liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

US becoming leader in human rights abuse

In his article, Guantánamo is gulag of our time, says Amnesty, published in today's Guardian, reporter Richard Norton-Taylor quotes the 2005 Annual Report of Amnesty International.
Britain and the US are betraying the cause of human rights in pursuit of their "war on terror", Amnesty International says in its annual report published yesterday.

Irene Khan, Amnesty's general secretary, launching the report, accused the two governments of condoning torture while trying to keep their consciences clear. Britain used the language of freedom and justice in the context of Iraq, yet insisted that the Human Rights Act did not apply to British soldiers operating there, she said.

Elsewhere in today's Guardian, Nick Paton Walsh sheds more light on the "double standards" of US and UK human rights policy. In an article entitled, Pipeline opens new oil route to west, Walsh covers the inaugural "turning on the tap" of an Azerbijani pipeline carrying Kazakhstani oil across Georgia and into Turkey.

Walsh reports that the US heavily supported the project to build the so-called BTC Pipeline after Vice President Cheney's 2001 Energy Report recommended creating the commercial conditions to send Kazakhstani oil to the West without having to use the Russian pipeline system. Notably, Walsh goes on to report how the US invested in the regional regimes, both commercially and militarily, in spite of their poor human rights records and undemocratic practices.
The report recommended Mr Bush to order the departments of state and energy to "establish the commercial conditions" to facilitate Kazakh exports via the BTC. Since then the US has increased its military assistance to the authoritarian Mr Aliev, while at the same time supporting a pro-western revolution in Georgia.

"This is confirmation of American double-standards - supporting regimes that are authoritarian, but part of their energy package," said the analyst Lilya Shevtsova of the Carnegie Endowment, in Moscow.
Sadly, unless they can piece together the big-picture puzzle scattered through the foreign press, most Americans will remain (willingly) oblivious to the hypocrisy and danger posed by the Bush Administration's policies toward energy and human rights. With the US now importing 54% of the petroleum it consumes, the Carter doctrine linking world petroleum supplies to US national security is more operative than ever. The so-called "War On Terror" looks more and more like a war to safeguard foreign energy and economic resources for the Americans. Clearly, global human rights are to be sacrificed in the name of "national security" wherever convenient in the new geopolitical chess game.

Today at Liberal Oasis, Bill Scher echoes the same sentiments, this time regarding NY Times coverage of the Uzbekistan massacre.

The result, according to critics, is that Uzbek officials shrug off U.S. complaints about repression.

"They don't take the State Department seriously," said Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch. "They think the Pentagon and CIA will protect them. So the Uzbeks are not inclined to listen to American diplomats when they get lectured on democracy."

That pattern continues today.

Scher complains that even though the Times dug up dirt on the Uzbek regime when they investigated the crackdown/massacre last week, today they are trying to make the US look like good guys in contrast to the Chinese. The US really hasn't stood up for the rights of the people and are essentially brushing off the Uzbek's refusal to submit to an investigation. The Chinese have unequivocally supported the Uzbek regime under Karimov for fighting "separatism, terrorism, and extremism."

Even more sadly, Mr. Chivers's May 25th New York Times article, China backs Uzbek, splitting with US on Crackdown contains no mention of US State Department, White House or Defense Department officials taking a moment out from their celebration of the BTC pipeline to chide Karimov on the massacre.

So we're able to fight "The War on Terror" now anywhere we want. It secures our energy (although that stuff's gettin' more and more expensive!) and we are always in the right, even when we support the bad guys... because, hell, unlike China, at least we called for an investigation (in Uzbekistan), sort of.
For further reading, see the BBC page, After the violence, fear in Andijan


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