The folks at Amnesty International are practically begging for a one-way ticket
to Gitmo. After the human rights group issued a report late last month calling
the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "the gulag of our times,"
top officials raced to condemn Amnesty.
President Bush: "It's absurd. It's an absurd allegation."
Vice President Cheney: "I don't take them seriously. . . . Frankly, I
was offended by it."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld: "Reprehensible . . . cannot be excused."
Funny -- these officials had a different view of Amnesty when it was criticizing
Rumsfeld repeatedly cited Amnesty when he was making the case against Saddam
Hussein, urging "a careful reading of Amnesty International" and saying
that according to "Amnesty International's description of what they know
has gone on, it's not a happy picture."
The White House often cited Amnesty to make the case for war in Iraq, using
the group's allegations that Iraq executed dozens of women accused of prostitution,
decapitated victims and displayed their heads, tortured political opponents
and raped detainees' relatives, gouged out eyes, and used electric shocks.
Regarding Fidel Castro's Cuba, meanwhile, the White House joined Amnesty and
other groups in condemning Castro's "callous disregard for due process."
And the State Department's most recent annual report on worldwide human rights
abuses cites Amnesty's findings dozens of times.
"This administration eagerly cites Amnesty International research when
we criticize Cuba and extensively quoted our criticism of the violations in
Iraq under Saddam Hussein in the run-up to the war," protested William
F. Schulz, executive director of Amnesty International USA.
But Schulz isn't protesting too much. In the past week, traffic on Amnesty's
Web site has gone up sixfold, donations have quintupled and new memberships