"Gulag" is the Russian acronym made famous by Alexander Solzhenitsyn to describe the vast network of Soviet slave labor camps in which millions died. It is thus one more sign of the moral degradation of Amnesty International that the pressure group is now calling the U.S. detention facility for Taliban and al Qaeda suspects at Guantanamo Bay "the gulag of our time."
At a press conference yesterday releasing its annual human rights report, William Schultz, the executive director of Amnesty’s U.S. branch, called the U.S. a "leading purveyor and practitioner" of torture. He urged foreign governments to investigate and arrest U.S. officials. "The apparent high-level architects of torture should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera," he said, "because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998." The "apparent" is a nice touch, perhaps an unconscious bow to the fact that multiple probes and courts martial have found no evidence that the U.S. condones or encourages torture.
"Our list," as Mr. Orwell — er, Mr. Schultz — puts it, is too long to print in full. But it includes Donald Rumsfeld, Douglas Feith and William Haynes at Defense; Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Jack Goldsmith, and Patrick Philbin from Justice; Tim Flanigan, just nominated to be Deputy Attorney General; George Tenet, former head of the CIA; and Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, former commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
It’s old news that Amnesty International is a highly politicized pressure group, but these latest accusations amount to pro-al Qaeda propaganda. A "human rights" group that can’t distinguish between Stalin’s death camps and detention centers for terrorists who kill civilians can’t be taken seriously.