because closing it and releasing the prisoners will result in deaths of US troops. If the 12+ who already went back to the field didn’t get em a GI, the 60+ new fighters will. By lobbying for the release of the prisoners you are directly inviting the deaths of US soldiers in the field.

    I’m glad president Bush cares more about American troops than poll numbers or what the latest editorial says. Even if we are in the minority, I believe in protecting this country from the terrorists at guantanamo. I’m sorry I can’t say the same things about those on the left, it seems regaining power in government trumps the lives of US soldiers.