Bury the Rest of Me at Standing Rock: The United States’ Human Rights Record is the Worst in the World

There should be an international law passed by the United Nations, affirmed by the International Criminal Court, and enforced by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that makes it illegal for any nation on this planet to criticize the human rights record of any other nation. Punishment for violations of this law should include the suspect nation’s expulsion from the World Trade Organization, the silencing of their vote on the United Nations Council, the freezing of all that nation’s assets held in trust by the World Bank, the cancellation of all monetary assistance received by that nation from the International Monetary Fund, and a severe credit downgrade with Standard and Poor. In a truly international world, something like this would be possible; however, these organizations do not constitute an international infrastructure that is worth having faith in. This is so because they were all created at the behest of a single nation who brought support on board for them with the sheer force of their momentum coming out of the worldwide conflicts of the early to middle Twentieth Century.

The country in question is, of course, the United States, and the reason that no such law will ever see the light of day in the present international climate is because each of these organizations is so far up the United States’ rectal port that the water on the United States’ knee could keep them free from thirst for a thousand years. Pardon the pun. There is, however, another reason that this is the case. Of all the nations on Earth, especially those of the post atomic and industrial world, the United States has, by far, the worst historical record when it comes to human rights violations. The United States government is not going to turn itself in. Despite this reality, the United States has somehow found its way to the top of the mountain of high moral certitude and is looking down on the rest of the world with almost kingly arrogance as it attempts to shame them for treating their people poorly. One is reminded of an old axiom taught to Americans by their parents and grandparents when they were children. Before you criticize others, make sure that you have checked your own behavior first. It was usually delivered in the form of the question, “Well, isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black?”

The United States government has no right to place itself in any such position and is only making things worse for the American people every time they attempt to tell the rest of the world how to conduct their business. This can be no better visualized than by the treatment received, most recently, by the Indigenous Peoples of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The Dakota Access Pipeline is just one segment in a massive pipeline that is being constructed to transport oil from Canada’s Athabasca Tar Sand oil fields to oil refineries on the United States’ gulf coast. Construction of the pipeline has been delayed several times already because of questions about its impact on the environment, with organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency leading the charge to halt construction of the pipeline entirely. They have argued for increased investment in renewable energy resources to offset any economic complications that this may cause; however, at present, their arguments have been met by deaf ears.

Since the pipeline reached North Dakota, organizations like the Army Corps of Engineers have routinely resisted the EPA’s efforts to stop them, which has now put them in conflict with the Standing Rock tribe of the Sioux Nation. The things that have been done and ordered to be done to these people on behalf of the pipeline, with the standing approval of both the state and federal government, are unconscionable. The Governor has gone so far as to issue an order to the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the Standing Rock Sioux from their lands by force should they refuse to leave under their own power. The deadline for their departure has been set for December 2nd. People have been pressure hosed in freezing temperatures, shot with rubber bullets, hit with concussion grenades, tear gassed, attacked by dogs, beat with clubs, and more. There have even been some near fatal casualties, to include a teenage girl that was shot in the face with a rubber bullet and a woman from New York whose arm was nearly blown off by a concussion grenade. The pipeline has also desecrated sacred burial grounds.

This, however, is not the first time that the United States has proven itself incapable of honoring the rights of indigenous peoples who happen to be in the way of what they consider progress. The Standing Rock issue can trace itself back to a long train of abuses that began when the Sioux Nation signed the first treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851. The Sioux peoples agreed to remain in a general geographic region, namely the greater portion of the northern half of the Great Plains, in exchange for the US government’s promise to respect those boundaries in perpetuity. Later, when it was determined that the quickest route for the Transcontinental Railroad ran through this region, the US government trashed the deal without a second thought. In 1868, the second Treaty of Fort Laramie was signed. This treaty limited the Sioux Nation’s range even further, but promised to leave in their care the welfare of the sacred Black Hills region.

Later, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, this agreement was also scrapped by the US government without a second thought. This incensed the Sioux, who then, with many other indigenous nations at their side, rose up to defend their lands. Under the leadership of General William Tecumseh Sherman, of partial indigenous stock himself, this “rebellion,” as it was referred to by the US government, was put down in the worst way imaginable. The plain’s tribes central economic resource, the American Bison, was slaughtered to near extinction, and regular acts of genocide were committed against the tribes to secure their surrender. The Wounded Knee Massacre is probably the best example of this treachery committed by the United States government. This says nothing for what the US government has done to countless other tribes throughout its history, to include the Ute Nation whose lands once stretched across the states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. At present, the Ute Nation has taken the US government to federal court as they attempt to protect themselves against further seizures of tribal lands.

This brief expose, of course, does not include the actions that the United States government and its subsidiaries have taken against other peoples. The most glaring human rights violation committed by United States, aside from its treatment of Indigenous Americans, is the formalization and enforcement of the institution of Slavery. The number of people who were born, worked, and died in chains in the United States is impossible to accurately count, but it is safe to say that it was a great many. This was followed up by the treatment that the descendants of freed slaves have received in this country since the collapse of slavery after the Civil War. Jim Crow laws witnessed the segregation, routine assault and murder, and economic oppression of an entire segment of the American population for over a hundred years after the war ended. Further, when these people fought to obtain even a small portion of the rights guaranteed to them by constitutional mandate, various governments in this country responded to their requests, most all which were peaceful, with guns, water hoses, dogs, tear gas, concussion grenades, and even, lynchings.  Now, the police just shoot anyone who happens to challenge the status quo. Sound familiar?

The story goes on. The United States government has perpetually subsidized the persecution of Latin Americans, a precedent set by the United States’ illegal seizure of just over half of the sovereign territory of the Federal Republic of Mexico upon the conclusion of the Mexican-American War, fought in the latter portion of the 1840s over a manufactured crisis involving what is now the state of Texas. Asian Americans have not been treated any better. The worst era for them came during the United States’ railroad construction boom in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. It was, specifically, Chinese immigrants in this case that were treated like slave labor. They were starved, regularly forced to work without pay in life threatening conditions, beaten, raped, and killed. There are several markers along the Transcontinental Railroad that mark the mass graves of the Chinese immigrants who did not survive this treatment. The stories could go on forever and be expanded to include such peoples as the Irish, Women, Muslims, and many more. The other glaring human rights violation that the United States is guilty of is the mass incarceration of its own people. Per capita, the United States is the most heavily jailed country in the world, and most of the people are in jail for having committed non-violent crimes. Even China has better numbers.

What does this mean for the United States and its government? What it basically means is that this country is slowly gaining a reputation for being the largest hypocrite in the history of modern human civilization. Before the tech boom of the late Twentieth and early Twenty-First centuries, it was fairly easy for the United States to mask the fact that it is the worst violator of human rights in modern history. Said tech boom has now made that impossible. This will damage the United States government’s ability to conduct business, of any kind, on the world stage, as the trust that other nations once put in the United States wades further and further into non-existence, and the fact that the government offers no signs of cutting back on the violations, Standing Rock being an example, only makes the situation worse. The American economy could very possibly collapse simply because the people running the government just cannot figure how to behave like decent human beings.

The only way that this can be slowed down, stopped, and then reversed is through a massive movement organized by the American people themselves. The American people, in a united mass, have to stand up to their government and indicate to them that the treatment that is being dealt out to the people at Standing Rock, and thus, all of the American people, has to come to an end. If one of us is harmed, we are all harmed. Even more, the American people have got to find a way to stop reelecting the idiots to the US government who continue to prop up the policies that are making it possible for the gross mistreatment of its people to continue. In other words, the American people have to grow a heart, develop a conscience, fortify their wills, an inform the government that they have gone far enough and shall go no further. If not, on comes economic failure and possible foreign intervention on behalf of the peoples that the US government is oppressing, but maybe that is exactly what needs to happen.

What do you think? Do you like what is being said here? To check out more of Kent Allen Halliburton’s work, visit his politics and history blog. You will find yourself entranced at www.refusetocooperate3.blogspot.com.

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