The United States of America (a supposed “ally” of Bahrain) is considered the largest, most powerful “democracy” in the world (although only 57.5 % of the population voted in the 2012 US presidential election). Some believe that in the US one has complete freedom of speech and the human rights of all across the vast country are respected.
However, a series of reports by Amnesty International, amongst other human rights agencies, suggest that the US has some of the worst cases of abuse by security personnel, human rights abuse, abuse of women and children, lack of freedom of speech and racial discrimination in the world.
What the USA government conveniently omits (while condemning the small island of Bahrain) are the recorded abuses and the lack of freedom in America, while the UNHR remains suspiciously silent.
On 17th August, 2013, officers thought to be federal agents directly from the Obama administration silenced opposition voices. A group of protestors exercising their freedom by calling for the “removal of the corrupt and criminal President of the USA, Barack Hussein Obama” were jailed. Despite being peaceful, the unarmed, unmasked protestors were abused by the officers and attacked with pepper spray before being arrested. Interestingly, or should we say, not surprisingly, they were not referred to as political prisoners. Meanwhile, the NSA continues to monitor and target journalists critical of the Obama administration so many prefer not to expose such incidents.
In October 2012, the US authorities denied access to Amnesty International to visit the ADX “supermax prison” in Florence Colorado, which has seen complaints of torture, inhuman conditions and degrading treatment of prisoners. In fact thousands of prisoners across the country remain in isolation in “super-maximum security” prisons where they are confined to their cells for 22-24 hours a day without adequate access to natural light, exercise or rehabilitation programmes. In 2012, 43 prisoners were executed by lethal injection bringing the total to 1,320 since 1976.
Excessive use of force by police is an ongoing predicament in the US. The total number of deaths since 2001 with taser X26 weapons is now 540; 42 of which were in 2012. Despite deadly shootings and the excessive use of tasers causing the deaths of unarmed suspects including immigrants at border walls, the US police force are not penalized and these crimes are swept under the carpet by the Obama administration.
In 2009, Obama vowed to close the infamous Guantanamo Bay Prison. In 2012, a Yemeni national, Adnan Farhan Adbul Latif, who had repeatedly expressed distress for being held without charge, lost his battle and quietly passed away in his cell. Nine detainees have died since 2002. Many prisoners have attempted suicide and filed complaints of torture and ill treatment including force feeding, water boarding, and intimidation with semi automatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers – their desperate voices falling on deaf ears. Others have chosen to plead guilty in return for the possibility of an early release. However, in 2012, 166 prisoners, mostly without charge or criminal trial, were still being held at this detention facility – denying them rights accorded to prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
Muslims account for less than 1% of the US population, but account for 14% of religious discrimination cases under investigation. Deaths are common in detention centres with no proper medical facilities for the detainees. In 2011 over 46.2 million people live in poverty and almost 18 million American homes struggled to find enough to eat, while 6.8 million households worried about having enough money to buy food several months out of the year.
According to The National Women’s Law Centre (NWLC), 40% of women who head families live in poverty and the poverty rate among retired women is 50% higher than in men. An average of three women in the US lose their lives every day to domestic violence and a national census of domestic violence found more than 67,000 female victims were served in a single day in September 2011.
A report posted on Prevent Child Abuse in November 2012 indicated that 20% of adult females and 5-15% adult males had experienced sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence. Reports imply that 63,527 children were victims of child abuse in 2010. Data released by the US Department of Education in June 2012 reveal that for the first time in history, public schools reported that one million children enrolled in public pres-school programmes and youth are homeless. An overwhelming 22% of children in the USA live in poverty.
834 American citizens and 28,489 legal residents end up being flagged by ICE (Immigration and Excise department) with detainers for possible deportation. Many deportees are released at the border penniless and without any kind of identification, proof of work experience or school records. Over 5,000 children of deported parents remain in foster care; the number of adopted children is unavailable.
Let’s not forget the US has not participated in or ratified a series of core UN conventions on human rights, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention of the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities. In September 2012 the US refused to acknowledge the “the right to development” – a common concern among most countries worldwide.
Obama (hand in hand with the UNHR) has the audacity to make false accusations against the Bahrain regime based on bogus information received from his Embassy. Obama should have the humility to apologise to the people of Bahrain who support the Alkhalifa leadership – 98.4% to be exact.
It seems that the “American Dream” is just a mirage.