– by Shenali D Waduge –
“Counting other people’s sins does not make you a Saint”.
“Others will be more likely to take your advice if you practice what you preach”
Generally, anyone pointing fingers need to have a clean chit – in other words no one is entitled to accuse if their crimes deny them the right to do so. Sadly, America is oblivious about its own crimes or simply thinks America is immune from facing justice.
America accuses Sri Lanka of Extrajudicial Killings (unlawful killings) / Enforced Disappearance/ Torture and abuse of detainees by police and security forces
But in America …..the most senior members of the Bush administration, up to and including the President, broke international and domestic laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they had subordinates in the military and in civilian intelligence services break these laws for them. . . .
- Obama’s administration has legally justified extrajudicial killing – the administration claims it “is a lawful act of national defense” to kill Americans who pose “an imminent threat of a violent attack against the United States http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/msnbc/sections/news/020413_DOJ_White_Paper.pdf
- America may also remember the ‘Bush Torture Memo’s” titled “Humane Treatment of Taliban and al Qaeda Detainees.” – that memo quoted “… none of the provisions of Geneva apply to our conflict with al Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere through the world because, among other reasons, al Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva.”…. … common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either al Qaeda or Taliban detainees because, among other reasons, the relevant conflicts are international in scope and common Article 3 applies only to ‘armed conflict not of an international character.”…. .. I determine that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under Article 4 of Geneva. I note that, because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al Qaeda, al Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war.
- Four memos from the Bush administration set out in chilling detail the kind of techniques used by the CIA against suspected al-Qaida operatives and others held after the 9/11 attacks. America killed 3 of its own citizens (all Muslims) abroad including a 16year old and the American Civil Liberties Union is taking the FBI, Department of Justice and CIA to court
- Memos from the US Justice Department in 2002/2005 to the CIA lists techniques that are permissible – from the most severe – waterboarding – to the almost laughable – though not for the detainee – the use of insects in a confined space. Lawyers insisted the techniques were not torture. Thus the techniques included waterboarding “A cloth is placed over his face on which cold water is then poured for periods of at most 40 seconds. This creates a barrier through which it is either difficult or impossible to breathe. The technique thereby induces a sensation of drowning.” A doctor was to be on hand in case the detainee got into trouble, in which case the doctor would perform tracheotomy. Walling – detainee is slammed into a wall. Sleep deprivation – CIA could deny detainees sleep for up to 180 hours! Detainees are shackled in a standing position with hands in front of his body preventing him from falling asleep”, Nudity – used to induce psychological discomfort. It also allowed interrogators to reward detainees instantly with clothing for cooperation… air temperature was 68F – posing threat to detainee health. Insect – the 2002 memo by the US Justice Department gave authority to CIA to play on the fears of Abu Zubaydah – an alleged Al Qaeda member, to be put into a cramped confinement box with an insect. Slaps including Abdominal slaps – facial slap or insult slaps used by interrogators. Water dousing – to weaken resistance by making detainee cold but stopping short of inducing hypothermia. Potable cold water is poured on the detainee from a hose without a nozzle – temperature is kept above 64F. Food deprivation – substituting a bland, commercial liquid meal for detainee’s normal diet. Cramped confinement – detainees put into uncomfortable small containers, technique abandoned as officials found detainees enjoyed a temporary safe haven!
- Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killings of 313 Black People by Police, Security Guards, and Vigilantes, reveals how Every 28 hours in 2012 someone employed or protected by the US government killed a Black man, woman, or child!http://mxgm.org/operation-ghetto-storm-2012-annual-report-on-the-extrajudicial-killing-of-313-black-people/ Arlene Eisen, member of the Malcolm X Solidarity Committee concluded, “police departments and government agencies throughout the United States go to great lengths to hide the data on extrajudicial killings, particularly the race of the murder victims. I am quite sure that there were more than 313 Black people killed by the police in 2012. Social movements in the United States must demand this information and must demand an end to these killings.”
- 65,000 prisoners were taken during the initial Iraq/Afghan ‘wars’ – 108 people have died in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2005
- There are also charges of US military doctors torturing prisoners – http://rt.com/usa/us-military-doctors-torture-detainees-191/
- The Torture Report – http://www.thetorturereport.org/
- Children in US Military Custody – http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Children_in_Military_Custody_Full_Report.pdf
America accuses Sri Lanka of intentional targeting of civilians and non-combatants
But in America …..where do we start America’s history of civilian killings is the biggest question. Every war memorial in the US must be accompanied with the guilt of how many civilians American troops would have been ordered to be killed. The American public mourns the deaths of American troops but little do they know or even seem to care about how many civilians the US Government put to death simply to secure ‘US interests” – these victim countries were all mercilessly attacked and the targets were always civilians. Deaths are said to be at least 6MILLION. When the Associated Press conducted a survey asking Americans how many Iraqi’s died in Iraq war the average answer was 9890 an example of how ignorant American public are!
Japan in 1945, Korea, Indo-China, Iraq/Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Libya, nations of Africa, Haiti
The Korean war deaths are said to be 3.5 million and about half of them civilians.
- Vietnam civilian and military deaths are said to be between 1.5million to 3.8million
- Cambodian civilian deaths number 600,000 to 800,000 while
- Laotian civilian deaths said to have reached 1million.
- Deaths is Afghanistan is said to be around 100,000
- We recall the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam were troops killed 400 civilians in 1968 when orders were to ‘shoot anything that moved’
- We recall the Haditha murders in Iraq
- There is no support to help rebuild either Iraq or Afghanistan
- There are no campaigns by charities who ideally should be concerned about the plight of these real civilians.
- Iraqi Body Count sets the killings of civilians from 2003 to 2011 to 118,745
- Yet the use of the atomic bomb not once but twice and using the 2nd even after knowing the impact of the first goes to show how immoral the US Government and decision makers are. The first bombing was on 6th August 1945 dropping a 8,900-pound atomic weapon. The 2nd bomb was dropped 3 days later on 9th August 1945. 12,500 tons of TNT dropped on Hiroshima killed 140,000 people in a single instance. Nagasaki deaths amounted to 80,000
- In Pakistan too US drones killed 67 civilians since 2008. Drones operate in Yemen too where so far over 40 deaths have occurred. Despite a UN report that US unmanned drones are violating international law – nothing is being done to stop the US from using it. http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/10/21/new-un-report-highlights-how-us-drone-policy-violates-international-law/
- Former American soldiers admit killing civilians – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/10464861/BBC-Panorama-Former-soldiers-admit-killing-unarmed-civilians.html
- US soldiers admit killing civilians for sport – http://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/mar/23/us-soldier-admits-killing-afghans
- US troops urinate on dead Afghans – http://www.armytimes.com/article/20120111/NEWS/201110314/Marines-allegedly-urinate-dead-Taliban-video
Most of these crimes are as a result of orders – US troops commit inhuman acts ‘because they are ordered to’
More US troops are committing suicide than they are dying in the war theatre. 22 US soldiers are said to kill themselves every day. In one very tragic incident William Busbee was found repeatedly washing his hands. When his mother inquired she was told “Mom, the blood, it won’t come off” – this 23 year old killed himself because he could not live the horrific crimes that took place in Iraq- crimes we know were all lies.
America demands Sri Lanka demilitarize the North
But in America …..
- There are said to over 1000 US military personnel stationed in overseas bases in 130 nations.
- One of the first things that the US did in Iraq was to disband the entire Iraqi military with the intent of turning them into ‘insurgents’ given that they had no means of livelihood but to take up arms! 350,000 to 400,000 soldiers out of work, as well as an estimated 2,000 Information Ministry employees. Is this what US is indirectly implying Sri Lanka does?
- The largest amount of active duty personnel stationed overseas was during the Vietnam War in 1968 when over 1,082,777 troops were deployed on foreign soil.
- The lowest amount of active duty personnel deployed occurred in 1999 when 206,003 troops were stationed on foreign soil.
- US has bases in 23 sovereign countries – Bulgaria, Germany, Greenland, Guam, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, Iraq, Kuwait, Kosovo, Israel, Afghanistan, Cuba, Djibouti, British Indian Ocean Territory, Bahrain and Greece.
- US has been occupying Japan’s Okinawa using the Status of Forces Agreement with 26000 troop presence and despite the people of Okinawa demanding the US troops to leave – the US refuses to do so. Accusations against UK troops include drunk and unruly US soldiers, gang rape of Japanese women. When the US occupied Okinawa from 1945 to 1972 the people of Okinawa had to seek special permission from US military to leave the area. The US has 73 bases in Japan. The Japanese government was paying the U.S. $4 billion a year for the services it takes to keep the bases going.
- Camp Bondsteel was constructed to house American peacekeeping forces soon after Kosovo achieved independence from Serbia in 1999. It can hold up to 7000 soldiers, which makes it the largest US base in the Balkans. The base was constructed without consulting with the government of Serbia. The site is referred to as “little Guantanamo”.
America accuses Sri Lanka of denying freedom of expression, more access to media and journalists
But in America …..
- During the 2002 World Bank meetings hundreds were arrested, including journalists like Debra Kahn.
- Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent James Risen was subpoenaed by the justice department over confidential sources.
- Journalists say they are censured by the police because the press captures their treatment of demonstrators.
- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was labeled a ”high tech terrorist” by vice president Joe Biden for publishing leaked U.S. Government documents and a video showing US helicopter pilots shooting unarmed reporters in Iraq could be charged with espionage.
- US is also introducing Media Shield Laws – intended to put parameters on media, journalism, journalists, etc.
- The country that is telling Sri Lanka to give freedom for the press is itself ranked 47th
- Obama said whistleblowing reflects “acts of courage and patriotism.” – but America is after Edward Snowden.
- Veteran ABC White House correspondent Ann Compton said: “There is no access to the daily business in the Oval Office, who the president meets with, who he gets advice from.”
America accuses Sri Lanka of slow progress in Resettlement/Rehabilitation/ Infrastructure development – anyone traveling to the North in 2010 and again in 2014 would realize the scale of development these areas are enjoying within just 4 years despite the LTTE controlling a major portion of these areas for 30 years with USD300million annually and scores of international agencies accepting donations from kind hearts, forcing us to ask what were both LTTE and these INGOS doing with the money!
But America …..
- Has failed 4.5MILLION Iraqis who remain without homes decades after US occupation. Where is the accountability?
- We are well aware of how US/NATO specifically targeted civilian infrastructure and brought to ruins facilities used by civilians – how many of these specific targets has the US/NATO actually rebuilt?
- Most of the civilians killed have always put down to ‘collateral damage’ or excused as an ‘accident’.
- Yet, Sri Lanka has resettled virtually all of the 300,000 Tamils the Sri Lankan military saved and most of these homes have been built by the armed personnel themselves. Massive development programs are taking place.
America accuses Sri Lanka of lack of rule of law / discrimination on religions
But in America …..
- Even a minor offence warrants a person to be body/cavity searched
- Some bizarre US laws are given – http://informationcentral0.tripod.com/id7.html
- 17 ridiculous laws in the US – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/02/17-ridiculous-laws-still_n_481379.html
- Americans are being watched and under severe surveillance as part of a program fooling Americans that the Government is ‘protecting them”.
- The American Civil Liberties Union has compiled a list of religious discriminations which are noteworthy – https://www.aclu.org/using-religion-discriminate
- Muslims report rising discrimination at work – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/business/24muslim.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
- In Sri Lanka all of the newest religious buildings are those of either mosques or churches and they have been strategically put next to or close to either temples or kovils in a subtle attempt to provoke. The incidents that US is using have been concerning Evangelical and other religious entities that are using unethical means to convert non-Christians. Nothing gets said about the illegal religious structures and illegal manner in which by throwing money and bribing officials these building suddenly obtain approval. Often it is a result of the authorities being bribed that these religious entities end up operating illegal and carrying out unethical practices and often sponsored to create tension by provoking the majority population.
- Let it also be known that throughout the past 4 years the GOSL has renovated and established 11 kovils, 3 churches, 4 mosques and only 2 Buddhist temples in the North since 2009.
In the light of the above America has no moral right to even consider drafting Resolutions. It is just another country attempting to take over lands and plunder the world using the bogey of human rights. We recall our Hillary Clinton when cornered on Benghazi replied ‘what difference does it make” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC0AKNQBV80, while John Kerry says “I do not want to spend the next year coming up here talking about Benghazi,” but US finds it quite alright to spend 3 years talking about the last 4 months of Sri Lanka’s conflict. What US cannot escape from is that a US ambassador died in the line of duty because they chose not to beef up security the US instead lied that the killing was attributed to Muslims reacting against a youtube video.
A country that does not know the meaning of accountability or even accepts accountability does not deserve to question the accountability of nations that have a far superior track record than theirs.