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Hullabaloo


Friday, December 30, 2005

 
Our Allies

by digby

Kos has the story on the Uzbek torture memos that are being leaked to blogs in the UK (and preserved by blogs in the US.) I honestly don't know what to say about this except reiterate futile statements about oil, the Great Game and moral clarity.

If we are in the business of invading countries to depose tyrants, there's no good reason that we didn't go to this one first. That it is our ally in the "War on Terror" is a cosmic joke of epic proportions.

Here's just a small excerpt of one of the memos:

The Economist of 7 September states: "Uzbekistan, in particular, has jailed many thousands of moderate Islamists, an excellent way of converting their families and friends to extremism." The Economist also spoke of "the growing despotism of Mr Karimov" and judged that "the past year has seen a further deterioration of an already grim human rights record". I agree.

Between 7,000 and 10,000 political and religious prisoners are currently detained, many after trials before kangaroo courts with no representation. Terrible torture is commonplace: the EU is currently considering a demarche over the terrible case of two Muslims tortured to death in jail apparently with boiling water. Two leading dissidents, Elena Urlaeva and Larissa Vdovna, were two weeks ago committed to a lunatic asylum, where they are being drugged, for demonstrating on human rights. Opposition political parties remain banned. There is no doubt that September 11 gave the pretext to crack down still harder on dissent under the guise of counter-terrorism.

Yet on 8 September the US State Department certified that Uzbekistan was improving in both human rights and democracy, thus fulfilling a constitutional requirement and allowing the continuing disbursement of $140 million of US aid to Uzbekistan this year. Human Rights Watch immediately published a commendably sober and balanced rebuttal of the State Department claim.


Oh, and we commonly "render" suspects to Uzbekistan for interrogation. I'm sure they promise not to boil them though.


Update:

correction: "render-ed." Via Upyernoz I see that we have, apparently, seen the light and cooled our relationship with Uzbekistan since the government there opened fire on a bunch of civilians last May. Still, people wonder why (considering that we didn't object to the boiling and all) a little random shooting into crowds would cause our relationship to suddenly be strained. I suggest that someone look into Vladimir Putin's soul for the answer.


Update II:

Americana has more on this.



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