Amnesty International; Who Said Gulag?


Amnesty International further embarrassed itself today by appearing to back track on much of their inflammatory remarked they had made this past week comparing US prisons in Guantanamo Bay as Gulags. Nor did the head of the Amnesty International USA defend most of his irresponsible statements from this past week.

Despite highly publicized charges of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head of the Amnesty International USA said on Sunday the group doesn’t “know for sure” that the military is running a “gulag.”

Executive Director William Schulz said Amnesty, often cited worldwide for documenting human rights abuses, also did not know whether Secretary Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved severe torture methods such as beatings and starvation.

Schulz recently dubbed Rumsfeld an “apparent high-level architect of torture” in asserting he approved interrogation methods that violated international law.

“It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea,” Schulz told “Fox News Sunday.”

A dispute has raged since Amnesty last month compared the prison for foreign terrorism suspects at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the vast, brutal Soviet gulag system of forced labor camps in which millions of prisoners died.

A leading Democratic U.S. senator on Sunday repeated his call for a full investigation and said the detention center should be closed.

The fascinating aspect of this interview is that Amnesty International released a report about human rights violations committed by the US and that its prisons were “gulags” then AI USA Executive Director William Schulz went on to say:

Schulz recently dubbed Rumsfeld an “apparent high-level architect of torture” in asserting he approved interrogation methods that violated international law.

“It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea,” Schulz told “Fox News Sunday.”

Schulz said, “We don’t know for sure what all is happening at Guantanamo and our whole point is that the United States ought to allow independent human rights organizations to investigate.”

He also said he had “absolutely no idea” whether the International Red Cross had been given access to all prisoners and said the group feared others were being held at secret facilities or locations.

If Amnesty International has no idea about the allegations they made and want to find out and have no idea for sure what is going on inside of Guantanamo; how do they make a report not based on any facts?

Then Schultz was asked about the “gulag” comment and further lost credibility.

Asked about the comparison, Schulz said, “Clearly this is not an exact or a literal analogy.” (You certainly meant it to be until the heat got too much.)
“… But there are some similarities. The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared … And in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed.”

He then went on to say,

The American head of Amnesty International admits his group did not pick the best analogy when it compared detainee conditions at Guantanamo Bay to the Soviet-era “gulag” forced-labor system.

“There are only about 70,000 in U.S. detention facilities, and to the best of our knowledge, they are not in forced labor, they are not being denied food.

Gee Mr. Schultz wouldn’t that by definition not be a gulag? One of the most telling comments by Chris Wallace during the interview was when he asked Schultz whether making such irresponsible comments that are so over the top actually hurt Amnesty International and their cause. Chris, you would be correct.

The Captain’s Quarters does a great job of shredding the intellectual honesty of AI:

No wonder the American media loves Amnesty International — they use the same editorial thresholds for publication. Just like Newsweek, AI apparently feels that any rumor that matches the preconceived notion of its publisher merits reporting as fact to its readers.

Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday pretty much hammered Schulz most of the interview pointing out the irresponsible rhetoric used by AI and the hypocrisy. Chris Wallace even went so far as to ask whether it was a practice of AI to make irresponsible statements for media reaction? By the looks of these numbers and reaction of the left, I guess it is.

But Schulz isn’t protesting too much. In the past week, traffic on Amnesty’s Web site has gone up sixfold, donations have quintupled and new memberships have doubled.

What’s a little irresponsible rhetoric with world wide implications in the Muslim world when it gets AI some PR and donations? That’s responsible.

Then there was the conflict of interest. The Hedgehog Report nails it head on.

The head of Amnesty International USA, William Schulz, admitted on Fox News Sunday that he is a heavy Democratic supporter.

WALLACE: Mr. Schulz, if I can get a couple of final questions in. Last year, didn’t you contribute $2,000, the maximum, to John Kerry’s presidential campaign?

SCHULZ: I did indeed, yes.

WALLACE: Isn’t it a fact that you have already contributed $1,000 to Ted Kennedy’s next campaign?

SCHULZ: I have contributed, yes.

(Full Transcript from Fox News Sunday can be seen here)

Chicago Sun Times adds,

Amnesty International, which set off a storm by calling the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay “the gulag of our times,” backed away from the label Sunday.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had ripped as “reprehensible” the description, made last month when the human rights group’s secretary general, Irene Khan, issued its annual report.

Previous Posts: Amnesty International and John Kerry; No Agenda Here

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  • Comments

    14 Responses to “Amnesty International; Who Said Gulag?”

    1. Jerry on June 6th, 2005 8:30 am

      So wild charges is a way of swelling membership rolls with the anti-American left, both foreign and domestic. Who would have thought?

    2. tracelan on June 6th, 2005 8:49 am

      And they are not Traitors? Why not? If it swims like a duck, flies like a duck, and quacks like a duck maybe it’s a duck?

    3. Ames Tiedeman on June 6th, 2005 9:28 am

      Amnesty International is a vile institution made up of America haters. They are not to be trusted….at all.

    4. max on June 6th, 2005 9:47 am

      look — there are personnel in Amnesty that are very decent responsible people – Shulz isn’t one of them. The organization, like alot of traditionally liberal organizations has fallen sway to authoritarian ideologues – Shulz is one of them. These guys destroy everything they touch, they’re like a friggin virus.

    5. Mike on June 6th, 2005 10:26 am

      To clarify, William Schultz is head of Amnesty Intl. USA. The report was issued from Amnesty Intl HQ in London. William Schultz had nothing to do with writing the report.

    6. Patel on June 6th, 2005 11:03 am

      I’ve been responsible for at least a little of their increased website traffic. I’ve been emailing them articles about real human rights abuses that I have come across while doing my news reading in the blogosphere. You can go to and they have a contact form for the London HQ. They obviously need help recognizing what is important – why not help them out? :)

    7. sisu on June 6th, 2005 11:40 am

      “There’s a kind of moral blackmail”

    8. John on June 6th, 2005 11:42 am

      If there are personnel at AI who are decent but they accept these people as their leaders and these reports as their output, then I submit that they are NOT decent. They should resign. There are better jobs to be had with better organizations.

      Any people who remain must accept that they have blood on their hands as this report will objectively further the aims of the terrorists who kill Americans in Iraq and elsewhere.

    9. Sissy Willis on June 6th, 2005 11:49 am

      Trackback doesn’t seem to be working properly. Here’s my post:

    10. Sissy Willis on June 6th, 2005 11:52 am
    11. Tim on June 6th, 2005 1:48 pm

      Traitor, that is not good enough, Let’s just take away their tax exemption.

    12. dick on June 6th, 2005 5:01 pm

      I thought they were not permitted to contribute to political campaigns as part of their job for Amnesty International. If that is true, then how can these guys contribute to Kerry and Kennedy to the max allowed?

    13. Ames Tiedeman on June 10th, 2005 9:20 am

      Amnesty International can go to hell, period. Nothing can ever make up for their recent atttack against America. They can rot in hell!

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