Saturday, December 31, 2005

Uzbekistan's President: Child Torturer, Mass Murderer, Bush Ally

Islam Karimov, President of Uzbekistan, is a murderous, brutal son of a bitch. He has one of the worst human rights records on the planet, which says something in itself. The merest summary of his crimes is appalling. Human Rights Watch keeps an extensively documented page devoted to the barbarism of the Karimov regime. You should go check some of these items out. Among the highlights:
(From a former UN official): First, it is clear that torture is an endemic problem in Uzbekistan—so much so that I concluded it constituted a systematic practice in the country. I found the numerous accounts of torture I gathered from victims and their relatives so consistent in their gruesome description of torture techniques and the places and circumstances in which the abuse was perpetrated that there was no way to deny the pervasive and persistent nature of torture throughout the investigative process.
(From a background report): On May 13, 2005 Uzbek government forces killed hundreds of unarmed protesters as they fled a demonstration in Andijan, in eastern Uzbekistan. To date the government has taken no steps to investigate or hold accountable those responsible for this atrocity. Instead it is denying all responsibility and persecuting those who seek an independent and transparent investigation.
(From a separate investigation): Uzbekistan has a long history of torture. Since the mid-1990’s the Uzbek government has arrested thousands of people on charges of Islamic “fundamentalism” or “extremism,” handing down prison sentences to most ranging from 5 to 20 years. The government claims its efforts serve as part of the global campaign against terrorism. Yet in the overwhelming majority of cases, those imprisoned have not been accused or convicted of terrorism or charged with any other violent act. Human Rights Watch has documented the torture of many of those detained in the context of this campaign, including several who that died as a result of torture. Interviewees describe a variety of methods of torture used against Muslim detainees, including beatings by fist and with truncheons or metal rods, rape and sexual violence, electric shock, use of lit cigarettes or newspapers to burn the detainee, and asphyxiation with plastic bags or gas masks. A doctor who examined the body of [a] detainee who died in custody in 2002 described burns consistent with immersion in boiling water. [Emphasis added]
You can find all the hideous details you want, but the point is clear: Uzbekistan is governed by vicious savages of exactly the same kind as Saddam Hussein. So the U.S. is committed to Karimov's overthrow, right? Wrong. From British official Craig Murray:
[September 2002] "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". [Emphasis added]
[March 2003] " Last year the US gave half a billion dollars in aid to Uzbekistan, about a quarter of it military aid. Bush and Powell repeatedly hail Karimov as a friend and ally. [Emphasis added] Yet this regime has at least seven thousand prisoners of conscience; it is a one party state without freedom of speech, without freedom of media, without freedom of movement, without freedom of assembly, without freedom of religion. It practices, systematically, the most hideous tortures on thousands. Most of the population live in conditions precisely analogous with medieval serfdom."
[July 2004] "At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services"
You see, Uzbekistan is considered an "ally" in the war against the terrorists, so the nature and methods of its government get a pass, even though Bush's own State Department has catalogued its atrocities. The U.S. still cooperates with Karimov and still uses the "intelligence information" he has beaten and burned out of helpless "suspects". What could possibly show the moral degeneracy and hypocrisy of the Bush regime more clearly? When it's supposedly in our "interests", we'll countenance any crime, any barbarism, any murder. Karimov's government is among the two or three worst on this planet. That Bush considers it an ally is a disgrace, and further evidence that we may be governed by an outright sociopath.

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