Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Mushrooms in the basement

Why does it always seem to be the British get the news out about our country first?

Almost 100 prisoners have died in US custody in Iraq and Afghanistan since August 2002, according to US group Human Rights First.

The details were first aired on BBC television's Newsnight programme.
(link via rorschach)

Hell, it's a US group, reporting on deaths in US custody. We used to have a tradition of journalism in this country. Now we have CNN; MSNBC; FoxNews; besides the three "major networks." And nobody could break this story?

If they did, I missed it.

No, I didn't. I Googled "Human Rights First" under "News," and I got these links to this story: Radio New Zealand and The Scotsman. Oh, and this, from Al Jazeera:

Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, launched recently a new attack on the American President George W. Bush, denouncing the administration’s persistent refusal to shut down Guantanamo jail, despite numerous international calls to shut down the notorious detention facility in Cuba.

Guantanamo Bay camp reflected "a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm", Dr John said.

Last month, Amnesty International launched its "Tell the Truth about Torture, Mr. President" campaign where it enlisted thousands of people who urge the president to be honest with all Americans about the U.S. government's use of torture in the so-called "war on terror."

"The White House has dodged the truth about torture for too long," said Dr. William F. Schulz, Amnesty International's Executive Director. "With reports of torture in the news virtually every day, it is imperative the president and all in his administration end the secrecy and end the torture. This campaign will allow thousands of Americans to demand that torture in our names is not committed again and insist that the president speak the truth in his State of the Union address about this heinous crime."

Following the latest report compiled by 5 UN inspectors on the horrific treatment and harsh conditions detainees face at Guantanamo jail, Dr Sentamu called on the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) to immediately take a strong action against the U.S. - through the U.S. courts or the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Remarks made by Sentamu, the Church of England's second in command, are expected to boost the international, unprecedented united and strong stance against the U.S. government’s insistence not to close its torture camp in Cuba.

"The American Government is breaking international law,"

"The U.S. should try all 500 detainees at Guantanamo, who still include eight British residents, or free them without further delay. To hold someone for up to four years without charge clearly indicates a society that is heading towards George Orwell's Animal Farm," Dr. Sentamu told The Independent.
Probably didn't know about that either, did you? This is the way the world talks about this. This is what the world knows about us.

Why don't we know it?

Oh, and remember Katrina? Remember poverty in America? Heard anything about that since Anderson Cooper was in New Orleans in August? Neither have I. Don't worry: the British have.
A shocking 37 million Americans live in poverty. That is 12.7 per cent of the population - the highest percentage in the developed world. They are found from the hills of Kentucky to Detroit's streets, from the Deep South of Louisiana to the heartland of Oklahoma. Each year since 2001 their number has grown.

Under President George W Bush an extra 5.4 million have slipped below the poverty line. Yet they are not a story of the unemployed or the destitute. Most have jobs. Many have two. Amos Lumpkins has work and his children go to school. But the economy, stripped of worker benefits like healthcare, is having trouble providing good wages.

Even families with two working parents are often one slice of bad luck - a medical bill or factory closure - away from disaster. The minimum wage of $5.15 (£2.95) an hour has not risen since 1997 and, adjusted for inflation, is at its lowest since 1956. The gap between the haves and the have-nots looms wider than ever. Faced with rising poverty rates, Bush's trillion-dollar federal budget recently raised massive amounts of defence spending for the war in Iraq and slashed billions from welfare programmes.

For a brief moment last year in New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina brought America's poor into the spotlight. Poverty seemed on the government's agenda. That spotlight has now been turned off. 'I had hoped Katrina would have changed things more. It hasn't,' says Cynthia Duncan, a sociology professor at the University of New Hampshire.

Oklahoma is in America's heartland. Tulsa looks like picture-book Middle America. Yet there is hunger here. When it comes to the most malnourished poor in America, Oklahoma is ahead of any other state. It should be impossible to go hungry here. But it is not. Just ask those gathered at a food handout last week. They are a cross section of society: black, white, young couples, pensioners and the middle-aged. A few are out of work or retired, everyone else has jobs
If it didn't make me so damned angry, I'd be ashamed for my country. What's the matter with Kansas? We're idiots, that's what. And our corporate media treats us like mushrooms. They keep us in the dark, and they feed us shit.

Damn them all.

But you know what? We are the sovereigns in this country. "We the people." We rule.

The responsibility starts with us. Now what are we going to do about it?

No comments:

Post a Comment