Posts Tagged ‘human rights abuse’

Last Stand of Monroe Isadore

November 7, 2013

The Last Stand of Monroe Isadore, 107

On September 07, 2013, a 107-year-old man was shot dead in Arkansas, the United States, by a SWAT team. Local authorities claim the centenarian was killed after he refused to surrender.

Monroe Isadore, 107, had quarreled with his two much younger relatives because he didn’t want to move out of his own house, something his relatives were planning for him to do. The two relatives then alleged Isadore had pointed a gun at them and called 911.

The police arrived on scene. Confused and scared, Isadore decided nevertheless to defend his home and his right to stay in it, stood his ground and shot through the door at police officers who beat a hasty retreat and called for backup, namely a SWAT team.

Having failed to reach an agreement with the old man, SWAT officers then gave him the Auschwitz treatment — by feeding gas into his room through a bedroom window they hoped to subdue the old-timer; however it only added to Isadore’s confusion and fear but failed to render the free-spirited old man docile or obedient.

Though terrified, the old-timer then had his last stand opening fire on invading heavily-armed SWAT goons, probably thinking he was being attacked by terrorists or something.

Faced with such resolute resistance, the SWAT officers broke down the door to the bedroom and threw in a grenade or some other such device.

Despite this, Isadore continued shooting at the break-in team as best he could, whereupon the killers in SWAT uniforms — fat-assed cowards and clowns all of them — fired on him, killing the 107 year old man.

And that’s the end of this particular American life story.

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True American Stories: Thomas Young’s Letter

April 21, 2013

A Message to George W. Bush and Dick Cheney From a Dying Veteran

To: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
From: Tomas Young

I write this letter on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq War on behalf of my fellow Iraq War veterans. I write this letter on behalf of the 4,488 soldiers and Marines who died in Iraq. I write this letter on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of veterans who have been wounded and on behalf of those whose wounds, physical and psychological, have destroyed their lives. I am one of those gravely wounded. I was paralyzed in an insurgent ambush in 2004 in Sadr City. My life is coming to an end. I am living under hospice care.

I write this letter on behalf of husbands and wives who have lost spouses, on behalf of children who have lost a parent, on behalf of the fathers and mothers who have lost sons and daughters and on behalf of those who care for the many thousands of my fellow veterans who have brain injuries. I write this letter on behalf of those veterans whose trauma and self-revulsion for what they have witnessed, endured and done in Iraq have led to suicide and on behalf of the active-duty soldiers and Marines who commit, on average, a suicide a day. I write this letter on behalf of the some 1 million Iraqi dead and on behalf of the countless Iraqi wounded. I write this letter on behalf of us all—the human detritus your war has left behind, those who will spend their lives in unending pain and grief.

I write this letter, my last letter, to you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney. I write not because I think you grasp the terrible human and moral consequences of your lies, manipulation and thirst for wealth and power. I write this letter because, before my own death, I want to make it clear that I, and hundreds of thousands of my fellow veterans, along with millions of my fellow citizens, along with hundreds of millions more in Iraq and the Middle East, know fully who you are and what you have done. You may evade justice but in our eyes you are each guilty of egregious war crimes, of plunder and, finally, of murder, including the murder of thousands of young Americans—my fellow veterans—whose future you stole.

Your positions of authority, your millions of dollars of personal wealth, your public relations consultants, your privilege and your power cannot mask the hollowness of your character. You sent us to fight and die in Iraq after you, Mr. Cheney, dodged the draft in Vietnam, and you, Mr. Bush, went AWOL from your National Guard unit. Your cowardice and selfishness were established decades ago. You were not willing to risk yourselves for our nation but you sent hundreds of thousands of young men and women to be sacrificed in a senseless war with no more thought than it takes to put out the garbage.

I joined the Army two days after the 9/11 attacks. I joined the Army because our country had been attacked. I wanted to strike back at those who had killed some 3,000 of my fellow citizens. I did not join the Army to go to Iraq, a country that had no part in the September 2001 attacks and did not pose a threat to its neighbors, much less to the United States. I did not join the Army to “liberate” Iraqis or to shut down mythical weapons-of-mass-destruction facilities or to implant what you cynically called “democracy” in Baghdad and the Middle East. I did not join the Army to rebuild Iraq, which at the time you told us could be paid for by Iraq’s oil revenues. Instead, this war has cost the United States over $3 trillion. I especially did not join the Army to carry out pre-emptive war. Pre-emptive war is illegal under international law. And as a soldier in Iraq I was, I now know, abetting your idiocy and your crimes. The Iraq War is the largest strategic blunder in U.S. history. It obliterated the balance of power in the Middle East. It installed a corrupt and brutal pro-Iranian government in Baghdad, one cemented in power through the use of torture, death squads and terror. And it has left Iran as the dominant force in the region. On every level—moral, strategic, military and economic—Iraq was a failure. And it was you, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, who started this war. It is you who should pay the consequences.

I would not be writing this letter if I had been wounded fighting in Afghanistan against those forces that carried out the attacks of 9/11. Had I been wounded there I would still be miserable because of my physical deterioration and imminent death, but I would at least have the comfort of knowing that my injuries were a consequence of my own decision to defend the country I love. I would not have to lie in my bed, my body filled with painkillers, my life ebbing away, and deal with the fact that hundreds of thousands of human beings, including children, including myself, were sacrificed by you for little more than the greed of oil companies, for your alliance with the oil sheiks in Saudi Arabia, and your insane visions of empire.

I have, like many other disabled veterans, suffered from the inadequate and often inept care provided by the Veterans Administration. I have, like many other disabled veterans, come to realize that our mental and physical wounds are of no interest to you, perhaps of no interest to any politician. We were used. We were betrayed. And we have been abandoned. You, Mr. Bush, make much pretense of being a Christian. But isn’t lying a sin? Isn’t murder a sin? Aren’t theft and selfish ambition sins? I am not a Christian. But I believe in the Christian ideal. I believe that what you do to the least of your brothers you finally do to yourself, to your own soul.

My day of reckoning is upon me. Yours will come. I hope you will be put on trial. But mostly I hope, for your sakes, that you find the moral courage to face what you have done to me and to many, many others who deserved to live. I hope that before your time on earth ends, as mine is now ending, you will find the strength of character to stand before the American public and the world, and in particular the Iraqi people, and beg for forgiveness.

Human Rights in USA

October 24, 2012

Well, it seems the good (?) (not so) old United States of America no longer has a monopoly on issuing reports on human rights in other nations (not at home of course, you understand).

China has been doing the same for some time now, usually publishing its report in spring each year, mainly focusing on the US.

Now, Russia does it too. Here’s its word on human rights in the USA (opens a Word document). Though they do like to butcher the English language, it has to be said (even more than me).

By way of introduction the report says that the US faces grave challenges as far as human rights are concerned, including, but not limited to: growing social inequality (99% vs 1%), racial, ethnic and religious discrimination, prevalent hate crime, continuing detention of prisoners without trial, partial, corrupt or incompetent justice, prisons operating outside the framework of the law, torture, governmental authorities interfering in judicial processes, weak penitentiary system, denial of the freedom of speech, Internet censorship, legalized corruption, domination of America’s legislative institutions by corrupt geriatrics (crony capitalism), limitation of electoral rights of citizens and so-called “illegal aliens”, racial and ethnic intolerance, violation of children’s rights, widespread child abuse, extraterritorial application of American law which leads to the violation of human rights in other countries, kidnapping, disproportionate use of force against public protests, death penalty in general and death penalty in particular when applied to underage and mentally disabled offenders, etc.

Then it goes on to cover, inter alia, the following areas:

  • Racial, ethnic and religious intolerance

In the U.S. there is currently a dangerous trend toward rising racist and xenophobic sentiment. The American law enforcement authorities register an ongoing increase in the number of extremist groups, hate crimes committed on the grounds of racial, religious and ethnic enmity.

  • Excessive use of force by the police and racial profiling

According to estimates by American non-governmental organizations, approximately one police officer in a hundred is implicated in criminal abuses. U.S. police officers regularly commit sexual harassment, sexual abuses, rape, including against minors. There are numerous cases of police misconduct and/or brutality resulting in fatalities. Ultimately only about 30 percent of the police officers are prosecuted for the crimes committed. Numerous complaints of excessive use of force by the police are received from people taking part in protests opposing social inequality, injustice and corporate greed.

  • Immigration, human trafficking

About 400,000 migrants, aliens or victims of human trafficking are taken into custody for different periods of time annually in the USA. 4.5 million American children currently have at least one parent illegally residing in the United States. Immigrants are typically forced into continuous slave labor, working for 16-24 hours per day. Immigrant workers arriving into the US are disproportionately the victims of sexual and/or criminal abuse. The high number of deaths among immigrants attempting to get into the US illegally is a grave concern.

  • Economic and social rights

In the USA, there are 12.8 million unemployed, 40 million without health insurance, 5 million known drug addicts, 7 million homeless, 100 million mentally ill (one in four Americans), 40 million families living below the official poverty line and 15 million families facing hunger in their daily life. The  standard of living is even worse for the indigenous population of the country (what’s left of it after the Big American genocide) taken separately and there are signs of economic segregation. Among the developed countries of the world, the US has one of the weakest systems to protect workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively. Over the past decade, the US has failed to ratify a single convention by the International Labor Organization (ILO). What’s more, lobbying, primarily in the interests of big business and various interest groups, is a widespread phenomenon in the country, and experts view it as a legalized form of corruption that undermines the U.S. ability to confront its economic, social and political challenges.

  • Violation of children’s rights

Hundreds of thousands of children in the United States are subject to ill‑treatment which in some cases (1,600 in 2010) leads to death. Child abuse, including sex crimes with regard to children, is widespread. Corporal punishment for children is legal in 19 states, and it is incurred by nearly 7.5 percent of schoolchildren in some of those states. The United States has educational centers where children receive “treatment” involving electric shock, food deprivation and forced inhalation of ammonia fumes. Hundreds of children are killed every year in the U.S. The United States is one of the two states in the world which have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • Voting rights

The US continues to pass legislative acts that tighten the rules for accessing polling stations during elections. The existing electoral college system creates a situation where the votes of citizens residing in some states mathematically have more weight than of those of other states. More than 5.8 million Americans are banned from voting in view of their previous convictions (an illegal practice under international law). During the forthcoming presidential elections, 25 percent of Americans will vote using electronic ballot scanning devices. In more than 54 percent of cases the voters will not know how exactly their votes are registered by the device. U.S. media report that such devices can be easily manipulated by remote control. Removal from voters’ lists, in particular removal based on party affiliation and race, is a typical case of violation of voting rights and is a widespread phenomenon in the United States.

The President of the USA (POTUS) is still elected not through direct nationwide elections, but by the electoral college. Many political analysts consider this system to be out-of-date and non-democratic. Under this system, in particular, a vote of a resident of Delaware or North Dakota has much more mathematical weight (measured by the ratio of the number of voters to the number of electors in a particular state) than of a voter in bigger states, for instance, in California or New York. Due to the existing system, a candidate winning fewer votes than his rivals was elected President three times in the U.S. history (the last one was George Bush Jr. in 2000).

  • Freedom of speech and press, transparency of government activities

In 2012, international rating agencies dramatically downgraded the freedom of speech level in the US, due, to a large extent, to the excessively harsh measures taken by the U.S. police forces against journalists covering protests against big business (the puppet master of the U.S. Government). U.S. journalist community is concerned with the continued toughening up of legislation on mass media, which will result in the impairment of their rights. It is not infrequent either for journalists in the United States to lose their jobs because of “politically incorrect” opinions.

  • Internet censorship

The U.S. Administration resorts to direct pressure on companies that provide the U.S. with web content. From July to December 2011 Google alone received 103 percent more requests for content removal than they did during the last reporting period. From 2004 to 2007 the number of e-mails read by the U.S. secret services increased by 3,000 per cent. The U.S. government continues to deny the world internet community access to several dozen sites, including http://www.cubanculture.org.

  • Capital punishment

33 states still have and regularly use capital punishment. 3,100 prisoners, including 62 women, await execution on death row. 22 juveniles were executed in the USA between 1976 and 2005. According to American human rights activists, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of all convicts under sentence of death in the US suffer from serious mental disorders. Racial discrimination is a factor too.

  • Penitentiary system

The US continues to imprison its people, in particular its minorities, at the highest rate in the world — it remains a country with the highest number of prisoners in the world (2.2 million people, or every 99th adult); more than 60 percent of American prisoners are from racial and ethnic minorities. The number of persons sentenced to life imprisonment is steadily growing, for example, in 2008 the number of such persons was 140,600 people, of which 6,800 were adolescents. In some states one in twenty prisoners is kept in extreme isolation, e.g. in solitary confinement. Many prisons don’t comply with even the minimum standards of detention. Regularly and in large numbers (up to 2 million from 2003 to the present) prisoners are humiliated and routinely subjected to sexual assault by prison staff and other prisoners.

  • Tracing dissidents

 The current U.S. legislation essentially allows the intelligence community to eavesdrop on all electronic communications of foreigners and Americans without a court order. In 2011, the U.S. law enforcement agencies made more than 1.3 million requests to provide information on telephone calls of cellular subscribers. Rights of foreign citizens are particularly vulnerable as they can be subject to electronic surveillance even without any grounds to presume that they are involved in criminal activities. Serious concern is expressed about the FBI‘s DNA database expanding at an exponential rate.

  • Indiscriminate use of force in armed conflict zones.

According to available data, by August 2012 the conflict in Iraq has claimed the lives of over 1,000,000 people, most of them civilians. In Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom around 14.4‑17.2 thousand civilians have been killed, of whom up to 9 thousand by were killed by the occupation forces led by the United States. The practice of elimination (and according to human rights activists of extrajudicial killing) of suspected terrorists with drones continues unabated. As a result of these “targeted” strikes, up to 900 civilians have died in Pakistan (175 of them children), up to 150 civilians in Yemen (24–31 of them children) and up to 60 civilians in Somalia (1–3 of them children). 50 civilians are killed for each rebel killed by drone. Cases of abuse and inhumane treatment on the part of U.S. servicemen, the shooting and bayoneting of pregnant women and children, mutilation and dismemberment of corpses are common. Only in the most notorious cases are the perpetrators brought to justice.

  • CIA abductions, CIA “black site” prisons, torture

 The problem of CIA “black site” prisons, located in the territory of Poland, Afghanistan, Iraq, Thailand, Morocco, Romania and Lithuania, remains unsolved. American authorities actively practiced abductions of future detainees of these prisons. The U.S. “black site” prisons use torture on a regular basis. Those responsible for the operation of these illegal prisons and for torturing detainees, are sheltered by the U.S. authorities. Lawsuits by “black site” prison detainees against U.S. authorities are dismissed.

Well, so much for human rights in the United States.

China’s Report on the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008

February 27, 2009

China published a report on the human rights record of the United States in 2008 which certainly makes for an interesting and sobering reading and sounds very convincing. It starts like this:

The State Department of the United States released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008 on February 25, 2009. As in previous years, the reports are full of accusations of the human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions including China, but mentioned nothing of the widespread human rights abuses on its own territory. The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2008 is prepared to help people around the world understand the real situation of human rights in the United States, and as a reminder for the United States to reflect upon its own issues.

And makes the following conclusion (with lots of facts and hard data in-between):

The U.S. practice of throwing stones at others while living in a glass house is a testimony to the double standards and hypocrisy of the United States in dealing with human rights issues, and has undermined its international image. We hereby advise the US government to begin anew, face its own human rights problems with courage, and stop the wrong practice of applying double standards on human rights issues.

Follow the link to read the report in full.

Full text of the human rights record of the United States in 2008.

Yes, the report is interesting but the funniest thing is that the two most repressive nations in the history of the world and certainly at the present time — the United States and the “People’s” Republic of China — think they absolutely must exchange these human rights opuses every single year.

Human Rights Worse in the U.S.

February 26, 2009

Sadly, the United States’ human rights record continued to worsen in many areas in 2008, including the ongoing repression of dissidents and of minorities, in particular the so-called “illegal aliens” (who, in truth, are no more illegal in America than the so-called “American citizens”), denial of basic rights, such as the rights to work and housing, medical care and education.

America’s overall domestic human rights track record remained poor showing a tendency to worsen. Human rights abuses take many forms in the United States, including police brutality and prevalent gun crime but, whatever the forms of human rights abuse practiced in the United States, the entire political and government system is at fault — an unrepresentative form of government and a sham democracy. Free expression is also severely limited as the U.S. government and its corporate-run propaganda outlets have very little respect for the freedoms of speech, press, academic discussion.

America’s systematic campaign of intimidation against dissidents, academics and journalists is continuing through, among other means and methods, the manipulation of right-wing talk show hosts and certain deranged elements in the population.

In 2008 the American authorities continued their extrajudicial killings both within and without the country, presided over coerced confessions of prisoners, torture, the use of forced labor and continued to mastermind the abuse of prisoners in American prisons, with America continuing to have the largest prison population in the world both in absolute and relative terms.

Cultural and religious repression of ethnic and cultural minorities in the United States is as strong as ever, the flip side of which is the spread of evil and unchristian ‘born again’ heresies in the United States.

Last but not least, national minorities and nations within the United States and the populations of individual states are denied the right of self-determination, peaceful cessation from the “United States” and independence, although this right was envisaged and provided for by the founding fathers at the onset of the United States.

In sum, while the forms of American human rights abuse are too many to enumerate here, the basic reason for continuing and even intensifying human rights abuses in the United States is that its unaccountable rulers wield unchecked power which is now paradoxically coupled with creeping government failure and collapse.

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A human rights abuse victim in the U.S., one of many millions.


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