(2003) / ISBN 0-934143-85-4 / $15 / 86pp /
Holding the Lineshows how the United States government’s annual report on human rights around the world reflects the special strains of the “war against terrorism.” Special measures taken by allies in the name of counter-terrorism often overstep the line-flouting standards long upheld by the United States but now being eroded at home. These include the use of emergency laws and special courts; detention without trial; and secret arrests and incommunicado detention. Has the United States lowered the standards to which it holds its partners abroad? The findings are mixed. Coverage of some countries that are allies in the war on terrorism is frank and fair, and to a large extent the Department of State has held the line on international standards. But coverage of some key allies lacks this full objectivity. An instruction to embassies preparing the 2002 country reports may account for blind spots in the coverage: “Actions by governments taken at the request of the United States or with the expressed support of the United States should not be included in the report.”
This review includes profiles on Afghanistan, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, and Uzbekistan. Holding the Line also assesses coverage of antisemitism and anti-immigrant violence in Western Europe and Russia.