Tuesday, July 10, 2012

529 Jimmy Carter says US assassinations & drone attacks violate Declaration of Human Rights

Jimmy Carter says US assassinations & drone attacks violate Declaration
of Human Rights

(1) Jimmy Carter says Obama's assassinations & drone attacks violate
Declaration of Human Rights
(2) A Cruel and Unusual Record, by JIMMY CARTER
(3) US drone strikes ‘could be war crimes’ and set risky precedent - UN
special investigator on extrajudicial killings

(1) Jimmy Carter says Obama's assassinations & drone attacks violate
Declaration of Human Rights

From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences)"
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2012 12:06:09 -0400

Jimmy Carter attacks Obama on assassinations and drone attacks

David Usborne, The Independent, June 26, 2012


Former president Jimmy Carter has blasted the United States for
anti-terror strategies such as targeting individuals for assassination
and using unmanned drones to bomb suspected targets, saying they
directly flout the basic tenets of universal human rights and foment
anti-US sentiment.

In an article written for the New York Times headlined "A Cruel and
Unusual Record", Mr Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for
his work trying to resolve conflicts around the globe, suggested that
the US is in violation of 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights. It is a rare attack by a former
commander-in-chief on a sitting President – especially of the same party.

While Mr Carter does not name President Obama, there is little
disguising that he is the principle target of his stinging words. Recent
weeks have seen a slew of media reports detailing how Mr Obama has grown
increasingly dependent on drones to take out suspected terror cells and
describing how he has the final word to approve names on a "hit-list" of
most-wanted terror suspects overseas for assassination. "Revelations
that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated, including
American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far
our nation's violation of human rights has extended," Mr Carter wrote,
concluding that the US is "abandoning its role as the global champion of
human rights".

In the past, Mr Carter, 87, has meted out similar criticisms, most
notably George W Bush. This latest assault is embarrassing for Mr Obama
as it will serve as a reminder that he specifically pledged to adjust
America's posture in the war on terror. He began by banning
interrogation techniques he considered to be torture, such as
water-boarding, and by closing down Guantanamo Bay. On the latter, of
course, he has failed to deliver.

It is poignant, moreover, that both men are Peace Prize winners. Critics
believe Mr Obama has proved himself unworthy of the honour which he
received soon after taking office. His supporters believe however that
he has pre-empted criticism of his foreign policy performance. Under his
watch, Osama bin Laden has been killed and much of the top echelons of
al-Qa'ida have been gutted.

(2) A Cruel and Unusual Record, by JIMMY CARTER


A Cruel and Unusual Record


Published: June 24, 2012

THE United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human

Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated
abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent,
disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has
extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept.
11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive
and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a
result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these
critical issues.

While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of
human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the
past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom,
justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment
that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people,
and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security
of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture,
arbitrary detention or forced exile.

The declaration has been invoked by human rights activists and the
international community to replace most of the world’s dictatorships
with democracies and to promote the rule of law in domestic and global
affairs. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these
principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly
violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the
prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Recent legislation has made legal the president’s right to detain a
person indefinitely on suspicion of affiliation with terrorist
organizations or “associated forces,” a broad, vague power that can be
abused without meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress (the law
is currently being blocked by a federal judge). This law violates the
right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved
guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration.

In addition to American citizens’ being targeted for assassination or
indefinite detention, recent laws have canceled the restraints in the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to allow unprecedented
violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and
government mining of our electronic communications. Popular state laws
permit detaining individuals because of their appearance, where they
worship or with whom they associate.

Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an
enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is
accepted as inevitable. After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes
this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such
attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia
and Yemen that are not in any war zone. We don’t know how many hundreds
of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one
approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been
unthinkable in previous times.

These policies clearly affect American foreign policy. Top intelligence
and military officials, as well as rights defenders in targeted areas,
affirm that the great escalation in drone attacks has turned aggrieved
families toward terrorist organizations, aroused civilian populations
against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to
justify their own despotic behavior.

Meanwhile, the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, now houses
169 prisoners. About half have been cleared for release, yet have little
prospect of ever obtaining their freedom. American authorities have
revealed that, in order to obtain confessions, some of the few being
tried (only in military courts) have been tortured by waterboarding more
than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills
or threats to sexually assault their mothers. Astoundingly, these facts
cannot be used as a defense by the accused, because the government
claims they occurred under the cover of “national security.” Most of the
other prisoners have no prospect of ever being charged or tried either.

At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United
States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and
principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights. But instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of
international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends.

As concerned citizens, we must persuade Washington to reverse course and
regain moral leadership according to international human rights norms
that we had officially adopted as our own and cherished throughout the

Jimmy Carter, the 39th president, is the founder of the Carter Center
and the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

(3) US drone strikes ‘could be war crimes’ and set risky precedent - UN
special investigator on extrajudicial killings


US drone strikes ‘could be war crimes’ and set risky precedent - UN

Published: 22 June, 2012, 17:44

The use of drone strikes by the US to combat terrorism flouts
international law and may encourage other nations to follow suit, a UN
rapporteur says. He stressed that some of the attacks may constitute war

Christof Heyns, the UN special investigator on extrajudicial killings
told a UN conference in Geneva that the US needs to be held legally
accountable for the use of armed drones.

"Are we to accept major changes to the international legal system which
has been in existence since World War Two and survived nuclear threats?"
he said.

He also requested that the Obama administration publish statistics on
the number of civilian deaths caused by strikes on suspected terror
leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen.

“I don’t think we have the full answer to the legal framework, we
certainly don’t have the answer to the accountability issues,” he told
reporters at the UN Human Rights Council meeting.

He underlined the fact that recent US drone strikes threatened the rule
of international law in that many “targeted killings take place far from
areas where it's recognized as being an armed conflict." Heyns added
that drone strikes may be legally justifiable in conflict zones such as

He went on to say however that if “there have been secondary drone
strikes on rescuers who are helping [the injured] after an initial drone
attack, those further attacks are a war crime.”

Lampooning the US stance that targeted strikes are a legitimate response
to the 9/11 attacks orchestrated by Al Qaeda he said “it's difficult to
see how any killings carried out in 2012 can be justified in response to
[events] in 2001. Some states seem to want to invent new laws to justify
new practices.”

The US argues that its drone strikes are highly effective at combating
insurgency abroad and do not violate international law. However,
Washington has come under fire recently for multiple drone incursions
that killed dozens of civilians in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Both China and Russia issued statements to the UN Human Rights Council
this week condemning the US use of drone strikes.

US setting a dangerous precedent?

UN investigator Heynes voiced fears during the two-day meeting that
other countries may also adopt the American strategy for justifying
drone incursions.

“My concern is that we are dealing here with a situation that creates
precedents around the world,” said Heyns.

The American Civil Liberties Movement (ACLU) told the UN Human Rights
court on Wednesday that “the United States has cobbled together its own
legal framework for targeted killing, with standards that are far less
stringent than the law allows.”

Figures published by ACLU estimate that about 4,000 people have fallen
victim to US drone raids since 2002 in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. The
investigations show a large part of the casualties were civilian and
that numbers have increased dramatically since Barack Obama assumed the

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