By Yvonne Ridley, Foreign Policy Journal, Jan 10, 2011
America’s international standing as a fair and just country does not match its superpower status as the world’s greatest democracy.
When it comes to basic human rights it is there in the gutter alongside some of the world’s most toxic, tinpot dictatorships and authoritarian regimes.
So there’s little surprise that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange fears being extradited to The States where some politicians and Pentagon officials have already called for his execution and Attorney General Eric Holder admits his government may invoke the US Espionage Act.
But it’s not just the persecution and the prosecution Assange should fear, either – the wheels of justice can be agonizingly slow in a process which could take years. And in the case of the Guantanamo detainees there is no end in sight – the majority of them have not been charged but simply forgotten.
Having stepped inside US prisons – both military and civilian – I can tell you there is nothing civilized about the penal institutions in the United States.