Donald Trump and Human Rights

While I sympathize with those concerned about the treatment of Otto Warmbier at the hands of the North Korean authorities I am also disturbed at the lack of balance in the US response.

If I have understood it correctly, this US University of Virginia student, a visitor to North Korea, stole a propaganda poster, was given an outrageously severe prison sentence and in all probability was treated harshly in the seventeen months he was held in captivity.

I am sure I am not the only one who has noticed that this apparent disregard for human rights is not unique to North Korea.  The Saudis have been known to chop off the hands of common criminals and the US turns a blind eye. A cynic might think Saudi Arabia is only supported by the US for its oil production and as a contributor to the massive US arms industry. Turkey, another ally, is currently holding thousands of potential opponents to their President in somewhat uncomfortable conditions Eg administering frequent torture and beatings. At least Otto Warmbier was returned with all his limbs intact. Is the Armada on its way to Turkey?

Have no US prisoners been given absurdly long sentences without trial, been held on flimsy evidence, been treated badly, or been deprived of sleep and water boarded? Have no US prisoners died in captivity? Doesn’t Donald Trump read his Intelligence briefings? Guantanamo Bay springs to mind.

I understand that the “recently discovered” prison in Syria where prisoners had been tortured and or executed was one of the destinations for US suspects under the Bush rendition programme. It is pushing our gullibility to expect us to pretend that the US State Department was unaware that this prison was anything other than a well-run humane institution.

Surely Donald Trump has caught up with the fact that the whole point of extraordinary rendition was so that the US could send their suspects to places like Syria, Turkey and Egypt to be tortured or simply to disappear without trace. Donald Trump is on record as approving of this torture, actually stating that even the families of terror suspects should be harshly treated. Given his own enthusiasm for torture it is a little odd that he now says that North Korea had no right to employ such techniques.

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