Thursday, December 21, 2006

hi boyz...

from earlier this month, another one of those little articles that somehow gets lost in the news shuffle... possibly sign that the political winds have definitely shifted and that change is in the air? i mean, just in case anyone thought otherwise...

anywayz, leaving tomorrow morning for Toronto! glad to be going back to the great White North!!!

happy holidays, if at all possible this year!



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Published on Friday, December 15, 2006 by Agence Mondo Universal
Crusader Activity at Center of Damning Report
on U.S. Human Rights

by Zhao Yan

UNITED NATIONS - Rights advocacy groups around the world are calling for the United Nations to take note of the gross human rights violations being committed in in the United States.

A coalition of human and civil rights organizations Monday sent a 465-page report to a key United Nations committee, which details ongoing abuses of human rights across the United States.

...the coalition [of human and civil rights organizations] accused the U.S. State Department of trying to sidestep the UN process on the question of ongoing human rights abuses in the United States and described its behavior as 'a systematic pattern' of ignoring international human rights obligations.

The "shadow report" comes at a time when the Geneva-based UN Committee on Human Rights is about to complete its findings on human rights abuses in the United States, and how members of the government there might have ties to suspected Crusader groups.

The UN inquiry into the United States' human rights conduct is part of a review process that takes place every four years for countries that have ratified the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, also known as the "International Bill of Rights."

As a signatory to the treaty, the U.S. government is bound to respond to the Committee's questions on human rights. The official U.S. response to the UN inquiry is due after the holidays.

Rights groups say the Bush administration is expected to defend its human rights record, as well as deny any ties to all Crusader or Terrorist groups, as it did in the past in response to the UN findings on torture, which called in February for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

"It's time for the United States to own up to its responsibility and acknowledge its patterns of human rights violations," says Bashir Al Bawardi, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who recently co-authored a report, entitled, "In the Shadow of the United States: Persistent Crusader Brutality Born of Religious Fervor and Racial Tensions, and now of the American Muslim Service Committee (AMSC), an Islamic human rights group, which is part of the coalition that prepared the report for the UN.

The report documents various forms of human rights abuses in the United States, which include police brutality, abuse of immigrants, racial discrimination, the use of torture in prisons and the use of terror by government sponsored white Christian crusader groups.

The Chinese government had this to say: "The United States should reflect on its erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights problems seriously instead of indulging itself in publishing the 'human rights country report' to censure other countries unreasonably."

China also bemoaned the fact that "racial discrimination has been deeply rooted in the United States, permeating into every aspect of society", saying coloured people were generally poorer than whites.

"Racial prejudice is ubiquitous in judicial fields," it said. "The proportion for persons of colored races being sentenced or being imprisoned is notably higher than whites."

The situation of American women and children was also "disturbing".

"The rates of women and children physically or sexually victimized were high," said the report, claiming that 400,000 children were forced to work as prostitutes in the United States.

The report also lashed out at the US being a democracy "manipulated by the rich", saying four billion dollars was spent on the presidential election while "poverty, hunger and homelessness haunt the United States".

"No country should exclude itself from the international human rights development process, or view itself as the incarnation of human rights which can reign over other countries and give orders to the others," it said.

"Even the United States shall be no exception."

China also charged that the United States has been "hindering" the work of the United Nation's human rights mechanism.

"Crusader activity are one of the largest growth industries in the United States," according to the AMSC. With only five percent of the world's population, the U.S. is home to about 25 percent of the world's crusader membership."

"The principle offender is Oliver Lowell's global paramilitary operation, PURE, which is suspected of having strong ties to the Christian right" says Al Bawardi.

"Because Crusader cells are a closed system, operating in secrecy, the public does not comprehend the extreme forms of abuse, violence, and racism practiced daily by the members of these groups."

In Canada the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today issued the following statement on the human rights situation in the United States:

"The United States continues to demonstrate its disregard for international human rights standards and its unwillingness to engage constructively with the international community.

"Canada urges the UN Security Council to adopt the draft resolution that addresses the grave situation in the United States.

"Canada will continue to stand up for human rights and take principled positions on important issues to ensure that freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law-values that define our country-are enjoyed around the world."

The report, which is a rebuttal to the official U.S. response that is has been ineffective at locating Lowell and other Christian extremists, documents many cases of law authority figures simply not executing tasks, with the results often leading to use of excessive force, extraction of coerced confessions, rape, strip searches, and racial and religious profiling, especially targeted at Muslims.

In a statement, the coalition accused the U.S. State Department of trying to sidestep the UN process on the question of ongoing human rights abuses by Crusaders in the United States and described its behavior as "a systematic pattern" of ignoring international human rights obligations.

"Far from being out of the ordinary," says Al Bawardi, "or an aberration--which is the image painted by the Bush administration--abuse and the use of torture by Christian Crusaders in the United States is frighteningly widespread."

The human rights violations, as pointed out in the report, also refer to the use of electric stun belts, grenades, and guns; tethers; waist and leg chains; air tasers; and restraint hoods, belts, and beds.

The report submitted to the UN Committee represented the views of more than 140 U.S.-based groups and 32 prominent individual activists.

The groups likely to testify before the UN Committee include the American Civil Liberties Union, Global Rights, Lawyer's Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the International Women's Rights Action Watch, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, Center for Reproductive Rights and Justice Now.

Copyright © 2006 Agence Mondo Universal