Saturday, November 05, 2005

American Gulag Revisited

Back in May of this year, Amnesty International secretary-general Irene Khan set off a mini-brouhaha by calling the US detainment facilities at such places as Guantanamo Bay the "Gulag of our times".

Following the usual firestorm of vitriol on both the left and right, Ms. Khan's comments were generally pooh-poohed as hysterical hyperbole.

Perhaps one of the most condescending criticisms was published by the Washington Post editorial department:

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."

In retrospect though, it seems IA's greatest failure was in being a bit premature in their assessment. For though the assertions are, for now, officially speculative, does anyone who has not partaken of BushCorp™ Kool-Aid seriously question the recent reports of secret CIA prisons spread about the globe?

As Dana Priest reports in that self-same, self-satisfied Washington Post:
The CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe, according to U.S. and foreign officials familiar with the arrangement.

The secret facility is part of a covert prison system set up by the CIA nearly four years ago that at various times has included sites in eight countries, including Thailand, Afghanistan and several democracies in Eastern Europe, as well as a small center at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, according to current and former intelligence officials and diplomats from three continents.

No wonder BushCorp™ and their abettors on the right and in the media were so desperate to bat down Ms. Khan's earlier assertions of American lawlessness. Such an aspersion is infuriating if it's a lie.

But it's even worse if it's true.

[Note: I swear I didn't read this LA Time piece until after I'd written this blog-CK]

No comments: