Free Markets, Free People

Human Rights Watch – Headed Down The Same Road As NOW

When Bill Clinton was found to be a womanizer and serial abuser, the silence among women’s rights groups, such as NOW, was deafening. Since Clinton was a “progressive” and since he believed in the progressive agenda they shared, most feminists were quiet about his violation of various women’s rights. He was excused from the same level of condemnation the likes of Bob Packwood endured.

Seems we’re about to witness the same phenomenon among human rights groups concerning the Obama administration’s decision to continue the rendition program.

Under executive orders issued by Obama recently, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the United States.

Current and former U.S. intelligence officials said that the rendition program might be poised to play an expanded role going forward because it was the main remaining mechanism — aside from Predator missile strikes — for taking suspected terrorists off the street.

You’d expect, given this decision, to see the usual suspects, like Human Rights Watch, condemn the continuation of the program begun under Bill Clinton and continued through the Bush administration, wouldn’t you? I mean if they really were more concerned about human rights than politics. And principled consistency.

But Darren Hutchinson over at Dissenting Justice (a “progressive blog”) seems to have caught HRW in a NOW moment. Hutchinson quotes and links to HRW’s written position on rendition – a position it has held for at least the Bush years:

The US government should:

Repudiate the use of rendition to torture as a counterterrorism tactic and permanently discontinue the CIA’s rendition program;

Disclose the identities, fate, and current whereabouts of all persons detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody by the CIA since 2001, including detainees who were rendered to Jordan;

Repudiate the use of “diplomatic assurances” against torture and ill-treatment as a justification for the transfer of a suspect to a place where he or she is at risk of such abuse;

Make public any audio recordings or videotapes that the CIA possesses of interrogations of detainees rendered by the CIA to foreign custody;

Provide appropriate compensation to all persons arbitrarily detained by the CIA or rendered to foreign custody.

He then quotes the Washington advocacy director for HRW, Tom Malinowski apparently modifying the previously unequivocal position of HRW:

“Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place” for renditions, said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch. “What I heard loud and clear from the president’s order was that they want to design a system that doesn’t result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured — but that designing that system is going to take some time.”

Malinowski said he had urged the Obama administration to stipulate that prisoners could be transferred only to countries where they would be guaranteed a public hearing in an official court. “Producing a prisoner before a real court is a key safeguard against torture, abuse and disappearance,” Malinowski said.

Given their previous position, this is simply capitulation with a huge dollop of hypocrisy added for taste. Suddenly the ‘new’ rendition isn’t like the old rendition because there’s a progressive in town. The fact that the same agency which has been running the program for the last 16 years will continue to do so is waved off as unimportant. And the fact that the incoming administration which roundly condemned the practice previously but now sees utility in its continuation is studiously ignored by HRW.

Now there are “limited circumstances” where there is a “legitimate place” for such practices. Obviously, those “limited circumstances” never existed previously and only suddenly emerged on January 20th around noon. Apparently they think that such a radical shift in position will go unnoticed and unremarked upon.


Hope and change.


18 Responses to Human Rights Watch – Headed Down The Same Road As NOW

  • HA!  I knew it.  Obama is bringing the country to the center.  Not by moving conservatives to the left, rather, by moving progressives to the right.  The counterculture – which was the spearhead for leftist politics for 40 years – is dead. 

    Obama simply cannot govern America from the left, dispite what all of the progressives had “hoped.”  He will have to embrace fighting terrorism and expanding global capitilization, because its the only thing that works.

    Will the left burn his effigy in the streets of San Fransisco at the next WTO meeting?  Will they condemn his predator drone stikes in Pakistan or his support for Israel?  No.  His cult of personality is too strong.  They will change to adapt to him and seek justification of his actions.  They are too emotionally invested to be critical.

    As long as Obama governs from the center, the way Clinton did, (which would not be any different than McCain by the way) this could be the best thing to happen to the conservative movement in 20 years;  the counterculture nailing their own coffin shut.

  • First, it was George W. Bush.  Now it’s …<blockquote><a href=”,2933,486724,00.html”>CAMBRIDGE, England</a> —  A protester threw a shoe at China’s Prime Minister Wen Jiabao during his speech at Cambridge University, police said Monday.</blockquote>What comes around goes around.

    How long before it’s “The One” ?

  • Where’s Cap these days?

  • Where’s Cap these days?
    Rendition works wonders, doesn’t it?

  • >>>Where’s Cap these days?

    taking prozac?  But hey, he said that Obama would not keep any promises.  Obama is “Bush lite”?  At this rate the only difference will be dilution

  • It appears that “Excitable Andy” drank the same Kool-Aid as Human Rights Watch.

  • I’m sensing a theme from you today, Bruce.  I hope you don’t change it before I can figure out what it is.

  • Question: What’s the difference between deportation, extradition and rendition?

    Answer: What you call it when you’re scoring political points.

    It’s not deporting bad guys that’s the problem – it’s sending them to tortorous governments in order to have them tortured.

    See, we actually knew that GWB was doing that.  If Obama starts sending people to Egypt to have them tortured for intel purposes, HRW will be PO’d about that, I absolutely guarantee it. I won’t like it myself.

    Until then, what we have, as Scott Horton makes rather clear, is a program that sends criminals back to their home countries to face their home criminal justice system. I think even you can see the difference. That’s sort of the bare minimum required by our international obligations.

    In conclusion, Bruce is, as usual, deliberately scr*wing over his audience by publishing the most lopsided take on the situation he can find.

    It’s fish in a barrel, which is why I’ve given up on this place – there’s not a shred of good-faith intellectual exchange to be found.

    • What part of “the CIA is running the program” slipped by you, ‘nost?

      Last I heard, ICE did deportations and DoJ took care of extradition requests, but only the CIA does renditions.

      As usual, ‘nost’s analysis is uninformed and aimed at diverting attention from the real issue.

    • glasnostIn conclusion, Bruce is, as usual, deliberately scr*wing over his audience by publishing the most lopsided take on the situation he can find.
      It’s fish in a barrel, which is why I’ve given up on this place – there’s not a shred of good-faith intellectual exchange to be found.

      In other words, Bruce and the rest of us dare to question TAO instead of endlessly rehashing why EVERYTHING bad that has happened in the past ten years was all Bush’s fault.

      Perhaps you or somebody else can explain how your argument represents “good faith intellectual exchange”:

      When Bush (snarl!) had the CIA send WoT prisoners to other countries, it was SOLELY to have the tortured and it was a Bad Thing because Bush is evil incarnate and enjoys torturing innocent goat herders unlawfully taken prisoner by the thugs and killers some people call the US Armed Forces.  When TAO (pbuh) allows suspects to be sent to other countries… well, if he has evil intent, then it would probably be a Bad Thing.  But I’m reserving judgement because I KNOW that TAO (pbuh) would NEVER do Bad Things like Bush (snarl!).  And if you don’t agree with my perfectly reasoned and reasonable views, it’s because you are an intellectually dishonest pooh-pooh head who has no readers.

      • I’ve given up on this place – there’s not a shred of good-faith intellectual exchange to be found.

        Of course it would never occur to glasnost that perhaps the problem lies with the opposing view and those who espouse (or regurgitate) it.

  • On the plus side, nifty-looking site redesign for the ten or fifteen dwellers left down here, now that the moderates have all jumped ship in disgust.. except Scott Erb, I guess.

    • By “moderates” I assume you mean the lefty trolls?

      Yeah, funny thing about that – its only been, what, two weeks, but already they’ve found defending their guy much more difficult – and much less fun – than attacking the other guy. So they’ve fled back to the echo chamber. You may hold out a little longer than most, ‘nost, but you’ll eventually end up there as well.

      And yeah, the redesign is pretty nifty – thanks. Trust me, it wasn’t paid for by the “ten or fifteen…left. Heh …

  • Hypocrisy, thy name is Obama.

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  • Hypocrisy is the defining attribute of the left. ACLU–“Free speech for me, not for thee.” How do they feel about the “Fairness doctrine” and “Hate speech?” Look at all the rich, leftist tax cheats–including the ones in Obama’s cabinet. Look at all the jet setting global warming activists globe trotting with their Gulfstream Vs and turning up the thermostats in their cozy 30, 000 sq. ft. mansions? Look at the gated fortresses and armed security guards protecting the gun banners. How many illegal aliens have these leftists hired and what are they paid? Minimum wage? Are the leftist employers paying their health insurance?

    The list is endless.

    “Let them eat wagyu steak.”