Saturday, 27 June 2015

An Orwellian affair


Human rights, human rights, it is all about human rights.  Maybe so, but only in the Orwellian sense.  Barack Obama, the U.S President met with Raul Castro, the President of Cuba, in Panama City to discuss easing the blockade which has been enforced for decades.  Obama, being a man of nobel intentions, morality, courage, decency and whatever else, is concerned about Cuban human rights, so we are led to believe.  This morality and courage and other Orwellian names we choose to affix to Obama, does not exist elsewhere.  There are a number of countries the President in Washington supports: Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, China, Egypt, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Bahrain, Burma, Vietnam, Qatar, the UAE, Kyrgyzstan, and of course others.  But his concerns for human rights abuses there, are invisible words.  It would be interesting to look at these countries which Obama publicly supports.

saudi Arabia

The Baltimore Sun, A U.S newspaper, in January, 2015, printed the following:

Last Friday, as the world's attention was riveted on the terrorists who murdered French journalists for publishing cartoons and texts lampooning Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, a 30-year-old Saudi Arabian father of three was brought in shackles to the public square outside the Al Jafali mosque in the Saudi port city of Jeddah where he was flogged with 50 lashes of a cane.
The brutal beating was only a small part of the penalties heaped upon Raef Badawi for running a website inviting public discussion — and criticism — of the powerful clerics who hold sway in Saudi Arabia, enabled and empowered by the Saudi royal family.Under the terms of his punishment, Mr. Badawi will be back for 50 lashes again this Friday and every Friday for a total of 20 weeks until he has received the full 1,000 lashes of his sentence. In addition to the flogging, Mr. Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined a million Saudi riyals — about $266,000.

Torture, corporal punishment, capital punishment, sexual slavery are all prevalent in Saudi Arabia, and is well known by Barack Obama and his colleagues.  Those who are faced with torture are often protesters, this includes sleep deprivation, suspension of the limbs and plain harsh beatings. Only thirty countries in the world hand out corporal punishment: Saudi Arabia is one of them.  This includes complete amputations and floggings.  It also executes people (chopping off the head).  This is dished out for adultery, sorcery and witchcraft, women of course being the biggest victims.

Women, no doubt, are the biggest victims in this patriarchal  Kingdom.  Women are persecuted when they are raped, they are banned from driving, total oppression and repression is enacted on all women.  Apostasy carries the death penalty and women can do nothing without the consent of the male brutes, who believe they own them in their twisted, Wahabbist interpretation of Islam.  Every inch of their lives are controlled by their male relatives and are not treated as second class citizens but as fifth class ones.  Their suffering is silent as Obama prattles on about human rights abuses in Cuba.


According to Human Rights Watch, the New York-based human rights group:

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s speech to the US Congress, the Obama administration’s National Security Council (NSC) recently published “five key facts you need to know about the US-Israel relationship under President Obama.” Here are some relevant facts it neglected to mention:
NSC: Since 2009, the US has provided Israel with more than $20.5 billion in foreign military financing.
Since Prime Minister Netanyahu came to office in 2009, Israeli security forces have demolished the homes of more than 4,450 Palestinians in the West Bank. Israel claimed the demolitions were justified because the buildings lacked Israeli building permits – yet Israel blocks virtually all such Palestinian permit applications. Demolitions intended to drive Palestinians from their communities in occupied territory are war crimes under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The US should take all practical steps to ensure it is not contributing to such unlawful policies and practices by the Israeli military.
NSC: In 2014, the US voted against 18 United Nations General Assembly resolutions and was the only “no” vote against 5 UN Human Rights Council resolutions that were critical of Israel.
The Obama administration justifies these votes because of the UN’s excessive focus on Israel, but it almost never finds Israeli conduct worthy of criticism in UN fora despite its persistent illegal settlement expansion and, most recently in 2014, its unlawful attacks in Gaza, such as its deliberate attacks on the family homes of Hamas fighters and its attacks on schools used as shelters by displaced civilians.
In addition, the Obama administration has opposed efforts to investigate both sides in the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas, such as the International Criminal Court and the UN commission of inquiry. Its claim that these are one-sided efforts is utterly unsupported by the conduct of these investigations.

futhermore,  since 2009, when the Obama administration came into power, there has been little criticism of their terrorist aggression, if any.  The peace process is largely a fraud and what will eventually happen is that the Palestinian Arabs in the occupied territories will get land which is not fit for rats to live on, they can either accept this hideous deal or continue to be bombed with American machinery, cluster bombs, missiles and whatever else.
Amnesty International. another human rights group, along with others have frequently documented the abuses of the Turkish Government under the premiership of Recep Tayyip Erdogon.  Amnesty, in October 20013, write:
Amnesty International’s report, Gezi Park protests: Brutal denial of the right to peaceful assembly in Turkey, details how the use of live ammunition, tear gas, water cannon, plastic bullets and beatings of protestors left more than 8,000 people injured at the scene of demonstrations. The deaths of at least three protestors have been linked to the abusive use of force by police.
The organization monitored demonstrations in Istanbul and Ankara and interviewed scores of people in four cities across Turkey who were injured by police or who were unlawfully detained, beaten or sexually assaulted during detention.
The report documents how:  protesters and others were severely beaten resulting in one death and scores of injuries. • Police frequently fired plastic bullets directly at protesters’ heads and upper bodies;  Tear gas canisters were routinely fired directly at protestors, bystanders and sometimes into residential buildings and medical facilities, resulting in hundreds of injuries and, according to witnesses, at least one death; • Chemical irritants were added to water cannon supply tanks; • Women protesters were sexually abused by law enforcement officials;  live ammunition was used, killing one protester
“The levels of violence used by police in the course of Gezi Park protests clearly show what happens when poorly trained, poorly supervised police officers are instructed to use force - and encouraged to use it unsparingly – safe in the knowledge that they are unlikely ever to be identified or prosecuted for their abuses,“ said Andrew Gardner.
The vast majority of police abuses already look likely to go unpunished, while many of those who organised and participated in the protests have been vilified, abused and now face prosecution on unfair or inflated charges. Those who assisted protestors or reported on the protests – such as doctors, lawyers, journalists and even businesses - have faced threats and harassment.
This is just one aspect of the abuses Turkey takes part in.  The abuse of women is awful; tens of women are murdered each month, with little or no state response.  The fierce war fought against Kurds is truly shocking.  They, as a group, have been left without linguistic rights, cultural rights, many are imprisoned on a whim.  Adding to that Turkey has the highest number of journalists imprisoned more than anywhere else in the world.  Torture is a common practice.  In terms on its freedom of speech, expression and so on, it is about as free as Saudi Arabia, perhaps a little more free than China, but then China does not even pretend to have democratic elections, and neither does Saudi Arabia.
According to Radio Free Asia
Across the country, rights lawyers, writers, journalists, academics, NGO activists, political dissidents and rights activists were targeted with often violent measures under the system, according to the report.
In 2014, it documented 2,270 cases in which the authorities had implemented "stability maintenance" measures against such targets, which can include house arrest, phone tapping, enforced 'holidays' and criminal detention by state security police, the report said.
The government also stepped up control over online content and the media, further limiting freedom of expression, it said.
Police commonly used public order offenses like "illegal gathering," and "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," as catch-all charges for stability maintenance purposes, the report said.
"Police are increasingly abusing their powers of detention to limit the personal freedom of citizens," the report said, adding that in addition to beatings of those deemed troublemakers, state security police have a number of non-violent means of pressure and coercion in their arsenal of measures.
"Under the banner of stability maintenance, previously unusual measures like inviting targets to 'drink tea,' summoning them for questioning, surrounding and watching people's homes, following targets, issuing warnings..., enforced vacations, enforced relocation, enforced disappearances and detention in black jails and legal study centers have become normal and everyday occurrences," the report said.
Non-government groups are particular targets of the system, especially on China's tightly controlled internet, and "large numbers" of civil society groups had their websites taken down in 2014, it said.
It said politically sensitive times, once limited to three or four major events or anniversaries a year, are proliferating, to the extent that online stability maintenance now takes place year-round, instead of in the run-up to important meetings or anniversaries like that of the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen pro-democracy movement.
"The stability maintenance measures surrounding the 25th anniversary of June 4 lasted for five months," the report said.
By contrast, the situation of citizens who pursue complaints against the government, who are also frequent targets of the stability maintenance regime, showed a marked improvement last year, a prominent activist said on Monday.
Indeed it would be long and arduous to go through all the human rights abuses China is involved in.  The abuse is systematic and savage to extreme degrees.  That is not even speaking about the war on minority groups: Tibetans, Taiwanese, and there are literally tens of others.  It is not a question of repressing civil liberties, it is a question of spending tens of years in prison for even criticising the state.  The lack of western action against the brutal state is shocking, but trade and foreign investment is far more important than the lives of its citizens.

By now I think we understand Obama's morality in 'human rights abuses'.  He speaks, of course, of  abuses in Cuba, and, as there are abuse on the little island, what Obama fails to point out are the abuses the U.S has itself subjected Cuba to over decades.  This includes chemical warfare, outright invasion, bombing the country, imposed sanctions of which the intention was to starve tens of thousands of people to death as they did years later in Iraq.  It failed of course, largely because of Castro's impressive health care reforms.  This was not mentioned by Obama, unsurprisingly.

28th April, 2015

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