Accuracy in Media

Consider the timing: on May 21, the Washington Post published an 1800-word account of how the CIA secretly transferred a terror suspect through Sweden to Egypt. The incident actually happened more than three years ago. On the same day the Post article appears, it is reported by al-Jazeera that a United Nations human rights body declared that Sweden breached international law by allowing the extradition. The purpose of this Washington Post-U.N. partnership is to make it much more difficult for other countries to help the U.S. in the global war on terror.

Everything the U.S. does to protect its citizens is cast in dark tones by the Post. The second paragraph of the story described how “A half-dozen agents wearing hoods that covered their faces stepped down from the aircraft and hurried across the tarmac to take custody of two prisoners, suspected Islamic radicals from Egypt.” That tarmac was in Stockholm, Sweden.

But one of these “suspected Islamic radicals” turns out to be, according to the 13th paragraph of the story, one Ahmed Hussein Agiza, later “convicted in an Egyptian military court and sentenced to 15 years in prison?” The Post said that he “was charged with being a leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a radical group that the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist organization. He and his lawyers have acknowledged that he once worked with Ayman Zawahiri, a fellow Egyptian and the ideological leader of al Qaeda, but say that he cut ties with the group many years ago.”

This “fellow Egyptian” is Osama bin Laden’s number two man, in charge of al Qaeda’s biological weapons program.

The U.S. and our allies are fighting for the lives of our citizens in the battle against global terrorism. Yet the U.N., according to a Reuters dispatch, “gave Sweden 90 days to inform it of the steps it had taken to respond” to complaints about the treatment of this terrorist and that the government has “an obligation to prevent similar violations in the future?”

That body is supposed to monitor compliance with the U.N. Convention on Torture. The United States, which ratified the treaty, submitted its own report to the U.N. Committee on Torture on May 6. A Washington Post story by Colum Lynch about the report followed the next day.  The story noted that this report was the first since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. Predictably, Lynch found holes in the U.S. report and quoted various “human rights” advocates as  saying that the U.S. has a lot to answer for, including on that matter of the CIA transferring terror suspects abroad. The U.S., he reported, will have to answer to the U.N. “torture committee,” perhaps in the fall.

Lynch left out one critical fact about this U.N.’s “torture committee.”

Its members are described as “10 independent experts who are persons of high moral character and recognized competence in the field of human rights.”  One member is Mr. Wang Xuexian of Communist China.

Reports of systematic human rights violations, including torture, continue to emerge from China, with one of the latest cases involving 34-year old Jiang Zongxiu, who was arrested and then beaten to death by Communist police for passing out Bibles and Christian literature.

The local Communist Party-run government claimed Jiang died of “heart failure,” without even mentioning the obvious wounds and scars caused by her beatings.

Don’t look for the U.N. torture committee to take up the case or for the Washington Post to report on it. The name of the game is to embarrass the U.S.

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