Former U.S. Official Defends Rights

May 21, 2004

HEFTING an array of legal successesand spurred social movements under hisbelt, former U.S. Attorney GeneralRamsey Clark commands attention whenhe disparages U.S. foreign policy.He granted The Tico Times an interviewearlier this month at the ApartotelLos Yoses in San José, where he stayedbetween hearings on the Lori Berensonvs. Perú case before the Inter-AmericanCourt of Human Rights (see separatestory).Clark, who served under U.S. PresidentLyndon B. Johnson, quickly linked thepreservation of former President of PerúAlberto Fujimori’s anti-terrorism lawswith a policy of U.S. President George W.Bush that encourages other countries toadopt certain anti-terrorism legislation.“The law that Lori was convictedunder – if you want to call it a law, to me,it’s not a law – is totalitarian… It would(be upheld) only in a climate of fear of terrorism,”he said.Perú should not uphold decisions madeunder those laws, he added.AS a country, “you try to modify soyou don’t lose friends. That’s the problemof the United States,” he said, criticizingthe country’s failure to modify its foreignpolicy.“The United States does not subscribe tothe Inter-American Convention of HumanRights. It wants to be above the law.“The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a clearcriminal violation of international law. Itwas a supreme violation as defined by theNuremburg Tribunal, a war of aggressionin which two countries are at peace, neitheris under the threat of attack, and oneinvades the other.”He is confident, however, that the UnitedStates will someday ratify the InternationalCriminal Court, which it has thus far avoided– even sabotaged, according to Clark.HE said the United States has committeda wide range of internationalcrimes. U.S. missile strikes on vehiclesor places that are suspected to containalleged criminals have not only murderedpeople who were not given proper trials,he said, but have murdered those whoaccompanied them.“Then other countries copy those policies,Israel does it against Hamas and itproliferates…“There have been tens of thousands ofIraqi deaths in this war, there is violenceevery day.“THEN you find that we’re imprisoninglots of people and holding them withoutcharges. (The U.S. Naval Base in) Guantanamo(TT, May 7) has to be an extremeviolation of human rights. Now we grabpeople wherever we grab them, and theirfamilies don’t know where they are.“You finally find something that’salmost a form of sickness – prisonersabused almost for the gratification of theprison guards. They’re saying (to the prisoners)‘I think you’re disgusting so I’llmake you disgusting.’ You don’t take picturesfor an interrogation.“It’s for the guards’ gratification, likechild molesters who take pictures of theircrimes. You have that psychology set in, socan you conceive that it is limited to thehandful of soldiers in prisons?FOR news, opinions and calls foraction regarding human-rights issues, seethe Web site for the International ActionCenter, founded by Clark, atwww.iacenter.org

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