Sunday, June 7, 2015

Jammeh accuses Susan Rice of “shamelessly diverting attention away from America’s abysmal rights record.”

Dr. Susan Rice, National Security Adviser

The National Security Adviser, Dr. Susan Rice, is the latest target of the Gambia's idiosyncratic leader who is known for his highly bombastic and graphic attacks against gays and lesbians.   The Gambian latest attack against the United States stance in support of the LGBT community came after the U.S. criticized Jammeh's latest threats against gays whom he threatens to "slit their throats". 

The U.S. and Gambian relations have been deteriorating steadily, especially after the passage of what The Gambian leader called the "aggravated homosexual act" that can carry life imprisonment. Since the passage of one of the most severe laws anywhere against gays and lesbian, the LGBT community in The Gambia has been under the radar of a highly repressive regime.  Those identified as gays have been rounded up, detained in undisclosed locations and tortured.

The latest spat between Jammeh and the U.S. was triggered by Susan Rice's strong condemnation of the regime's LGBT rights record - a record that described as "one of the worse...on Earth."  Samantha Power, the U.S permanent representative at the United Nations accused Jammeh via twitter of engaging in hate speech when he was quoted as referring to gays as vermin. 

Jammeh has denied the U.S “unsubstantiated allegations of arbitrary arrests, detention and torture” which, according to the government statement is a “systematic campaign to dent the good image of the country and to demonize the leadership” because of its stance against homosexuality.

The Gambian dictator said the National Security Adviser cannot occupy the moral high ground when her country’s own human rights record, including what the statement refers to “institutionalized racism”, citing the recent killings of “innocent and unarmed Black Americans by White police officers” across the U.S. 

The government statement referred to the early settlers or (Pilgrims) as “European outlaws” and “it is shameful”, the statement continues, “ that a country that has legalized torture and praises genocide, can blame the Gambia for non-existent human rights abuses.”

It is curious and highly hypocritical of the regime of Yaya Jammeh to accuse the United States of legalizing torture when, according to and at the request of the CIA,  Jammeh’s regime captured, detained and interrogated three suspects, two of whom were sent to Guantanamo from Banjul.   

At least, the Bush administration recognized the dilemma posed by fact that torture is illegal in the United States which forced it to recruit willing partners outside of U.S law for the rendition program.  Fifty four countries participated in the program worldwide and The Gambia was one of them under the watchful eye of Yaya Jammeh.