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Full Text of Human Rights Record of the United States in 2009

English.news.cn   2010-03-12 16:25:30 FeedbackPrintRSS

Chaotic management of prisons in the United State also led to wide spread of diseases among the inmates. According to a report from the U.S. Justice Department, a total of 20,231 male inmates and 1,913 female inmates had been confirmed as HIV carriers in the U.S. federal and state prisons at yearend 2008. The percentage of male and female inmates with HIV/AIDS amounted to 1.5 and 1.9 percent respectively (http://www.news-medical.net, December 2, 2009). From 2007 to 2008, the number of HIV/AIDS cases in prisons in California, Missouri and Florida increased by 246, 169, and 166 respectively. More than 130 federal and state inmates in the U.S. died of AIDS-related causes in 2007 (http://thecrimereport.org, December 2, 2009). A report by the Human Rights Watch released in March 2009 said although the New York State prison registered the highest number of prisoners living with HIV in the country, it did not provide the inmates with adequate access to treatment, and even locked the inmates up separately, refusing to provide them with treatment of any kind. (www.hrw.org, March 24, 2009).

While advocating "freedom of speech," "freedom of the press" and "Internet freedom," the U.S. government unscrupulously monitors and restricts the citizens' rights to freedom when it comes to its own interests and needs.

The U.S. citizens' freedom to access and distribute information is under strict supervision. According to media reports, the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) started installing specialized eavesdropping equipment around the country to wiretap calls, faxes, and emails and collect domestic communications as early as 2001. The wiretapping programs was originally targeted at Arab-Americans, but soon grew to include other Americans. The NSA installed over 25 eavesdropping facilities in San Jose, San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago among other cities. The NSA also announced recently it was building a huge one million square feet data warehouse at a cost of 1.5 billion U.S. dollars at Camp Williams in Utah, as well as another massive data warehouse in San Antonio, as part of the NSA's new Cyber Command responsibilities. The report said a man named Nacchio was convicted on 19 counts of insider trading and sentenced to six years in prison after he refused to participate in NSA's surveillance program (http://www.onelinejournal.com, November 23, 2009).

After the September 11 attack, the U.S. government, in the name of anti-terrorism, authorized its intelligence authorities to hack into its citizens' mail communications, and to monitor and erase any information that might threaten the U.S. national interests on the Internet through technical means. The country's Patriot Act allowed law enforcement agencies to search telephone, email communications, medical, financial and other records, and broadened the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting foreign persons suspected of terrorism-related acts. The Act expanded the definition of terrorism, thus enlarging the number of activities to which law enforcement powers could be applied. On July 9, 2008, the U.S. Senate passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008, granting legal immunity to telecommunication companies that take part in wiretapping programs and authorizing the government to wiretap international communications between the United States and people overseas for anti-terrorism purposes without court approval (The New York Times, July 10, 2008). Statistic showed that from 2002 to 2006, the FBI collected thousands of phones records of U.S. citizens through mails, notes and phone calls. In September 2009, the country set up an Internet security supervision body, further worrying U.S. citizens that the U.S. government might use Internet security as an excuse to monitor and interfere with personal systems. A U.S. government official told the New York Times in an interview in April 2009 that NSA had intercepted private email messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by U.S. Congress the year before. In addition, the NSA was also eavesdropping on phones of foreign political figures, officials of international organizations and renowned journalists (The New York Times, April, 15, 2009). The U.S. military also participated in the eavesdropping programs. According to CNN reports, a Virginia-based U.S. military Internet risk evaluation organization was in charge of monitoring official and unofficial private blogs, official documents, personal contact information, photos of weapons, entrances of military camps, as well as other websites that "might threaten its national security."

The so-called "freedom of the press" of the United States was in fact completely subordinate to its national interests, and was manipulated by the U.S. government. According to media reports, the U.S. government and the Pentagon had recruited a number of former military officers to become TV and radio news commentators to give "positive comments" and analysis as "military experts" for the U.S. war in Iraq and Afghanistan, in order to guide public opinions, glorify the wars, and gain public support of its anti-terrorism ideology (The New York Times, April 20, 2009). At yearend 2009, the U.S. Congress passed a bill which imposed sanctions on several Arab satellite channels for broadcasting contents hostile to the U.S. and instigating violence (http://blogs.rnw.nl). In September 2009, protesters using the social-networking site Twitter and text messages to coordinate demonstrations clashed with the police several times in Pittsburgh, where the Group of 20 summit was held. Elliot Madison, 41, was later charged with hindering apprehension of the protesters through the Internet. The police also searched his home (http://www.nytimes.com, October 5, 2009). Vic Walczak, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said the same conduct in other countries would be called human rights violations whereas in the United States it was called necessary crime control.

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Editor: Zhang Xiang
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