[Marxism] Surprisingly strong blast against US by Amnesty International

Ralph Johansen michele at maui.net
Tue Dec 21 23:49:39 MST 2004


Fwd by simonmcguinness at oceanfree.net [Dublin]

[Thanks to Dan Christensen for guiding me to this Amnesty International
report.  It positively lambastes the US administration for its total
contempt towards the issue of Human Rights.  I have never read a report
from an international Human Rights body that used such extreme language.
Read right the way through and distribute to all supporters of George W
Bush you know.  This is the ideal riposte for anyone who has ever been
accused of being "anti-American".-Simon]

*************************
AI Index: AMR 51/171/2004
December 2, 2004

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Proclamations are not enough, double standards must end
More than words needed this Human Rights Day


10 December 2004 will mark the 56th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). If recent history is any guide,
President George W. Bush will issue a proclamation on or around that
date, international Human Rights Day, in which he will reaffirm the
USA’s enduring commitment to fundamental human rights principles. He did
so on 9 December 2001, 9 December 2002, and 10 December 2003.

If and when President Bush comes to sign his Human Rights Day
proclamation this year, Amnesty International believes that an honest
appraisal would require him to acknowledge that the USA has violated and
undermined basic human rights principles and the rule of law during his
first term in office and continues to be far from the global human
rights champion it proclaims itself to be.

On 10 December 1948, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly proclaimed
the UDHR as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all
nations". The USA was one of the main movers behind the Declaration, and
to this day claims to remain committed to the principles of this
visionary document, from which today’s body of international human
rights law and standards has developed. The Department of State
describes the USA’s position thus: 

"The protection of fundamental human rights was a foundation stone in
the establishment of the United States over 200 years ago. Since then, a
central goal of US foreign policy has been the promotion of respect for
human rights, as embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The United States understands that the existence of human rights helps
secure the peace, deter aggression, promote the rule of law, combat
crime and corruption, strengthen democracies, and prevent humanitarian
crises."

The State Department explains that the USA seeks to "hold governments
accountable to their obligations under universal human rights norms and
international human rights instruments" as well as to promote the rule
of law and greater respect for human rights.

Seeking to hold the USA accountable to its international obligations,
meanwhile, is an uphill task. Over the years, this is a country that has
repeatedly ignored or rejected resolutions and findings of international
and regional bodies and experts, including the UN Commission on Human
Rights, the UN Committee against Torture, the UN Human Rights Committee,
the International Court of Justice, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary
Detention, various UN Special Rapporteurs, and the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights. It has lodged unprecedented conditions to
its ratifications of some human rights treaties and failed to ratify
others. For example, although the State Department lists the promotion
of children’s rights as one of the USA’s central policy goals, it is the
only country apart from Somalia not to have ratified the UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child. 

In 2002, the USA sought to block adoption of the Optional Protocol to
the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment which will establish a system of international
and national monitoring of detention facilities. The hiding by US agents
of detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in
Iraq, and the USA’s denial of access to others held in secret locations
or even some of those held without charge or trial at the US naval base
at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, suggest a government that does not look
favourably on external scrutiny of its own actions. Yet it was President
Bush who said in June 2003 that it is "notorious human rights abusers"
who seek to "shield their abuses from the eyes of the world" by "denying
access to international human rights monitors". Both before and after
his statement, detainees in US custody were subjected to torture or
other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in Afghanistan, Guantánamo
and Iraq, with international human rights monitors, including Amnesty
International, denied access. (1)

The USA is the only state that is actively opposed to the International
Criminal Court (ICC), while 97 countries have now ratified or acceded to
the Rome Statute of the ICC which will seek to prosecute people accused
of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, where their home
state is unwilling or unable to try them. Under the administration of
President Bush, the USA has conducted a worldwide campaign to weaken the
ICC and to obtain immunity for all US nationals from its jurisdiction.
Under this campaign, the USA approaches governments around the world and
asks them to enter into illegal immunity agreements. These agreements
provide that a government will not surrender or transfer US nationals
accused of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes to the ICC,
if requested by the Court. The agreements do not require the USA or the
other state concerned to investigate and, if there is sufficient
evidence, to prosecute such a person in US Courts. 

*******************************************
“If and when President Bush comes to sign his Human Rights Day
proclamation this year, Amnesty International believes that an honest
appraisal would require him to acknowledge that the USA has undermined
basic human rights principles and the rule of law during his first term
in office and continues to be far from the global human rights champion
it proclaims itself to be.” 
******************************************* 

In April 2003, the final report of a Pentagon Working Group on Detainee
Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism advised that some states
with whom the USA had not entered into such agreements may "perceive
certain interrogation techniques to constitute torture or inhuman
treatment". Such states, the Working Group says, "may attempt to use the
Rome Statute to prosecute individuals found in their territory
responsible for such interrogations. In such cases, the US Government
will reject as illegitimate any attempt by the ICC, or a state on its
behalf, to assert the jurisdiction of the Rome Statute over US nationals
without the prior express consent of the United States." In July 2003,
the USA announced the withdrawal of military assistance to 35 states
that are parties to the Rome Statute and have refused to sign an
immunity agreement with the USA exempting US nationals from the
jurisdiction of the ICC. Now Congress is threatening legislation that
could cut development aid to governments that have not entered into
immunity agreements with the USA. 

In another of the US administration’s now notorious "torture memos" that
have come into the public domain since the publication of photographic
evidence of war crimes committed by US soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison in
Iraq, the Justice Department reminded the White House in August 2002
that "[a]lthough President Clinton signed the Rome Statute, the United
States has withdrawn its signature from the agreement… effectively
terminating it. The United States, therefore, cannot be bound by the
provisions of the ICC Treaty nor can US nationals be subject to ICC
prosecution." The memorandum advised that, even if the ICC "could in
some way act upon the United States and its citizens, interrogation of
an al Qaeda operative could not constitute a crime under the Rome
Statute." The memorandum argued that "[e]ven if certain interrogation
methods being contemplated amounted to torture", the ICC would not have
jurisdiction because the crimes would not amount to crimes against
humanity and would not constitute war crimes because President Bush "has
appropriately determined that al Qaeda members are… not entitled to the
protections of any of the Geneva Conventions." 

President Bush’s refusal to apply the Geneva Conventions to those
captured during the international armed conflict in Afghanistan and
transferred to Guantánamo has caused widespread international concern,
including from the ICRC, the leading authority on the provisions of
international humanitarian law. The USA remains unapologetic, despite
compelling evidence that its selective disregard for the Geneva
Conventions contributed to the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in
Iraq and elsewhere. Indeed, one of the architects of this policy, White
House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, has been nominated by President Bush to
be the next Attorney General without any indication that the
administration has had second thoughts about its approach. 

Five months after the US Supreme Court ruled that the federal courts
have jurisdiction of the Guantánamo detainees – puncturing a central
tenet of the administration’s "war on terror" detention policy – no
detainee has appeared in court, a strong indication of a government
stalling and applying a less-than-progressive interpretation of the
Supreme Court’s decision. The administration reacted to the 8 November
2004 ruling by US District Judge James Robertson by lodging an immediate
appeal. Judge Robertson’s order in Hamdan v Rumsfeld resulted in the
suspension of US trials by military commission and concluded that all
those picked up in Afghanistan should have been presumed to be prisoners
of war until a "competent tribunal" determined otherwise, as required
under the Third Geneva Convention. The outgoing Attorney General John
Ashcroft subsequently condemned what he characterized as a "profoundly
disturbing trend" of "intrusive judicial oversight and second-guessing
of presidential determinations".

The US administration has not only shown disdain for the courts but has
also given short shrift to the concerns of international human rights
bodies unless such concerns fit with its strategic aims or domestic
political goals. For example, in its report, A decade of defiance:
Saddam Hussein’s Defiance of the United Nations, released as a
background paper for President Bush’s September 2002 address to the UN
General Assembly during the USA’s build-up to the invasion of Iraq, the
White House cited Amnesty International’s findings on torture in that
country. When the alleged abuse has involved US agents involved in Iraq
and the wider "war on terror", the government’s response has been one of
denial and disregard for the organization’s concerns. 

In A decade of defiance, the White House listed "extended solitary
confinement in dark and extremely small compartments" among the torture
techniques used under the Iraqi regime. By the second half of 2003, the
occupying US forces were employing the same technique. In its leaked
February 2004 report on abuses by occupying forces in Iraq, the ICRC
found that: 
"Several military intelligence officers confirmed to the ICRC that it
was part of the military intelligence process to hold a person deprived
of his liberty naked in a completely dark and empty cell for a prolonged
period to use inhumane and degrading treatment, including physical and
psychological coercion, against persons deprived of their liberty to
secure their cooperation…
Since June 2003, over a hundred ‘high value detainees’ have been held
for nearly 23 hours a day in strict solitary confinement in small
concrete cells devoid of daylight… Most had been subject to this regime
for the past five months."

****************************************************
“The US administration has not only shown disdain for the courts but has
also given short shrift to the concerns of international human rights
bodies unless such concerns fit with its strategic aims or domestic
political goals.” 
****************************************************


Each year the US State Department issues reports on human rights
practices in other countries, drawing on information published by
non-governmental organizations and other sources. Under each entry there
is a section on "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
or punishment". These entries show that the USA has been practicing what
it condemns in other countries. The latest State Department report
includes reference to the following techniques: 
China: "prolonged periods of solitary confinement, incommunicado
detention, beatings, shackles, and other forms of abuse." 
Egypt: "Principal methods of torture reportedly employed by the police
and the SSIS included victims being: stripped and blindfolded…" 
Indonesia: "psychological torture cases reportedly included food and
sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation". 
Iran: "Some prisoners were held in solitary confinement or denied
adequate food or medical care to force confessions." 
Jordan: "The most frequently reported methods of torture included
beatings; sleep deprivation, extended solitary confinement, and physical
suspension." 
Burma (Myanmar): "They routinely subjected detainees to harsh
interrogation techniques designed to intimidate and disorient. There
were reports in past years that prisoners were forced to squat or assume
stressful, uncomfortable, or painful positions for lengthy periods." 
Pakistan: "sexual assault; prolonged isolation…denial of food or
sleep…."

Amnesty International welcomes the yearly human rights reports of the US
State Department – under the UDHR the USA and other countries should
engage themselves in promoting human rights and denouncing abuses
wherever they occur. Such reports, however, are drained of moral power
when the government making the criticism is itself sanctioning or
turning a blind eye to human rights violations within its own
jurisdiction. The same or similar techniques as those listed above have
been alleged as having been used by US agents in the "war on terror".
The State Department’s latest entry on Cuba might draw particular
accusations of hypocrisy. It notes for example, that: 
"Prisoners sometimes were held in "punishment cells", which usually were
located in the basement of a prison, were semi-dark all the time, had no
water available in the cell, and had a hole for a toilet. No reading
materials were allowed, and family visits were reduced to 10 minutes
from 1 or 2 hours. There was no access to lawyers while in the
punishment cell".

In the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba during the same year,
2003, hundreds of men were held without access to lawyers or to
families. Many detainees are reported to have been placed in isolation
in punishment cells and had their "comfort items", including religious
items, removed. 

On 30 November 2004, the New York Times reported that it had obtained a
copy of a memorandum that quotes from an ICRC report of a visit to
Guantánamo in June. The memorandum states that the ICRC had found a
system in the Guantánamo prison camp under which detainees had been
subjected to "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature
extremes, use of forced positions", and the use of loud and persistent
noise and music and "some beatings". According to the New York Times,
the report said: "The construction of a system, whose stated purpose is
the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an
intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form
of torture". Although the Pentagon has denied the allegations of torture
and ill-treatment raised by the ICRC, they have had added further weight
to earlier allegations made by released detainees.

In July 2004, for example, released Guantánamo detainee, Swedish
national Mehdi Ghezali, described to Amnesty International the pain of
"short shackling" in interrogations: "There was a ring attached to the
floor. They chained your hands and feet to this ring. You had to sit
chained with your arms between your legs from underneath. In this way,
they could let you sit for hours". He has described harsh
interrogations, including the manipulation of air conditioning to make
interrogation rooms very cold or very hot. He said that during
interrogations rap and heavy metal music was played loud, or sometimes
loud un-tuned radio noise, which was "very unpleasant". Mehdi Ghezali
told Amnesty International that he was subjected to sleep deprivation in
April 2004, three months before he was released: 
"They kept doing it for about two weeks around 11 April 2004. The
Americans took me to an interrogation that lasted 14-16 hours. Then they
brought me back to my cell. Shortly thereafter, just as I was going to
bed, the guards came and said that I was going to be moved to another
cell. One hour later I was moved once more to another cell. I once saw
how the guards treated an Australian prisoner in this way, by moving him
from cell to cell and thus preventing him from getting any sleep. At the
end, there was blood coming from both his nose and his ears. He was so
tired."

In July 2004, Guantánamo detainee Moazzam Begg wrote in a letter copied
to Amnesty International and others that he had been held in solitary
confinement since 8 February 2003. He was reportedly only moved out of
his isolation cell in Guantánamo’s Camp Echo in October 2004 after the
case of a fellow Camp Echo detainee was brought up for judicial scrutiny
before District Judge James Robertson in Washington, DC. Until then,
Moazzam Begg had been held in a reportedly windowless cell under 24-hour
video surveillance. His isolation began almost a year to the day after
the White House gave assurances that, despite President Bush’s decision
not to apply the Geneva Conventions to the Guantánamo detainees, they
would "not be subjected to physical or mental abuse or cruel treatment".
Six hundred days in isolation, without charge, trial or judicial review,
cannot be considered either humane or lawful under international norms.

***************************************************
“Amnesty International welcomes the yearly human rights reports of the
US State Department – under the UDHR, the USA and other countries should
promote human rights and denounce abuses. Such reports, however, are
drained of moral power when the government making the criticism is
itself sanctioning or turning a blind eye to human rights violations
within its own jurisdiction.” 
***************************************************

The US government has not rejected the interrogation techniques and
detention conditions it has authorized that violate international law
and standards. At the same time, it has continued to proclaim its
unswerving commitment to basic human rights principles. It cannot have
it both ways.

On 26 June 2003, President Bush proclaimed that the USA is "committed to
the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by
example". This proclamation came a matter of weeks after a Pentagon
Working Group had produced its report on Detainee Interrogations in the
Global War on Terrorism, classified "secret" by Secretary of Defense
Donald Rumsfeld until 2013, contending that as Commander-in-Chief of the
armed forces the President was not bound by US and international law
prohibiting torture and suggesting legal defences against criminal
liability for any officials accused of torture. 

On the eve of President Bush’s proclamation against torture, the General
Counsel of the Department of Defense wrote to a US Senator concerned
about allegations of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
against "war on terror" detainees. The Pentagon letter said that "we can
assure you that it is the policy of the United States to comply with all
of its legal obligations in its treatment of detainees, and in
particular with legal obligations prohibiting torture. Its obligations
include conducting interrogations in a manner that is consistent with
the Convention against Torture". These assurances came just six months
after Secretary Rumsfeld approved, for use at Guantánamo, a number of
interrogation techniques which violated the USA’s obligations under the
UN Convention against Torture, and variations of which emerged not long
afterwards in Abu Ghraib prison in occupied Iraq. The techniques
included stress positions, sensory deprivation, isolation, hooding,
stripping and the use of dogs to inspire fear.

It is clear that the US administration’s assurances and proclamations on
its commitment to human rights must be treated with caution. It is clear
that the administration will have to offer more than just words if it is
to persuade the international community that it will apply the standards
to its own conduct that it so often says it expects of others. 

****************************************************
“The US government has not rejected the interrogation techniques and
detention conditions it has authorized that violate international law
and standards. At the same time, it has continued to proclaim its
unswerving commitment to basic human rights principles. It cannot have
it both ways.” 
**************************************************** 

In an address on 21 September 2004, President Bush told the UN General
Assembly that "the United Nations and my country share the deepest
commitments. Both the American Declaration of Independence and the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaim the equal value and
dignity of every human life." 

At the core of the Universal Declaration is the recognition of the
"inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members
of the human family [as] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in
the world". Over the past three years, "human dignity" has been one of
the stock phrases of the US administration. The National Security
Strategy mentions it no less than seven times in its 31 pages, and
devotes an entire chapter to promising that the USA will "stand firmly
for the non-negotiable demands of human dignity". In all three of his
State of the Union addresses, as well as in his inaugural speech,
President Bush asserted that the USA was founded upon and is dedicated
to the cause of human dignity. It was a theme of his speech to the UN
General Assembly on 21 September 2004. In a statement three months
earlier to mark the UN International Day in Support of Victims of
Torture, the President said that the "non-negotiable demands of human
dignity must be protected without reference to race, gender, creed, or
nationality. Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right, and we
are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and
protected by the rule of law." 

In a central policy memorandum issued on 7 February 2002, President Bush
suggested that there were detainees "who are not legally entitled to
[humane] treatment". This position, which flies in the face of the
unconditional legal prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment, suggested that his administration views fundamental
human rights as privileges that can be granted, and therefore taken
away, by the state. The US administration’s definition of "human
dignity" and the "rule of law" would also appear to differ from more
common understandings of such terms within the international community.
On this question, just a glimpse at some of the principles of the UDHR
is instructive: 
Article 3: "Everyone has the right to life…" Since 1977, consistent with
the UDHR, more than 60 countries have abolished the death penalty, a
punishment that is an affront to human dignity and a symptom of a
culture of violence. Today, 118 countries are abolitionist in law or
practice. In contrast, the USA has conducted more than 940 executions
since resuming judicial killing in 1977, some 72 per cent of which have
been carried out in the past decade. Federal executions resumed in 2001
after nearly four decades without them. The USA has regularly
contravened international safeguards in its pursuit of judicial killing
– executing child offenders, the mentally impaired, the inadequately
represented, the possibly innocent and foreign nationals denied their
consular rights. The cases of three prisoners who were scheduled for
execution on 1, 2 and 3 December – Frances Newton in Texas (who received
an executive 120-day reprieve a few hours before being killed), George
Banks in Pennsylvania, and Charles Walker in North Carolina – provide
further evidence of the arbitrariness and error that mark the US capital
justice system.(2) Studies have also consistently shown that race plays
a role in who is sentenced to death in the USA.
“It is clear that the US administration’s assurances and proclamations
on its commitment to human rights must be treated with caution. It is
clear that the administration will have to offer more than just words if
it is to persuade the international community that it will apply the
standards to its own conduct that it so often says it expects of
others.”  

Article 5: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment". The US administration’s "torture
memos" which have come into the public domain since the emergence of
photographs of war crimes by US soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
reveal that the administration has been far from committed to the
prohibition on torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment since
launching the "war on terror". The April 2003 report of the Pentagon’s
Working Group on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism,
which recommended interrogation techniques which the UN Committee
against Torture has said violate the prohibition on torture or cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment, noted that the UDHR "is not itself
binding or enforceable against the United States". The US administration
has still not denounced such techniques, and continues to hold people in
conditions that either amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
in themselves or facilitate such treatment. President Bush has said out
that "the victims [of torture] often feel forgotten, but we will not
forget them". To Amnesty International’s knowledge, no one who has been
subjected to torture or ill-treatment by US forces during the "war on
terror" has received compensation or other reparations from the USA. 

Article 6: "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person
before the law". In the "war on terror", the USA has resorted to secret
detentions, in some case amounting to "disappearance". Such people have
been placed outside the protection of the law. The USA is alleged to
have engaged in numerous "renditions", transfers of prisoners between
itself and other countries which bypass fundamental human rights
safeguards. 

Article 7: "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any
discrimination to equal protection of the law". Under a Military Order
signed by President Bush in November 2001, foreign nationals can be
tried by military commission – executive bodies not independent or
impartial courts – with the power to admit coerced evidence and hand
down death sentences against which there would be no right of appeal to
any court. The military commissions do not apply to US citizens. The
Military Order violates international law by providing for the
discriminatory application of fair trial rights on the basis of
nationality. 

Article 8: "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the
competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights
granted him by the constitution or by law". President Bush’s Military
Order of 13 November 2001 stated that no one named under it would be
"privileged to seek any remedy or maintain any proceeding, directly or
indirectly, or to have any such remedy or proceeding sought on the
individual’s behalf, in (i) any court of the United States, or any State
thereof, (ii) any court of any foreign nation, or (iii) any
international tribunal". It has been a clear thrust of this
administration’s detention policies to attempt to remove detainees from
the reach of the judiciary. As far as Amnesty International is aware, no
detainee released without charge or trial from Guantánamo Bay after
months or years in custody have been compensated for arbitrary arrest or
detention, as provided for under Article 9.5 of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

Article 9: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or
exile." The USA continues to hold hundreds of foreign detainees without
charge or trial in the US Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The
refusal of the US authorities to allow detainees access to legal counsel
or the courts has violated international law and standards, and caused
serious suffering to detainees and their families.
 
Article 10: "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public
hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination
of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him".
None of those captured in the course of the international armed conflict
in Afghanistan was brought before a "competent tribunal" as required
under the Third Geneva Convention. Despite the US Supreme Court’s ruling
in June 2004 that the US courts have jurisdiction over the Guantánamo
detainees, not one has yet been brought before a court. The
administration instead continues to want to try selected detainees by
military commission, and to justify continuing to hold the Guantánamo
detainees on the basis of the outcomes of Combatant Status Review
Tribunals, administrative proceedings for which the detainee has no
access to legal counsel or to secret evidence against him. 

Article 18: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience
and religion". The USA’s National Security Strategy asserts that "the
United States must defend liberty and justice because these principles
are right and true for all people everywhere." On 3 June 2004, US Army
Sergeant Abdullah Webster was sentenced to 14 months in prison for
refusing to participate in the war on Iraq on the basis of his religious
beliefs. Two weeks earlier, Staff Sergeant Camilo Mejía Castillo had
been sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for desertion after refusing
to return to his unit, citing moral reasons, the legality of the war,
and the conduct of US troops towards Iraqi civilians and prisoners.
Amnesty International believes both men are prisoners of conscience, and
should be immediately and unconditionally released.(3) 

Liberty and justice.

In the absence of the necessary human rights leadership at the highest
levels of the US government, it is up to others to encourage the USA to
live up to the standards it so often says it expects of others. As the
UN General Assembly proclaimed on 10 December 1948, "every individual
and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind,
shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these
rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and
international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and
observance". Amnesty International urges President Bush to make respect
for human rights and international law a hallmark of his second term in
office.

***************************************************

TAKE ACTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Please write to President Bush, in your own words, calling on him to put
respect for human rights and international law at the heart of
government, and to:
 
Support a full commission on inquiry into all the USA’s "war on terror"
detention and interrogation policies and practices. Such a commission
should be independent of government and have the powers to investigate
all agencies and levels of government; 

Bring an end to the USA’s use of secret and incommunicado detentions in
the "war on terror", clarify the identity, fate and whereabouts of all
detainees in US custody, and work to end torture and cruel, inhuman and
degrading treatment in compliance with international law and standards; 

Work to ensure that all US agents implicated in war crimes,
"disappearances", secret detentions, torture or other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment are brought to justice; 

Revoke the Military Order of 13 November 2001 and to drop all efforts to
bring anyone to trial by military commission, including by dropping all
appeals against District Judge James Robertson’s 8 November 2004 order
in Hamdan v Rumsfeld; 

Ensure that all detainees in Guantánamo are brought to trial in
accordance with international standards, without resort to the death
penalty, or else are released; 

Do all in his power and influence to obtain the immediate and
unconditional release of Sergeant Abdullah Webster and Staff Sergeant
Camilo Mejía Castillo; 

Impose a moratorium on federal executions, and promote abolition of the
death penalty nationwide; 
Work to have the USA withdraw its reservations and other limiting
conditions attached to its ratification of human rights treaties,
including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading
Treatment or Punishment; 

Work to have the USA ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women, the American Convention on Human Rights,
the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Rome Statute of
the International Criminal Court, and Additional Protocols I and II to
the Geneva Conventions. 

President George W. Bush , The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500, USA. 
Fax: +1 202 456 2461. Email: president at whitehouse.gov. Salutation: Dear
Mr President

If possible, please copy your appeals to President Bush’s nominees for
(1) Secretary of State and (2) Attorney General:

(1) Condoleezza Rice
National Security Adviser
The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500, USA.

(2) Alberto Gonzales
White House Counsel
The White House 
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500, USA

INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 1 EASTON STREET,
LONDON WC1X 0DW, UNITED KINGDOM

********

(1) See USA: Human dignity denied: Torture and accountability in the
‘war on terror’. AI Index: AMR 51/145/2004, October 2004,
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511452004. 

(2)http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511632004,
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511642004,
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511652004.

(3)http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR510922004,
http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR511182004,and





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