US Seen as the Great Violator of Global Human Rights

former CIA analyst

The task was to talk for three minutes — not one second more — on the grounds of the New Mexico State Capitol building (commonly known as the Roundhouse) on December 10, 2005. The occasion was a Peace-with-Justice Rally celebrating the anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly’s adoption on December 10, 1948 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Challenged by the thought that people who would never listen for ten minutes might indeed listen for three, the author of this piece spoke the following. And he fervently believes every word of it.

We need to WAKE UP! The policies of the United States are a human rights disaster. Here we are, in December 2005, engaged in an orgy of shopping and consumerism, blatantly glorifying our wealth and utterly unconcerned with the picture this orgy presents to the world’s poor. The global policies of the U.S. are seen — and justly so — as greedy and immoral, policies that violate the human rights of the poor and the powerless everywhere.

At the same time we also glorify our military, and fight wars in which we kill and torture many people, wars that most of the world believes are designed to enlarge our own and our closest allies’ wealth and power. In the process, the military-industrial complex that runs the U.S. government rakes in obscene profits.

Outside the United States it is widely understood that the true motives of the Bush administration for invading Iraq in 2003 were threefold: (1) the U.S. drive for global empire, (2) oil, and (3) the desire of the neocons in Washington to conquer Iraq in order to benefit Israel. Inside the U.S., the last of these reasons — the pressure of the neocons for war on Israel’s behalf — is hardly ever mentioned.

This taboo on even discussing the Israeli link to the war in Iraq introduces major distortions into practically every effort to examine and change the policies that are causing massive hatred of the U.S. We should beware the “clash of civilizations” that the neocons, their rightwing Israeli allies, and the Christian fundamentalists are promoting nowadays against Islam. We should instead think seriously about what kind of future relationship the United States should have with the state of Israel.

The Middle East is today the central target of U.S. foreign policy, and we all need to understand that the Palestine-Israel problem is a very central issue to the peoples of the Middle East. Most Arab leaders today have been so co-opted by the U.S. that they no longer object to our support for Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, but the peoples of the area are a different story. Regardless of what happens in Iraq, or in Iran, or in Syria, or in Saudi Arabia, we will never end the “War on Terrorism” without, first, a solution to the Palestine-Israel issue that provides as much justice to the Palestinians as to the Israelis. The daily injustices and cruelties imposed by Israel and the U.S. on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are today worse than they have been in the previous 38 years of occupation, and this, by itself, is a major human rights issue facing the United States.

BILL CHRISTISON was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis. He can be reached at