Archive for the Human Rights Abuses Category

An important distinction

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, Middle East, War and Peace with tags , on September 26, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

In this short piece, Betcy Jose makes a very important distinction between condemning the use of chemical weapons and the intentional targeting of civilians.  I think it is a very important distinction to make.


We Need a Global Police Force

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, International with tags , , on September 5, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

I’ve heard it said so many times now that is has become a cliché: The US is not the world’s police. OK, yes, that’s true. And it should probably remain that way. But doesn’t it seem like the world needs some policing. I am not going to argue that it should be at the hands of the US. But it seems to me that it should be someone.

Some will no doubt argue that this is the role of the UN. And perhaps in some ways that’s true. They do send monitors to elections or “peacekeepers” to ceasefires, but it seems like there should be a more robust police force in the world. Just imagine if the ICC had an actual police department with officers and detectives. And I’m not talking about “Crossing Lines” here. And believe it or not, I’m not trying to be flippant. I really do believe that the world needs some kind of global police force.

The unspoken truth is that the world is really anarchic (as an aside: I really hate that word. Not what it means or anything like that, but it is just such a weird word to say. I guess I am being a little flippant). The countries of the world do whatever the hell they want to. And it seems like they often get away with it. Do you want to make sure that everyone has a decent standard of living and gets free healthcare? Great, do it! Do you want everyone to worship you as a god and punish them with torture and famine if they don’t? OK, I guess you can do that too.

Sure, there are consequences to starving your people or building nuclear weapons. But they don’t seem harsh enough to deter those countries that want to go down that fucked-up road to do that. If I was to torture and kill my family, I wouldn’t be punished by not being able to go to certain stores. And that is essentially what we do to a country like North Korea, for example. We don’t trade with them. And we encourage others not to trade with them. But that doesn’t mean that no one trades with them. China seems to have no problem trading with them. So I guess even crazy murderous psychopaths get to shop at certain stores. That seems fair, right? Fuck no!

People that kill their own families should be punished. Dictators that kill their own people should be punished.

I don’t know if we will make the situation in Syria any better by bombing them. Even if the bombing is “precise” and there are no “boots on the ground.” But at the same time, looking the other way while someone murders their family seems like the wrong thing to do.

The worst…

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, Middle East, War and Peace, WTF? with tags , on August 29, 2013 by Black Pumpkin

You probably shouldn’t watch this.  You will wish you hadn’t if you do.

Israel kills activists in international waters

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, Middle East with tags , on June 1, 2010 by Black Pumpkin

Israel shows once again that it is run by a bunch of criminals who have no regard for the lives of Palestinians and their supporters.

A group of peace activists were bringing humanitarian aid to the Occupied Territories when they were attacked by members of the Israeli military.  At least 10 activists were killed, an unknown number of others were hurt and all were detained.  But Israel is so far refusing to release the names or details of those killed, injured or detained.

And the US continues to support Israel, no matter what they do.

Israeli murder on the high seas (from Socialist Worker)

Info and interviews from Democracy Now!

Two opposing view points from The Daily Beast:

Israel’s Indefensible Behavior (Peter Beinart)

Israel Was Right (Leslie H. Gelb)

Israel: America vs. the rest of the world

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, Middle East, War and Peace with tags , , , on November 7, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

(This was supposed to go up on Wednesday, but WordPress was having some problems, so here it is, a few days late.)

A new report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council has caused a lot of talk and discussion.  The UN is discussing whether they should endorse it or not.  And the US House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to reject it.  Of course, Israel has condemned the report as “one-sided” and “predetermined.”  However, several countries and the European Union have already endorsed the report which calls for more investigations by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

I have just begun reading the report (it is over 500 pages, so bear with me), but one of the interesting things that I have already learned is the absolute lack of cooperation that the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (hereafter, the Mission) got from Israel.  Not only would Israel not answer any of the questions posed by the Mission, but they would not even allow the members of the Mission to enter the country.  This, to me, speaks volumes.  It seems that Israel is acknowledging that things went wrong during their operation or that human rights were violated by the soldiers involved.  Of course, the Israelis will say that they didn’t cooperate because they knew what they outcome would be because the Mission was biased.  I don’t believe that at all.  In fact, the Mission found violations of human rights on both sides of the conflict.  But when you consider that 13 Israelis were killed and at least 100 times as many Palestinians were killed, to say that violations were found on both sides is a bit misleading. (The number of dead Palestinians is in dispute.  Israel puts the number at 1166.  While Gaza authorities place the number at 1444.  Other non-governmental sources estimate between 1387 and 1417 Palestinians were killed in that particular military operation.)  Whatever the number is it is many times more than the number of Israelis killed.  Obviously, this is not a numbers game and any number of people killed (regardless of what side of the conflict they are on) is too many, but the numbers do paint an interesting picture when Israel says that they are simply defending themselves from terrorists.

Here is a link to the full report.

The “Other”

Posted in Human Rights Abuses, Middle East, War and Peace with tags , , on September 6, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

It is a tragic story.

A group of US soldiers gang-raped a 14-year-old girl and then killed her and her family.  Thankfully, those that committed the crimes have been sentenced to life in prison.  But is this something that should really surprise us?

We take young men and turn them into killers.  They need to be desensitized to the violence that they perpetrate.  If they can’t pull the trigger without a second thought then they will probably lose their lives and possible cost others their lives too.

The best way to ensure that these soldiers will do what they need to is to ensure that they do not think of those they are fighting as human beings.  They are the enemy, plain and simple.  I’m sure that some (perhaps most) think and talk about them in extremely derogatory terms.  When one doesn’t think of the “other” as equal is becomes easy to injure and kill it.

This is a case that the world found out about.  How many others cases are there that we know nothing about?

Revelations of CIA Torture

Posted in Human Rights Abuses with tags , on August 26, 2009 by Black Pumpkin

Is torture passe by now?  Do you think the average American even cares if we tortured people or not?  I don’t know.  But it is important to find out exactly what happened because there are plenty of people around the world that care.  Not to mention that torture is illegal and immoral.  The US should never use torture and we must hold those responsible if we have found that they did indeed use torture on anyone at any time.

Obama has said that he wants to “look forward.”  In other words, I don’t want to deal with the war crimes that my predecessor and his administration committed.  Fortunately, Eric Holder does not feel exactly the same way.  He appointed a special investigator, Assistant US Attorney John Durham, to investigate the allegations of torture under the Bush Administration.  Unfortunately, those that actually did the torturing will not be prosecuted because they were merely following orders.  But if that also means that only those at the top of the food chain will be prosecuted, then I am fine with that.  We’ll have to wait and see…

However, the CIA did release a heavily redacted document that outlines some of the torture techniques and it shows that Washington was in control the whole time.  So if anyone wants to argue that these were bad apples or they were acting against orders, then they should read the Inspector General for the CIA’s report.  It’s pretty long, but with all the lines that are blacked out, it shouldn’t take long to read.