Back in March 2010, Harper’s magazine looked at the Pentagon’s relationship with the dictatorship of Uzbekistan, a notorious abuser of human rights, including boiling dissidents alive. In the article, Ken Silverstein sheds light on the Pentagon’s shady deals with a company owned by the dictator’s daughter, Gulnara Karimova–a friend of Bill Clinton, and benefactor of his foundation.
Today, in an article at Toward Freedom, Puck Lo reports on the Cotton Campaign calling for an international boycott of Uzbek cotton, which according to human rights organizations is harvested by forced labor — including hundreds of thousands of young children — for the benefit of the government of Uzbekistan.
As noted by Lo, the European Union — due to the child and forced labor issue — refused to extend a bilateral trade agreement with Uzbekistan. Meanwhile, the United States recently restored military aid to Uzbekistan that was cut off in 2003 due to the country’s dismal record of human rights abuses. As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked, “We have other interests.”
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