The Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health
The timing of the report, following as it does on yesterday's suspiciously timed release of two- and three-year-old Abu Ghraib photos, will ensure that it hits a raw and raucus Muslim world not yet recovered from the Kartoonistan trauma.
The US image will not fare well in this tempest, and forgive me for saying so, but I think the whole matter was designed to accomplish that end. The coordinated release with the Abu Ghraib photos at the peak of the orchestrated Kartoonistan riots is evidence enough that piling on is occurring.
Just look at the lead photo in today's al Jazeera. It focuses on Western protest against Guantanamo, and by extension, Abu Ghraib and the US, giving strength to our Muslim opponents, knowing there's an enemy within.
Just look at the independent rappateurs. In additition to the one in the headline, there was the Chairman Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.
They came from a mix of states: Austria and New Zealand, that can't be faulted on human rights issues; Argentina, that lives in the grey area; and human rights abuse super-states Algeria and Pakistan. They reported to the Human Rights Commission, one of the most discredited arms of the UN -- and that's saying a lot!
Their decision not to visit Guantanamo is questionable, as is our decision not to give them at least limited access to prisoners. They would have benefitted from going more than we would have benefitted by providing access, but both sides erred in their decisions here, losing credibility by the bucketload.
The bottom line, though, is that we are being asked to do what other nations have not. We are holding combatants until the end of a war. We are interrogating and have committed to following international protocols for that purpose.
The report wants us to give them trials, real trials, not DOD trials. Who else does this to their war time detainees? Who else has so free a legal system that trials would lead to enemy requests for documents that should not be released to them? Who else has a judiciary so independent that dangerous prisoners could be released to go back to battle?
It is our human rights that keep us from giving full legal rights to these captured terrorists.
Given that, it is American to treat these captives well, and no one will believe that we are until access is given to monitors. Those monitors need not me, and shouldn't be, from an organization as discredited as this Commission, but Red Cross access could be, and should be, increased.
Related Tags: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Human Rights Commission, Kartoonistan, Torture, UN