Left out is also is the disaster in our relations with the American Indians with who we broke treaties with, stole their land and subjected them to live in impoverished conditions within a concentration camp without locks.
~Russell Means, Chief Facilitator, Republic of Lakotah
19 March 2010
On March 13, China’s Information Office of the State Council published a report titled, “The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009.”
This document was clearly intended as a rebuttal to the annual US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2009, released two days earlier.
The Chinese report quite legitimately notes that the US government “releases Country Reports on Human Rights Practices year after year to accuse other countries, and takes human rights as a political instrument to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs, defame other nations’ image and seek its own strategic interests. This fully exposes its double standards on the human rights issue…”
Delivering the US government a well-deserved dose of its own medicine does not, of course, absolve the Chinese regime of its own gross violations of human rights. It rules autocratically over 1.3 billion people, most of them desperately poor peasants and super-exploited workers.
That being said, the Chinese report is an eye-opening document—factual, sober, even understated, drawn entirely from public government and media sources in the United States, with each item carefully documented. It presents a picture of 21st century America as much of the world sees it, one which is in sharp contrast to the official mythology and American media propaganda.
Not surprisingly, the report went unmentioned in the US mass media.
The 14-page report is divided into six major sections: Life, Property and Personal Security; Civil and Political Rights; Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Racial Discrimination; Rights of Women and Children; US Violations of Human Rights Against Other Nations. The cumulative picture is one of a society in deep and worsening social crisis.
A few of the facts and figures cited on violence and police repression in the United States:
• Each year, 30,000 people die in gun-related incidents.
• There were 14,180 murders last year.
• In the first ten months of 2009, 45 people were killed by police use of tasers, bringing the total for the decade to 389.
• Last year, 315 police officers in New York City were subject to internal supervision due to “unrestrained use of violence.”
• 7.3 million Americans were under the authority of the correctional system, more than in any other country.
• An estimated 60,000 prisoners were raped while in custody last year.
On democratic rights, the report notes the pervasive government spying on citizens, authorized under the 2001 Patriot Act, extensive surveillance of the Internet by the National Security Agency, and police harassment of anti-globalization demonstrators in Pittsburgh during last year’s G-20 summit. Pointing to the hypocrisy of US government “human rights” rhetoric, the authors observe, “the same conduct in other countries would be called human rights violations, whereas in the United States it was called necessary crime control.”
The report only skims the surface on the socioeconomic crisis in the United States, noting record levels of unemployment, poverty, hunger and homelessness, as well as 46.3 million people without health insurance. It does offer a few facts rarely discussed in the US media:
• 712 bodies were cremated at public expense in the city of Los Angeles last year, because the families were too poor to pay for a burial.
• There were 5,657 workplace deaths recorded in 2007, the last year for which a tally is available, a rate of 17 deaths per day (not a single employer was criminally charged for any of these deaths).
• Some 2,266 veterans died as a consequence of lack of health insurance in 2008, 14 times the military death toll in Afghanistan that year.
The report presents evidence of pervasive racial discrimination against blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, the most oppressed sections of the US working class, including a record number of racial discrimination claims over hiring practices, more than 32,000. It also notes the rising number of incidents of discrimination or violence against Muslims, and the detention of 300,000 “illegal” immigrants each year, with more than 30,000 immigrants in US detention facilities every day of the year.
It notes that the state of California imposed life sentences on 18 times more black defendants than white, and that in 2008, when New York City police fired their weapons, 75 percent of the targets were black, 22 percent Hispanic and only 3 percent white.
The report refers to the well-known reality of unequal pay for women, with median female income only 77 percent that of male income in 2008, down from 78 percent in 2007. According to the report, 70 percent of working-age women have no health insurance, or inadequate coverage, high medical bills or high health-related debt.
Children bear a disproportionate burden of economic hardship, with 16.7 million children not having enough food at some time during 2008, and 3.5 million children under five facing hunger or malnutrition, 17 percent of the total. Child hunger is combined with the malignant phenomenon of rampant child labor in agriculture: some 400,000 child farm workers pick America’s crops. The US also leads the world in imprisoning children and juveniles, and is the only country that does not offer parole to juvenile offenders.
US foreign policy comes in for justifiable criticism as well. A country with so many poor and hungry people accounts for 42 percent of the world’s total military spending, a colossal $607 billion, as well as the world’s largest foreign arms sales, $37.8 billion in 2008, up nearly 50 percent from the previous year.
The Chinese report notes the documented torture of prisoners in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, the worldwide US network of military bases, the US blockade of Cuba (opposed by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 187 to 3), and the systematic US spying around the world, utilizing the NSA’s “ECHELON” interception system, as well as the US monopoly control over Internet route servers.
The report also points out the deliberate US flouting of international human rights covenants. Washington has either signed but not ratified or refused to sign four major UN covenants: on economic, social and cultural rights; on the rights of women; on the rights of people with disabilities; and on the rights of indigenous peoples.
The report does not discuss the source of the malignant social conditions in the United States—nor should that be expected, since that would require an explanation of the causal connection between poverty, repression and discrimination and the operations of the capitalist profit system, something that Beijing is hardly likely to undertake.
The preceding was first published on Indybay
The following first appeared in the Rock Creek Free Press, June 2009
What do you suppose it is like to be elected President of the United States only to find that your power is restricted to the service of powerful interest groups?
A president who does a good job for the ruling interest groups is paid off with remunerative corporate directorships, outrageous speaking fees, and a lucrative book contract. If he is young when he assumes office, like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, it means a long life of luxurious leisure.
Fighting the special interests doesn’t pay and doesn’t succeed. On April 30 the primacy of special, over public, interests was demonstrated yet again. The Democrats’ bill to prevent 1.7 million mortgage foreclosures and, thus, preserve $300 billion in home equity by permitting homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, was defeated in the Senate, despite the 60-vote majority of the Democrats. The banksters were able to defeat the bill 51 to 45.
These are the same financial gangsters whose unbridled greed and utter irresponsibility have wiped out half of Americans’ retirement savings, sent the economy into a deep hole, and threatened the US dollar’s reserve currency role. It is difficult to imagine an interest group with a more damaged reputation. Yet, a majority of “the people’s representatives” voted as the discredited banksters instructed.
Hundreds of billions of public dollars have gone to bail out the banksters, but when some Democrats tried to get the Senate to do a mite for homeowners, the US Senate stuck with the banks. The Senate’s motto is: “Hundreds of billions for the banksters, not a dime for homeowners.”
If Obama was naive about well-intentioned change before the vote, he no longer has this political handicap.
Democratic Majority Whip Dick Durbin acknowledged the voters’ defeat by the discredited banksters. The banks, Durbin said, “frankly own the place.”
It is not difficult to understand why. Among those who defeated the homeowners bill are senators Jon Tester (MT), Max Baucus (MT), Blanche Lincoln (AK), Ben Nelson (NE), Mary Landrieu (LA), Tim Johnson (SD), and Arlen Specter (PA). According to reports, the banksters have poured a half million dollars into Tester’s campaign funds. Baucus has received $3.5 million; Lincoln $1.3 million; Nelson $1.4 million; Landrieu $2 million; Johnson $2.5 million; Specter $4.5 million.
The same Congress that can’t find a dime for homeowners or health care appropriates hundreds of billions of dollars for the military/security complex. The week after the Senate foreclosed on American homeowners, the Obama “change” administration asked Congress for an additional $61 billion dollars for the neoconservatives’ war in Iraq and $65 billion more for the neoconservatives’ war in Afghanistan. Congress greeted this request with a rousing “Yes we can!”
The additional $126 billion comes on top of the $533.7 billion “defense” budget for this year. The $660 billion — probably a low-ball number — is ten times the military spending of China, the second most powerful country in the world.
How is it possible that “the world’s only superpower” is threatened by the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan? How can the US be a superpower if it is threatened by countries that have no military capability other than a guerrilla capability to resist invaders?
These “wars” are a hoax designed to enrich the US armaments industry and to infuse the “security forces” with police powers over the American citizenry.
Not a dime to prevent millions of Americans from losing their homes, but hundreds of billions of dollars to murder Muslim women and children and to create millions of refugees, many of whom will either sign up with insurgents or end up as the next wave of immigrants into America.
This is the way the American government works. And it thinks it is a “city on the hill, a light unto the world.”
Americans elected Obama because he said he would end the gratuitous criminal wars of the Bush brownshirts, wars that have destroyed America’s reputation and financial solvency and serve no public interest. But once in office Obama found that he was ruled by the military/security complex. War is not being ended, merely transferred from the unpopular war in Iraq to the more popular war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Obama, in violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, continues to attack “targets” in Pakistan. In place of a war in Iraq, the military/security complex now has two wars going in much more difficult circumstances.
Viewing the promotion gravy train that results from decades of warfare, the US officer corps has responded to the “challenge to American security” from the Taliban. “We have to kill them over there before they come over here.” No member of the US government or its numerous well-paid agents has ever explained how the Taliban, which is focused on Afghanistan, could ever get to America. Yet this hyped fear is sufficient for the public to support the continuing enrichment of the military/security complex, while American homes are foreclosed by the banksters who have destroyed the retirement prospects of the US population.
According to Pentagon budget documents, by next year the cost of the war against Afghanistan will exceed the cost of the war against Iraq. According to a Nobel prize-winning economist and a budget expert at Harvard University, the war against Iraq has cost the American taxpayers $3 trillion, that is, $3,000 billion in out-of-pocket and already incurred future costs, such as caring for veterans.
If the Pentagon is correct, then by next year the US government will have squandered $6 trillion dollars on two wars, the only purpose of which is to enrich the munitions manufacturers and the “security” bureaucracy.
The human and social costs are dramatic as well and not only for the Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani populations ravaged by American bombs. Dahr Jamail reports that US Army psychiatrists have concluded that by their third deployment, 30 percent of American troops are mental wrecks. Among the costs that reverberate across generations of Americans are elevated rates of suicide, unemployment, divorce, child and spousal abuse, drug and alcohol addiction, homelessness and incarceration.
In the Afghan “desert of death” the Obama administration is constructing a giant military base. Why? What does the internal politics of Afghanistan have to do with the US?
What is this enormous waste of resources that America does not have accomplishing besides enriching the American munitions industry?
China and to some extent India are the rising powers in the world. Russia, the largest country on earth, is armed with a nuclear arsenal as terrifying as the American one. The US dollar’s role as reserve currency, the most important source of American power, is undermined by the budget deficits that result from the munition corporations’ wars and the bankster bailouts.
Why is the US making itself impotent by fighting wars that have nothing whatsoever to do with its security, wars that are, in fact, threatening its security?
The answer is that the military/security lobby, the financial gangsters, and AIPAC rule. The American people be damned.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
The Government of the United States has a long, well document His-Story of lying to the American Indians and violating its Treaties with us. This genocidal colonialism has directly led to the inhumane and tragic living conditions on this, and most Indian Reservations.
“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one; they promised not to take our land, and they did.” – Mahpiua Luta “Red Cloud” Oglala Lakotah
Now, it is clearly evident that our Government is using even more refined tactics of Orwellian propaganda to hypnotize ALL Americans into endorsing it’s hegemony of the World:
- Homeland security is the new, expanded, version of the B.I.A.: Just last night, we see that the ABC network is promoting a new show, “Homeland Security USA,” Every day the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security patrol more than 100,000 miles of America’s borders. This territory includes airports, seaports, land borders, international mail centers, the open seas, mountains, deserts and even cyberspace (and remember anytown U.S.A. too!) . Now viewers will get an unprecedented look at the work of these men and women while they use the newest technology to safeguard our country and enforce our laws, in “Homeland Security USA,” … This strategy of brainwashing the public and glorifying the violence that our Government foments is apparent in the comments of one of this shows new fans, “I think America needs to be educated in how hard our Homeland Security officers work everyday to protect THEM! They do risk their lives every moment. I do think a few things in the show were a bit ridiculous but then again I’m hoping that they will learn from their mistakes and improve the show. Also if you have ever seen Australia’s reality show about their Homeland security you will see how interesting and exciting they can make it.” (emphasis added)
- A Nation of Laws?: How many times have we heard this rhetoric about the U.S. being a nation of laws? Just as the Indian’s have been denied their sovereign rights, the Government, through the ‘Patriot Act’ and other legislation, is dramatically eroding the sovereign rights of ALL Americans. Beware the erosion, nay extinction, of the Posse Comitatus Act.
- History of Government misconduct in the Court room (Sacrosanct?) During the Wounded Knee trial in 1973, the court supplemented its oral ruling with a written decision on October 9, 1974, finding governmental misconduct due to:
(1) The prosecutor’s deliberate or at least negligent conduct in offering and failing to correct the “obviously false” testimony of Government witness Louis Moves Camp (concocted by the F.B.I.);(2) The prosecutor’s “intentional deception” of the court with respect to an alleged rape incident involving the witness Louis Moves Camp;(3) The prosecutor’s “grossly negligent conduct,” if not “deliberate deception,” in offering the testimony of Government witness Alexander David Richards when that testimony was directly contradicted in a previously transcribed interview;(4) The prosecutor’s having been “either deliberately or negligently dilatory” in searching for information detailing the extent of military involvement at Wounded Knee and Government “cover up” of the extent of that involvement;
- He DID Promise Change: (VIEW THE VIDEO BY RUSSELL MEANS) Lastly, we must again address, Prez Obama’s pick for Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. We maintain that this choice is not a new one, but part of a larger plan to ‘change’ the government from one run by neo-cons to one run by zionists. Rahm Israel Emanuel (Hebrew: ?? ???????) was born in Chicago, Illinois. His first name, Rahm, means “high” or “lofty” in Hebrew, while his last name, Emanuel, means “God is with us.” According to his father, his son is the namesake of Rahamim, a Lehi combatant who was killed. Rahm
Where is the Constitution? Where is the Law? What will happen to us in the coming months and years? Legislation Eroding Your Civil Rights!
A note from Russell: Albert Einsteins definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Anyone capable of critical thinking has known for some time that at least since 1948 America is being raped by the DemoPublicans for the purpose of profiteering and control. This is clearly evident by this Country’s intentional transformation from a productive, producing Nation to a greed-based “consumer” mentality! Through mass psychological manipulation via the media and the government takeover of the schools, American Citizens have become nothing more than lemmings following the Pied Piper, e.g. the U.S. GOVERNMENT, totally forgetting there responsibilities as free, sovereign individuals. Always remember the axiom, “Freedom means you are free to be responsible!”
Ward Churchill has written a book entitled, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens, where he uses U.S. government documents to dispel the two public relations claims of the government, which are that; 1) America is a nation of laws, and 2) America is a peace loving nation. In this book he proves that America has been at war every year of its existence and, since 1946, has violated U.S. Constitutional and International Laws each and every year.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
1. Posse Comitatus Act Eliminated
The Act was a response to, and subsequent prohibition of, the military occupation by U.S. Army troops of the former Confederate States during the ten years of Reconstruction (1867