London-based human rights organization Amnesty International has called for the arrest of former U.S. President George W. Bush when he visits three African nations this month.
Amnesty cites that as president, Bush permitted the use of water- boarding and other techniques of interrogation on prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Iraq and other facilities which the group describes as “torture” and a violation of human rights.
Bush is scheduled to tour through Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia, where he is planning to raise awareness about AIDS, cervical and breast cancers.
International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed, said Matt Pollard, Amnesty’s senior legal adviser, in a statement.
“All countries to which George W. Bush travels have an obligation to bring him to justice for his role in torture,
Amnesty added: [We recognize] the value of raising awareness about cervical and breast cancer in Africa, the stated aim of the visit, but this cannot lessen the damage to the fight against torture caused by allowing someone who has admitted to authorizing water-boarding to travel without facing the consequences prescribed by law.”
Earlier this year, Amnesty also called for the detention of Bush during a planned visit to Switzerland over the same charges. That trip was cancelled by the Swiss organizers who had invited Bush -- but at the time they claimed it was due to security concerns, not the threat of arrest.
Also, in October, when Bush visited British Columbia to attend an economic summit with former president Bill Clinton, Amnesty made a similar appeal (Bush, however, did attend that function).
In the latest imbroglio, former Bush administration members have attacked Amnesty’s behavior as a form of “harassment” and worse.
They've [Amnesty] been trying to get any country where President Bush and Vice President [Dick] Cheney visit to harass them wherever they go, former Justice Department attorney John Yoo said, according to Fox News.
Yoo added: It shows how upside-down the human rights world is, where they're going after a president who's trying to save lives -- many, many lives. Why? Because they're upset about the treatment of three al Qaeda leaders in the war on terrorism.”
Brad Blakeman, a former Bush adviser, said that Amnesty’s campaign could be taken as a call for violence against the president. I think it's a threat upon ... the former president.”
Republican Congressman Peter King of New York, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also blasted Amnesty.
If Amnesty International had any intellectual honesty, it would give President Bush a medal to honor him for liberating so many oppressed Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan and for assisting millions of AIDS victims in Africa, he said in a statement.