A Cruel and Unusual Record

Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States, has scathing words for Obama’s human rights record, his indiscriminate use of drones, and his assault on civil liberties. 

Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.

While the country has made mistakes in the past, the widespread abuse of human rights over the last decade has been a dramatic change from the past. With leadership from the United States, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” This was a bold and clear commitment that power would no longer serve as a cover to oppress or injure people, and it established equal rights of all people to life, liberty, security of person, equal protection of the law and freedom from torture, arbitrary detention or forced exile.

The declaration has been invoked by human rights activists and the international community to replace most of the world’s dictatorships with democracies and to promote the rule of law in domestic and global affairs. It is disturbing that, instead of strengthening these principles, our government’s counterterrorism policies are now clearly violating at least 10 of the declaration’s 30 articles, including the prohibition against “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

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Occupation 101 by Jimmy Carter

Also, check out the recent article by the brilliant Amira Hass, Lexicon of most misleading terms in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for a much-needed factual and historical corrective to the amnesia that too often afflicts mainstream journalists covering the issue. Incidentally, she has this to say about the discourse of “(non-)violent resistance”, raised by Robin Yassin-Kassab in an essay published earlier on P U L S E:

When we define the struggle against foreign rule as “non-violent” or “violent,” it’s as if we asked the occupied to prove their resistance is kosher (or not ). And to whom? The very foreign ruler who considers boycotting settlement products to be unkosher. The adjectives “non-violent” or “violent” presume that the occupation is a natural state of affairs, whose violence is permitted, a civilized norm meant to tame its subjects. “A non-violent struggle” therefore diverts attention from the fact that forced rule is based on the use of violence. Every soldier at a roadblock, every camera on the separation fence, every military edict, a supermarket in a settlement and an Israeli diaper factory on Palestinian land – they are all part of the nonstop violence.

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Jimmy Carter: ‘Peace is possible’ in Holy Land

In his new book “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land,”  former President Jimmy Carter explains the controversy over his previous book on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offers a plan for attaining peace in the Middle East. An excerpt significant for Carter reinforcing that Hamas adhered to the ceasefire, and that peace is not possible without Hamas’s involvement. Full Interview on MSNBC Today (Thanks to Annie).