No Limits To US Hypocrisy?

by Ricky Singh

ZNet, March 09, 2005


There seems to be no limits to the arrogance and hypocrisy of the George Bush administration when it comes to lecturing the world on human rights and democracy, with complete disregard for America's own human rights violations at home and abroad.

Latest example of this came with the release earlier this month of the US State Department's global human rights survey that freely knocks at the doors of all considered guilty without any evidence of remorse over its own record of violations.

Despite, that is, criticisms that have been increasingly forthcoming from internationally recognised human rights organisations like the London-based Amnesty International (AI) and US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Caribbean governments and organisations have long been accustomed to the selective ratings in "country reports" that comprise the annual global survey, and which could be either harsh or complimentary, based on the perspectives of those compiling them and passing judgements.

Taking the moral high ground as the "mother of democracy" on human rights observance has long been the posture of the USA.

But after the horrendous 9/11 terrorist strikes, the brazen arrogance of the Bush administration has become quite difficult to ignore in the face of its warmongering politics, gross human rights violations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and the erosion of civil liberties of Americans at home.

Wherever they occur, in our Caribbean region or elsewhere, crooked elections, police brutality, unlawful executions, degrading prison conditions, denial of press freedom, human trafficking or right of association must be exposed and unequivocally denounced, based on evidence.

In such a context, the US global human rights survey could be a useful tool with which to whip defaulters and encourage observance of internationally recognised human rights standard.

If only the USA could be humble enough-a quality not associated with the current Bush administration-to also engage in self-examination of its own record. Particularly as it dares to assume the role of the world's chief cop and a very anxious "enforcer" against states unilaterally deemed "dictatorships" and "exporters of terrorism".

In January this year, at least six weeks before the release of the current annual human rights survey, Human Rights Watch, in criticising Washington's policies that are undermining global human rights, said the US "can no longer claim the moral high ground and lead by example".

Identifying gross human rights violations by US forces at detention centres in places like Iraq (Abu Ghraib) and Guantanamo, Human Rights Watch said:

"Its (US) embrace of coercive interrogation is part of a broader betrayal of human rights principles in the name of combating terrorism..."

Even now, as it demands the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon following the murder of a former Lebanese Prime Minister that remains a matter of independent international investigation, President Bush is finding it most uncomfortable to dismiss exposures of a US policy of "outsourcing torture".

As most recently detailed in a comprehensive article in The New Yorker, a highly credible news magazine, guess to which countries suspects are secretly despatched?

Yes, Syria, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, according to a penetrating analysis by Jane Mayer on "The secret history of America's extraordinary 'rendition' programme".

The fact that Lebanon still faces aggression from Israel which wants Syria to be treated as a pariah state; or that Iran and Syria are accused of possession of weapons of mass destruction while Israel is permitted to protect its arsenal of WMDs is all part of the hypocrisy that characterises US foreign policy.

In seeking to escalate pressures against Syria, George Bush is happy to be singing from the same hymn sheet as France's Jacques Chirac who he was deriding right up to the last US presidential election.

But, as was the case in the military intervention in Haiti that coincided with the coup against Jean Bertrand Aristide, there is a convergence of American and French interest to now force Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon.

Countries like the People's Republic of China and right here in our region, Cuba, that frequently come in for harsh criticisms from the US on human rights, have gone on the offensive against the latest State Department global survey as it relates to them.

In its own annual human rights report, China points to significant levels of poverty and crime in the USA; gross abuses abroad by its military and intelligence forces; and has dismissed America's electoral system as "a contest of money".

China claims that Washington was "consistent in its hypocrisy" in condemning human rights conditions in other nations while keeping silent on its own sins.

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