Saturday, December 24, 2016

            A Christmas Message

    It is the Christmas season, everyone is sending and receiving cards wishing for peace and goodwill to all men and women. But for most people this is just something they say. They do not  really mean it. They do not know, nor do they care,  how our government contributes to spreading the murder and abuse of innocent civilians by means of its military assistance programs.

    During  all this Christmas Season, as much as during the remainder of the year, our government gives away taxpayer money to the militaries of different countries which are well-known to torture and kill  civilians with complete impunity. Our government,  required by law not to give the weapons systems to countries that practice torture, simply ignores the law and continues to finance military establishments that disregard human rights every day.

    Here are a few examples:

    Israel receives the largest amount of military subsidies, more or less $3 billion a year. Their military harass Palestinians with random checkpoints, uprooting olive groves, and, according to some, maltreating children in their prisons.

    In our hemisphere, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia all receive generous military aid. According to Amnesty International " torture, massacres, disappearances  and killings of non-combatants are widespread [in Colombia] and collusion between the armed forces and paramilitary groups continues to this day." The situation in Colombia is so bad that Amnesty International has urged the US government to suspend military aid to the country. Our government has not responded to that suggestion.

    About Mexico, Amnesty International has this to say: "Federal, state, and municipal police forces also continue to commit serious human rights violations in several states. Women experience high levels of gender-based violence with little access to justice. Irregular migrants are at high risk of abduction and murder  by criminal gangs and abuse and extortion by corrupt Mexican officials. Women migrants are often raped. Journalists and human rights defenders are killed, harassed or face fabricated criminal charges. . . . Defending human rights can be a life-threatening job in Mexico. Scores of activists have suffered death threats, intimidation, and harassment in the last few years. Some of them have been killed for doing their job."  
    In Honduras the Clinton State Department supported a military coup that deposed a duly elected presidential candidate and replaced him with a right-wing candidate sponsored by the CIA. The police are accused of killing legitimate demonstrators with live ammunition or rubber bullets. Violence against women on the part of police is widespread and well known; rape by police officials is common.    

    Similar reports come in from other Latin American countries where the military and police forces, generously financed by the Department of State and the Department of Defense of the United States, abuse and murder civilians with complete impunity.

    Observers all around the world report on death and harassment of civilians paid for by US taxpayers.

    Before you send out one more " Peace to the World and Goodwill to Men" card, go and inform yourself on the Amnesty International website about the many ways in which our government brings war and brutality to many countries by generously giving weapons to police and the military.

 Once you see the facts, join those of us who protest these policies.