Obama has the nerve 2 criticize Castro on human rights – perhaps a visit 2 Guantanamo would clear this up for POTUS? https://t.co/EoGOtW2zrI
— Patricia Moon (@nobledreamer16) March 22, 2016
I received a call from a friend this evening, who was extremely agitated by news that Obama had criticized Cuba for its record on human rights. I asked that it be repeated because I was certain I had not heard correctly. But, it was true and as this information was comprehended I was outraged; how could anyone who knew what had gone on at Guantanamo have the audacity to criticize anyone? I guess it is just too much to expect Mr. Obama (who promised to close Guantanamo in the first year of his presidency) to actually GO AND SEE that hellhole. He is not planning to visit the troops stationed there either. Trump complains that no officials were at the airport to greet Obama. Obama’s omission is much greater IMHO. If he did go, no amount of sanitized editing could erase the damage already done. Not going suggests an admission of guilt. What ashtonishes me is that no one inside the U.S. seems to care. They are indifferent to it now, all they hear is that this is needed for their protection so they turn a blind eye.
From The Toronto Star:
“We continue, as President Castro indicated, to have some very serious differences, including on democracy and human rights,” said Obama, who planned to meet with Cuban dissidents Tuesday. Still, Obama heralded a “new day” in the U.S.-Cuba relationship and said “part of normalizing relations means we discuss these differences directly.”
Castro was blistering in his criticism of the American embargo, which he called “the most important obstacle” to his country’s economic development. He also pressed Obama to return the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, which is on the island of Cuba, to his government.
But when an American reporter asked about political prisoners in Cuba, he pushed back aggressively, saying if the journalist could offer names of anyone improperly imprisoned, “they will be released before tonight ends.”
“What political prisoners? Give me a name or names,” Castro said.
Cuba has been criticized for briefly detaining demonstrators thousands of times a year but has drastically reduced its practice of handing down long prison sentences for crimes human rights groups consider to be political. Cuba released dozens of prisoners as part of its deal to normalize relations with the U.S., and in a recent report, Amnesty International did not name any current prisoners of conscience in Cuba. Lists compiled by Cuban and Cuban-American groups list between 47 and 80 political prisoners, although Cuban officials describe many as common criminals.
From The Globe and Mail:
Human rights remained an impediment to strengthening ties with Cuba despite the rapprochement reached by the two leaders in December 2014, Obama said, adding a “full flowering” of the relationship could happen only with progress on the issue.
“In the absence of that, I think it will continue to be a very powerful irritant,” Obama said at a sometimes tense joint news conference that was broadcast live on Cuban state television.
At Monday’s news conference, which followed talks between the two leaders, Castro responded sharply to the pressure over his record on rights, saying the U.S. stance reflected a double standard as a country that also violated human rights.He said no country met all international rights agreements, and that Cuba was strong on many areas such as health, access to education and women’s equality.
“Let’s work so that everybody respects all the human rights,” he said. Cuba frequently criticizes the United States on subjects such as racism, violence and the prison the United States maintains at its naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.
From The Guardian:
Following exposés of rendition and torture, Obama has repeatedly promised to close down the Camp Delta detention facility on the base, but Congress has held up his plans. When the president arrives in Havana on Sunday, there will still be dozens of prisoners in Gitmo.
The territorial issue is certain to come up during Monday’s summit with Cuban president Raúl Castro, who has repeatedly insisted that no rapprochement will be complete without a handover of Guantánamo. Cuban sovereignty over the territory is not contested, but the US has an indefinite lease – first signed under a 1903 treaty and then revised in 1934 – that cannot be rescinded without approval of both parties. The government in Havana argues this arrangement is invalid because it was signed under duress. Since Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, it has refused to cash the annual rent payment of approximately $4,000, and instead demanded the return of the land.
White House officials and Secretary of State John Kerry have said closing the base and returning the territory are not on the US agenda. This has not stopped speculation in the presidential campaign. Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for president and a Cuban American, has claimed a handover is imminent. And the Republican-controlled Congress has passed a symbolic motion to protect US jurisdiction.
Initially, in addition the intense fear concerning FBAR penalties, one of the reasons I renounced was that I felt I could not trust the U.S. government. With regard to the expat situation, I expected conditions would likely get worse/more expensive. Still I hedged; how could I give up my identity/birthright, a citizenship thousands would give their eye teeth for? However, I had to ask myself whether or not there was any reason at the time (FBAR, OVDP, etc) to give the U.S. the benefit of the doubt. This failed because I could not ignore the reality of:
- the torture at Abu Gharib and Guantanamo
- the unlawful detainment of “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo without any charges laid
- the unlawful assassination of American citizens by drones, again, without any charges being laid nor a chance to defend oneself in the courts
- entering another country’s airspace without notifying that country (Pakistan)
While I realized the American response to all this would be it is justified due to 9/11 and so forth, I started remembering other things that had always been bothersome: Vietnam, Watergate, the Contra Affair, etc. This made it exceedingly clear that cutting ties with America was absolutely necessary. There was simply nothing there anymore that I could believe in and nothing to suggest the government was trustworthy.
When I hear Obama (or any American official) make such ludicrous judgements, I know I made the right decision. I don’t believe for a moment that the “tax” part of this situation is the only part. It is the abuse,not only of oneself but of anything and anybody the U.S. wishes to impose its will on. And when additional levels of it are demonstrated, one would have to be a fool to continue to believe that the U.S. is exceptional. Or have any faith in the idea that one matters to the U.S. other than for the money it thinks it can get out of holding them captive.
Cuba on U.S. violations of civil rights: racism, violence & Guantanamo. Does POTUS really believe we can't see this? https://t.co/EoGOtW2zrI
— Patricia Moon (@nobledreamer16) March 22, 2016
Here are some of the human rights abuses the U.S. is clearly guilty of:
- forced feeding
- other forms of torture such as secret “black sites”, sexual abuse, rectal hydration, rectal feeding, sleep deprivation, suspension from poles for hours or days while naked, forced submersion
- Enhanced Interrogation Techniques
Abu Zubaydah-83 times in August 2002 & Khalid Sheikh Mohammed- 183 times in March 2003
And here is the utter irony. Many of those in Guantanamo are only there until it is decided whether to send them back to Afghanistan or for trial (and if so, where?). Some have been there without being charged for over TWELVE YEARS. Last summer I came across a set of videos on youtube that were interviews of a former CIA agent who had become a whistleblower on the issue of U.S. using torture. His name is John Kiriakou and he was sentenced to 30 months in jail. In this particular clip, he describes how some of these so-called “terrorists” (and thus worthy of such treatment as listed above) were apprehended. It is readily apparent that many of these were just a bunch of naive young boys who were not known to have actually done anything.
A Tortured Truth – John Kiriakou on Reality Asserts Itself (8/10) Published on May 4, 2015
On Reality Asserts Itself , Former CIA official John Kiriakou described his time as head of counter terrorism in Pakistan and the lie about the torture of Abu Zubaydah.
This video is timed to start with Mr. Kiriaiou’s description of how a practice of raiding houses where it was thought a “terrorist” might be; there is a section discussing Abu Zabadeh and at approximately 20:35 he speaks about human rights. Other videos in this series discuss Cheney, how “only American lives matter” etc. They are extremely interesting and definitely worth a listen.
Where’s the LIKE button? Great post, Tricia.
Thanks Karen. It is simply SO outrageous.
Added a poll which you may not have seen……….
Thanks for the poll. It was hard to choose just one!
Hi Patricia. Just a comment. To my mind, the Poll seems a bit too much ex-pat oriented. The US extra territorial law is affecting everybody worldwide (whether they realize it yet or not) though I grant you to different degrees.
Thanks for this post, Tricia.
For this Canadian citizen, eyes wide open instead of eyes wide shut, exceptionalism (and hypocrisy) says it all for me, a former expat on this expat US CBT and FBAR liberty and justice for all United States persons abroad forum.
I don’t see why anybody would be surprised by this. As somebody wrote earlier on this site, the mantra of the United States is, “DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO”
Once people understand and accept “DO AS WE SAY, NOT AS WE DO” as the overriding mantra and modus operandi of the United States, everything then becomes quite clear, including FATCA, criticizing other countries human rights records, lecturing and hectoring the world about democracy, liberty, liberal economy, etc. Fortunately, many see through this charade now. Still, FATCA grinds on, destroying lives, extorting funds from law abiding citizens, cutting them out of job opportunities and yet, not a single U.S. lawmaker speaks out publicly, not one interacts with those who are a victim of this shakedown. They simply don’t care! Interesting also to note that the Republicans Overseas had promised a law suit, which initially was overturned. They asked more funding and promised swift action. their super lawyer Jim Bopp, was supposed to take this case further. Now, not a word. Not even an update on the status of the case. All that after having requested funds to move the case forward. There is no accountability, only extortion and political motives far removed from the cause at hand. A bunch of fraudsters!
Not sure i understand your point. This IS an expat site. ???????
Surprised, no. But if we don’t keep issues like this public, discuss and so forth, how can we avoid falling into indifference? If reminding prevents even one person from going there…….???
I posted this because I also was thinking in terms of the incredible lack of morality shown by those who are so damn supportive of the Safe Harbour/Same Country Exception program…it’s as if the only issue is getting around the personal inconvenience of CBT. What about the effects on non-US persons in those countries? The amount of money being sucked out of their economies? How can anyone not take a good hard look at whether supporting that sort of situation is any different from what Obama is doing in this instance?
I definitely think the non-expat aspect has influence on the mindsets of those considering renouncing. And there is this side which in my case, overwhelmed all the emotional reaction to losing part of my identity, birthright, etc. The part that most people talk about without mentioning the flip side of what the US is.
About the Bopp case,this is not correct. They are preparing an appeal. I don’t know specifics but I do know they are not a bunch of fraudsters.
At a campaign stop in Pelham, new Hampshire I confronted Chris Christie
On 12 September 2006, Syrian security forces repelled an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, and when White House spokesman Tony Snow issued a statement thanking them, the Syrian Embassy in Washington, D.C. replied that U.S. actions in Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories incite the rise of violent Islamic jihadism…and let’s face it, the war in Iraq was started just so Vice President Cheney’s friends at Halliburton could make money off the oil.
I asked what he would do to discontinue the provocations that incite the rise of violent Islamic jihadism.
Advance to 34:50 on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJ9QKvmAXgU
I was just watching the Presidential candidates react to the news in Brussels. I wondered why I didn’t hear anyone speak to any kind of way to try and promote a peaceful solution. Not only that, but they were only focussed on protecting Americans in America. It just doesn’t occur to them that they could be part of the problem. Doh?
Here’s a direct link to your question:
C’mon Gov. Christie, I think Osama had a point about US forces in Saudi Arabia and it was my understanding this was at least part of the beginning of his issues with the U.S. I also think Christie (when talking about no radical Hindus etc) assumes other countries automatically operate from the doctrine of “separation of church and state.” Not the case in other parts of the world. Has he never heard of the RSS- from which the ruling party in India right now (BJP) is rooted? No radical forms of Judaism that are linked to problems with Palestine?
No, of course not. It is only Arab Muslims who are guilty of this. What garbage.
Could you indicate a little more about what you actually said to him? Just curious…….
I just received a FATCA letter from my Canadian bank today asking me to send them an IRS W8-BEN form today. The letter threatens to report my account to the IRS if I don’t submit a W8-BEN by such and such date.
Does Cuba stalk its expats in this manner? Does Cuba chase them to the ends of the earth and commit acts of financial terrorism against its expats? Does Cuba FATCA its expats?
Actually, Obama still wants to get rid of Guantanamo, but he is not getting much cooperation and I don’t understand why not. Even aside from the human rights issue, it is extremely costly to detain people there. Here is the costs: “Administration officials said that the United States could operate such a site in the United States for $65 million to $85 million less than what Guantanamo costs, which is about $445 million a year.”
Also see Guantanamo “By the Numbers Fact Sheet”
Both Castro and Obama have enormous blind spots. Castro denounced the US for not having a universal health plan, but Cubans often can’t access basic supplies that are widely available here, like Aspirin. Obama is proud of implementing his “Affordable” Care Act that put a lot of people on a health plan, but unfortunately, he sold that plan on a lie that people could keep their health plans and doctors. Instead, many, many middle class Americans had to give up their health plans and doctors while a lot of long venerable health insurance companies have become bankrupt, and health insurance costs have exploded.
Obama spouts off a lot of things he shouldn’t. Remember he declared in his January State of the Union address “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.” Huh? If the economy is NOT in decline, then …
Why isn’t the Fed able to raise interest rates anymore after trying the tiniest increment of .25 in Dec.?
Why are US freight rail traffic suddenly at such low numbers?
Why are the numbers of homeless children at a record high (one in 30)?
Why are almost all recent “job growth” only minimum-wage jobs, rather than jobs that pay a decent living wage?
There are so MANY measures of how poorly the U.S. economy is doing, yet Obama isn’t paying any attention! Instead he likes to preach to other countries about democracy.
Remember when he preached about democracy to Egypt? Look how that turned out!
@ BC Doc
S&*T am i sorry to hear that you got that letter
as a “self relinquinsher” what is your next steps that you are going to be taking
if you don’t feel comfortable answering here in a public fourm can you get in touch with me through one of the mods
I am not in the least bit stressed about this. The letter pertains to my non-registered on-line investment account that I am using to save for retirement. I haven’t been singled out for this– my letter is what every Canadian with a non-registered (this includes TFSAs) will be receiving. I will complete the W8-BEN stating that I am not a “US person” and mail it back to RBC. I’m done with the US– the US taxed my birthright away from me. I have self-relinquished and identify as a non-US person.
P.S. The pages that don’t go back to RBC will be used to line the bottom of my bird-cage.
@ BC Doc
ah……good plan on both counts 🙂
“Not sure i understand your point. This IS an expat site. ???????”
Really? Many of us were never Americans, except in the eyes of the US.
I’m Canadian first, last and always.
Is this site not for people like me?
Interestingly, the enclosed papers try to answer the question, “Who is a US person?”
One answer they give– “A person born in the US who hasn’t renounced their US citizenship.” This is a loaded answer– nothing about relinquishing, how to renounce, whendid you renounce, etc.
Finally, the info says, “If you have any questions, don’t ask us. Talk to your accountant or tax professional.” So not only is the cost of FATCA downloaded onto the Cnd govt and banks, it’s also downloaded onto ordinary Canadians who justifiably have no idea how to interpret foreign tax regulations that are being imposed on them. Ordinary Canadians will thus pay to have their accountants help them complete foreign tax forms.
Do you own any USA stocks in your account as that could have triggered it
@George: I own no US stocks– I sold them all over two years ago as a result of FATCA. I think all Canadian accounts are going to get run over by the FATCA trawler to catch the “US persons.”
When I opened accounts for my kids, a W8-BEN form was part of the account application. All Canadians are getting run through the IRS filter. Unbelievable.
Trisha. Would BC Doc’s RBC letter be important for the Arvay team?
“Following exposés of rendition and torture, Obama has repeatedly promised to close down the Camp Delta detention facility on the base, but Congress has held up his plans. […] And the Republican-controlled Congress has passed a symbolic motion to protect US jurisdiction.”
They did? But that means the 5th and 8th amendments are part of a constitution that constitutes the United States even in Guantanamo. Well, luckily the substitute collection of legal garbage that constitutes today’s United States doesn’t include a 5th and 8th amendment.
But it still means human rights offences in Guantanamo are US human rights offences not Cuban human rights offences.
“P.S. The pages that don’t go back to RBC will be used to line the bottom of my bird-cage.”
Shouldn’t the pages that DO go back to RBC first be used to line the bottom of your bird-cage?
When I saw on T.V. that the president had landed in Cuba I was hopeful that he had defected to a system he apparently prefers to acting within a constitutional restraints.
The Cubans could have him as a co-president to the Castro brothers, Oh yes they can keep the Air Force ONE and the Cadillac he rides in. I was disappointed when I found out he was coming back to the U.S.
Perhaps he will be briefed by his advisers that the Muslims have attacked again in Europe which he seemed to not know about. He can then relax a bit with a round of Golf or a pickup basketball game. It is a big advantage when you lead from behind, Leisure can take the place of any real action against the uncivilized people who are his preferred religion and loves the peaceful way they kill so many people every so often.
It’s not solely an expat site, and yes, we welcome people like you. Some of our best plaintiffs are people like you.
Sorry, I misspoke. I meant “expat issues” which is a wide area and certainly would include anybody/everybody caught up in this. Bad habit I suppose because at the very beginning, all my contacts were expats as I recall.
I took investor’s comment to mean a wide-open reference and the poll was only intended toward those who are affected, not the general public.
I don’t know, I will pass on to SK.