by Waseem Shehzad (Main Stories, Crescent International Vol. 50, No. 11, Jumada' al-Ula', 1443)
As US President Joe Biden was making his concluding remarks on December 10 to representatives of some 110 countries in his so-called Summit for Democracy (December 9-10), a court in London, England ruled that Julian Assange can be extradited to the US to face criminal charges. Assange is the founder and editor of Wikileaks who released information relating to the wrongdoing of officials in high places, especially in the US.
This is what Biden said in part of his speech: “We’ve shone a spotlight on the importance of protecting media freedom and how advancing the status of women and girls is an investment in the success for our democracies.
“And we’ve focused on the need to empower human rights defenders and make sure technological and — technology enables so much of our lives that is used to advance democracies to lift people up, not to hold them down.”
Despite his advanced age, Biden could not have been unaware that his regime, and that of his predecessors, has hounded Assange for many years for doing his job as a journalist. He should be applauded for such remarkable work, not harassed, threatened and extradited to a regime whose judicial system has repeatedly failed to deliver justice. Yet while extolling the virtues of media freedom and human rights, Biden and his minions are doing exactly the opposite in the case of Assange. How else does one define hypocrisy?
The hypocrisy does not end there. The US claims to be the ‘most powerful’ democracy in the world, while Britain lays claim to being the ‘oldest’. Based on these claims, one is forced to ask: why is the world’s most powerful democracy afraid of a journalist who merely did his job in exposing wrongdoing? And as for Britain’s claim, it is a deeply racist society, one in which racial and religious minorities especially Muslims face extreme discrimination. Britain has also gone completely overboard in its subservience to the Zionist entity that is terrorizing the indigenous people of Palestine.
Let us recall what the summit’s declared purpose was: to “Defend Against Authoritarianism, Fight Corruption and Promote Human Rights.” Stirring stuff but why has Biden failed to even mention India’s egregious human rights violations much less condemn them? Equally, or even more importantly, why is the torture chamber at Guantanamo Bay still holding prisoners without charge or a fair and open trial for more than 10 years? Are they not human beings that have any rights? Representative Ilhan Omar, a member of Congress and woman of color received death threats but there is little or no reaction to such criminal conduct. What kind of democracy would allow that?
Is it a democracy or an oligarchy, as several scholars have suggested? Not surprisingly, Eric Zuess, writing in Counterpunch, declared: “American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it’s pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation’s ‘news’ media).” He went on: “The US, in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious ‘electoral’ ‘democratic’ countries. We weren’t formerly, but we clearly are now.”
Russia and China were not invited to America’s ‘Summit for Democracy’ because the US decided that they do not qualify as democratic states. Such repeat offenders as the Zionist entity, populated by thieves and hustlers from Europe and North America, is called the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East. Presumably, this entitles the Zionist thugs to kill and maim Palestinian children and women and steal their land.
According to the Israeli human rights organization, B’Tselem, “At the end of September 2020, there were 4,184 Palestinian security detainees and prisoners being held in Israel Prison Service (IPS) facilities, including 254 from the Gaza Strip. In addition, 545 Palestinians, 8 of them from the Gaza Strip, were in IPS prisons for being in Israel illegally. The IPS classifies these Palestinians – both detainees and prisoners – criminal offenders.”
According to Addameer, the Palestinians’ Prison Support and Human Rights Association, there are 4,550 Palestinian political prisoners languishing in Israeli jails. These include 500 administrative detainees, 170 children and 32 women. There are also eight Palestinian legislative council members held as prisoners. The ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East has a fine sense of democratic values!
Torture is rampant and denial of basic rights including the denial of medication are common practices in Israeli prisons. Zionist occupied West Bank is dotted with military checkpoints where the humiliation of Palestinians is routine. Israel gets away with such criminal conduct because, well, it is the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East!
And then there is India, the self-proclaimed ‘largest democracy’ in the world. Indian democracy, however, no longer includes the rights of religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians. India’s 200 million Muslims have faced the wrath of Hindutva fascists that insist on turning India into an exclusivist Hindu state. The current ruling party, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has its roots in the Hindu fascist outfit, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Between December 17 and 19, at a ‘Dharma Sansad’ (Religious parliament) organized at Haridwar in Uttarakhand a number of Hindu leaders openly called for the genocide of Muslims. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence makes him complicit in the call for genocide!
While Muslims bear the brunt of Hindu extremist violence, other religious minorities such as Christians are also not spared. According to a report in October released by human rights organizations, more than 300 attacks on Christians took place in India in the first nine months of 2020. Western media and regimes that immediately go berserk if Christians are attacked in any Muslim country, there is deafening silence about Indian crimes. Why?
The US considers India an important ally. So does Canada and neither is willing to criticize an ‘important ally’. Concern for human rights and democracy are set aside. “The U.S.-India partnership is founded on a shared commitment to freedom, democratic principles, equal treatment of all citizens, human rights, and the rule of law,” says the State Department website.
State department bureaucrats cannot be unaware of India’s horrific human rights record whether for the long-suffering Kashmiri people under Indian military occupation or the 200 million Muslims in India proper. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published two damning reports about India’s gross human rights abuses in Kashmir in 2018 and 2019. How can the State Department say with a straight face that India is committed “to freedom, democratic principles, equal treatment of all citizens, human rights, and the rule of law” in the face of such clear evidence?
India’s brutal suppression of Kashmiri aspirations predates the creation of Pakistan and India in 1947. Nearly 96,000 Kashmiris have been killed by India’s 900,000 occupation forces since 1989 and more than 11,000 women have been raped. Despite such well-documented crimes, Indian officials, including Modi are welcomed in Western capitals and accorded red carpet reception.
The arrest on November 22 of Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez under the notorious anti-terrorism law, Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), once again exposed India’s anti-democratic and brutal nature. Like the Zionist entity, India, too, brands human rights defenders as ‘terrorists’. Not surprisingly, the two have close political and military ties.
As for Muslims in India, life has never been easy but it has become infinitely worse since Modi became prime minister in 2014. He had already honed his murderous skills as chief minister of Gujarat state. In February 2002, he allowed the slaughter of more than 2,000 innocent Muslims by preventing the police from taking action against the perpetrators!
With Modi’s assumptions of power, Hinduva terrorists now have a state under their control. The police, intelligence agencies and bureaucracies are all full of Hindu extremists who target Muslims branding them as “aliens” and, therefore, enemies of the state. They have made no secret of their desire to turn India into an exclusivist Hindu state.
This is not speculation. In February 2020, Hindu mobs egged on by an extremist preacher attacked Muslims and their properties in Delhi. Some 53 people, the vast majority Muslims, were killed in four days of violence. An elderly Muslim woman, 85-year-old grandmother was burnt alive in her third-floor apartment, as reported by India new portal, scroll.in. Far from preventing such attacks, the police joined in beating and shooting Muslims.
These incidents were widely reported in the media, including American outlets at the time. Some observers both inside the country and outside even raised alarm that attacks against Muslims were approaching a “pogrom”.
There is a bi-partisan and autonomous federal panel, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that reports on such abuses and recommends action. For two years, 2020 and 2021, the USCIRF has recommended that India be listed as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) along with 13 others. The US State Department has stubbornly refused to do so because India is an “ally”. It is clear that US concern about human rights and media freedoms is selective at best and hypocritical at worst.
Even at home, American democracy is a sham. It is evident from voter suppression in Florida in 2000 disenfranchising millions of African-Americans. Current voter-suppression laws in Georgia and Texas reconfirm this. Greg Palast has reminded us that “America has the best democracy money can buy.”
Let us look at the 2020 elections for president and Congress. More than $14.4 billion were spent on these elections, the highest total since records have been kept.
It was also more than double the amount spent in the 2016 election cycle. With such massive sums spent on elections, it is evident that individuals and corporations that donate large sums are able to buy candidates to do their bidding. Sheldon Adelson, the casino mogul and a notorious Zionist, before his death earlier this year, had the Republican Party in his pocket. Haim Saban, the Israeli-American, has the Democratic Party in his pocket!
America indeed has the best democracy money can buy. The Zionists bought it a long time ago and that is where it stays!