The following is based on a speech given to the protest organised by Sydney Stop the War Coalition on December 10, UN Human Rights Day and the day war president Barack Obama received the UN Peace Prize.
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The so-called anti-war President-elect Barack Obama said the following on Human Rights Day in 2008:
The United States was founded on the idea that all people are endowed with inalienable rights, and that principle has allowed us to work to perfect our union at home while standing as a beacon of hope to the world. Today, that principle is embodied in agreements Americans helped forge - the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions and treaties against torture and genocide. "So, on this Human Rights Day, let us rededicate ourselves to the advancement of human rights and freedoms for all, and pledge always to live by the ideals we promote to the world.
Let’s look at President Obama’s record on human rights in 11 months of his presidency.
Shortly after his inauguration, Obama earned his credentials as a war criminal by ordering a campaign of air strikes on alleged Al'Qaeda bases in Pakistan. These unmanned Predator drone strikes have killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children so far and have forced another 2 million people to flee their homes.
What about Obama’s pledge to withdraw from Iraq? What about the basic human right of the Iraqi people to live free from occupation by a foreign power which has destroyed their country, an occupation which has resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million people?
Obama announced, early in his presidency, that 50,000 US soldiers would remain in Iraq indefinitely — and that doesn’t include the 140,000 mercenaries paid and controlled by Washington. These mercenaries enjoy immunity from prosecution for the crimes they commit against the Iraqi people including rape, murder and destruction of property.
So much for Obama being anti-war. In fact, Obama campaigned on a commitment to escalate the war in Afghanistan. That tortured country, Afghanistan has endured eight years of a US-led NATO invasion and occupation. On gaining office, Obama immediately announced another 21,000 troops to Afghanistan.
Recently, Obama announced another surge of 34,000 troops. This will bring the US troop presence to 100,000. NATO is promising another 40,000 troops.
In this so-called war of liberation, tens of thousands of Afghani civilians have died under NATO bombs and yet the corrupt US puppet government of Hamid Karzai cannot operate securely outside Kabul, the capital. The situation for women in Afghanistan is even more catastrophic than it was under the Taliban with war lords vying for power in the countryside. Afghanistan has become a completely lawless place under the American-led occupation. The security situation has deteriorated in direct proportion to the increase in US troops. Even Obama’s counter-insurgency advisers say NATO air attacks, that have killed thousands of innocent people, are creating more and more Taliban. They say the aim of these insurgent groups is not to mount attacks on the US but simply to drive the foreign occupiers from their country.
Yet, in contradiction to this advice, Obama says that the war in Afghanistan is a necessary war to defend Americans from terrorist attacks. He sounds like a real patriot, doesn’t he? Consider what the Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering said during his trial at Nuremberg. “Naturally the common people don’t want war … the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism.”
According to the polls, at least 57% of Americans think the war in Afghanistan is not worth fighting and 77% of Afghanis oppose the military occupation of their country. Yet despite majority opposition to the war, the Obama regime projects the US presence in Afghanistan to go beyond 2025.
In fact, President Obama is on track to spend more on defence in one term of office than any other president has since World War II. The United States under Obama is spending more on weapons and war than the rest of the world combined. The United States spends ten times more on weapons than China, the next super-power.
And while the Obama regime is committed to record war expenditure — a US government report released two weeks ago revealed that 49 million Americans lack a dependable access to adequate food. 49 million Americans are hungry.
Sounds like Third World poverty in the United States itself, doesn’t it? So apparently, President Obama believes that bombing defenceless people in Afghanistan and Pakistan is more important than feeding hungry Americans.
President Obama entered office on a pledge to close down Guantanamo Bay and end the illegal CIA renditions of so-called terrorist suspects to be tortured in secret prisons. Well, Guantanamo Bay is still operating and people are still being tortured there. Not only are they still being tortured in Guantanamo Bay but so-called suspects are being sent to the notorious torture prison at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.
What about the basic human right to a fair trial or even to know what you are charged with. The Obama administration has sided with the discredited Bush administration saying that detainees cannot challenge their detention in US courts. President Obama — a constitutional lawyer himself — is denying habeas corpus rights to detainees at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay. They will be imprisoned and tortured indefinitely. So after 800 years the principles of Magna Carta are now defunct in the United States.
But there is one terrorist suspect who will get a trial in a US court. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others have been granted a show trial in a civilian court in the United States. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has confessed to the attacks and his confession will be accepted as evidence against him. The problem is that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been water boarded 183 times. (I don’t know about you but I reckon I’d confess to flying the planes into the Twin Towers after the first round of water boarding!) Obama has already declared Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others guilty and promises that they will be executed. No prizes for guessing that the executions will take place just prior to the 2012 presidential elections. And this is from Obama, a constitutional lawyer.
Obama, like his predecessor George Bush, has trashed the US Constitution and is committed to ongoing violations of the Geneva Convention against torture.
What about the continuing scourge of landmines? According to the American Medical Association, an estimated 24,000 people, mainly civilians are killed or ripped apart by landmines and unexploded cluster bombs in war zones each year world wide. The victims are mainly rural poor, many of them children the same age as the President’s two daughters. Yet the Obama administration has just opposed a ban on the production, sale and distribution of land mines. Obama is committed to ensuring the profits of the military industrial complex at any cost to innocent children.
The Nobel Committee awarded the 2009 Peace Prize to Obama, the very person who dropped the most bombs and killed the most poor people on the planet during this year. The same guy started a new war in Pakistan, accelerated the ongoing war in Afghanistan, and continues to threaten Iran with attack unless Iran admits to to phony US-Israeli charges of secret nuclear weapons facilities. The weapons of mass destruction are coming from President Barack Obama.
Obama has reinforced Bush's promise that a military strike on Iran "is not out of the question".
At the same time, Obama simply ignores the war crimes of the ever expanding Zionist state which has more than 200 illegal nuclear warheads. He had nothing to say about the cowardly attack on Gaza early this year, an attack in which Israeli Defence Force troops were ordered to kill unarmed civilians: 1400 people were massacred, 15 out of Gaza’s 29 hospitals bombed, civilian infrastructure destroyed, homes, schools, hospitals, a university, a UN shelter a food warehouses. Meanwhile, Israel continues its theft of Palestinian land with U.S. support and its criminal blockade on Gaza — the world’s biggest ever concentration camp.
At home, Obama’s best friends are the Wall Street gangsters for whom he and George Bush have looted the US treasury with trillion dollar bank bailouts while millions of Americans lose their homes, their jobs and live on the streets without adequate food or any medical care whatsoever.
At this very moment the Obama regime is preparing a Fallujah-style attack in Helmand on the town of Marja in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. Obama’s surge is about to produce a bloodbath and war crimes in Afghanistan that have the potential to surpass those perpetrated by the Bush administration in Iraq.
This surge will deepen and spread the Afghan crisis, with the potential to draw the region into a full-scale war — making it a battlefield for years to come.
We have to oppose Washington’s gratuitous wars being waged for the sake of the profits of the big capitalists who own the war industry. As Edmund Burke said, “all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men [and women] to do nothing”.
We cannot afford to do nothing.
President Barack Obama is driving his presidency into a bloody battlefield strewn with corpses. We have to oppose Obama’s criminal and lawless regime. We have to oppose it and we have to oppose our government’s complicity in its crimes against humanity.
Another world is possible!