William Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” charged: “The U.S. is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons, into which people are being literally disappeared, held in indefinite, incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or a judicial system or to their families. And in some cases, at least, we know they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed.”
Schulz’s comments were the latest in a volley of incriminations and denials between Amnesty and the White House. Amnesty International’s new annual report, released May 25, cited “growing evidence of U.S. war crimes” and labeled the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay as “the gulag of our times.”
US officials responded with outrage. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld rebuffed such a comparison, saying a gulag was where the Soviets “kept millions in forced labor concentration camps.” President Bush said the comparison was “absurd” and Vice President Dick Cheney said he was offended by Amnesty’s assertions.
Schulz also labeled Rumsfeld and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as “alleged high-level architects of torture,” asserting: “Any nation that is party to the Geneva Conventions … is obligated under international law to investigate those who are alleged to be involved with the formulation of a policy of torture or with its carrying out.” He said the US “should investigate those who are alleged…to be architects of torture, not just the foot solders who may have inflicted the torture directly but those who authorized it or encouraged it or provided rationales for it.” (CNN, June 6)
See our last post on the ongoing torture scandal.