Ismail Salami: Obama Legalises the Illegal, Targets Innocents
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was bitterly right when he said US president Barack Obama “seems to be a nice man, and that is precisely the problem” and aptly described him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
Under the pretext of combating terrorism, Obama has followed in the footsteps of former President George Bush and even intensified the killer drone attacks in different parts of the world, a move which has terminated in the unfortunate deaths of multitudes of innocent people. President Obama argues that the drone strikes are focused efforts to exterminate people who are on a list of active terrorists and that they have not caused huge human losses.
Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who represents families of civilians killed in US killer drone strikes, says, "Either President Obama is lying to the nation, or he is too naive, to believe on the reports which CIA is presenting to [him]."
In a similar strain, Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK has said:
"So many people who spoke out against George [W.] Bush’s extraordinary rendition and Guantánamo and indefinite detention have been very quiet when it comes to the Obama administration, who is not putting people in those same kind of conditions, instead is just taking them out and killing them. So we need to make people speak up and say that when Obama says this [program] is on a tight leash, this is not true, this is a lie."
Only in Pakistan, Obama has authorized over 300 drone attacks and has killed innocent civilians. A new study by Stanford Law School and New York University's School of Law shows that the killer “drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective.” Besides, the study calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low – about 2%. The report says Washington is misrepresenting drone strikes as "a surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer," saying that in reality, "there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians."
In a 29-page report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Philip Alston, the United Nations special representative on extrajudicial executions, called on the United States to exercise greater restraint in its use of drones.
“I’m particularly concerned that the United States seems oblivious to this fact when it asserts an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe. But this strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage to the rules designed to protect the right to life and prevent extrajudicial executions.”
Considered the most extensive effort by the UN to deal with the legal aspects of armed drones, the report says:
“Because operators are based thousands of miles away from the battlefield, and undertake operations entirely through computer screens and remote audio-feed, there is a risk of developing a ‘PlayStation’ mentality to killing.”
In parallel with the illegal CIA-operated killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq and many other secret destinations, Obama has initiated a system of silent killings in Iran by imposing sanctions which have indirectly but agonizingly targeted the Iranian patients, endangering the lives of 6 million people and claiming the lives of many. On November 26, Dr. Seyed Alireza Marandi, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, wrote a letter to Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General and voiced grave concern over the health of the ailing people in Iran and called on him to take necessary steps for the effective removal of the sanctions so brutally targeting the Iranian patients.
Besides, Obama is a source of shame to the black race as they are being increasingly targeted by brutality and hate crimes. According to a report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups has continued to grow. The center, which has kept track of such groups for 30 years, recorded 1,018 hate groups operating in 2011. Last year, the center tracked 1,274 of those groups, up from 824 the year before.
“They represent both a kind of right-wing populist rage and a left-wing populist rage that has gotten all mixed up in anger toward the government,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center and the author of the report.
Although the report traces the ‘stunning rise’ in hate crimes to antagonism towards Obama, it seems a far-fetched assumption as social unrest is rife in the country and it well accounts for a considerable percentage of the crimes committed on a daily basis in the United States. In July 2012, a gunman in a gas mask and bullet-proof vest killed 12 and wounded dozens more at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises movie. He did not target black people and his shooting spree can be but seen in the light of some social insecurity brought about by a warmongering government rather than stemming from a feeling of hatred conceived towards Obama. Ergo, the rise in hate crimes is not limited to the black race only. Like a sort of canker, hatred is eroding the very fabric of the American society, a society being fed by a government’s perennial sense of antagonism for this or that race or religion. James Holmes, the Batman killer, is indeed the ‘bane’ of this warmongering government bequeathed as an accursed legacy from Bush to Obama who instead of returning the genie to bottle fed and nurtured it.
As the situation stands, the promises Obama made to the American people and the Muslim community ostensibly went to waste as he made no tangible efforts to eliminate poverty in the US and deracinate Islamophobia in the country and the West. On the contrary, he has consciously augmented the phenomenon to a degree of inconceivable horror. For instance, the only reaction he showed to the sacrilegious act of the Quran burning in Afghanistan at the hands of a bunch of sadomasochist reservists and the massacre of innocent Afghans went no further than a few words of apology.
Thus, Obama is committing crimes against humanity under the guise of ‘a nice man’; as ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’, he is making every brazen effort to legalize the illegal and justify the unjustifiable.
As a peace Nobelist, Obama is indeed a man dressed in borrowed robes. Needless to say, those who awarded him with the peace prize should now be hanging their heads low in shame.