The Acts of the Democracies

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2002

USA in Afghanistan

The 4000 or so civilians killed by USA bombing in Afghanistan are mostly ignored by the Western media. The majority of the media also ignore a report by Marc Herold, an economics professor at the University of New Hampshire (USA). The report estimates from cross-checked analysis of press reports that "at least 3,767 civilians were killed by USA bombs between October 7 and December 10 ... an average of 62 innocent deaths a day."

This is in contrast to the few Western casualties who are named, pictured and their families described.

Afghan refugees returning to their villages are killed and maimed coming across unexploded cluster bombs. "As more people arrive in areas once abandoned, hospitals have been reporting an influx of wounded," according to the USA newspaper, the New York Times. Afghanistan is littered with unexploded cluster bombs, adding to the risk to civilians who also routinely die from the estimated 10 million land mines that remain from previous wars. According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, an average of 88 Afghans die every month because of land mine and cluster bomb injuries.

The USA contributes $7 million for de-mining efforts but does not provided a list of areas where it dropped cluster bombs forcing de-mining workers to search for the bomblets themselves.

The USA takes hundreds of prisoners (Afghan and foreign) to a military base in Cuba. There is no extradition treaty between Afganistan and the USA, therefore the movement of the Afghans is illegal under international law. The USA labels the Afghans as "battlefield detainees" and "unlawful combatants" rather than "prisoners of war" so as to avoid having to abide by the Geneva Conventions. The USA selects a military base in Cuba so as to be able to try them by military tribunals without the protection of USA federal law. The International Red Cross, Amnesty International and other human rights groups condemn the USA and request access to the prisoners. These requests are ignored. The prisoners have their beards and hair shaved and are kept in cages open to the elements.

The UK lawyer, Michael Mansfield, declares that "the status of 'unlawful combatants' the the USA has given to them is not recognised in law. They can be categorised so that they are either people engaged in war against the invasion of Afghanistan or they are suspects linked to the conspiracy surrounding 11 September." Taking an alternative action violates the Geneva Convention.

The proposed military trials violate international law as UK member of parliament, Geoffry Robinson explains: "present American plans to try them will fundamentally breach the [Geneva] Convention".

According to Mary Robinson, the United Nations chief of human rights: "As fighters in an international conflict... they are entitled to Prisoner of War status." Michael Byers, a law expert from Duke University states that: "forcefully shaving their beards [is] a violation of the right to human dignity". Amnesty International makes it clear that "the conditions under which the prisoners are being held including hygiene, are of concern to us".

In contrast, John Walker, a USA citizen who converted to Islam and fought for the Taliban, is taken back to the USA for a trial under a properly constituted court with access to legal representation. The UK newspaper, The Independent writes:

"Not only are such double standards offensive in themselves, but they spread like a virus around the world and erode the rights of those feeling the sharp edge of state power under regimes less sensitive to human rights and their legal protections. Israel, India, Russia and Zimbabwe are only four states which have used the rhetoric of the war against terrorism for repressive internal purposes."

Hundreds of prisoners in Khandahar and Mazar-i-Sharif are held in unsheltered stockades in the depth of winter; groups of 110 people held in cells designed for 15. Many die from disease. These actions also violate the Geneva Convention.

The USA ignores world opinion. Ari Fleischer, a spokesman for the USA government states that: "the President is satisfied that they are being treated as Americans would want people to be treated." Donald Rumsfeld (USA Secretary of Defence) declares: "I do not feel the slightest concern about their treatment. They are being treated vastly better than they treated anyone else." Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, counters this by saying that the USA "foolishly risks feeding the suspicion that this is second-rate victors' justice. The victims of 11 September [2001] deserve the highest standards of justice".

Global Exchange reports that over 800 civilians have been killed in 11 regions because of faulty local intelligence.

© 2017, KryssTal


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