Another Week of Outrageous Crimes Against Humanity by the Self-Styled "Champion of Human Rights"

by Alan Goodman

October 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


You would think if you just listened to the news that the biggest outrage against human rights this week was Russian president Putin’s military aid to the reactionary Assad regime in Syria... but you would be wrong...

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Fires burn in the MSF emergency trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after it was hit and partially destroyed by aerial attacks on October 3, 2015.

Fires burn in the MSF emergency trauma hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, after it was hit and partially destroyed by aerial attacks, October 3. Photo: Médecins Sans Frontières

In the week following the October 3  U.S. bombing attack on a Doctors Without Borders [Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in French] hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, the enormity and nature of the crime has come more and more into focus. At last count, twenty-two people were killed, including courageous medical staff and defenseless patients. Among the dead, three children. The bombing left a large region of Afghanistan without access to hospital care. In 2014 more than 22,000 patients received treatment at the hospital and more than 5,900 surgical procedures were performed.

Doctors Without Borders informed NATO (the “coalition” of U.S. forces and their European allies) as well as the U.S.-backed regime of the precise GPS coordinates of the hospital before the bombing, and the attack continued for at least 30 minutes after MSF staffers called the NATO and Afghanistan military commanders to tell them the hospital was under attack.

The hospital treated anyone who needed medical care, as any hospital should. A Doctors Without Borders representative said Afghan and U.S. forces “working together decided to raze to the ground a fully functioning hospital—with more than 180 staff and patients inside—because they claim that members of the Taliban were present.” The group’s general director, Christopher Stokes, said, “This amounts to an admission of a war crime” and called for an investigation by a third-party international agency with the assumption that a war crime had been committed.

Obama issued an insulting and extremely conditional “apology” and promised the U.S. military would “investigate” itself. And the U.S. has not responded to, and U.S. officials and media hardly acknowledge the call for a third-party investigation into war crimes. Imagine if some rival of the U.S. bombed a hospital on purpose—massacring Doctors Without Borders personnel and patients—and in the face of international outrage, insisted it would have it’s own military conduct an investigation into whether they did anything wrong. That would be obscene—but why is it any less obscene when the crime is carried out by the country responsible for more war crimes than any empire in history?

The massacre at Kunduz was a message from the USA to the world. As the U.S. clashes with factions of Islamic fundamentalists who are obstacles to its interests; as it contends with rival powers who smell weakness in the defeats the U.S. is encountering; and to anyone who would cross it; the message was: Don’t fuck with us because there is nothing too depraved, too inhuman, too grotesquely in stark contradiction to our image as the self-proclaimed champion of “human rights” that we won’t do to teach you a lesson.

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Rubble in Yemen from U.S. backed-Saudi Arabian air strike, September 8, 2015. Photo: AP

On October 8, for the second time in a month, Saudi Arabian fighter jets rained death on innocent civilians at a wedding party in Yemen, the country on Saudi Arabia’s southern border. Twenty-eight people were killed. In late September, Saudi rockets also hit a wedding party in Yemen, killing 130 people. The Saudis are carrying out terrorism from the air against rival forces in Yemen and beyond who they see as threats to their viciously oppressive regime.

The Saudi-led assault on Yemen is in essence mass murder and terror against the population as a whole. Doctors Without Borders in Yemen has said the bombing often leads to “mass casualties,” and that “The airstrikes are terrifying the population.” Between the bombing and a Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports, fuel and food are in desperate supply in an already impoverished nation, with hospitals forced to close and ambulances stranded for lack of fuel. There are widespread outbreaks of disease and international organizations or agencies that provided essential medical services have been in large part driven from the country.

This is blood on the hands of the rulers of the United States. The USA supplies the planes, the bombs, and diplomatic support for their ally. In July, as the Saudis were escalating their attacks on Yemen, the U.S. State Department approved the sale of $5.4 billion worth of state-of-the-art missiles and technology to precisely locate targets, along with the training to use them. In early September Obama had the Saudi King visit the U.S. where he and the King issued a joint statement pledging to strengthen “the enduring relationship between their countries” that “has grown deeper and stronger over the past seven decades in the political, economic, military, security, cultural and other spheres of mutual interest.” Translated from diplomatic language: Go on and carry out a massacre in Yemen, we’re with you.

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To live in America last week (and the week before, and the week before...) was to be programmed to believe that the biggest crime that ever took place in Libya in recent years was the killing of four Americans at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi in 2012.

But you would never know that a U.S. and NATO bombing campaign—where 10,000 bombs were dropped on Libya in 2011—resulted in at least dozens of documented killings of groups of unarmed, innocent civilians. And that a civil war that their assault set off led to the deaths of thousands and thousands of people.

In conditions where the Western powers had no interest in documenting death and destruction, Human Rights Watch detailed eight specific incidents where at least 72 Libyan civilians died as the result of NATO’s bombing campaign. A third of the victims were children under the age of 18. In one incident, a high-tech laser-guided missile destroyed the home of the Jfara family killing five people, including a nine-year-old girl. And if you’re looking for covered up crimes, Human Rights Watch reported NATO “failed to acknowledge these casualties or examine how and why they occurred.”

The U.S. and European powers attacked Libya to remove a ruler they found an impediment to their interests and so far, that attack and its aftermath has been responsible for the deaths of thousands and thousands of people. Beyond the death and destruction, the U.S. and the West left Libya in shambles with much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed, including the only plant manufacturing pipes for Libya’s essential water and irrigation network.

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Three events, in one week, tell you more than a billion civics lessons and ruling class media lies about the actual nature of U.S. use of force around the world. Wherever they go, whatever crimes they commit, whatever justifications they invoke, the wars and terror the U.S. brings to the world are ILLEGITIMATE. People in the U.S. have no interest in the overseas crimes of the ruling class. And we have a RESPONSIBILITY to call them out and oppose them.



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