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The United Nations recently circulated a draft report from its Commission on Human Rights regarding the detention of terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, a report that supposedly finds abuses and demands the closing of the facility. It sounds as though the report would embarrass the US and put pressure on the government to close the camp. However, the New York Sun does mention one minor detail that may mitigate the report's impact ... the fact that the people who wrote it refused to go to the camp to see it for themselves:
Authors of a report commissioned by the U.N. claiming that detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are being tortured by American military personnel failed to visit the prison, despite an invitation from the American authorities.
"Any report that they may be writing would certainly suffer from the opportunity that was offered to them to go down there and witness firsthand the operations at Guantanamo," a Department of Defense spokesman, Bryan Whitman, told reporters at the Pentagon yesterday.
The U.N. representatives declined the invitation to visit Guantanamo because they were told that they would not be able to interview detainees during the visit, Mr. Whitman said. The 500 suspected terrorists, who are being kept without trial after being captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere, are regularly interviewed by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, which does not report on the treatment of prisoners.
Members of investigation, who will deliver their report later this year to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, have spent 18 months investigating conditions at Guantanamo and have relied for information about the condition of prisoners upon anecdotes provided by released detainees and family members and lawyers of those who are or have been detained from France, Spain, and Britain. Information has also been gleaned from the Department of State.
Yes, I can see where the confusion at Defense lies: they did not realize that the panel came from the highly regarded Psychic Friends Network, sent out by telepathic orders and able to visualize conditions anywhere from as far away as a five-star hotel in Miami. (Room service acts as a force multiplier in these conditions.)
Can anyone take the UN seriously any more, especially on human rights? This report comes from the same organization that has a serial sexual predator problem in most of its refugee camps and has taken few steps to stop it. Its human-rights commission has UN members of such stature as Cuba, Zimbabwe, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, and Congo to judge the conduct of nations. Now its panel on Guantanamo wrote a report rehashing the complaints of former detainees and their lawyers and family (who weren't at Guantanamo, of course), added a dash of rebuttal from the State Department, and think they've come up with the truth -- even though they have never set foot at the facility itself.
The UN insists on demonstrating its incompetence and uselessness at every turn. This provides yet another example in a tiresome string that demonstrates not only the organization's unserious approach to terrorism and conflict, but also a stunning hypocrisy that should have jaws dropping around the world. Perhaps once the UN gets its paedophiles and sexual predators under control at its own camps, we might find their long-distance perspective worth at least a laugh.Sphere It View blog reactions
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