Friday, May 19, 2006

The Guantanamo Irony

Summary: A United Nations Commission on Human Rights today finally has started taking notice that torture is occurring in Cuba. Ironically, its claims are not against Fidel Castro, but against the United States at Guantanamo Bay. Why would the Commission make such allegations? First, because human rights advocates aren't allowed into the nations of Cuba or Iran. Second, because of the member countries of the 'august' UN Commission on Human Rights.

If irony were water, you could swim for miles in this one...

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights today publicized claims, not that Cuba continues to torture people who speak out in favor of human rights, but that the United States is not following the 1984 UN Convention on Torture, because we are holding prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay without legal justification and without legal safeguards. Based on a loaded survey question, is reporting that 67% of Americans agree that we should close down Guantanamo. No specific instances of torture were mentioned in the news article citing the Commission report. The allegation without proof of secret prisons maintained all over the world by the US (well, they're secret--how would we have proof?) was trotted out on center stage again. Also without proof of specific instances that have not already been prosecuted by the United States, the Commission report stated "that the United States should end all forms of torture committed by its personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq." There may have been an allegation or two that we were flushing their Korans down the toilet, but I may be getting my stories mixed up.

Besides the fact that there is a war on, a couple of things struck me about the article and the report on the opinion survey.

First, what struck me was the irony in the claim that what the US might really be doing is sending prisoners to countries that really would torture them, although I didn't notice any proof of that either. But maybe they were thinking of countries like Iraq, where I've already documented there are people who think America is way too nice to the insurgents here.

Second, why doesn't the United Nations Commission on Human Rights investigate the gulag prison system that still exists in Cuba? While we're at it, it might change a few people's opinions of Iran if they knew what kinds of repression and torture were going on in that country. The allegations of what is going on in both these countries is much more substantial than anything the United Nations Commission on Human Rights can prove against the United States.

The difference is that the United States welcomes scrutiny while countries like Cuba and Iran do not allow it. Thank you, UN Commission on Human Rights for holding American once again to a higher moral standard. It'd jist be peachy if ya did it fer everbuddy. Sher would appreciatecha!!!

Iran, which uses systematic torture to keep its populace in check, and which dumps dead bodies on the outskirts of Tehran when they're finished with them, has never been investigated by anyone. Iran has not allowed it. The family members of many of those who have tried don't know where they are now. fairly regularly documents torture in Iran, as well as Many websites that used to exist inside Iran no longer exist. That's strange. I wonder why?

Cuba, the darling of the international power seekers, because they have perfected repression of its populace, and because it has successfully snubbed its nose at the Great Satan for 50 years, has never been investigated by the United Nations, despite a multitude of allegations from individuals who were tortured in the Cuban gulag, along with their families. has ample proof that torture in Fidel's Heaven on Earth continues unabated. Yet noone at the United Nations cares, and Cuba hasn't allowed anyone to investigate.

Third, just which countries are on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights? There are quite a few, with some more vocal than others. Let's have a look-see. France and Germany are there. No bias there, so they couldn't have had any influence on a shoddy Commission report, could they have? And...oh, Saudi Arabia, paragon of human rights is on the commission, too. I'm sure we can trust them to make a fair judgement about human rights, can't we? China--where you can have every kind of human right under the sun, except speaking out against the government and going to the church of your choice and keeping your land if they want it and having as many children as you want, and some others--is a Commission member as well.

Imagine the twinkly smirk on Fidel Castro's face when the Commission came out against torture on the island of Cuba, but not against him. Did I mention that Cuba is on the UN Commission on Human Rights? Aha.


Matt said...

"There may have been an allegation or two that we were flushing their Korans down the toilet..." Yeah, there was. If I remember reading it correctly a Koran couldn't fit down the toilet. Furthermore, in two (I only think three were confirmed and had veracity) of the eight allegations, the foolish prisoners tried to flush their own Koran down the toilet!!!! That's on the 'net, I wish I had the URL for that. Anyway, I'm starting to tire of the UN. Yes, they helped in Somalia, the Balkans, and Haiti. However, they usually skirt around a subject for far too long while people are being slaughtered, perfect example being Sudan's Darfur province. Additionaly, the way they try to place themselves over US law, when the Constitution clearly states that it is the supreme law of the land doesn't help. Lastly, we need to have some kind of standard to allow those who are on the Human Rights Commission. This needs to be more of a standard than just "tolerance". The way I see it, we're one of the few countries qualified to be on the Human Rights Commission. Granted, we're not always perfect (Nicarauga, El Salvador, etc), we're a hell of a lot better than Cuba, China, Saudi, Iran, you see where I'm going Frank.

Luv2Box said...

These people do need to have rights, but let's not forget that they also attempted and nearly succeeded in an attack on our troops! These people clearly have nothing but evil intentions toward any and every American and I am very grateful to those down at Gitmo who are keeping us safe.

Frank Staheli said...

Matt and Luv2box,

Excellent comments from both of you. We really are one of the few countries that are qualified to be on the human rights commission. And yes, the reason the prisoners are at Gitmo is because they almost succeeded in attacking us (and may have succeeded before they were caught).

Also a postscript to my original article: Rush Limbaugh reported 2 or 3 days ago that the United States invited the UN Human Rights Commission to tour our Guantanamo facility before making their report, but the Commission declined the offer.

WW said...

Cuba is a dictatorship that abuses the human rights of its people. That's a terrible thing, and many human rights organizations have protested those abuses. The same goes for countries around the world, including Iraq while it was ruled by Saddam and his Baathist Party.

What's ironic is that Frank Staheli, the creator of this website, would use those abuses as de facto justification for U.S. torture at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We're Americans, and we're supposed to be better than that.

By approving of
American torture
as he does, Staheli cedes control over American values to the terrorists that his (sorry, can't think of him as my) president has claimed to be fighting.

Frank Staheli said...


This is one of the few times you have posted on this site that you have made a (mostly) logical and not emotional comment. Thank you.

You are correct about abu Ghraib. That was an atrocity committed by the US, but that issue has been corrected. As to many of the other pictures on the linked web sites, you should make sure that the pictures are authentic before making what I think are outlandish claims. Several instances have been discovered of false claims of torture.

I would be willing to speak out against President Bush if he really is aware of (and even if there really is) torture at Guantanamo. But for now, my opinion is what I stated.

In the exceptions to the rule--that have been proved--listed on links to the page you linked in your post, the perpetrators are prosecuted. However, in the frequent case of torture by Cubans, Iraqi insurgents, Iranians, etc. no one is punished.

Your level-headed response is welcomed.