Tuesday, 23 April 2013

CHINESE GOVT PRODUCES LATEST & BEST REPORT ON uSA HUMAN RIGHTS (FOR 2012)




BEIJING -- The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China published a report titled "Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012" on Sunday.

Following is the full text:

Human Rights Record of the United States in 2012
State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China

Foreword

The State Department of the United States recently released its Country Reports on HumanRights Practices for 2012, posing as "the world judge of human rights" again. As in previousyears, the reports are full of carping and irresponsible remarks on the human rights situationin more than 190 countries and regions including China. However, the US turned a blind eyeto its own woeful human rights situation and never said a word about it. Facts show that thereare serious human rights problems in the US which incur extensive criticism in the world. TheHuman Rights Record of the US in 2012 is hereby prepared to reveal the true human rightssituation of the US to people across the world by simply laying down some facts.

The human rights situation in the US in 2012 has deeply impressed people in the followingaspects:

-- Firearms-related crimes posed serious threat to the lives and personal security of citizens inthe US Some shootings left astonishing casualties, such as the school shooting in Oakland,the Century 16 theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.

-- In the US, elections could not fully embody the real will of its citizens. Political contributionshad, to a great extent, influenced the electoral procedures and policy direction. During the2012 presidential election, the voter turnout was only 57.5 percent.

-- In the US, citizens' civil and political rights were further restricted by the government. Thegovernment expanded the scope of eavesdropping and censoring on personaltelecommunications. The police often abused their power, resulting in increasing complaintsand charges for infringement upon civil rights. The proportion of women in the US who fellvictims of domestic violence and sexual assault kept increasing.

-- The US has become one of the developed countries with the greatest income gap. In 2011,the Gini index was 0.477 in the US and about 9 million people were registered as unemployed;About 16.4 million children lived in poverty and, for the first time in history, public schoolsreported more than one million homeless children and youth.

-- There was serious sex, racial and religious discrimination in the US Indigenous peoplesuffered serious racial discrimination and their poverty rate doubled the national average. Amovie produced by a US director and aired online was deemed insulting to the ProphetMohammed, sparking protests by the Muslims worldwide.

-- The US seriously infringed upon human rights of other nations. In 2012, US militaryoperations in Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan caused massive civilian casualties. USsoldiers had also severely blasphemed against local residents' religion by burning copies ofthe Muslim holy book, the Koran, and insulting bodies of the dead. There was a huge rise inbirth defects in Iraq since the war against Iraq with military actions in which American forcesused metal contaminant-releasing white phosphorus shells and depleted uranium bombs.

-- The US was not able to effectively participate in international cooperation on human rights.To date, the US remains a country which has not participated in or ratified a series of core UNconventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Eliminationof All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of Personswith Disabilities.

I. On Life and Personal Security

The US was haunted by serious violent crimes in 2012 with frequent occurrence of firearms-related criminal cases. Its people's lives and personal security were not duly protected.

According to statistics released by the FBI in September 2012, an estimated 1,203,564 violentcrimes occurred in the US in 2011, about 386.3 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.Aggravated assaults accounted for 62.4 percent of violent crimes reported to lawenforcement. Robbery reached 29.4 percent of violent crimes, forcible rape accounted for 6.9percent, and murder amounted to 1.2 percent of estimated violent crimes in 2011. Andfirearms were used in 67.7 percent of the nation' s murders, 41.3 percent of robberies, and21.2 percent in all crimes in the US

Americans are the most heavily armed people in the world per capita. According to a CNNreport on July 23, 2012, there were an estimated 270 million guns in the hands of civilians inthe US and more than 100,000 people were shot by guns each year. In 2010, there were morethan 30,000 deaths caused by firearms. However, the US government has done little in guncontrol. In 2008 and 2010 landmark Supreme Court rulings on two firearms-related casesdramatically diminished the authority of state and local governments to limit gun ownership.Roughly half of the 50 US states have adopted laws allowing gun owners to carry their gunsopenly in most public places. And many states have 'stand your ground' laws that allow peopleto kill if they come under threat, even, in some cases, if they can escape the threat withoutviolence. According to an article on the website of the Hindu on August 7, 2012, in population-adjusted terms, civilians in some parts of the US are more likely to become the victim of afirearms-related murder than their counterparts in war-torn regions like Iraq or Afghanistan.On January 16, 2013, the US president announced 23 steps on gun control to takeimmediately without congressional approval. And the president signed three of the measures.But the public opinion generally believes that the gun-control measures will encounter greatresistance.

According to a report on the USA Today's website on October 17, 2012, the violent crime ratewent up 17 percent in 2011. Firearms-related violent crimes posed as one of the most seriousthreats to the lives and personal security of the US citizens. Statistics showed that anestimated 14,612 people fell victims of murder in 2011 and 9,903 of them were firearms-related murder victims (Website of the Congressional Research service, www.fas.org,November 14, 2012). The US witnessed more firearms-related violent crimes in 2012.According to NYPD statistics published on September 2, 2012, there had been 1,001shootings so far that year in New York, about 3.4 percent more than the 968 reported at thesame time the previous year (NY Daily News, September 9, 2012). According to statistics fromthe website of Chicago Police Department, there were 2,460 shooting incidents in Chicago in2012, up 10 percent year on year. Some of the shootings were quite bloody and terrifying,such as the movie theater shooting in Colorado and the school shooting in Connecticut.

On July 20, 2012, James E. Holmes, 24, entered a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, carryingan AR-15 rifle, a 12-gauge shotgun and at least one handgun. He sprayed people at thetheater who were watching a movie, leaving at least 12 dead and 59 wounded. A witness said: "He was just literally shooting everyone, like hunting season." According to a CNN report onJuly 21, law enforcement documents showed that the weapons were purchased legally byHolmes at sporting goods stores in the Denver area over a six-month period before theshooting happened. According to a CNN report on July 23, in wake of the shooting rampage inColorado, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: "I don't think there's any otherdeveloped country in the world that has remotely the problem we have."

On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staffmembers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He committed suicideafter that. But before he came to the school, he had shot and killed his mother. The incidentwas the second deadliest school shooting in the US history, after the 2007 Virginia Techmassacre which left 32 killed.


II. On Civil and Political Rights

The recent years have seen closer surveillance of American citizens by the US government. In the country, abuse of suspects and jail inmates is common occurrence, and equal suffrage enjoyable by citizens continues to be undermined.

The US government continues to step up surveillance of ordinary Americans, restricting and reducing the free sphere of the American society to a considerable extent, and seriously violating the freedom of citizens. The US congress approved a bill in 2012 that authorizes the government to conduct warrantless wiretapping and electronic communications monitoring, a move that violates people's rights to privacy. According to a report carried on May 4, 2012 by the CNET website, the FBI general counsel' s office has drafted a proposed law requiring that social-networking websites and providers of VoIP, instant messaging, and Web e-mail to alter their code to ensure their products are wiretap-friendly (news.cnet.com, May 4, 2012). Documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union on September 27, 2012, reveal that federal law enforcement agencies are increasingly monitoring American's electronic communications. Between 2009 and 2011, the Justice Department' s combined number of original orders for "pen registers" and "trap and trace devices" used to spy on phones increased by 60 percent, from 23,535 in 2009 to 37,616 in 2011. The number of authorizations the Justice Department received to use these devices on individuals' email and network data increased 361 percent between 2009 and 2011. The National Security Agency collects purely domestic communications of Americans in a "significant and systematic" way, intercepting and storing 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other types of communications every day. A Wired investigation published in March 2012 revealed the NSA is currently constructing a huge data center in Utah, meant to store and analyze "vast swaths of the world' s communications" from foreign and domestic networks (The Guardian, July 10, 2012). As the American Civil Liberties Union explained in its December 2011 report, the US could potentially use military drones to spy on its citizens (Fars News Agency, June 26, 2012).

On September 17, 2012, or the first anniversary of Occupy Wall Street's initial demonstration, confrontations between protesters and police around the Wall Street resulted in the arrests of more than 100 people (The New York Times, September 17, 2012). The US journalist community is worried about the continued toughening up of legislation on mass media. It is frequent that journalists in the US lose their jobs because of "politically incorrect" opinions (www.mid.ru, October 22, 2012).

Complaints and allegations of American police violating rights of suspects and jail inmates are going up. A litany of lawsuits was brought against the New York City Police Department, with police officers charged with violating civil rights in law enforcement. According to a report carried by the Chicago Tribune on March 6, 2012, jail inmate Eugene Gruber, 51, was paralyzed a day after he walked into a jail where he was believed to have been maltreated. He died of injury four months after the jail incident. Another report by the Chicago Tribune on March 21, 2012 showed that suspect Darrin Hanna suffered trauma from physical restraint and Taser shocks during a struggle with North Chicago police and died a week later. The CNN reported on May 17, 2012 that some 9.6 percent of the prisoners in state prisons are sexually victimized during confinement, more than double the rate cited in a report on the subject in 2008. In Texas state prisons, many inmates are housed in triple-digit temperatures in Fahrenheit. Four inmates -- Larry Gene McCollum, 58; Alexander Togonidze, 44; Michael David Martone, 57; and Kenneth Wayne James, 52 -- died in summer of 2011 from heat stroke, and at least five others were believed to have died from heat-related causes (www.texascivilrightsproject.org, July 7, 2012).

American citizens have never really enjoyed common and equal suffrage. Despite an increase of over eight million citizens in the eligible population in the US presidential election of 2012, voter turnout registered a drop of five million from four years before, with only 57.5 percent of eligible citizens voting (bipartisanpolicy.org, November 8, 2012). A February 2012 report by the Pew Center said America's voter registration system is plagued with errors and inefficiencies that undermine voter confidence and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of the country's elections (www.pewstates.org).

The US election is like money wars, with trends of the country's policies deeply influenced by political donations. The 2012 election had an estimated cost totalling six billion US dollars. The Obama campaign and the Democratic camp raised 1.06 billion dollars, and the Romney campaign and the Republican camp raised a total of 954 million dollars (www.standard.co.uk, November 6, 2012). Both groups have funding support from business giants. An opinion poll showed that nearly 90 percent of Americans believe the 2012 election is marked by too many political donations from business circles, which will mean the increased influence of the rich over the country's policy-making (The International Herald Leader [Chinese newspaper], November 16, 2012). A Harvard professor said America' s political system is sinking into serious crisis as it is under manipulation of interest groups and their sponsors. Election donations give a loose rein to all other defects. American politics are corroding the people, making them increasingly dependent on interest groups (Internationale Politik, November & December issue, 2012).

Citing a world-known analyst, the Christian Science Monitor website in a report on November 5, 2012 said America's trouble-prone voting machines, the risk of tampering in those machines, the lack of transparency in vote tabulation, and then the Electoral College system, combine to give the country an election system that leaves much to be desired.


III. On Economic and Social Rights

To date, the US government has not approved the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which was already ratified by 160 countries. Many American citizens could not enjoy the internationally-recognized economic and social rights.

Unemployment in the US has long been high. A huge number of Americans newly joined the unemployed population in recent years. Figures released by the US Department of Labor on May 4, 2012 showed that in April 2012 the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, with 12.5 million people unemployed. Citing a report, the Huffington Post website in a story dated December 3, 2012 said nearly 6.5 million US teens and young adults are neither in school nor working, and the employment rate for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 has fallen 42 percent over the last decade. The Los Angeles Times in a report published on April 27, 2012 said the unemployment rate for veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq is 10.3 percent, and for veterans aged 24 and under, the rate is 29.1 percent. It is also hard for college graduates to find jobs. The Associated Press reported on April 22, 2012 that 53.6 percent of bachelor' s degree-holders under the age of 25 in America were jobless or underemployed in 2011. Of the nearly 20 million people employed by the American food industry, just 40 percent are earning enough to put them over the local poverty line (www.huffingtonpost.com, June 6, 2012).

Poverty in the US has increasingly worsened since the economic crisis in 2008. America' s poverty rate in 2011 was 15 percent, with 46.2 million people in poverty, according to the US Census Bureau data released on September 12, 2012. Almost 18 million American homes struggled to find enough to eat in 2011, including 6.8 million households that worried about having enough money to buy food several months out of the year (www.ers.usda.gov, September 5, 2012). A report carried by the Huffington Post on October 30, 2012 indicated that the US has a staggering 22 percent of its children living in poverty. The US is one of those that have the highest child poverty rates of all developed nations.

The gap between the rich and poor is growing in the US over the years. The US has the fourth worst income inequality compared to other developed countries, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. America's Gini index was 0.477 in 2011 and income inequality increased by 1.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, indicating a widened rich-poor gap. Between 2010 and 2011, the share of aggregate income increased 1.6 percent for the quintile with the highest household income, and increased 4.9 percent for the top five percent households. The aggregate share of income declined for the middle quintile. The changes in the shares of aggregate income for the lowest two quintiles were not statistically significant (www.census.gov, September 12, 2012).

A huge number of people are homeless in the US According to a report released by National Alliance to End Homelessness on January 17, 2012, the nation had 636,017 homeless people in 2011, including 107,148 chronically homeless people. There were 21 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population. Nearly four in 10 homeless people were unsheltered. The unsheltered population was 243,701 in 2011, up 2 percent from 2009. In April 2012, the New York City homeless shelter population was 10 percent higher than the previous year (www.coalitionforthehomeless.org, June 8, 2012). Homeless people suffer discrimination and assaults. Citing a survey of 234 cities, a USA Today report dated February 15, 2012 said 24 percent of the US cities prohibit begging, 22 percent prohibit loitering, 16 percent labels sleeping in public places as illegal. From 1999 through 2010, the homeless faced 1,184 acts of reported violence resulting in 312 deaths.

The US is among the few developed countries without health insurance covering its whole population. A considerable number of Americans have no access to necessary healthcare services when in illness because of having no health insurance. The number of people without health insurance coverage was 48.6 million in 2011, accounting for 15.7 percent of the population (www.census.gov, September 12, 2012). A Huffington Post report on November 13, 2012 said about 115,000 women in the US lose their private health insurance each year in the wake of divorce, largely because they have trouble paying premiums for private insurance. A study, released on June 20, 2012, by the consumer advocacy group Families USA, estimates that a total of 26,100 people aged 25 to 64 died for lack of health coverage in 2010, up 31 percent from 18,000 in 2000 (www.reuters.com, June 20, 2012).


IV. On Racial Discrimination

The long-existing racial discrimination prevalent in the US society sees no improvements, and ethnic minorities do not enjoy equal political, economic and social rights.

Ethnic Americans' rights to vote are limited. During the presidential election in November 2012, some Asian-American voters were obstructed at voting stations and received with discriminations (The China Press, November 8, 2012). The United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur used to lodge a joint accusation against the US of failing to fully guarantee the rights to vote of African-Americans and Hispanics. The January/February 2013 edition of the Boston Review reported that as of 2010, more than 5.85 million American citizens were disenfranchised because of criminal convictions, and more than two million African-Americans currently are stripped of their right to vote. The US attorney general also acknowledged, as the rights to vote of some ethnic Americans were restricted by laws requiring proof of identity, some people are as a matter of fact stripped of such rights (The Guardian, May. 30, 2012).

Ethnic Americans are discriminated against in the job market, and their economic well-being worsens as a result. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate of whites was registered 7.0 percent in Oct. 2012, 14.3 percent for African-Americans and 10.0 percent for Hispanics. The average period of unemployment for ethnic minorities is notably longer than that for whites. Asians are unemployed on average for 27.7 weeks, African-Americans for 27 weeks (Desert News, December 4, 2012). According to data from the federal Labor Department, over half of all African-Americans and non-Hispanic blacks in New York city, who were old enough to work, had no jobs in 2012, and it takes them almost a full year on average to find another job (Madame Noire, June 21, 2012). Employment discrimination is the main reason behind income disparity and poverty. According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 12, 2012, the median household income for African-Americans was 32,229 U.S. dollars in 2011, less than 60 percent of that of non-Hispanic whites; and the poverty rate for African-Americans stood at 27.6 percent, almost three times of that of non-Hispanic whites.

Racial discrimination is rampant in the field of law enforcement and justice. The Reuters website reported on July 3, 2012, police tend to be more lenient to whites. Out of more than 685,000 police stops in New York City in 2011, more than 85 percent of the stopped were black or Hispanic. Ethnic Americans are often offended by law enforcement authorities. A 21-year-old black man in Arkansas was searched and put into a police car, and later was found shot in the head while handcuffed (www. telegraph.co.uk, August 8, 2012). The incidence where a 28-year-old black man, Mohamed Bah, was shot dead by New York police outraged the black community (NYDailyNews.com, September 26, 2012). An article on the website of Texas Civil Rights Project on July 24, 2012 said the Austin police' excessive use of force had led to two fatal police shootings of minority suspects since 2011. The president of the Texas Civil Rights Project said that the shooting death of a dog even received more thorough and careful investigation than the death of a black victim. The New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote an article on January 14, 2013, saying "the idea that progress toward racial harmony would or should be steady and continuous is fraying. And the pillars of the institution -- the fundamental devaluation of dark skin and strained justifications for the unconscionable -- have proved surprisingly resilient."

Religious discrimination is rapidly on the rise, with an increase in insults and attacks against Muslims. Muslims account for less than one percent of the U.S. population, but are involved in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases under investigation of the federal government, and 25 percent of employment-related discrimination cases (www. sinovision.net, March 29, 2011). In September, 2012, a U.S. film director made a film that is insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and posted it online, which triggered waves of protests in the Muslim world. In Houston, a dead pig was left in front of a mosque (abclocal.go.com, December 5, 2012). The U.S. Navy special operations force was reported to use images of gun-holding Muslim women as training targets (www.nydailynews.com, July 3, 2012). The 57-year-old Muslim, Bashir Ahmad, was stabbed and bitten outside a Mosque by a suspect who shouted anti-Muslim expletive during the attack (Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2012). Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Justice Department has investigated more than 800 incidents of violence, vandalism and arson against people believed to be Muslim, Arab or South Asian (www. reuters.com, March 29, 2011).

Apartheid in fact still exists in the American society. New York Times reported on August 6, 2012 that, the proportion of non-Hispanic black residents on the Upper East Side is only 2.7 percent, and whites 81 percent. Local co-op boards can reject black buyers without giving a reason, and some Upper East Side co-ops have a reputation for rejecting black buyers. A study found that the New York area was the second most segregated for black people and the third most segregated for Hispanic and Asian residents. A superintendent of NASA Real Estate Corporation was sued for refusing to show three African-Americans any openings, claiming no apartments were available for rent, but showing vacancies to white individuals who inquired about the same apartments less than an hour after turning down black renters, saying, "You look like nice people. That's why I show you." (queenscourier.com, December 12, 2012) Furthermore, studies found a rising tide of apartheid in the U.S. workplace. Nineteen out of the 58 surveyed industries showed a trend toward racial re-segregation between white men and black men (www.washingtonpost.com, October 25, 2012).

Racial relationship is in tension, and hate crimes take place frequently. The Associated Press reported on October 28, 2012, citing a latest poll, that 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-African-American attitudes, three percentage points higher than in 2008. The abc.go.com reported on November 19, 2012, three shop owners of Middle Eastern descent were shot dead in four months in Brooklyn, New York, and the police cannot rule out the possibility of the homicides being racially motivated. Two young white men from Mississippi killed a black man by running a truck over him. The two, since 2011, have frequently assaulted and attacked African-Americans in and around Jackson, Mississippi, using beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles, and they often bragged about their exploits (Reuters, December 5, 2012). A white gunman named Wade Michael Page killed six Sikh worshippers at their temple, and his motivation was linked to neo-Nazi propaganda, and he was suspected to be a white supremacist (edition. cnn.com, August 10, 2012).

Native Americans' rights are not properly guaranteed. In 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on racism, Mutuma Ruteere, pointed out Navajos, a branch of Native Americans, faced racial discrimination, including the lack of access to justice and legal remedies (United Nations document number A/67/328). United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, James Anaya, said the ability of Native Americans to use and access their sacred places is often curtailed by mining, logging, hydroelectric and other development projects. He cited research figures of relevant institutions, saying Native Americans' poverty rates nearly double the national average, and their life expectancy is 5.2 years less than the national average. Thirteen percent of Native Americans hold a basic university degree, much lower than the national average, 28 percent. Indigenous women are more than twice as likely as all other women to be victims of violence and one in three of them will be raped during her lifetime (United Naitons document number A/HRC/21/47/Add.1).

The rights of illegal immigrants are violated. Deaths often occur in immigration detention centers. United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns said in his report that deaths occurred in prison-like conditions where detention was neither necessary nor appropriate, and where no proper medical care was provided (United Nations document number A/HRC/20/22/Add.3). U.N human rights experts and South Florida Haitian rights advocates call for the U.S. to suspend all deportations to Haiti, saying the deportations may constitute a human rights violation, and may place the Haitians in a life-threatening position (The Miami Herald, June 6, 2012).


V. On the rights of women and children

The U.S. remains one of a few countries in the world that have not ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women or the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It faces prominent problems in protecting the rights of women and children.

Women face discrimination in employment and payment. Women made up about two-thirds of all workers in the U.S. who were paid minimum wage or less in 2011 and 61 percent of full-time minimum wage workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.womensenews.org, December 11, 2012). On average, women have to work as far as April 17 into 2012 to catch up with that men earned in 2011, meaning women earned 77 cents to the male dollar. African American women earn 62 cents to the male dollar, Latinas 54 cents. In some states, women of color earn less than half as their male counterparts. Women in Wyoming, the lowest ranking state, earn just 64 cents on the male dollar (www.womensenews.org, April 30, 2012). Voters in Oklahoma approved an amendment to the state's constitution to end affirmative action programs in state government that had been designed to increase the hiring of minorities and women in the state's 115 agencies (www.articles.chicagotribune.com, November 7, 2012). The problems that pregnant women and new mothers face on the job are very real. Employers routinely ignore mandate in the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, and are forcing pregnant women out of the workplace (www.edition.cnn.com, November 26, 2012). A Houston mother says she was fired from her job at a collection agency after asking to bring a breast pump into the office so she'd have plenty of fresh breast milk for her newborn. A new Connecticut mom says her new employer asked her to resign after she told them she was pregnant (www.latimes.com, February 8, 2012).

The poverty rate among women is higher than males. The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) announced that the poverty rate for women in 2011 was 14.6 percent, compared to men's 10.9 percent. Women are more likely to live in poverty and about 40 percent of women who head families live in poverty, according to the NWLC. Another report on the plight of female retirees also notes that the poverty rate among retired women is 50 percent higher than their male counterparts (womensenews.org, September 17, 2012).

Women are the victims of violence and sexual assaults. An average of three women in the U.S. lose their lives every day as a result of domestic violence (www.dccadv.org, October 1, 2012). A national census of domestic violence agencies in September 2011 found that more than 67,000 victims were served in a single day (www.womensenews.org, July 17, 2012). In 2010, the arrest rate for rape was 24 percent in the U.S. (www.thedailybeast.com, April 9, 2012). According to the Report on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, submitted by the Special Rapporteur to the General Assembly in 2012, most prison staff in the U.S. is not adequately trained to prevent or respond to inmate sexual assaults, and prison rape often goes unreported and untreated (United Nations document number A/67/227).

Women in the U.S. forces are the victims of widespread sexual abuse, leading to media allegation that the US military has a culture of rape (www.aljazeera.com, August 4, 2012). Around 79 percent of women serving in the military reported experiences of sexual harassment. Military sexual trauma often leads to debilitating conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and major depression (www.servicewomen.org). That Air Force drill instructor Luis Walker was accused of raping and sexually assaulting 10 female trainees is the biggest sex scandal to hit the U.S. military since the 1990s (www.reuters.com, July 21, 2012). In 2011, nearly 3,200 rapes and sexual assaults were officially reported, but the Pentagon admits that represents just 15 percent of all incidents. A military survey revealed that one in five women in the US forces has been sexually assaulted, but most do not report it. Nearly half said that they "did not want to cause trouble in their unit" (www.aljazeera.com, August 4, 2012).

The health of female minority groups is worrying. A media report in June 2012 said rate of HIV infection in heterosexual African American women in the poorest neighborhoods of Washington, D.C. nearly doubled the 6.3 percent infection rate two years before. Officials said 90 percent of all women with HIV in the city are black (www.washingtonpost.com, June 21, 2012). Sixty-six percent of the women newly infected with HIV each year are black, even though African-American women represent only 14 percent of the U.S. female population. The national age-adjusted death rate for black women in the U.S. is nearly 15 times higher than that observed for HIV-infected white women (www.newswise.com, March 7, 2012). Minority women in the U.S. are more likely to die during or soon after childbirth than white women, according to a report posted on the website of the Chicago Tribune on August 3, 2012. For every 100,000 babies born to white women, between seven and nine moms die from complications related to pregnancy. In comparison, 32 to 35 black women die for every 100,000 live babies. Deaths among Hispanic and Asian women - born in the U.S. and abroad - are closer to rates for white women at around 10 per 100,000.

Children in the U.S. are not blessed with enough protection for their personal safety and freedom. According to a report posted on the website of the Daily Telegraph on December 16, 2012, the slaughter of children by gunfire in the U.S. is 25 times the rate of the 20 next largest industrial countries in the world combined. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says at least 100,000 children across the country are trafficked each year (www.usatoday.com, September 27, 2012).

Child sexual abuse is a widespread public health problem. Research indicates that 20 percent of adult females and 5 to 15 percent adult males experienced sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence, according to a report posted on the website of www.preventchildabuse.org on November 5, 2012. In 2010, 63,527 children in the U.S. were victims of child sexual abuse. According to a report by the CNN on October 18, 2012, 1,247 "ineligible volunteer files" of the Boy Scout released that year identified more than 1,000 leaders and volunteers banned from Boy Scout after being accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct with boys from 1965 to 1985. Priests and leaders of the Boy Scouts had shielded abusers, according to the report. Former Pennsylvania State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of abusing 10 children over 15 years (www.usatoday.com, October 10, 2012). In 2012, several religious figures were found to have sexually assaulted children. In July 2012, Roman Catholic monsignor William Lynn was sentenced to six years in prison for allowing a priest suspected of sexual misconduct with a minor to have continued contact with children (the Wall Street Journal, July 24, 2012). In September, a Roman Catholic bishop in Kansas City was found guilty of failing to tell authorities about child pornography that was produced by a priest under his supervision (the Wall Street Journal, September 6, 2012).

The number of homeless children increases sharply in the U.S. and many children are stricken by poverty. For the first time in history, public schools reported more than one million homeless children and youth, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Education on June 27, 2012. This total does not include homeless children and youth who were not enrolled in public preschool programs and those identified by school officials. Forty-four states reported school year-to-year increases in the number of homeless students, with 15 states reporting increases of 20 percent or more. The number of homeless children enrolled in public schools has increased 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year. In Michigan, the number of homeless children enrolled in public schools had increased 315 percent between 2008 and 2011 (www.nlchp.org, June 27, 2012). The number of children in New York city's shelters hit 19,000 by September 2012. Francheska Luciano, 14, said living in shelter was "like living in hell." (www.nydailynews.com, September 9, 2012) The U.S. Department of Education said in a report that only 52 percent of identified homeless students who took standardized tests were proficient in reading, and only 51 percent passed the math portion. Homeless students were also found to be more likely to drop out of school and less likely to graduate from high school than their classmates (www.neatoday.org, Nov. 28, 2012). According to "America's Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2012," 22 percent of the children aged 0 to 17, or 16.4 million kids, live in poverty in 2010 (www.csmonitor.com, July 17, 2012). Fourteen states saw increases in child poverty between 2010 and 2011 (usatoday.com, September 23, 2012). Nevada saw a 38 percent increase in child poverty over the past decade (www.csmonitor.com, August 17, 2011).


VI. On U.S. Violations of Human Rights against Other Nations

Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has waged wars on other countries most frequently. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, both started by the U.S., have caused massive civilian casualties. From 2001 to 2011, the U.S.-led "war on terror" killed between 14,000 and 110,000 per year, said an article posted on the website of Stop the War Coalition on June 14, 2012 (stopwar.org.uk, June 14, 2012). The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) tallied at least 10,292 non-combatants killed from 2007 to July 2011. The Iraq Body Count project records approximately 115,000 civilians killed in the cross-fire from 2003 to August 2011. According to the article, beyond the two states under occupation, the "War on Terror" has spilled into a number of neighboring countries including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, killing a great many civilians there. From 2004 to the time the article was written, a minimum of 484 civilians, including 168 children, were killed in strikes that occurred in Pakistan. It was also reported by the media that strikes resulted in 56 civilian deaths in Yemen, the article added. A news report, posted on BBC's website on September 25, 2012, pointed at recurrent U.S. drone attacks in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan (www.bbc.co.uk, September 25, 2012). "Just one in 50 victims of America's deadly drone strikes in Pakistan are terrorists - while the rest are innocent civilians," said an article posted on September 25, 2012, on the website of the Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk, September 25, 2012).

U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan also kill civilians for no reason. U.S. soldier Robert Bales was reported to walk out of a military base in the southern province of Kandahar at 3 o'clock on the night of March 11, 2012 and killed 17 civilians, including nine children. Bales split the slaughter into two episodes, returning to his base after the first attack and later slipping away to kill again. He first came to one family in a nearby village and shot a man dead, which scared others in the family to hide in neighborhood. Then he went to a second family and shot dead three people and injured six. Afterwards, he returned to his base and left for another village after chatting with one soldier at the base. In the village, he broke into a family and shot dead more than 10 people who were sound asleep. After the massacre, he collected some of the bodies and burned them.( The Agence France-Presse, March 23, 2012; The Associated Press, March 24, 2012; The Huffington Post, November, 11, 2012)

U.S.-led military operations have also brought forth ecological disasters. An article posted on the website of The Independent on October 14, 2012 cited a study that reported a "staggering rise" in birth defects among Iraqi children conceived in the aftermath of the war (www.independent.co.uk, October 14, 2012). Steve Kretzmann, director of Oil Change International, said that the Iraq war was responsible for at least 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) from March 2003 through December 2007, according to a piece posted on December 21, 2009 on coto2.wordpress.com (coto2.wordpress.com, December 21, 2009). "The war emits more than 60 percent of all countries," said Kretzmann. A study, cited by an article posted on the website of The Independent on October 14, 2012, linked a huge rise that Iraq had recorded since the war in birth defects with military actions in which American forces used metal contaminant-releasing white phosphorus shells. It found that in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which saw two of the heaviest battles during the Iraq war, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the war, the figure was more like one in 10. More than 45 percent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from the previous 10 percent (www.independent.co.uk, October 14, 2012).

U.S. soldiers have also severely insulted Afghan people's dignity and blasphemed against their religion. The AFP reported on September 24, 2012 that during a counter-insurgency operation in July 2011, four U.S. Marines urinated on three bloodied bodies of dead Taliban fighters, and one said, "Have a great day, buddy," to one of the dead. A videotape depicting their actions was recorded and later circulated on the Internet (The Agence France-Presse, September 24, 2012). In February 2012, U.S. troops at Bagram air base provoked public indignation by taking a batch of religious materials, including 500 copies of the Koran, to the incinerator, said a news story posted on the website of the Washington Post on August 27, 2012 (www.washingtonpost.com, August 27, 2012).

The U.S. army has for long detained foreigners illegally at the Guantanamo prison. By January 2012, 171 people were still held there, said an article posted on the website of Watching America on January 17, 2012. They were denied the rights accorded to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions, and savagely tortured (www.watchingamerica, January 17, 2012). American authorities have revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers, said an article posted on the website of the New York Times on June 24, 2012 (www.nytimes.com, June 24, 2012). Media reported that in September 2012, a 32-year-old Yemeni named Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif died at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the ninth to have died there while in custody. He had been held at the detention camp since it was established in January 2002, without being charged with any crime (abcnews.go.com). On January 23, 2012, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay spoke out against the failure by the U.S. to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and to ensure accountability for serious violations - including torture - that took place there (www.un.org, January 23, 2012). A noted American wrote in an article that the American government's counterterrorism policies "are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration's 30 articles, including the prohibition against 'cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment'" (www.nytimes.com, June 24, 2012).

The U.S. refuses to acknowledge "the right to development," which is a common concern among the majority of countries. In September 2012, the 21st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution on "the right to development." Except an abstention vote from the U.S., all the HRC members voted for the resolution. The 67th session of the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted the 21st consecutive resolution, by a recorded vote of 188 in favor to three against with two abstentions, calling for an end to the U.S.' 50-plus years of economic blockade against Cuba. One of the three dissenting votes was from the U.S. (United Nations document number GA/11311)





SECTION ON wHITE SUPREMACY IN THE uSA OF CHINESE GOVT REPORT ON yANKEE HUMAN RIGHTS



[source]

IV. On Racial Discrimination

The long-existing racial discrimination prevalent in the US society sees no improvements, and ethnic minorities do not enjoy equal political, economic and social rights.

Ethnic Americans' rights to vote are limited. During the presidential election in November 2012, some Asian-American voters were obstructed at voting stations and received with discriminations (The China Press, November 8, 2012). The United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur used to lodge a joint accusation against the US of failing to fully guarantee the rights to vote of African-Americans and Hispanics. The January/February 2013 edition of the Boston Review reported that as of 2010, more than 5.85 million American citizens were disenfranchised because of criminal convictions, and more than two million African-Americans currently are stripped of their right to vote. The US attorney general also acknowledged, as the rights to vote of some ethnic Americans were restricted by laws requiring proof of identity, some people are as a matter of fact stripped of such rights (The Guardian, May. 30, 2012).

Ethnic Americans are discriminated against in the job market, and their economic well-being worsens as a result. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, the unemployment rate of whites was registered 7.0 percent in Oct. 2012, 14.3 percent for African-Americans and 10.0 percent for Hispanics. The average period of unemployment for ethnic minorities is notably longer than that for whites. Asians are unemployed on average for 27.7 weeks, African-Americans for 27 weeks (Desert News, December 4, 2012). According to data from the federal Labor Department, over half of all African-Americans and non-Hispanic blacks in New York city, who were old enough to work, had no jobs in 2012, and it takes them almost a full year on average to find another job (Madame Noire, June 21, 2012). Employment discrimination is the main reason behind income disparity and poverty. According to statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau on September 12, 2012, the median household income for African-Americans was 32,229 U.S. dollars in 2011, less than 60 percent of that of non-Hispanic whites; and the poverty rate for African-Americans stood at 27.6 percent, almost three times of that of non-Hispanic whites.

Racial discrimination is rampant in the field of law enforcement and justice. The Reuters website reported on July 3, 2012, police tend to be more lenient to whites. Out of more than 685,000 police stops in New York City in 2011, more than 85 percent of the stopped were black or Hispanic. Ethnic Americans are often offended by law enforcement authorities. A 21-year-old black man in Arkansas was searched and put into a police car, and later was found shot in the head while handcuffed (www. telegraph.co.uk, August 8, 2012). The incidence where a 28-year-old black man, Mohamed Bah, was shot dead by New York police outraged the black community (NYDailyNews.com, September 26, 2012). An article on the website of Texas Civil Rights Project on July 24, 2012 said the Austin police' excessive use of force had led to two fatal police shootings of minority suspects since 2011. The president of the Texas Civil Rights Project said that the shooting death of a dog even received more thorough and careful investigation than the death of a black victim. The New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow wrote an article on January 14, 2013, saying "the idea that progress toward racial harmony would or should be steady and continuous is fraying. And the pillars of the institution -- the fundamental devaluation of dark skin and strained justifications for the unconscionable -- have proved surprisingly resilient."

Religious discrimination is rapidly on the rise, with an increase in insults and attacks against Muslims. Muslims account for less than one percent of the U.S. population, but are involved in 14 percent of religious discrimination cases under investigation of the federal government, and 25 percent of employment-related discrimination cases (www. sinovision.net, March 29, 2011). In September, 2012, a U.S. film director made a film that is insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and posted it online, which triggered waves of protests in the Muslim world. In Houston, a dead pig was left in front of a mosque (abclocal.go.com, December 5, 2012). The U.S. Navy special operations force was reported to use images of gun-holding Muslim women as training targets (www.nydailynews.com, July 3, 2012). The 57-year-old Muslim, Bashir Ahmad, was stabbed and bitten outside a Mosque by a suspect who shouted anti-Muslim expletive during the attack (Wall Street Journal, November 19, 2012). Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. Justice Department has investigated more than 800 incidents of violence, vandalism and arson against people believed to be Muslim, Arab or South Asian (www. reuters.com, March 29, 2011).

Apartheid in fact still exists in the American society. New York Times reported on August 6, 2012 that, the proportion of non-Hispanic black residents on the Upper East Side is only 2.7 percent, and whites 81 percent. Local co-op boards can reject black buyers without giving a reason, and some Upper East Side co-ops have a reputation for rejecting black buyers. A study found that the New York area was the second most segregated for black people and the third most segregated for Hispanic and Asian residents. A superintendent of NASA Real Estate Corporation was sued for refusing to show three African-Americans any openings, claiming no apartments were available for rent, but showing vacancies to white individuals who inquired about the same apartments less than an hour after turning down black renters, saying, "You look like nice people. That's why I show you." (queenscourier.com, December 12, 2012) Furthermore, studies found a rising tide of apartheid in the U.S. workplace. Nineteen out of the 58 surveyed industries showed a trend toward racial re-segregation between white men and black men (www.washingtonpost.com, October 25, 2012).

Racial relationship is in tension, and hate crimes take place frequently. The Associated Press reported on October 28, 2012, citing a latest poll, that 51 percent of Americans now express explicit anti-African-American attitudes, three percentage points higher than in 2008. The abc.go.com reported on November 19, 2012, three shop owners of Middle Eastern descent were shot dead in four months in Brooklyn, New York, and the police cannot rule out the possibility of the homicides being racially motivated. Two young white men from Mississippi killed a black man by running a truck over him. The two, since 2011, have frequently assaulted and attacked African-Americans in and around Jackson, Mississippi, using beer bottles, sling shots and motor vehicles, and they often bragged about their exploits (Reuters, December 5, 2012). A white gunman named Wade Michael Page killed six Sikh worshippers at their temple, and his motivation was linked to neo-Nazi propaganda, and he was suspected to be a white supremacist (edition. cnn.com, August 10, 2012).

Native Americans' rights are not properly guaranteed. In 2012, the United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on racism, Mutuma Ruteere, pointed out Navajos, a branch of Native Americans, faced racial discrimination, including the lack of access to justice and legal remedies (United Nations document number A/67/328). United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, James Anaya, said the ability of Native Americans to use and access their sacred places is often curtailed by mining, logging, hydroelectric and other development projects. He cited research figures of relevant institutions, saying Native Americans' poverty rates nearly double the national average, and their life expectancy is 5.2 years less than the national average. Thirteen percent of Native Americans hold a basic university degree, much lower than the national average, 28 percent. Indigenous women are more than twice as likely as all other women to be victims of violence and one in three of them will be raped during her lifetime (United Naitons document number A/HRC/21/47/Add.1).

The rights of illegal immigrants are violated. Deaths often occur in immigration detention centers. United Nations Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur Christof Heyns said in his report that deaths occurred in prison-like conditions where detention was neither necessary nor appropriate, and where no proper medical care was provided (United Nations document number A/HRC/20/22/Add.3). U.N human rights experts and South Florida Haitian rights advocates call for the U.S. to suspend all deportations to Haiti, saying the deportations may constitute a human rights violation, and may place the Haitians in a life-threatening position (The Miami Herald, June 6, 2012).

Monday, 22 April 2013

PHARCYDE: THE 'DOPEST ETHIOPIAN' KEEPS PASSIN ME BY (1993)





BRO NU'MAN ABD AL-WAHID ON tHATCHER AND HER LOVE FOR DEATH SQUADS IN AFGHANISTAN

reagan meeting his Aghan tools in the white house

Why Margaret Thatcher Loved 'Islamists'

[source]

Upon Margaret Thatcher’s death, her champions naturally eulogized her as a fighter for liberal democracy in Eastern Europe, while her detractors brought attention to the fact that she was highly supportive of dictators in countries of the Global South like Pakistan, Chile, and Indonesia.

Overlooked in both portrayals is her support of political Islamism and, by extension, jihadis. In December 1979, Thatcher advocated political Islam as a counterweight to left-wing or communist ideologies, which she derogatively dubbed “imported Marxism.” As cited in Mark Curtis’ Secret Affairs, Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam, she said:

"I do not believe that we should judge Islam by events in Iran…There is a tide of self-confidence and self-awareness in the Muslim world which preceded the Iranian revolution, and will outlast its present excesses. The West should recognize this with respect, not hostility. The Middle East is an area where we all have much at stake. It is in our own interests, as well as in the interests of the people of that region, that they build on their own deep religious traditions…"

Thatcher’s statement that “our interests” and “the interests of the people of the region” are one and the same is rooted in a particular type of British imperialist strategy that was articulated by Frederick Lugard.

An imperial officer in northern Nigeria in the 19th century, Lugard managed the local emirs on the grounds that they “were allowed to retain the trappings of power so long they accepted the advice of their new overlords,” according to Dane Kennedy’s Britain and Empire.

There was nothing new about this puppet-overlord relationship in the history of British imperialism, but Lugard added a new dimension to this relationship. He framed the Empire’s relationship with its subjects “in terms of the preservation” of their way of life. Hence, Thatcher’s notion that the “Muslim world” should “build on their own religious traditions.”

Professor John Callaghan further argued in The Labour Party and Foreign Policy that if there were no indigenous structures for the British Empire to partner with, then it would consolidate its exploitation and also “retard the rate of social and political progress.”

When the Empire began to consolidate its lordship over the Arab world after WWI, it partnered with Saudi Wahhabis and the Muslim Brotherhood. The trends that these movements represented were not so much “invented” by the British but favored and promoted.

Before the British allowed the Wahhabis to establish themselves in Riyadh in 1901, they were an isolated, exiled cult in the Basra region known as “Kuwait.” With further support from the Empire, the Wahhabis expanded into the western part of the Arabian peninsula in 1924 and 1925.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928. In Richard P. Mitchell’s seminal book on the Brotherhood, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, the American academic states that a British operative, seemingly from the British embassy, James Heyworth-Dunne, was “a participant in some of the history of the movement and his work must be considered a primary source.” The work in question is Heyworth-Dunne’s Religious and Political Trends In Modern Egypt.

Heyworth-Dunne wrote that the challenges faced by the Empire in Egypt in the 1920s and 30s were twofold. First, US president Woodrow Wilson’s “declaration of self-determination inspired the Egyptians to higher ideals.” Second, there were the “communistic ideas” to be dealt with.

To offset these two challenges, Heyworth-Dunne advocated the Islam as “taught and represented by Hasan al-Banna,” the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, rather than the traditional Islam as practiced by the oldest university in the Islamic world, al-Azhar, for which he had nothing but disdain.

The British Empire had an overprotective attitude toward Islam. It heroically and selflessly defended Islam, even if al-Azhar, the traditional bastion of Islamic learning in the world, didn’t comprehend this urgency.

By the time these two major trends of Islamism strategically coalesced in the 1950s to meet the challenge of third world independence and socialism, the Americans had embraced the British Empire’s imperialist strategy.

This embrace meant bringing British puppets, such as the Saud clan of Saudi Arabia and the Thani clan of Qatar, under its protective umbrella. This American appropriation of the puppets had initially gained doctrinal credibility through the Eisenhower doctrine and extended all the way until the 1980s to support the Islamist mercenaries, or mujahideen, against the Soviets in the 1980s.
It is for this reason that Thatcher declared that these mujahideen were engaged in “one of the most heroic resistance struggles known to history,” as cited in Sandy Gall’s Afghanistan, Agony of a Nation.

For the UK, the policy of employing Islamists to further its interests is rooted in an imperialist existential strategy, whereas for the US, utilizing Islamists commenced in the 1950s during the Cold War. This is the reason why there is currently a mild schism between the US and the UK with regard to supporting the Islamist “rebels” in Syria. With the Cold War over, the obstacle currently facing the UK is convincing the US to remain enlisted in a pro-Islamist strategy in Syria.

=====================

Nu’man Abd al-Wahid is a UK based freelance Yemeni-English writer specialising in the political relationship between the British state and the Arab World. He focuses on how the United Kingdom has historically maintained its interests in the Middle East.  www.yamyam-yemeni.net.


THE bRITS LONG RELATIONSHIP WITH LIBYAN DEATH SQUADS


Britain, Qadafi and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group 
An extract from Secret Affairs on the British plot in the mid-1990s

[source]

While Bin Laden was drafting his declaration of jihad in early 1996, British intelligence was plotting with al-Qaida-associated terrorists in Libya to assassinate Colonel Qadafi. Qadafi had long challenged British interests and Western hegemony in the Middle East and Africa. The revolution that brought him to power in September 1969, recognised as ‘popular’ by British planners, overthrew the regime of eighty-year-old pro-British King Idriss, which provided a quarter of Britain’s oil and was home to £100 million worth of British oil investment. The ‘security of oil supplies must be our greatest concern’, one Foreign Office official noted a year after the revolution. However, Qadafi set about removing long-standing US and British military bases, nationalising the oil import and distribution industries and demanding vastly increased revenues from the oil-producing companies. The regime later sealed its fate as a British and US bête noire by espousing an independent militant nationalism and sponsoring various anti-Western regimes, as well as terrorist groups such as the IRA.

Britain and the US have long been accused of involvement in plots to overthrow Qadafi. The most direct attempt was the US bombing of Libya in 1986, conducted ostensibly in response to Libyan sponsorship of a terrorist attack in Germany and believed to have targeted Qadafi personally, but instead killing his adopted daughter. Ten years later, another opportunity occurred when a Libyan military intelligence officer approached MI6 with a plan to overthrow Qadafi, according to former MI5 officer and whistle-blower David Shayler. The Libyan, codenamed ‘Tunworth’, proposed establishing links with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an organisation formed in Afghanistan in 1990 from around 500 Libyan jihadists then fighting the Soviet-backed government. One former senior member of the LIFG, Noman Benotman, who first went to Afghanistan as a twenty-two-year old in 1989, later said in an interview that during the Afghan War his mujahideen commander was Jalalludin Haqqani, and that he and fellow militants had benefited from British training programmes:

‘We trained in all types of guerrilla warfare. We trained on weapons, tactics, enemy engagement techniques and survival in hostile environments. All weapons training was with live ammunition, which was available everywhere. Indeed, there were a number of casualties during these training sessions. There were ex-military people amongst the Mujahideen, but no formal state forces participated. We were also trained by the elite units of the Mujahideen who had themselves been trained by Pakistani Special Forces, the CIA and the SAS … We had our own specially designed manuals, but we also made extensive use of manuals from the American and British military.’

After Afghanistan, the LIFG joined the armed struggle in Algeria, fighting alongside the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), with whom it had built up close relations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The British Home Office later noted that the LIFG’s ‘aim had been to overthrow the Qadafi regime and replace it with an Islamic state’. The US government later described the LIFG as an ‘al-Qaeda affiliate known for engaging in terrorist activity in Libya and cooperating with al-Qaeda worldwide.’ It shared the same aspirations and ideology as al-Qaida, although it never formally joined the organisation, having a more nationalistic stance and preferring to focus on the ‘near enemy’, i.e., the Qadafi regime. Shayler asserts that he was told by David Watson, an MI6 officer, that at Christmas 1995 he had supplied Tunworth with $40,000 to buy weapons to carry out the assassination plot and that similar sums were handed over at two further meetings. A secret MI6 cable dated December 1995 – leaked in 2000 and published on the internet – revealed MI6’s knowledge of an attempt to overthrow Qadafi in a coup led by five Libyan colonels scheduled for February 1996. It provided a detailed schedule of events:

The coup was scheduled to start at around the time of the next General People’s Congress on 14 February 1996. It would begin with attacks on a number of military and security installations including the military installation at Tarhuna. There would also be orchestrated unrest in Benghazi, Misratah and Tripoli. The coup plotters would launch a direct attack on Qadafi and would either arrest him or kill him … The plotters would have cars similar to those in Qadafi’s security entourage with fake security number plates. They would infiltrate themselves into the entourage in order to kill or arrest Qadafi.

The cable also noted that one Libyan officer and twenty military personnel were being trained in the desert for their role in the attack, and that the plotters had already distributed 250 Webley pistols and 500 heavy machine guns among their sympathisers, who were said to number 1,275 people, including students, military personnel and teachers. Messages to these sympathisers ‘were passed via schools and mosques’ while the plotters also had ‘some limited contact with the fundamentalists’ who were ‘a mix of Libya [sic] veterans who served in Afghanistan and Libyan students’. It continued:

‘The coup plotters expected to establish control of Libya at the end of March 1996. They would form an interim government before discussions with tribal leaders. The group would want rapprochement with the West. They hoped to divide the country into smaller areas, each with a governor and a democratically elected parliament. There would be a federal system of national government.’

The plot went ahead in February 1996 in Sirte, Qadafi’s home city, but a bomb was detonated under the wrong car. Six innocent bystanders were killed, and Qadafi escaped unscathed. Shayler recollected how:

‘At a meeting shortly after, [David Watson] ventured to me in a note of triumph that Tunworth had been responsible for the attack. ‘Yes, that was our man. We did it,’ was how he put it. He regarded it, curiously, as a triumph even though the objective of the operation had not been met and reporting indicated that there had been civilian casualties. Despite that, I very much got the impression that this was regarded as a coup for MI6 because it was playing up the reputation that the real James Bonds wanted to have.’

Annie Machon, Shayler’s partner and a former MI5 officer, writes that, by the time MI6 paid over the money to Tunworth, Osama Bin Laden’s organisation was already known to be responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and MI5 had set up G9C, ‘a section dedicated to the task of defeating Bin Laden and his affiliates’. This is significant in light of Britain’s toleration of Bin Laden’s London base – the Advice and Reformation Committee – which would not be closed down for another two and half years. US intelligence sources later told the Mail on Sunday newspaper that MI6 had indeed been behind the assassination plot and had turned to the LIFG’s leader, Abu Abdullah Sadiq, who was living in London. The head of the assassination team was reported as being the Libya-based Abdal Muhaymeen, a veteran of the Afghan resistance and thus possibly trained by MI6 or the CIA. A spattering of other media investigations confirmed the plot, while a BBC film documentary broadcast in August 1998 was told that the Conservative government ministers then in charge of MI6 gave no authorisation for the operation and that it was solely the work of MI6 officers. All these reports contradicted the earlier claim by now Foreign Secretary Robin Cook that MI6 involvement in the plot was ‘pure fantasy’. Equally, the government’s denial of knowledge of the plot was decisively contradicted by the leaked cable, which showed that civil servants in the permanent secretary’s department, GCHQ, MI5 and the MoD were all aware of the assassination attempt some two months before it was carried out. It is inconceivable that none of them would have informed their ministers. At the same time, Shayler was persistently hounded and prosecuted, the British elite’s usual treatment meted out to insiders divulging information incriminating it.

As the LIFG stepped up its confrontation with the Libyan regime in 1995, it issued calls for Qadafi’s overthrow. One communiqué, written in October 1995, around the time the organisation was plotting with MI6, described the Qadafi government as ‘an apostate regime that has blasphemed against the faith of God Almighty’, and declared that its overthrow was ‘the foremost duty after faith in God’. These calls were mainly issued in London, where several prominent members of the LIFG were based after having been granted political asylum. American political analyst Gary Gambill, a former editor of the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, notes that Britain accepted the LIFG dissidents since British views of Qadafi were ‘at fever pitch’ over the regime’s alleged involvement in the Lockerbie bombing in 1988; thus ‘Britain allowed LIFG to develop a base of logistical support and fundraising on its soil.’ While the Libyan regime complained that Britain was hosting nationals intent on overthrowing it, Whitehall continued to offer de facto protection to the LIFG. Indeed, it was only in October 2005, after the London bombings on 7/7, that the British government designated the LIFG a terrorist group. This was after Libya’s rapprochement with Britain and the West that began in 2003.

One LIFG member was Anas al-Liby. A computer expert based in Sudan in the mid-1990s, al-Liby had moved there from Afghanistan, where he trained al-Qaida members in surveillance techniques. In 1993 al-Liby travelled to Nairobi and used the apartment of an al-Qaida member to develop surveillance pictures of the US embassy. This was the first step in the five-year plot that culminated in the embassy bombings of August 1998, following which al-Liby was indicted and became one of America’s most wanted fugitives, with a $25 million reward for his capture or killing. In 1995 al-Liby came to Britain and applied for asylum. Soon after, the Egyptian authorities sent a detailed file on his terrorist credentials to Whitehall, including allegations of his involvement in a failed assassination attempt on President Mubarak in Addis Ababa in June 1995. But Cairo’s request for his extradition was refused; British officials reportedly questioned whether he would get a fair trial and feared he could face the death penalty. Yet there is also the strong suspicion that the British security services were protecting al-Liby, along with the LIFG, given that MI6 was collaborating with it to kill Qadafi. Al-Liby was allowed to live in Manchester until May 2000, when his home was raided on orders from the Home Office, acting on a request from the US; copies of jihad training manuals were discovered, but al-Liby had already fled. Other members of the LIFG included Abu Hafs al-Libi, who reputedly lived in Dublin from 1996 until going to Iraq in 2004, where he served as one of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s lieutenants in the al-Qaida group there until his death the same year; and Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, a commander of Bin Laden’s Khalden training camp in Afghanistan.

Significantly, it was the Qadafi regime that in March 1998 urged Interpol to issue the first arrest warrant for Bin Laden. It did so in response to the LIFG’s presumed murder of a German intelligence officer, Silvan Becker, and his wife in Libya in March 1994, some eighteen months before Britain began collaborating with the group. Interpol then issued a red notice on Bin Laden and three of his Libyan associates. Yet, according to two French intelligence experts, Guillaume Dasquié and Jean-Charles Brisard, the British and US intelligence agencies buried the arrest warrant and played down the threat due to MI6’s involvement in the Libyan coup plot. This story was later reported in the Observer under the headline: ‘MI6 “halted bid to arrest bin Laden”’. It was five months after the issuance of the arrest warrant that the US embassies in East Africa were bombed; perhaps if governments, including Britain’s, had acted then, the bombings could have been averted.

The episode is interesting in that it shows how Britain’s secret collusion with radical Islamists has directly undermined its ability to curb and prosecute them – a leitmotif, in fact, of Britain’s postwar foreign policy where Whitehall has often collaborated with the very groups to which it claims to be opposed. Indeed, the extent of this collaboration has been so extensive that many open public trials of the leading terrorist figures are likely to expose it, a fact which also applies to the Saudi, Pakistani and US governments. This partly explains London’s and Washington’s overt opposition to pursuing open legal processes for terrorist suspects – and, most notably, Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, where suspected militants have been incarcerated and interrogated behind closed doors.

BRO DAN GLAZEBROOK REVIEWS NEW BOOK ON LIBYA & AFRICA

Libyan death squads tear down the pictures of our revolutionaries, they never hid their utter depraved nature

Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa by Maximilian Forte

By Dan Glazebrook

The media has gone very quiet on Libya of late; clearly, liberal imperialists don’t like to dwell on their crimes. This is not surprising. The modus operandi of the humanitarian imperialist is not one of informed reflection, but only permanent outrage against leaders of the global South; besides, in the topsy-turvy world of liberal interventionism, the ‘failure to act’ is the only crime of which the West is capable. As Forte puts it, their moral code holds that “If we do not act, we should be held responsible for the actions of others. When we do act, we should never be held responsible for our own actions.”

With Gaddafi dead, the hunt is on for a new hate figure on whom to spew venom (Assad, Kim Jong-Un); far more satisfying than actually evaluating our own role in the creation of human misery. This is the colonial mentality of the liberal lynch mob.

For the governments that lead us into war, of course, it makes perfect sense that we do not stop to look back at the last invasion before impatiently demanding the next one – if we realised, for example, that the 1999 bombing of Serbia  (the textbook ‘humanitarian intervention’) actually facilitated the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo that it was supposedly designed to prevent, we might not be so ready to demand the same treatment for every other state that falls short of our illusory ideals.

That is why this book is so important. Thoroughly researched and impeccably referenced, it tells the story of the real aims and real consequences of the war on Libya in its historical perspective.

Its author, Maximilian Forte, is well placed to do so. A professor of social anthropology in Montreal, much of his writing and research in recent years has been dedicated to the new imperialism, and especially its ‘humanitarian’ cover. He was amongst the first to really expose violent racism within the Libyan insurrection, and its role in facilitating NATO’s goals in Africa, and has provided consistently excellent analyses of the media coverage surrounding the conflict.

One of the book’s accomplishments is its comprehensive demolition of the war’s supposed justifications. Forte shows us that there was no ‘mass rape’ committed by ‘Gaddafi forces’ – as alleged by Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, Luis Ocampo and others at the time, but later refuted by Amnesty International, the UN and even the US army itself.

Despite hysterical media reports, there was no evidence of aerial bombing of protesters, as even CIA chief Robert Gates admitted. Gaddafi had no massacre planned for Benghazi, as had been loudly proclaimed by the leaders of Britain, France and the USA: the Libyan government forces had not carried out massacres against civilian populations in any of the other towns they recaptured from the rebels, and nor had Gaddafi threatened to do so in Benghazi; in a speech that was almost universally misreported in the Western media, he promised no mercy for those who had taken up arms against the government, whilst offering amnesty for those who ‘threw their weapons away’, and at no point threatening reprisals against civilians.

When the NATO invasion began, French jets actually bombed a small retreating column of Libyan armour on the outskirts of Benghazi, comprising 14 tanks, 20 armoured personnel carriers, and a few trucks and ambulances – nothing like enough to carry out a ‘genocide’ against an entire city, as had been claimed.

Indeed, the whole image of ‘peaceful protesters being massacred’ was turning reality on its head. In fact, Forte notes, rebels “torched police stations, broke into the compounds of security services, attacked government offices and torched vehicles” from the very start, to which the authorities responded with “tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets – very similar to methods frequently used in Western nations against far more peaceful protests that lacked the element of sedition”. Only once the rebels had proceeded to occupy the Benghazi army barracks, loot its weapons, and start using them against government forces did things begin to escalate.

Myth of the Dark Heart

But the most pernicious of the lies that facilitated the Libyan war was the myth of the ‘African mercenary’. Racist pogroms, Forte argues, were characteristic of the Libyan rebellion from its very inception, when 50 sub-Saharan African migrants were burnt alive in Al-Bayda on the second day of the insurgency. An Amnesty International report from September 2011 made it clear that this was no isolated incident: “When al-Bayda, Beghazi, Derna, Misrata and other cities first fell under the control of the NTC in February, anti-Gaddafi forces carried out house raids, killing and other violent attacks” against sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans, and “what we are seeing in western Libya is a very similar pattern to what we have seen in Benghazi and Misrata after those cities fell to the rebels” – arbitrary detention, torture and execution of black people.

The ‘African mercenary’ myth was thus created to justify these pogroms, as the Western media near-universally referred to their victims as ‘mercenaries’ – or ‘alleged mercenaries’ in the more circumspect and highbrow outlets – and thus as aggressors and legitimate targets. The myth was completely discredited by both Amnesty International – whose exasperated researcher told a TV interviewer that “We examined this issue in depth and found no evidence: the rebels spread these rumors everywhere [with] terrible consequences for African guest workers” – and by a UN investigation team, who drew similar conclusions – but not until both organisations had already helped perpetuate the lie themselves.

That liberal humanitarians would launch a war of aggression in order to facilitate racist massacres is not as ironic as it might at first seem. Forte writes that “if this was humanitarianism, it could only be so by disqualifying Africans as members of humanity.” But such disqualification has been a systematic practice of liberalism from the days of John Locke, through the US war of independence and into the age of nineteenth century imperialism and beyond.

Indeed, Forte argues that the barely-veiled “racial fear of mean African bogeymen swamping Libya like zombies” implicit in the ‘African mercenary’ story, was uniquely and precisely formulated to tap into a rich historical vein of European fantasies about plagues of black mobs. That the myth gained so much traction despite zero evidence, says Forte, “tells us a great deal about the role of racial prejudice and propaganda in mobilizing public opinion in the West and organizing international relations”.

Yet the racism of the rebel fighters was not only useful for mobilising European public opinion – it also played a strategic function, as far as NATO planners were concerned. By bringing to power a virulently anti-black government, the West has ensured that Libya’s trajectory as a pan-African state has been brought to a violent end, and that its oil wealth will no longer be used for African development. As Forte succinctly put it, “the goal of US military intervention was to disrupt an emerging pattern of independence and a network of collaboration within Africa that would facilitate increased African self-reliance. This is at odds with the geostrategic and political economic ambitions of extra-continental European powers, namely the US”.

A large part of the book is dedicated to outlining Libya’s role in the creation of the African Union, and its subsequent moves to unify Africa at the economic, political and military levels. This included the investment of billions of petrodollars in industrial development across the continent, the creation of an African communications satellite, and massive financial contributions towards the African Development Bank and the African Monetary Fund – institutions designed specifically to challenge the hegemony of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Gaddafi, Forte argues, was passionate about using Libyan oil money to help Africa industrialise and “add value” to its export materials, moving it away from its prescribed role in the global economy as a supplier of cheap raw materials.

A US-led Scramble for Africa

This was a threat to Western financial and corporate control of African economies, and combined with the rise of Chinese investment, was considered a strategic obstacle to Western domination that had to be removed. As Forte put it, “The US, France and the UK could not afford to see allies that they had cultivated, if not installed in power, being slowly pulled from their orbits by Libya, China and other powers”.

The African Oil Policy initiative Group – a high level US Committee comprising members of Congress, military officers and energy industry lobbyists – noted in 2002 the growing dependence of the US on African oil, and recommended  a “new and vigorous focus on US military cooperation in sub-Saharan Africa, to include design of a sub-unified command structure which could produce significant dividends in the protection of US investments”. They noted that “failure to address the issue of focusing and maximizing US diplomatic and military command organization…could…act as an inadvertent incentive for US rivals such as China [and] adversaries such as Libya”. In other words, with their economic grip on the continent facing serious challenge, the Western world would increasingly have to rely on aggressive militarism in order to maintain its interests.

The recommendations of the committee would be implemented in 2006 with the creation of AFRICOM – the US army’s African Command. AFRICOM was conceived as a sort of ‘School of the Americas’ for Africa, designed to train African armies for use as proxy forces for maintaining Western control, with the 2010 US National Security Strategy specifically naming the African Union as one of the regional organisations it sought to co-opt.

Libya, however, proved most uncooperative. The leaked US diplomatic cables make it very clear that Libya was viewed by the US as THE main obstacle to establishing a full muscular US military presence on the African continent, regularly highlighting its “opposition” and “obstruction” to AFRICOM. With Gaddafi still a respected voice within the AU, having served as its elected Chairman in 2009, he wielded significant influence, and used this to spearhead opposition to what he considered the neocolonial aims of the AFRICOM initiative.

Meanwhile, Chinese investment in Africa was growing rapidly, having grown from $6 billion in 1999 to $90 billion ten years later, displacing the US as the continent’s largest trading partner. The need for a US military presence to cling on to the West’s declining influence in Africa was growing ever more urgent. But Africa was not playing ball – and Gaddafi was (rightly) seen as leading the charge.

Fast forward to 2012, and US General Carter Ham, head of AFRICOM, was able to claim that “the conduct of military operations in Libya did afford now the opportunity to establish a military to military relationship with Libya, which did not previously exist”. He went on to suggest that a US base would be established in the country (Gaddafi having expelled both the US and British bases shortly after coming to power in 1969), saying that some “assistance” would probably be necessary, in the form of a “military presence”. President Obama wasted no time in announcing the deployment of soldiers to four more African countries within weeks of the fall of Tripoli, and AFRICOM announced an unprecedented 14 joint military exercises in Africa for the following year.

A sign of things to come

Forte argues that NATO’s attack had not only destroyed a powerful force for unity and independence in Africa, and a huge obstacle to Western military penetration of the continent, but it had also created the perfect conditions to justify further invasions. The US had previously attempted to argue that its military presence was required in North Africa in order to fight against Al Qaeda; indeed, it had set up the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Programme to this end. But as Muattasim Gaddafi had explained to Hilary Clinton in Washington in 2009, the programme had been rendered redundant by the existing, and highly effective, security strategy of CEN-SAD (the Libyan-led Community of Sahel and Saharan states) and the North African Standby Force.

Like a classic protection racket, however, the British, US and French decided that if their protection wasn’t needed, then they would have to create a need for it. The destruction of Libya tore the heart out of the North African security system, flooded the region with weapons and turned Libya into an ungoverned safe haven for violent militias. Now the resulting – and entirely predictable – instability has spread to Mali, the West are using it as an excuse for another war and occupation. In a prescient warning (the book was published before France’s recent invasion of Mali), Forte wrote that “intervention begets intervention. More intervention is needed to solve the problems caused by intervention.”

The book is also very strong in exposing the ideology of the ‘human rights industry’ and its role in bringing about the Libyan war. Western liberal humanitarianism, argues Forte, “can only function by first directly or indirectly creating the suffering of others, and by then seeing every hand as an outstretched hand, pleading or welcoming”.

Forte goes on to expose the role of groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who helped perpetuate some of the worst lies about what was happening in Libya, such as the fictitious ‘African mercenaries’ and ‘mass rape’, and who in the case of Amnesty, “mere days into the uprising and well before it had a chance to ascertain, corroborate or confirm any facts on the ground…began launching public accusations against Libya, the African Union and the UNSC for failing to take action”. By calling for an assets freeze on Libya and an arms embargo (“and more actions with each passing day”), Amnesty “thus effectively made itself a party to the conflict”; it had become part of the propaganda war and mythmaking that was designed to facilitate the invasion.

This should not be surprising given Amnesty’s history. Forte helpfully recalls that their promotion of the infamous “incubator babies” myth that justified the Iraq war of 1991 was later singled out by several US Senators as having influenced their decision to vote for the attack. In the event, the Senate vote was passed by a majority of just six. The 1991 war devastated Iraq, which had barely recovered from the Iran-Iraq war, killing well over 100,000 people, as well as hundreds of thousands more from the diseases that ravaged the country following the deliberate destruction of its water and sewerage systems.

So it should be little surprise that Suzanne Nossel, a State Department official on Hilary Clinton’s team, was made Executive Director of Amnesty-USA in November 2011. In her State Department job, Nossell had played a key role drawing up the UN Human Rights Council resolution against Libya that ultimately formed the basis for Security Council Resolution 1973 that led to the aggression.

Forte also discusses the role of Bouchuiguir, the ‘human rights activist’ who emerges as the Libyan ‘Curveball’. Curveball was the Iraqi ‘source’ who came up with the lies about Saddam’s nonexistent ‘mobile chemical weapons factories’ that were used to justify the 2003 Iraq war. Likewise, Bouchuiguir’s wildly inflated casualty figures provided the raw material for the hysterical UNHRC resolutions against Libya that set the ball for war rolling. He later admitted on camera that there was no evidence for his claims – but not before 70 NGOs had signed a petition ‘demanding action’ in response to them.

Much has been written elsewhere about the ‘neo-cons’ who became (rightly) hated for their brutally idiotic conceptions of social change. But, as Forte’s book shows, the liberal humanitarians are perhaps even more contemptible; after all, at least the neo-cons never claimed to be kind, or even interested in anything other than their own self-interest. Yet the liberal humanitarians seem – or at least claim – to be driven by some kind of higher purpose, which makes their constant calls for wars of aggression even more repulsive. Forte puts this brilliantly:

“The vision of our humanity that liberal imperialists entertain is one which constructs us as shrieking sacks of emotion. This is the elites’ anthropology, one that views us as bags of nerve and muscle: throbbing with outrage, contracting with every story of ‘incubator babies’, bulging up with animus at the arrest of Gay Girl in Damascus, recoiling at the sound of Viagra-fuelled mass rape. From mass hysteria in twitter to hundreds of thousands signing an online Avaaz petition calling for bombing Libya in the name of human rights, we become nerves of mass reaction….We scream for action via ‘social media’, thumbs furiously in action on our ‘smart’ phones. ..Then again, our “action” merely consists of asking the supremely endowed military establishment to act in our name.”

This anthropology is of course “accompanied by NATO’s implicit sociology: societies can be remade through a steady course of high altitude bombings and drone strikes.”

How exactly Libya has been remade is also discussed in the book. The July 2012 elections in Libya, their very existence trumpeted in Western media as immediately vindicating every act of butchery the war brought about – regardless of whether the parliament being elected was likely to wield any actual influence over the country – saw fewer than half the eligible voting population take part. Even more intriguing were the results of a survey carried out in Libya by Oxford Research International that found that only 13% of Libyans said they wanted democracy within a year’s time, and only 25% within five years.

Meanwhile, the new authorities set about persecuting their opponents, real and imagined. The town of Tawergha was emptied of its entire population of around 20,000 black Libyans after militias from Misrata began systematically torching every home and business in the town, with the support of the central government. Former residents now reside in refugee camps where they continue to be hunted down and killed, or in arbitrary detention in makeshift prisons. Candidacy for elections is barred to: workers (a professional qualification is needed); anyone who ever worked in any level of government between 1969 and 2011 (unless they could demonstrate “early and clear” support for the insurrection); anyone with academic study involving Gaddafi’s Green book; and anyone who ever received any monetary benefit from Gaddafi.

A constitutional lawyer noted these restrictions would disqualify three quarters of the Libyan population. Other new laws banned the spreading of “news reports, rumours or propaganda” that could “cause any damage to the state”, with penalties of up to life in prison; and prison for anyone spreading information that “could weaken the citizens’ morale” or for anyone who “attacks the February 17 revolution, denigrates Islam, the authority of the state or its institutions”.

This is the new Libya for which the human rights imperialists and their allies lobbied, killed and tortured so hard. “The next time empire comes knocking in the name of human rights”, concludes Forte, “please be found standing idly by”.

Forte’s  book is a must-read for anyone seriously interested in understanding the motives and consequences of the West’s onslaught against Libya and African development.

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Dan Glazebrook can be contacted at danglazebrook@hotmail.com


Friday, 19 April 2013

OUR BASQUE COUNTRY REVOLUTIONARY FAMILY SHOW HOW TO DEFEND OUR OWN AGAINST THE pIGS




[source]

Yesterday, several vans of the Basque police came to Aske Gunea (the Free Space) in order to arrest the 8 youths who have recently been sentenced to lengthy prison terms. They came twice during the night, first at 00:30 and again at 4:00

On both occassions, our alarm went off and the people gathered quickly around the sentenced youths to prevent their arrest. As much as 500 people peacefully confronted the police, sitting on the ground and holding each other’s arms. In the end, the police gave up and left.

During these tense moments, a spokesperson grabbed the microphone and repeated the message we have been spreading this week: we will defend our youths at all times by resorting to peaceful but firm civil disobidience.

We want to renew our call to the Basque Nationalist Party: “This is a sincere invitation to join this People’s Wall. We call on you not to send the Basque Autonomous Police against our youths. Do not use the Basque Police to enforce unjust laws which the Spanish Government imposes on us and to arrest our youths” We are in a new time and everyone’s contribution is more necessary than ever for a peaceful solution to the Basque political conflict.

In Aske Gunea, we are awaiting Mr Urkullu’s response, but the web has already spoken. Yesterday night, #urkulluezbidaliertzaintza (Don’t send the police against us) became a trending topic in all Basque-language social media. We think that most Basque citizens agree with us and are supportive of our struggle. In this new time of no violence, no-one should be jailed for their political work.

Around noon, we have received information about more police vans moving around the town. According to our reports, as much as 12 police vans have been seen heading for Donostia.

More information:

E-mail: askegunea@hotmail.com

Ander: (00 34) 660 830 912

Beñat: (00 34) 615 721 373

Live information of what’s going on at Aske Gunea:

http://askegunea.wordpress.com

Twiter: @askeguneaeng

Aske Gunea Communication Team