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Friday, June 03, 2005

The Company You Keep

"Cheney is hated as the most cruel monster and bloodthirsty beast, as he has drenched various parts of the world in blood"
I know what you're thinking, but no, Howard Dean didn't say it. Neither did MoveOn.org, although I'm sure they find it hilarious and agree wholeheartedly. This quote actually comes from a Foreign Ministry spokesman for North Korea. Yes, that North Korea.

The quote itself can be dismissed as a desperate insult from a bunch of pathetic fools, but what does that say about people in this country who echo the sentiment? When North Korea says something like that, you can almost see the sarcastic grin, but the Left can make such a declaration with a straight face. Just this week, we had Amnesty International (which is as nonpartisan as Barbara Boxer) declaring that the US was running a Gulag in Guantanamo Bay, further fueling the "torture" allegations that always seem to make it above the fold in the NYT.

Am I the only one that finds it odd that allegations of torture by the US and UK is front page news everyday, yet the only time North Korea makes the news is when they call Cheney a "bloodthirsty beast"? I would never accuse the MSM of trying to manipulate public opinion, but maybe it's because their favorite story would suffer by comparison. For example, which of these quotes do you think people would remember if they were placed side by side?

"In one photograph, the 22-year-old reservist held a leash looped around the neck of a hooded, naked prisoner. Another showed her next to nude prisoners stacked in a pyramid, while a third depicted England pointing at a prisoner's genitals as a cigarette dangled from her lips."

"In interrogations aimed at forcing a confession, Lee, now 56, was also subjected to water torture. She says guards force-fed her water by pushing the spout of a canister into her mouth. They laid a wooden plank across her abdomen--and pressed down, forcing water out through her mouth, nose, and bladder. "It feels like your intestines are exploding. There's no way even to describe the pain you feel," she recalls, with no trace of emotion. "

Maybe forgetting about North Korea was a simple oversight by the media, but Amnesty International seems to have made the same mistake. They've only published one report on North Korea in the last year and a half, but at least three concerning allegations of US torture. Interestingly, one of the only journalists reporting on the PRK is liberal journalist Christopher Hitchens, who's been crucified by the Left for supporting the war and trying to put the Abu Ghraib allegations in perspective.

No one (that I'm aware of) is claiming that no abuse took place, but the people responsible are being punished, and the press should be applauded for the role they played in making that happen. It is one thing however, to be a watchdog, and another to be an attack dog. When members of the press and a majority of the Left are parroting statements made by the world's worst human rights abuser in order to criticize the world's best human rights defender, they have shifted to the latter.

20 Comments:

Blogger Nedhead said...

Brash, the North Korean power structure is totalitarian government that abuses human rights. The country is lead by a pyschotic individual who has no respect for anyone and has surrounded himself with like minded loonies.

The United States is supposed to be a bastion of freedom and democracy, treating all citizens as equals (in theory at least). And is supposed to provide a shiny example to the rest of the world. When this nation takes it upon itself to be a hero and stop dictatorships that are abusing human rights it had better be able to stand up to the spotlight that will be shined upon it.

This is not to justify ignoring or downplaying the sins of various other countries and governments, but given the holier-than-thou attitude of our country's leadership (Bush uses the word "God" in his speaches more than any other president in history, including the Republican God, Reagan, and the extremely pious Jimmy Carter), shouldn't we be playing at a "higher" level?

And although I think Cheney is not good for this country, or any country for that matter, I would hope that most people (liberals included) would see the hyperbole in the Foreign ministers quote.

6/03/2005 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Ned,

Rather than shooting all of the fish in the barrel (so to speak), I will just correct you on one point. You said that Bush refers to God more often than any other president. Not true. In fact, Clinton referred to God (or other members of the Trinity) more than Bush, and Clinton appeared in 7 times the number of Churches that Bush appeared in (interesting enough, Clinton always seemed to catch religion every 4 years around November....). But if you really want to see a President who referred to God, you should read some of what that wing-nut Lincoln had to say.

6/03/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

Steve, I stand corrected with respect to frequency for overall presidency (my "facts" were based upon specific speeches). However, I think I made my point(not that you need to agree).

Off topic a bit, and neither of us has the time to really get into this, but the context of Bush's statements with respect to God are much more "avenging angel" as "directed" by God than those of Clinton, Lincoln, Reagan, Bush I, Carter, etc..

6/03/2005 10:16:00 AM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Ned,
You're point concerning PRK vs. US is taken, but I still don't think it can account for the difference in the ways the media, and especially NGOs like Amnesty International cover them.

Like I said, it's one thing to hold the US accountable to a high standard, and another to attack them with more ferocity than is directed at a tyranical police state.

6/03/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny I was watching John Stewart last night and he showed footage of Rumsfeld citing Amenesty internationals reports of human rights violations in Iraq while making the case for war it seems like the administration took them seriously enough then. Amnesty internation has been respected in the world community for some time as an organization that advances the cause of freedom by chellenging totalitarian prison systems and they have had US support for a number of years for this reason, particullarly with regard to the late cold war era. I'm sure they would love to publish on Korea if they could get in the country to begin with considering you can actually wind up in a labor camp there for singing certain songs. Amnesty internation is the #1 active human rights group. And I say active because they are not a watch dog group they work pro-actively on the behalf of many unlawfully detained prisoners all over the world. Before criticizing them further lets get an education about why and what they do follow the link http://web.amnesty.org/pages/aboutai-index-eng I hope after reading that you will understand why they have garnerred support even if anly moral from the US for so long. For such an organization to come out and make this kind of accusation we must take it seriously. We need to lift up the curatain for the world and our own people to see what exactly is going on here this may be the difference of what we do in the dark vs what we do in the light of day. If we are doing nothing wrong this should not be a problem, they are not telling us to release the prisoners. Frankly I think the administration could have done better than to say simply we don't take Amnesty internation seriously because AI is the emmbodiment of the sentiments and aspirations of billions of ordinary people who want to live freely with recourse to the law with out fear of cruel or unusual punishments administered by state institutions.
-Napolean

6/03/2005 10:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

I wonder if the fact that AI is headed by a Muslim, who I am sure is upset that so many of her peace-loving brothers are detained by the US, has any bearing on her decision to compare Guantanamo Bay with the Gulag....nah, no conflict of interest there.

6/03/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Keith said...

Beautifully -and perfectly- articulated. Well said!

6/03/2005 12:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know Steve thats kind of like saying all Muslims know each other or addressing them as, "you people," So let me help you out a little and so you get a sense of my objectivity I'll give you my cutural/religeous backround: Fifth generation Ameican. Dutch, German, Swedish, Scotch Genetic blend. I believe in a creating force but do not ascribe to organized religeon for my exposure to many religeons: I am baptized presbetirian, confirmed episcopaleon, my father came originally from a Dutch reformed family (Puritains for real) my mother was presbetirian she eventually married my Step father who fled communism in the former Yugoslav republic in the 1970's, he came From Kosovo and is an ethnic Albainian hence he is Muslim. Through him I have met many good people who have come here from all over the Europe from different religeous backrounds. He has been a citizcen for many years And I can tell you that he loves this country and all the oppertunity it afforded him. Both he and my mother are Bush supporters despite the current conflict.

The current conflict has painted a picture that portrays all muslims as inhierently radical and of the same religeous belief structure, if that was the case we would not have some Iraqis joining our cause and some becoming insurgents, they would all be insurgents. Assuming that because Irene Zubaida Khan, head of Amnesty International is Muslim changes what the truth of Gitmo may or may not be is frankly insulting to your own intelligence and is some what reminiscent of the 1930 beer hall Nazi belief in a Jewish conspiracy.

Steve there are Muslims all around you and there religeous beliefs are just as varied in doctrine as are christian beliefs (ex. Catholics, Prodestants, unitarians, evangelicals, etc.) But just like in our society where the most radical Chritians get the most air time because they've got something say against others, so to is it the the Islamic world where the most extreme voices rise above the din. We have a tendency to forget that our indiginous allies in this current conflict are Muslim too Its almost like saying your friend, "Isn't really black."

-Napolean

6/03/2005 12:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Steve said...

Anonymous,

I won't give you 5 generations of my family history, but I will say this- as an attorney I know that to properly put a witness's testimony in context, you must examine all of the factors that could have influenced their testimony. The fact that the leader of AI is Muslim is a factor that legitimately should be discussed in evaluating her criticism of the US for detaining many individuals- who also happen to be Muslim.

6/03/2005 01:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not actually an attorney but I play one on the web...And as I said before if she has a bias it will not affect the truth about was has or has not occurred at Gitmo and as an honest attorney you should know that the verifiable truth is the first thing you should be looking at before looking for ways to invalidate a witness based on affiliations. The truth is the truth is the truth and her bias what ever it may be cannot change it. By your own reasoning if her religion is a factor in her criticism then we should consider the religion of those who are actually detaining them and denying the allegations to also be a motivational factor.
-Napolean

6/03/2005 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Brash Limburg said...

Napolean,
Let's put this in context. She did not just say that America is commiting human rights abuses. She did not just say that some prisoners are being mishandled. She said Guantanemo Bay is a gulag on the scale of the Ex-Soviet Union or the worst Latin American dictators.

Aside from being a laughable comparison, even if she believes the conditions are that bad, she overlooks an important point. The Gulags in Russia, and South America, and North Korea, and so on, were used to imprison the countries own citizens, who should presumably have some rights in their own countries. Guantanamo is used to house foriegn combatants. Of course there are exceptions to the rule in both cases, but in general it's one thing for a country not to extend special rights to foreigners and quite another to withhold them from it's own citizens.

6/03/2005 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Her comments are with regard to the 2005 annual report you can find her own words in the forward here this report involves 146 countrys or so and the first criticism she gives involves Darfur we just happened to get ourselves on the list this year its like we all forget about it when a muslim woman comes to the defence of Christians being persecuted in some of those 146 countrys because she is Muslim and criticized our practices.

Before any one would criticize her further for her religion I think you should read the Amnesty report from cover to cover so that you know exactly what you are saying about her, and you can see what she has to say about the world lets put down the spin and get to the truth. Lastley before we jump to arbitratily criticize her words about us lets actually know for certain what the unequivical truth is, Our taxes are getting pumped into a POW camp (Semantics don't change what it in reality is) When I go to sleep at night I want to know for certain that my money isn't being used to hook up electrodes to some dudes balls.

It is well know that Rumsfeled himself appoved interogation techniques such as water boarding and convincing a detainy that death is imminent before the war started and I'm very sure you could find both of those things in a gulag. And never forget these guys have not had a trial to prove any evidence against them or to administer a punishment equivelent to the crimes they may be guilty of and they're never slated to be released regardless of what offense they have commited, its possible that some of these men never picked up a gun some of them could have been guilty of thought crime only but we don't know that because where doing all of this in secret just like some rumored camp in Siberia or the foot hills of North Korea. TURN ON THE LIGHTS SO WE CAN SEE WHAT THE TRUTH IS!

About torture:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/06/21/rumsfeld.interrogation.memos/index.html
http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/08/25/leavitt.torture/index.html

Amnesty report
http://web.amnesty.org/report2005/message-eng

Amnesty has long criticized Muslim nations here is one example:
http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/intcam/saudi/index.html

Brash,
"in general it's one thing for a country not to extend special rights to foreigners and quite another to withhold them from it's own citizens."

Yes and its an entirely different animal when the purveyors of human rights, international law, and the accepted conventions of war fare for the past 86 years suddenly criticize their enemies for not adhering to the humanity for which these ideas stand and through the same ideas out of the equation in the same sentence. If we want the moral high ground we need to stand on top of the hill.

-Napolean

6/03/2005 03:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I suspect that the actual report won't be read (see above) below is the exact quote which is part of a statement in a much larger context in the acutal report its almost like the admin decided to shoot down the validity of the report before anyone read it so that their, "base," would help them discredit it further without ever even reading, guys they want you to stay dumb come on...

"The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law. Trials by military commissions have made a mockery of justice and due process."

Please also note the specific language OF OUR TIME, which means this is not a direct corellation to the exact practices of the soviets rather it appears in the context of an adjective and the statement as you can clearly see goes on to cite the specific similarities that led to this colorful description.
-Napolean

6/03/2005 03:34:00 PM  
Blogger Nedhead said...

Funny, I didn't realize that AI consisted of just one muslim female. She wrote that whole report herself? Amazing! She did all the research herself? Astounding!

My little conservative friends, the AI report is being interpretted in bits and pieces. It must be reviewed holistically.

6/06/2005 07:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Gushy McGee said...

Napolean,
First of all let me make it clear where I am coming from...

My mother is afro-american and my father is from East St Louis. I was brought up by my grandmother on my father's side who is half white, half japanese.

When I learned of my family history I did some more digging. After giving birth to me, my mother left for Nigeria. She returned there after learning that her great grandmother (a slave in Atlanta Georgia) had traced her ancestry back there. She later died giving birth to my half brother.

My father, a southern baptist preacher before converting to Islam and moving to Detriot (then later to St Louis), was killed in prison after he was "racially profiled".

That being said...

AI was right about Saddam's abuses, and Hitler liked dogs. So what? Their still wrong on America.

6/06/2005 02:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gushy,
I'm sorry for your loss. I'm assuming that when you say your late father was killed in prison we are talking about a federal penetentary, the operative word here is federal. I obviously don't know the specifics of your fathers detention but it sounds like the kind of human rights case that AI typically atemps to document, or takes interest in considering that he was profiled, and was killed in custody. That is exactly the kind of event that AI works to prevent.

1. I to would like to have peace of mind to say that their wrong on America, But their are no verifiable facts at this point, only public opinion. I want to see a bi-partisan congressional investigation and a hearing. At this point we shouldn't need to keep everything down there a secret, unless we did something wrong. I think its the only thing that can put the issue to rest at this point.

2. Amnesty is not the only large organization that has criticized the US for Gitmo, The Red Cross has had access on several occasions and they where not impressed either, they're just not as vocal as AI. Basically any organization sworn to uphold Geneva has some sort of beef, Geneva exists so that human rights violations don't happen, If we're the good guys we then we have to act like it too. Now lets be very clear, under international law it is possible to violate some ones human rights with out physical abuse, and the incognito detainment for an indefinite period of time with out recourse to the law fits that description so of course AI is going to object, its their job and they do it objectively.

3. Cheney found a verbal chink in the armour and took a cheap shot because they don't want you to read the report. The total mesage of the report is that the way we have conducted the war on terror has led to an increase in human rights violations world wide. Now... this is the important stuff...What AI is saying is that three things have happened:

A)the one were all up in arms about- The US may have directly violated human rights at its detention facilities.
B) Nations in co-operation with the war on terror have violated human rights on our behalf.
C) Third party nations (such as cuba) that are not nessecarily involed in the real war on terror have co-opted the terminology and are arresting their political disidents by labeling them terrorists and holding them indefinately.

So even if our detainies are eating chocolate cake down in Gitmo, countries that had poor human rights to begin with are escalating the number of violations either on our behalf, or using our example as an excuse. And thats the real point AI was trying to make.

6/06/2005 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Crackpot Press said...

Just remember these pathetic fools have a couple of great big bombs.

Im not a guy that thinks all Repubs are blood thirsty fools. I think there are some good men in the Republican party. Just none them are in charge.

6/07/2005 08:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just incase you missed this before,

Cheney found a verbal chink in the armour and took a cheap shot because they don't want you to read the report. The total mesage of the report is that the way we have conducted the war on terror has led to an increase in human rights violations world wide. Now... this is the important stuff...What AI is saying is that three things have happened:

A)the one were all up in arms about- The US may have directly violated human rights at its detention facilities.
B) Nations in co-operation with the war on terror have violated human rights on our behalf.
C) Third party nations (such as cuba) that are not nessecarily involed in the real war on terror have co-opted the terminology and are arresting their political disidents by labeling them terrorists and holding them indefinately.

So even if our detainies are eating chocolate cake down in Gitmo, countries that had poor human rights to begin with are escalating the number of violations either on our behalf executing the war on terror, or using our example as an excuse. And thats the real point AI was trying to make.
Just read the report.
-Napolean

6/07/2005 11:50:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whoops wrong post dis regat that last one.
-Napolean

6/07/2005 11:51:00 AM  
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