VI. Gross Violations of Human Rights in Other Countries
In 2016, the United States continued to trample on human rights in other countries, causing tremendous civilian casualties. Its overseas monitoring projects infringed on the privacy of citizens of other countries and the United States set up detention camp that illegally detained and tortured prisoners in many places on the globe.
Air strikes caused a large number of civilian casualties. According to Airwars, a project aimed at tracking air strikes in the Middle East, the United States had repeatedly organized coalition forces to launch air strikes against military forces in Iraq and Syria since August 8, 2014. As of December 19, 2016, the United States launched 7,258 air strikes in Iraq and 5,828 in Syria, causing 733 incidents with an estimated number of civilian deaths between 4,568 and 6,127 (www.airwars.org, December 19, 2016). According to a report by the website of Los Angeles Times on December 2, a U.S. airstrike killed at least 15 civilians in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province (www.latimes.com, December 2, 2016). Since 2009, the upper limit of the civilian death toll from U.S. drones stood at more than 800 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia (www.theguardian.com, July 1, 2016).
The issue of illegal detention and torturing prisoners of other countries remained unsolved. The U.S. government promised to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp in 2009, but as of December 4, 2016, there were 59 detainees at Guantanamo Bay (www.cnn.com, December 4, 2016). According to a report by the Washington Post on June 14, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on violating "Freedom of Information" and forced the CIA to release 50 declassified documents. A declassified report revealed in a CIA prison in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit, militant Gul Rahman was placed in an "extremely cold" cell, suffered from pouring water to his body, and was determined to have died of hypothermia while in detention (www.washingtonpost.com, June 16, 2016). In a document titled "Description of Physical Pressures," the CIA tortured detainees including a facial slap, use of diapers, "insects," and "mock burial." In November 2016, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said in a report that the U.S. armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan (www.csmonitor.com, November 15, 2016).
The United States continued overseas monitoring projects in a large scale. The U.S. intelligence agencies placed long-term monitoring of head and leaders of other states, diplomatic institutions and common people. Since National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden leaked the U.S. surveillance programs to the new media in June 2013, the United States continuously extended the scale to monitor head and leaders of other states, common people and related enterprises with updated technologies which draw sharp criticism. In 2016, the CIA invested in firms to mine Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media (theintercept.com, April 15, 2016). A windowless Manhattan skyscraper appeared to be a secrete location used for NSA surveillance program that targeted not only domestic communication but also the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and at least 38 countries (www.independent.co.uk, November 17, 2016). A spy base named Titanpointe in NSA building used equipment with companies such as AT&T and spied on phone calls, fax messages and internet data, intercepting satellite data including emails, chats, Skype calls, passwords, and internet browsing histories. The United States drew vast criticism from the international community.