Carter warns US of losing moral authority

2012-06-25 19:22

Washington - Former president Jimmy Carter warned on Monday that the United States is losing its moral authority on human rights by engaging in targeted assassinations and other widespread rights abuses.

Writing in The New York Times, Carter charged that US counter-terrorism police was in violation of 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"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," he said.

Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for his work in resolving conflicts since leaving office in 1980, is credited with having made human rights a central theme of US foreign policy.

But in his opinion piece, entitled A Cruel and Unusual Record, the former president warned that the United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.

"At a time when popular revolutions are sweeping the globe, the United States should be strengthening, not weakening, basic rules of law and principles of justice enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights," he wrote.

"But instead of making the world safer, America's violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends."


Among the abuses Carter cited were drone attacks that kill civilians, targeted assassinations of American citizens, powers to indefinitely detain terror suspects, the use of torture to obtain confessions and privacy violations through warrantless wiretapping and electronic data mining.

"This development began after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 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," Carter said.
"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," he said.

Carter was particularly scathing about the campaign of drone attacks on suspected al-Qaeda operatives, begun under the administration of George W Bush and intensified since President Barack Obama took office.

Practices continue

"Despite an arbitrary rule that any man killed by drones is declared an enemy terrorist, the death of nearby innocent women and children is accepted as inevitable," he wrote.

"After more than 30 airstrikes on civilian homes this year in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai has demanded that such attacks end, but the practice continues in areas of Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen that are not in any war zone.

"We don't know how many hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in these attacks, each one approved by the highest authorities in Washington. This would have been unthinkable in previous times."

Citing top military and intelligence officials, Carter said the escalation of drone attacks has "turned aggrieved families toward terrorist organisations, aroused civilian populations against us and permitted repressive governments to cite such actions to justify their own despotic behaviour".

  • bernard.herbert.9 - 2012-06-25 19:37

    You were part of the great betrayal, that saw the hand over on a plate of the successful Rhodesia, who despite sanctions had a strong economy and dollar... in other words responsible for an assasination of mass proportions of your own (look at teh state Zimbabwe is in)... SO WHO CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY, go back to your peanuts, since you turned the breadbasket of Africa into the peanut shell disposal bin of the world!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:02

      A little harsh wouldn't you say. Mugabe, and Zimbabweans who've allowed Mugabe to do what he's doing, are far more responsible. Responsible, different to blame. The ability and willingness to respond.

      Richard - 2012-06-25 20:41

      God! Rhodies never die. Thirty four years later and the critters are still crawling from under the rocks. Carter had nothing to do with the fall of your Rhodesia. It was an absurdity that was bound to fail on its own. Infact, Carter and other Western leaders prolonged the freak that was Rhodesia with their hypocritical Cold War machinations. Even they, however realised how ludicrous the concept of Rhodesian was and how supporting its lunacy was actually losing the Cold War for them. Even apartheid numbskulls like Voster and Pik Botha realised how pathetic and futile the concept of Rhodesia was and tried as much as possible to distinguish their own brand of madness from that championed by the one eyed butcher's son from Shurugwi.

  • pmalungana - 2012-06-25 19:50

    The media both locally and abroad have been complicint in paintig a picture of America as the champion in fighting human rights abuse across the world. Historically, America has to a larger extent been supportive of human rights abusers across the globe for as long as they suite its capitalist agenda.From the dark age of slavery upon which its economic strength was founded right across the middle east. They are known to be violent every where they go but the media always paint a picture of America has the champion of peace for as long as these capitalists fund them.There is nothing new about America is criminal activities across the world which also spread to Africa in the form of racial opression against people of colour.The international court of justice has now become a court of injustice as its focus is on African leaders who do not toe the lane. It is a sheer hypocracy for Mr. Carter to pretend as if this only started during the Obama era. It has been policy of the Americans to attack every small countries for ytheir own economic benefits. no white contry has ever been targeted for a white man's life is more important than those of other racial groups. Afrcan leaders are being hauled to face criminal charges and convicted unfairly by the so called International Court of Injustice.None of these superior light skin Americans have been subjected to such humiliation.Instead the world is urged to emulate the west notworthstanding its outstanding record of human rights abuse.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:00

      What absolute nonsense. Wake up and educate yourself. There's little point in making things up to suit your own blind prejudices.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:06

      You're only adding to your own and human suffering by lying to yourself.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:11

      Your racism is dripping from every word. We're South Africans. We stand against racism, not for it.

      Richard - 2012-06-25 20:13

      You are so right brother Hasani. The points you make are so strong that idiot Fraser cannot tackle them. Instead the fool resorts to inane insults.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:22

      Funny, Richard. I'm the idiot insulting Hasani.

      Juan - 2012-06-25 20:39

      Listen you idiot not everything revolves around race and Africa. There are bigger global forces at work than petty African native style "poor black victims" politics. Get over yourself.

      alfred.karius - 2012-06-26 08:49

      Carter suffers from the typical american exeptionalism delusion. 'Moral authority' what a joke. Carter is a complete hypocrite. Nobody does hypocrisy like America's do hypocrisy. Everything about America is a farce. Its democracy is a farce, along with freedom of speech, human rights, justice etc. In the last fifty years America has murdered over 5 million innocent civilians. In Vietnam they murdered millions, many by literally burning alive. They committed the biggest environmental crime in history; the spraying of millions of hectares of rainforest with agent orange which has resulted in over 100 000 severely mutated Vietnamese babies being born. They leave the countries they have invaded saturated with mutation inducing poisons and never ever admit culpability for their war crimes and crimes against humanity and never ever compensate the victims of their crimes. @Hasani P America does not recognize the International Criminal Court. In fact Bush and some of his government ministers like Cheney and Rumsfelt cannot travel outside of america for fear of being arrested on war crimes charges. When non americans kill innocent civilians americans call that murder, when americans kill more innocent civilians than the rest of the world combined, americans call that 'collateral damage'. When americans torture, and they torture thousands of people, they call it 'enhanced interrogation'.

      alfred.karius - 2012-06-26 08:50

      America is a warmongering, corrupt, torturing, imperial, fascist, tyrannical police state. They imprison without trial, their president can order the killing or kidnapping and torturing of anyone he feels like and yet they somehow think that they are the shining example of democracy on the planet. 'Moral authority', yeah right.

  • jack.bleck - 2012-06-25 20:18

    It goes much further back than he has stated. The US covertly supported the Apartheid government - Cuito Cuanavale would have had a massively different outcome had the US not withdrawn their support at the last minute. The Americans even have a saying for the dictators they supported during the Cold War era - they call them Our Bastards!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:31

      It's easy but wrong to simplify looking back like this, to another era in which the whole world was different. You're also leaving out a lot of information.

      Dee - 2012-06-26 01:51

      Way, way back. Read the story of just Klaus Barbie, captured WW2 war criminal 'The Butcher of Llyon' who was recruited by US 'Counter Intelligence Agency', installed in Bolivia under new identity and who spent the next ?40yrs continuing his torturing, coup plotting advising the likes of Chile's Pinochet. US were forced to give a formal apology to France when Barbie was eventually extradited, but none was ever forthcomming to Bolivia, Chile etc.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-26 02:42

      Let's live in the distant past, that is no longer relevant, that occurred in a completely different world paradigm, and miss the new world we're birthing, right here, right now. Let's hold on to the past and distort it to comport with our present prejudices and fears.

      Dee - 2012-06-26 03:35

      What's changed with US foreign policy Fred? Always some 'ism' to justify self serving interference and establishing more and more global military footprints. CommunISM ... TerrorISM ... A never ending addiction to war, military dominance, and a plethora of black ops that makes Al-CIAda indistinguishable from Al-Queda. PLUS a present day very odd reluctance to be party to the International Criminal Court of the Hague. (I wonder why that is?!)

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-06-26 07:44

      ""PLUS a present day very odd reluctance to be party to the International Criminal Court of the Hague"" You forgot to mention , Russia and China, ALSO are no signatories to the ICC !!! But, I suppose, when one wants to make an anti Western comment, its easy to forget !!!

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:21

    I agree with Carter about torture and the danger to civilians of drone attacks. But it is completely legitimate to preempt attacks on oneself by targeting those who are actively waging war. Unfortunately he seems to say nothing about the US allowing the untold murder and destruction of Syrians by an unelected and illegitimate dictator.

      Juan - 2012-06-25 20:47

      Well the cowards use women and children as human shields. What are they supposed to do, lay down and say you win to the terrorists.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:57

      The usual faulty, prejudiced perspective from Muedes that does nothing to strengthen positive futures, everything to weaken them. Syrians are complaining the US is not helping them defend themselves against the cruel unelected, dictator Bashar Assad who has an unfair advantage, being in control of state resources and the military. This is the issue, not that the US is helping them.

      Juan - 2012-06-25 21:03

      Let me tell you muedes without US involvement in Afghanistan for instance, the Afghani government is screwed, their is no way they are able to stay in power and fend off the taliban and al queda. Next thing you see it changes into s terrorist training centre backed by iran and pakistan. I say the US involvement is necessary.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 21:12

      To recap, as you continue to blind yourself. Al-Quaida declared war on the freer world when Saudi Arabia allowed NATO to use Saudi facilities to protect Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's invasion of that country. It has been waging war ever since, culiminating with the 9/11 attacks that intentionally killed civilians from 90 countries. Al-Quaida and Jihadists have killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of civilians with car bombs and suicide attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere. They are attacking Nigeria right now. It's sad that you'd run away when attacked. Thankfully the US does not do this. If it did, the world would be in great danger, more than you are allowing yourself to imagine.

      Richard - 2012-06-25 21:24

      So what you are saying, my dear Fraser, is that it is perfectly legitimate for someone, let's say a home owner, to take out their guns and shoot any person they think (for whatever reason) is capable or is planning to invade their homes and kill them? Just think man what utter chaos that would cause. That is what America is doing at a global level and you do not see it because it is not done to you and yours. Do you think all those Pakistanis burning and stomping on American flags are suffering from some illogical anti American hysteria. No man, the poor people have are at the mercy of off the hook mad men taking potshots at them with murderous toy planes, indiscriminately killing their mothers, fathers and brothers. Would you sleep at night if you knew that drones controlled by some trigger happy licenced to kill idiots were buzzing above you? The rebels in Syria you want to arm, are they going to be shooting birds with those guns? But its okay ... you are the chosen ones... those you kill do not matter... they are supporters of the tyrant Assad...they are not people really... Man you are so cruel and the thing that bugs me is that you make yourself sound so superior, so reasonable, so humane, and such a lover of decency, democracy and peace.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 21:32

      You're woefully misinformed and labouring under strong pseudo-victim beliefs.

      Richard - 2012-06-25 22:08

      Pseudo to you but unfortunately so real to many.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 22:26

      It's important to understand the difference between pseudo-victimhood and true victimization. There are real victims in the world.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 22:50

      Jihadists should be given territory to live their way of life, provided they do not contravene human rights. These rights should be enforced, if necessary.

  • Mike Peach Purchase - 2012-06-25 20:23

    Eish there are some clever comments here,you okes for president.

  • carel.venter.9 - 2012-06-25 20:26

    Jimmy read the book Behold the Pale Horse, that crap has been going on since the begining of the U.S. CIA not called "Departement of dirty tricks" for nothing.

  • catgirl1971 - 2012-06-25 20:28

    The US sadly lost their morals years ago. What was once a great country is no more. Greed has taken over and it is run by a select few who treat it as their own personal fiefdom. They love to stick their noses into other countries' businesses in order to create mayhem so wars can be fought; their ultimate aim being the 'New World Order' which Obama has frequently spoken about. Watch out for these sly buggers.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 20:39

      Clearly your perspective is tainted by delusional One World Government beliefs, which are tantamount to "the US attacked itself on 9/11" and other faulty ideas. You also fall prey to the idea of "the good old days" when everything was supposedly better than the present. It wasn't.

      Juan - 2012-06-25 20:52

      catgirl the world is forever changing. There is nothing sinister about the new world order, take China's rise to power and wealth, it's the new world order, and it has nothing to do with any spindoctors pulling strings behind the scenes.

  • Richard - 2012-06-25 21:00

    Is it only me... whenever I listen to Hillary Clinton these days I get the sense that America has not only lost its moral authority... but its marbles as well. That lady is seriously off her rockers and I shudder for all the helpless little countries out there...

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 21:13

      It's only you

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-25 21:27

      Meaning you're feeling helpless and fearful, hence you imagine the "little countries" are being threatened by Hilary Clinton. You've probably been hurt by one or more women that this identification is happening. The solution is to feel, express and release your pain, hurt, fear and anger. Then your lenses will be clear again.

      Dee - 2012-06-26 01:43

      No - it is not only you Richard - but to understand her, you need to read George Orwell 1984 to translate the 'loss of marbles'. And on the topic of psycho and it's babbeling - LOL @ Fred's analysis that you were hurt by a woman so that's why you question H.Clinton .... THAT's FUNNY - but don't worry Richard, he attributed one of my opinions to me being a ????something-or-other pitifully abused / emotionally deprived woman. (I thought he was a chauvanist - so happy to see he deals out this psycho-babbel to men too!!!) LMAO!!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-06-26 02:45

      That's so Old World, Dee, decades old. Defunct. Irrelevant today in the multipolar world that is birthing.

      Dee - 2012-06-26 03:21

      Selective "Humanitarian Intervention" in a resource rich and strategically located nation is VERY RECENT Orwellean term used for 'Regime Change'. It is your slavishly Eurocentric non-critical thinking and naive trust (aka Gullable) that is Old World Fred.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-06-26 11:02

      @Dee , was regime change needed with the national socialists of Germany under the F├╝hrer ? Archaic tolerance for violence and oppression by fascists under theocratic pretences is is astonishing for those loading human rights as a 'weapon' against the US. Yes they have made monumental mistakes and are easily critisised for those (should be) but remember that you face death for that very privilage in the ideology societies they are combating. Unfortunately fence sitting on this clash is only a delay , one side supports multi-cultural coexistence the other domination via religous dogma .

      alfred.karius - 2012-06-26 16:51

      That bitch Hillary displays typical american hypocrisy, she constantly criticizes other countries for their human rights abuses when the country she represents is guilty of the worst human rights abuses in the twenty first century. America is guilty of invading countries for their resources, under false pretences, killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of their citizens. America tortures thousands, it has setup torture centers all over the world. They have a higher percentage of people in their jails than any other country on the planet. Clinton chastised china for wanting to censor the internet within its OWN borders then she and her government call for censoring the internet WORLD WIDE by trying to ban the whistleblower site wikkileaks, which exposed american warcrimes and crimes against humanity. Bradley Manning was imprisoned in solitary confinement for over eighteen months under absolutely shocking conditions that violated international human rights laws. Hillary is the queen of hypocrisy.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-06-26 00:17

    We are talking about the Nation founded on the genocide of the Native American Indians aren't we? The country built on the blood and bones of generations of slaves? And the Nation that until the 60's enjoyed an institutionalised apartheid that saw blacks treated as less than human? The only people who hold the US in respect are the Euros, since US is a part of them. Call it "white man's exceptionalism", of which American exceptionalism is an overgrown parcel. Now, America ressembles an ageing and schizophrenic vulture that won't admit it is time to retire. Instead, it insists on taking down with it everything that may challenge its deranged ego. No doubt, militarily powerful but morally exhausted and bankrupt.

      Larry - 2012-06-26 10:29

      Terrorism by entities that are not affiliated to sovereign states can only be combatted by anti-terrorism measures. These measures are to terrorise the terrorists, and the USA does this successfully and out of necesity.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-06-26 10:36

      The US is at odds with a culture that has embraced imperilism from its beginning , seen the genocide of mulitple peoples ,initiated slavery as business , seeks global domination of its laws , subjucation of all others including women and is beyond critisism or defection , punishable by death . In any other form a , "death cult". I hardly think moral authority can be banded about .

      alfred.karius - 2012-06-26 17:48

      @allcoveredinNinjas; You are obviously oblivious to the fact that your post describes america to a tee. America is an imperialist state with over 700 military bases around the world. It is founded on genocide and slavery, wiping out the original inhabitants and bring in millions of slaves from Africa, it seeks "full spectrum dominance" with its 'Project for the New American Century'. It has killed far more innocent people than the Islamists have and it imprisons anti-war and Occupy Wallstreet activists and it tortures and imprisons those who expose its crimes against humanity like Bradley Manning.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-06-26 01:07

    Those professing the highest levels of morality exhibit the lowest.The Government in Washington has no morals, it gets high on the smell of oil and taste of blood. The US has been bullying people and murdering them around the globe for the past sixty years. The idea that the US Government and the institutions that represent it have any moral framework is incredible. "If such a ponerogenic union could be stripped of its ideology, nothing would remain except psychological and moral pathology, naked and unattractive." Andrew M. Lobaczewski, Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes.

      alfred.karius - 2012-06-26 17:27

      What I want to know is how ziyaad.zizoo manages to post such long posts with that annoying new24 character limit that forces the rest of us to divide our comments into little parcels.

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