May 21, 2008
Durbin Decries Cooperation With Chinese Internet Censorship
Senator Richard Durbin (D-ILL) held a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 20th titled "Global Internet Freedom: Corporate Responsibility and the Rule of Law." The witnesses included general counsel representatives from Google, Yahoo!, and Cisco, as well as various representatives from several human rights organizations. Congress has held a dim view of many of these companies doing business in China in a way that abets local Internet censorship, or what it sees as cooperation in prosecution of dissidents. Yahoo! in particular has taken a lot of heat for giving the Chinese government the name of the individual associated with dissident postings, leading to that person's imprisonment for a term of 10 years. Congress particularly does not like the defense of companies having to comply with local law and legal process in order to do business in China and other "repressive" regimes.
So it is with a bit of understated irony that this story appeared in ABC News on the same day, detailing an arrangement the Chinese government had with the United States to soften up ethnic Uighur detainees in interrogation sessions at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Sessions that may or may not be described as torture (depending on which high level government official is the
decider definer of such) were allegedly carried out by Chinese personnel or by American agents on behalf of Chinese personnel:
From the article:
Buried in a Department of Justice report released Tuesday are new allegations about a 2002 arrangement between the United States and China, which allowed Chinese intelligence to visit Guantanamo and interrogate Chinese Uighurs held there.
According to the report by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine, an FBI agent reported a detainee belonging to China's ethnic Uighur minority and a Uighur translator told him Uighur detainees were kept awake for long periods, deprived of food and forced to endure cold for hours on end, just prior to questioning by Chinese interrogators.
* * * *
An official authorized to speak on behalf of the Defense Department but who declined to be named confirmed it was Pentagon policy to allow officials from other countries to have access to interview their nationals at Guantanamo but declined to discuss the specifics alleged in the report.
According to Fine's report, the FBI agent said the Uighur detainee told him that the night before his interrogation by Chinese officials, "he was awakened at 15-minute intervals the entire night and into the next day." The detainee also allegedly said he was "exposed to low room temperatures for long periods of time and was deprived of at least one meal."
China is not keen on the Uighur penchant for separatism.
Any comments Senator Durbin?
May 21, 2008 | Permalink
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