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Saturday, April 06, 2013

Human Rights American style—pogroms against the poor, unjust executions, crushing demonstrations, hypocrisy on foreign affairs

The US government constantly claims to be a champion of human rights. Our elected leaders are always chastising country heads of state such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad (بشار حافظ الأسد) or Democratic People's Republic of (North) Korea’s Kim Jong-un (김정은).
As an example here are some comments from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the Kasama Project Threads;
“With a new young leader we all expected something different, “(Hillary) Clinton said Monday during a State Department broadcast. ”We expected him to focus on improving the lives of the North Korean people, not just the elite but everyone. Instead he has engaged in very provocative rhetoric and behavior.”

Lately I have been looking at some of the many human rights problems here at home. Here are Three examples of people’s rights being seriously violated right here in the United States.

Pogrom against the poor
As for a genuine pogrom against poor people here in the US, the State of Ohio is in the news for jailing people who can’t pay their debts. According to Yahoo News;

Report: Ohio courts illegally jailing the poor
ACLU report alleges some Ohio courts illegally jailing people for failure to pay fines
Several courts in Ohio are illegally jailing people because they are too poor to pay their debts and often deny defendants a hearing to determine if they're financially capable of paying what they owe, according to an investigation released Thursday by the Ohio chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.”
The ACLU likens the problem to modern-day debtors' prisons. Jailing people for debt pushes poor defendants farther into poverty and costs counties more than the actual debt because of the cost of arresting and incarcerating individuals, the report said.
The Republicans favored by the Tea Party have used poor people as scapegoats. Convincing many Americans they are lazy, sponging of the system, making bad decisions and in this case too shifty to pay their debts like everyone else, these politicians and their allies have unleashed some of the most mean spirited policies ever against poor Americans. This is just one example of their mistreatment. For a country that champions human rights, attacking the most vulnerable among us is just plain viscous.
Unjust executions
There is the continuous use of the death penalty. Politicians have successfully convinced family members of victims of murder that they “deserve vengeance.” This has led many family members to a false sense of closure for seeing their killer executed.
The latest victim is James Holmes, the killer who massacred several people in an Aurora, Colo. theatre. According to Yahoo News;
“Let’s put the labels aside and look at the behavior,” says Mary Ellen O'Toole, who worked for 15 years in the bureau's Behavioral Analysis Unit where she studied psychopaths and helped capture killers….
 “There were items he needed to carry out his game plan,” O’Toole said of the evidence. “They show the thinking and the logic and the strategy.”
Holmes’ attorneys have said he's mentally ill. The government uses a lot of evidence to prove he used logic and reasoning to plan the crime, but say nothing of the motive. Is there a logical reason to plan to kill a lot of people in a theatre? What is his motive? There are plenty of reasons to oppose the death penalty. But this case shows that the government no longer looks at the sanity of motivation. The definition for insanity is so weak very few defense attorneys use it anymore. How many people would agree that killing lots of people for fun of fame is a logical and reasonable thing to do?
The US is the only industrialized country that still executes people.
Crushing demonstrations
Then there is that highly promoted “freedom of speech.” Our government is always chastising other countries for not allowing freedom for those who dissent against their governments. Both Assad and Kim have been among those leaders single out.
Yet this country also suppresses the rights of dissidents. According to Kasama Program Threads;
Secret police docs conspire to kill Occupy
Yesterday, the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund published over 500 pages of documents received from the Department of Homeland Security pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The documents were heavily redacted, but corroborate empirical evidence and previously published FOIA requests from July and November of 2012…
Functioning as a secret political police force against people participating in lawful, peaceful free speech activity, the heavily redacted documents show that the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) “Threat Management Division” directed Regional Intelligence Analysts to provide a “Daily Intelligence Briefing” that includes a category of reporting on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations” along with “Domestic Terrorist Activity.”…
In preparation for planned protests in New York City on October 15, 2011, the DHS documents show coordination between federal and local authorities to use New York City’s permitting scheme to frustrate, obstruct or stop free speech activities. 
This country uses a lot of dirty tricks that make it hard for onlookers to see how coordinated government attacks are used to destroy such opposition movements as Occupy. Those in that movement noticed first hand brutal police tactics—the constant lies about them perpetuated in the press and among political leaders—the forceful evacuated from public grounds on false accusations such as “not sanitary” or “criminal elements have taken over.” Now we have proof of the lying and of the coordinated attacks on the occupiers.
These have been a series of human rights abuses here in the US—not some far away third world dictatorship—although I would argue this is not really a democracy, despite having too parties and elections. The whole world is watching and US leaders really never care. It’s all about hypocrisy and hoping that most Americans are too complacent to pay any attention.
-សតិវ អតុ
From Kasama Project Threads—This is what US human rights looks like!


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