The United States has always boasted itself as the "model of democracy" and hawked its mode of democracy to the rest of the world, but in fact, American "democracy" is always one for the wealthy and a "game for the rich," according to a report released on Thursday in Beijing.
The report, titled the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2005 and released by the Information Office of China's State Council, says that "the democratic elections in the United States, to a great extent, are driven by money."
During the mayoral election of New York City in November 2005, billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent 77.89 million U.S. dollars of his fortune for re-election. That came to more than 100 U.S. dollars per vote. According to a survey, in Washington D.C. a U.S. senator needs about 20 million U.S. dollars to keep the seat in the Senate.
"Decisions of the U.S. Congress and the Administration are deeply influenced by money," the report says.
In the United States, various firms and interest groups hire public relations and consulting companies to lobby the Congress and the Administration, spending money to influence their decisions and win government contracts, it says.
On Jan. 4, 2006, mainstream U.S. media carried reports on super lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to three felony charges including a conspiracy involving corruption of public officials and agreeing to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors in investigating members of Congress and aides suspected of corruption.
The case is the largest power-for-money scandal in American politics for several decades. It was reported that 20 members of Congress and their aides have been involved in this unusual large-scale scandal.
In 2004, 2.1 billion U.S. dollars was spent to lobbying the federal government and the Congress, and 3 billion U.S. dollars for elections of the President and members of Congress in the United States, according to the report.
On Oct. 24, 2005, a national public opinion survey released by the U.S. News and World Report revealed that 73 percent Americans believe their leaders are out of touch with the average person; 64 percent of Americans feel that their leaders are corrupted by power; 62 percent think that leaders seek for increase in personal wealth.
As former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark said, "The United States is not a democracy, it is a plutocracy. The people don't rule in the United States. Wealth rules, the corporations rule."
"The United States flaunted its press freedom but scandals about the U.S. government blocking and manipulating information came out continually," the report says.
At least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years.
During the Iraqi war, the U.S. military paid Iraqi newspapers and journalists for the so-called information operations campaign. The Los Angeles Times reported on Nov. 30, 2005 that the U.S. military troops have been writing articles burnishing the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq, sending them to a Washington-based firm, which translates them into Arabic and places them in Baghdad newspapers.
"In fact, U.S. crude intrusion into press freedom happened repeatedly," the report says.
On April 8, 2003, cameraman Jose Couso of the Spanish Telecino television station was shot dead by U.S. soldiers. On Aug. 28, 2005, U.S. forces opened fire at a team of Reuters reporters; one Reuters soundman was shot several times in the face and chest, and he was killed on the spot. Two Iraqi reporters who rushed to the spot were also arrested and forced to exposure to the scorching sun.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, the United States is holding four Iraqi journalists in detention centers in Iraq and one journalist of Al-Jazeera, at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo bay, Cuba. None of the five have been charged with a specific crime, the report says.