Crimes Against Muslims

Category: Americas, World Affairs Views: 5710
5710

The Bush administration policy documents such as "The National Security of the United States of America" envisage that the US as the sole superpower with its tremendous technological, and military superiority should further its hegemony and secure world dominance. What it needed was a catastrophic event on the scale of "Pearl Harbor" to put it in motion. Ironically, the 9/11 could not have come at a more opportune moment.

Thus, rather than remedying the causes, it immediately embarked on retaliating the terrorist attacks. This was begun with Afghanistan, whereas no Afghani or even an Iraqi was ever involved in any terrorist act against the United States. Afghanistan was targeted for the presumed involvement of Osama bin Laden (once nurtured by the US against USSR), while the ruling Taleban beseeched his extradition to a third country. And then, in the face of international opposition, Iraq was invaded on the pretext of pre-emption from imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction - fabrications that are clearly evidenced now. 

Thousands of innocent civilians have been killed in both countries. The Amnesty International in its report for 2003 states that human rights and international law have come under the most sustained attacks in 50 years, since this "war on terror" led by the United States and Britain. And it gives a scathing indictment of the policies by the administration of George Bush as "bankrupt of vision and bereft of principles."

It charges the American government with "sacrificing human rights in the name of security at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad, using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses." That this draconian approach has "damaged justice and freedom, and made the world a more dangerous place."

The sadistic and inhuman practices, including a pattern of torture and humiliation are now apparent to all, with horror pictures coming out of the Abu Ghraib prison. Even worse, nearly 60 percent of the prisoners may be civilians who had done nothing wrong.

A recent editorial of New York Times comments, "The road to Abu Ghraib began, in some ways, in 2002 at Guantanamo Bay. It was there that the Bush administration began building up a worldwide military detention system, deliberately located on bases outside American soil and sheltered from public visibility and judicial review. The administration shunned the scrutiny of independent rights monitors like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. It presumed the suspected agents of terrorism did not deserve normal legal protections, and it presumed that military officials could always tell a terrorist from an innocent bystander." 

A most outrageous incident regards at least 3,000 Taleban and their associates who had surrendered to the US surrogates of Northern Alliance during the war. They were rammed into truck containers, severely injured by shooting into them during transportation, and then lined up and murdered in cold blood by the Northern Alliance commander, while some of the US Special Forces watched. Reported in a cover story of the Newsweek, and shown on TV by Democracy Now, this grave violation of the Geneva Conventions yet remains to be addressed. 

The Amnesty reports that in Iraq, "hundreds of civilians were killed and thousands injured" with bombing by the US and Britain, and "many civilians were killed as a result of excessive use of force by coalition forces. Scores of women were abducted, raped and killed as law and order broke down after the war. Torture and ill treatment by coalition forces were widespread."

That, in fact the Amnesty received frequent reports of torture and ill treatment of detainees; subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in arrests and detentions. Many told that they were tortured and ill-treated by the troops from US and UK during interrogations; methods included prolonged sleep deprivation, beatings, use of dogs, and restraint in painful positions, sometimes combined with exposure to loud music or bright lights, and prolonged hooding. 

The Amnesty annual report accuses the US and Britain of "failing to live up to their responsibilities under international humanitarian law as occupying powers, including their duty to restore and maintain public order and safety, and to provide food, medical care and relief assistance."

While Bush and Blair proclaimed that they liberated the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussain's brutal regime, "little action was taken to address past human rights violations,' and current "mass disappearances, or to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes." 

More recently, a UN human rights investigator, Paul Hunt, called for an independent probe into the impact on civilians in the month-long siege of Falluja. It is estimated that 90 percent of 750 deaths were noncombatants, and there are credible claims that the US-led forces "have been guilty of serious breaches of international humanitarian and human rights law in Falluja,"" the report said. 

Other reports show that more than a third of the prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq who died in US custody were shot, strangled or beaten before they died. Recently, in a fact-finding report, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights at UN, Bertrand Ramcharan blasted "willful killing, torture and inhuman treatment" of Iraqi detainees in Abu Ghraib prison. He stressed that the abuses were not only grave violations of international law but also be designated as "war crimes" by any fair tribunal. These abusive practices are widespread in detainees with the US and British intelligence and army personnel. 

Similarly, a report on US practices in Afghanistan during the past three years details questionable and possibly criminal behavior by American personnel, including the use of excessive force during arrests and mistreatment in detention. The interrogators used practices, such as prolonged shackling and sleep deprivation, that the Sate Department describes as torture when used by other countries. Most disturbing are the accounts of Afghan civilians held for a period of a year or more without charge, "virtually incommunicado without any legal basis for challenging their detention or seeking their release."

In addition, the US authorities - US military and CIA are holding prisoners secretly in several countries and off mainland islands, and have never disclosed the number of prisoners being held or their location, nor they have permitted visits by family members or lawyers to the detainees. And no charges have been brought against any of these prisoners. The report concludes, "Simply put, the United States is acting outside the rule of law."

Other regimes have also behaved with impunity under the cloak of America's global campaign to use "security" as an excuse to authorize killings and torture, and introduce repressive legislation. Also, the war in Iraq has deflected attention from other bloody conflicts and human rights abuses such as Chechnya. Israel and India both exploited the situation, and relegated the struggles for self-determination of Palestinians and Kashmiris, au contraire as "terrorism." Indeed, the whole scheme of Iraqi invasion was planned by Israel-associated US neoconservatives to subjugate the Middle East. 

Fresh reports in the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal quote official memorandums indicating that a team of civilian and Justice Department lawyers appallingly concluded that President Bush is not bound by US laws, military doctrine, international treaties and the Constitution "because he had the authority as commander in chief to approve any technique needed to protect the nation's security." Therefore, the president has a free hand in ordering torture of prisoners and those who carry it out, in defiance of express US law, cannot be prosecuted.

Now that finally the US mainstream media, which accepts the position of "embedded" journalism, and normally toes the administration line in foreign policy matters, has broken its silence, it is incumbent that the Bush administration forthwith agrees to a high level third party investigations, which thoroughly and impartially address all violations. Otherwise, as suggested, the US Congress must "undertake a review" "to draw conclusions, hold officials accountable, and take corrective action" to assure America as well as the world, that no unlawful situation will be tolerated. That the constitutional protections of those in the US are observed. As well as, regularize the handling of detainees abroad, disclose where they are, and ensure that they are treated humanely and in accord with the Geneva conventions. This because, the administration has yet to demonstrate to the world that it respects the established international standards of justice and human rights. It is all the more important for Iraqis, Arabs and Muslims, where its credibility has come down to naught.

Siraj Islam Mufti, Ph.D. is a researcher and freelance journalist.


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
Views: 5710
 
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Older Comments:
AILIA FROM IRAN said:
steve sloper,if US would have left hypocricy,the world peace would have never shattered.
2004-06-23

STEVE SLOPER FROM USA said:
If the Taliban would have given up Bin Laden
the Afghanistan invasion would have never happened.
2004-06-18

NURU MUHAMMAD FROM NIGERIA said:
Assalamu alaikum,

"And when it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "We are only peacemakers." Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not." Q 2:11-12

Bissalam.
2004-06-18

AILIA FROM IRAN said:

Criminal works of criminal minds.Even democracy can err and choose a dictator.These savage people who wear a mask of sophistication are in reality the biggest weapons of mass destruction.Subjucate middle east is their motto and they speak of human rights.
2004-06-18

MEBROCKY FROM USA said:
While this report contains mostly accurate information, and justifiably condemns the Bush administration, it completely ignores the thousands of Muslims that are being killed by other Muslims. Go to the Amnesty site and check out ALL the countries.
2004-06-18

ROMESH CHANDER FROM US said:
These were the policies/actions of a "Compassionate Conservative, Born Again Christian" President of the United States. I wonder, how bad (or worse) the actions/policies would have been, if the president was a "Secular Humanist/Athiest"!!!.
2004-06-17