|Current selected tag: #UnitedStates7. Clear.|
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
18 representatives and three senators point to continued human rights abuses in letter to Hillary Clinton...
Tragically, even a brief survey of reports from reliable sources makes clear that the Bahraini government continues to perpetrate significant human rights violations.
The letter then enumerates some of those reported violations, things like the killing of at least 10 people in the past few months, the prosecution of doctors who treated protesters, and the barring of international human rights observers from entering the country.
...Also, the teargas being used now is a far more toxic than the previous variety. The new type gives off distinct yellow fumes and is reckoned to be 10 times stronger than regular CS gas. Residents say that their homes are constantly laced with the acrid smell even long after riot police have vacated the area. The number of deaths does not reflect the thousands of injuries from intoxication. There are reports of many pregnant women losing babies from miscarrying.
As pointed out by London-based Campaign Against the Arms Trade, teargas is supposed to be used in riot control situations, not in confined areas, and certainly not in civilian homes.
In Bahrain, the gas is being used more like a chemical weapon against civilians. Its indiscriminate, massive use in mainly Shia villages and residential districts in the capital, Manama, is patently a policy of “toxic terrorism” and “collective punishment” against the 70 per cent of the population demanding that the Western-backed regime gives way to democratic government. ....
Opposition supporters in Bahrain have expressed concern that escalating tensions between Iran and the West may further stifle their calls for democratic reform in the Persian Gulf kingdom.
Al-Wefaq spokesman Matar says these tensions may provide an advantage for Bahraini authorities. "It is easy for the regime here to utilize this conflict and blame Iran for everything happening here in Bahrain and such tone can be accepted in the United States," he said.
Bahrain’s opposition has criticized America and its allies for what it sees as a failure to press the Bahraini government to end its deadly assault on civilian demonstrators.
"This is a domestic issue at the end of the day. Saudis are using, and the Bahraini regime are using this accusation of Iranian involvement to crack down on the protesters, but that’s a false narrative and it’s been quite comprehensively shown that there hasn’t been Iranian involvement," said Barnes-Dacey.
Human Rights Watch’s report issued on Jan. 22 provides several facts that make reasonable people conclude that there may in fact be a double standard operating in more cases than can be explained by bureaucratic failures or cultural norms.
Consider these examples that the HRW report documents:
1. The US incarcerates more people than any other country in the world, sometimes imposing very long sentences marred by racial disparities.
2. Some 363,000 non-citizens are held in immigration detention facilities, although many are not dangerous or at risk of flight.
3. Detentions without charge at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
4. Seriously flawed military tribunals.
5. Blocking lawsuits seeking redress for torture victims.
6. 46 million people live in poverty in the US, the largest number in recent memory. Poverty often intersects with racial and gender inequalities.
Keep in mind that HRW, which has documented these infractions of the US’ own standards, is a moderate, middle of the road American organization. If anything, it is accused sometimes of soft-peddling, not over-criticizing, US human rights violations.
There is no question that US advocacy of human rights has been frequently quite useful for a variety of reasons, but its value would be greater if it had a better record of compliance.
A Senate Intelligence Committee member says a recent report on Bahrain’s human rights abuses against protesters validates his opposition to a proposed $53 million arms sale to the island kingdom. ....
Mr. Wyden acknowledged the strategic importance of Bahrain, which hosts the Navy’s 5th fleet.
But he said he would not end his opposition to the arms sale until Bahrain’s government releases political prisoners, begins a dialogue on political reforms with the opposition, and holds public officials accountable.
Other senators - such as Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, and Marco Rubio, Florida Republican - have joined the congressional chorus calling for the Obama administration to condition the sale on political and human rights reforms.
According to Police Magazine, a law enforcement trade publication, “Law enforcement agencies responding to…Occupy protesters in northern California credit Urban Shield for their effective teamwork.
”Training alongside the American police departments at Urban Shield was the Yamam, an Israeli Border Police unit that claims to specialize in “counter-terror” operations but is better known for its extra-judicial assassinations of Palestinian militant leaders and long record of repression and abuses in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Urban Shield also featured a unit from the military of Bahrain, which had just crushed a largely non-violent democratic uprising by opening fire on protest camps and arresting wounded demonstrators when they attempted to enter hospitals. While the involvement of Bahraini soldiers in the drills was a novel phenomenon, the presence of quasi-military Israeli police – whose participation in Urban Shield was not reported anywhere in US media – reflected a disturbing but all-too-common feature of the post-9/11 American security landscape.
[ America learns from Israeli Apartheid tactics and Bahrain's Mercenaries about how to kill Human Rights in OWS protests! ]
Regarding this new arms sale, here are the top four questions that the Obama administration must answer immediately:
1. Why was the arms sale kept secret from the public?
Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy leaked the news of the arms sale on Friday. He also reported that U.S. arms sales under $1 million don’t have to be publicly disclosed. So the Obama administration didn’t publicly mention it. But why? At a time when the Bahraini government continues to crack down on protesters, why did the Obama administration keep the contents of this arms sale — or multiple arms sales – secret?
2. What is in the arms sale?
U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that the arms sale “includes spare parts,” arms for Bahrain’s “external defense”, and that “none of these items can be used against protesters.” But the last time the U.S. State Department said that arms were being sold to Bahrain for “external defense” – the arms package contained humvees. This came after the Bahraini government had already used tanks to surround a hospital where wounded protestors had been treated. The public needs to know what the Obama administration is selling to Bahrain. Ammunition? Replacement parts for ships? Vehicles to transport soldiers? Landing gear for cargo planes? Tanks?
3. How many secret arms sales are there?
In his above mentioned piece, Rogin implied that the Obama administration could hypothetically turn the suspended $53 million arms sale into 53 or more separate arms sales under $1 million each — and that none of them would have to be reported. Is that what is happening? How many unreported U.S. arms sales to Bahrain are happening now — or are slated to happen in the future?
4. How does this secret arms sale square with the President’s State of the Union address?
In his State of the Union address last week, President Obama referred to the “wave of change” in the Middle East. He also described what U.S. foreign policy would be: “We will stand against violence and intimidation. We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings –- men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.”
It remains to be seen what is in this latest arms sale (or sales) to Bahrain. But at a time when Bahrainis are experiencing human rights violations at home, it doesn’t look good to be handing their government additional military equipment.
"The Bahraini government has shown little progress in improving their human rights record over the last few months and in some ways, their record has gotten worse," Wyden told The Cable on Friday. "Protesters are still being hurt and killed, midnight arrests are still happening and the government continues to deny access to human rights monitors. The kingdom of Bahrain has not shown a true good faith effort to improve human rights in their country and the U.S. should not be rewarding them as if they have."
Nabeel Rajab: 'This is the image of the United States in our country: that this superpower supports dictators and doesn't want democracy in our region, because they [are] told that democracy would not serve their interests. They were misled by governments in our region that democracy will bring extremists to power who will fight against U.S. interests. Democracy is not against anybody's interests. Democracy is about living together, sharing together, tolerance, working together, and that's what we are fighting for.'
[America IS on the wrong side of history....In Bahrain, and around much of the World! A new model for American foreign policy needs to be molded!]
The 3,400 men and women residents in Camp Ashraf were there when the U.S.-led coalition forces invaded Iraq in 2003. They stayed completely neutral. After the downfall of the Saddam Hussein government, they were protected by U.S. forces in return for voluntarily accepting complete disarmament.
The United States designated them as protected persons under the Geneva Conventions. Every one of the residents received written assurance by a U.S. official that they would be protected until their final disposition. The United States gave them its word.
Iraq's refusal to allow UNHCR refugee status determination of the residents leaves no doubt that it has no intention of resolving this crisis peacefully and is planning to carry out the mullahs' demand that Ashraf be demolished and its residents annihilated -- because Tehran knows full well that they represent its democratic and viable opposition.
This week, the United States Senate passed S. 1867 also known as the National Defense Authorization Act including sections 1031 and 1032 which authorize the military to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens without trial or charge. ...
But this act of Congress is even more dangerous than we first thought. Included in the bill is Amendment 1068 which was offered by Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. This part of the bill undermines President Obama’s executive order that bans torture and overrides the list of permissible interrogation techniques in the US Army Field Manual. In other words, the US military could arrest ordinary American citizens without reading them their Miranda Rights, put them in a cell at Gitmo without the benefit of an attorney, a trial, or charges of any kind, and then torture them during interrogation. A secret list of torture techniques would be created without public knowledge.
Who does this affect? Every single man, woman, and child on American soil would be directly affected by this bill. It would give this President and all future Presidents, the power to arrest American citizens with the military and torture them into confession even if they are innocent. Essentially, it turns the Presidency into a dictatorship authorized to use the military against the people.
As you noted recently, “mass arrests and brute force are at odds with the universal rights of Bahrain’s citizens and will not make legitimate calls for reform go away.” In order to restore public confidence and deliver on its promises to uphold human rights and accountability, the U.S. Government should urge the Government of Bahrain to:
Unconditionally release political prisoners and end torture, arbitrary detention, and incommunicado detention;
Protect Shi’a places of worship and religious buildings, rebuild destroyed mosques, and end systematic discrimination in political representation, government recruitment, employment, and naturalization policies;
Take measures to ensure the reinstatement of all workers and employees who were dismissed from their workplace for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, political opinion, and assembly;
Allow and fully cooperate with independent human rights organizations and observers, including U.N. bodies such as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, to investigate claims of human rights abuses; Investigate and hold accountable all individuals who authorized, condoned, or committed human rights abuses, including the use of violence or torture against peaceful protesters and detainees
Release medical professionals and political prisoners who have been detained without charge or convicted and sentenced for political offenses; and
Allow access by local and international journalists to activists, protest sites, hospitals and other public institutions.