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June 9, 2005
Did Amnesty International Call For Kidnapping Of American Leaders? (Updated)

John Leo wrote earlier this week about the ridiculous Amnesty International assertion that Guantanamo Bay has become the "gulag of our time" in the statement issued by AI's Secretary-General Irene Khan, in his column about Stories Not Told. The "gulag" analogy has received the thorough thrashing it deserved from bloggers and even some in the media.

However, according to Leo at the end of his column, AI also issued a press release accompanying their annual report that the media mostly ignored. In that release, Amnesty International apparently called for other nations to kidnap George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and other American officials and haul them off to the ICC for prosecution on charges of crimes against humanity:

A different omission marred the reporting of Amnesty International's report charging torture in U.S. detainment camps. The group didn't just call Guantanamo a "gulag," an over-the-top remark that was universally reported. In a press release that most reporters ignored, the group also invited foreign governments to snatch certain visiting American officials off the streets and bring them to trial for crimes against humanity. The suggested snatchees, should they travel abroad, were President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet, and other unnamed civilian and military officials. Amnesty International said that "all states have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute people responsible for these crimes," just as the British pounced on Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998. The snatching recommendation wasn't new, but the Amnesty press release is a useful reminder of the dangers of signing on to the International Criminal Court.

Perhaps this has received wide release and I just missed it, but this is the first report I've seen in the American media of such a call. I have been unable to find the press release itself, but I have found plenty of approving references to the statement from left-wing websites such as Common Dreams, TruthOut, and Antiwar.com. According to Common Dreams, AI's chief of their American bureau said the following:

Speaking at the release of Amnesty's annual report, William Schulz charged that Washington has become ''a leading purveyor and practitioner'' of torture and ill-treatment and that senior officials should face prosecution by other governments for violations of the Geneva Conventions and the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Among those officials, Schulz named Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director George Tenet, and senior officers at U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and Abu Ghraib, Iraq.

''If the U.S. government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior U.S. officials involved in the torture scandal,'' said Schulz, who added that violations of the torture convention, which has been ratified by the United States and some 138 other countries, can be prosecuted in any jurisdiction.

''If those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them,'' he added. ''The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as (former Chilean dictator) Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998.''

That's quite a stringent call coming from AI -- a demand that foreign governments ignore diplomatic immunity and seize traveling officials from the United States, in order to put them on trial in a kangaroo court. I wonder, did Schulz make the same demand about Fidel Castro, Kim Jong-Il, the Iranian mullahs, or any of the other dictators around the world that really do practice torture on their own populations, or worse. Apparently not; Amnesty only unleashes its venom on freely elected leaders, a rather cowardly act masquerading as telling truth to power.

These revelations absolutely destroy any credibility for AI as a nonpartisan, independent organization dedicated to human rights. It has sold itself out as yet another tiresome, radical Leftist screaming machine with double standards so ridiculous that their very scope amounts to self-satire. (hat tip: CQ reader Stoo Pid)

UPDATE: Here's the link to AI-USA's statement with this call for capturing US officials while traveling abroad (hat tip: CQ reader Joe Z):

If the US government continues to shirk its responsibility, Amnesty International calls on foreign governments to uphold their obligations under international law by investigating all senior US officials involved in the torture scandal. And if those investigations support prosecution, the governments should arrest any official who enters their territory and begin legal proceedings against them. The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998. ...

Amnesty Internationals list of those who may be considered high-level torture architects includes Donald Rumsfeld, who approved a December 2002 memorandum that permitted such unlawful interrogation techniques as stress positions, prolonged isolation, stripping, and the use of dogs at Guantanamo Bay; William Haynes, the Defense Department General Counsel who wrote that memo, and Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, who is cited in the memo as concurring with its recommendations.

Our list includes Major General Geoffrey Miller, Commander of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo, whose subordinates used some of the approved torture techniques and who was sent to Iraq where he recommended that prison guards soften up detainees for interrogations; former CIA Director George Tenet, whose agency kept so-called ghost detainees off registration logs and hidden during visits by the Red Cross and whose operatives reportedly used such techniques as water-boarding, feigning suffocation, stress positions, and incommunicado detention.

And it includes Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who called the Geneva Conventions quaint and obsolete in a January 2002 memo and who requested the memos that fueled the atrocities at Abu Ghraib; Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former Commander of US Forces in Iraq, and Sanchez deputy, Major General Walter Wojdakowsi, who failed to ensure proper staff oversight of detention and interrogation operations at Abu Ghraib, according to the militarys Fay-Jones report, and Captain Carolyn Wood, who oversaw interrogation operations at Bagram Air Base and who permitted the use of dogs, stress positions and sensory deprivation.

But it doesn't include Robert Mugabe, Kim Jong-Il, Fidel Castro, Bashar Assad, etc etc etc.

UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers! And also Michelle Malkin's readers, too!

UPDATE III and BUMP: More of an addendum, really. It seems to me that this rhetoric is much more offensive than the "gulag" analogy, and it represents a Rubicon of sorts for Amnesty International and its supporters. I think those who fund AI and align themselves politically with Schulz and its other leaders should be pressed to answer whether they support Schulz' call for the kidnapping of American officials traveling abroad. It's a simple question and demands a straightforward answer. Those who refuse to disavow themselves of their association or support of Amnesty International on this basis will reveal themselves as radicals who will sacrifice American interests for momentary global approbation.

We elect our leaders, and we hold them accountable. Moreover, when we send our leaders abroad to interact with leaders of other countries, we expect those countries to extend normal diplomatic status, or to warn in advance when that status will not be extended. Violating that status by imprisoning our leaders and diplomats is an act of war against the United States. Those joining in Amnesty International's call for other nations to commit an act of war against us should be held politically accountable for their position.

UPDATE IV: Little Green Footballs noted the comments on May 26th, but for some reason it didn't get much play. My guess is that Charles had something else breaking big that day and it got lost in the shuffle.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 9, 2005 12:49 PM

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