Meet The New Evil Empire

From Holden:

Amnesty International branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay a human rights failure Wednesday, calling it “the gulag of our time” as it released a report that offers stinging criticism of the United States and its detention centers around the world.

The 308-page report accused the United States of shirking its responsibility to set the bar for human rights protections and said Washington has instead created a new lexicon for abuse and torture. Amnesty International called for the camp to be closed.

“Attempts to dilute the absolute ban on torture through new policies and quasi-management speak, such as ‘environmental manipulation, stress positions and sensory manipulation,’ was one of the most damaging assaults on global values,” the annual report said.


At least 10 cases of abuse or mistreatment have been documented and investigated at Guantanamo. Several other cases are pending.

“During the year, released detainees alleged that they had been tortured or ill-treated while in U.S. custody in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Evidence also emerged that others, including Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and the International Committee of the Red Cross, had found that such abuses had been committed against detainees,” the report said.

The Geneva-based ICRC is the only independent group to have access to the Guantanamo detainees. Amnesty has been refused access to the prison camp, although it was allowed to watch the pretrial hearings for the military commissions. The commissions, which could try 15 prisoners facing charges, were stalled by a U.S. court’s decision that is under appeal.

“There’s a myth going around that there’s some kind of rule of law being applied,” said Rob Freer, an Amnesty official who specializes in detention issues.


Amnesty also said the ouster of the conservative Islamic Taliban regime in 2001 by U.S.-led forces did little to bring relief to women.

In the western Herat region, Amnesty reported that hundreds of women had set fire to themselves to escape violence in the home or forced marriage.

“Fear of abductions by armed groups forced women to restrict their movements outside the home,” Amnesty said. Even within families, “extreme restrictions” on women’s behavior and high levels of violence persisted, it said.