Friday, June 26, 2009

International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Since its creation in 1945, the United Nations has worked to eradicate torture. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its Article 5, proclaims that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".

On 10 December 1984, the UN General Assembly (Resolution 39/46) adopted the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). This Convention, which entered into force on 26 June 1987, obliges States to make torture a crime and to prosecute and punish those guilty of it. It notes explicitly that neither higher orders nor exceptional circumstances can justify torture.

It was an important step to acknowledge that torture, and all forms of inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, are absolutely and universally illegal. Proposed by Denmark, the UN General Assembly in December 1997 marked the historic date - 26 June - as International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.

When I read Sister Dianna Ortiz's book, The Blindfold's Eyes, the reality of torture came into painful focus for me. What I find even more disturbing is that the men torturing her (and many others) were trained at Ft Benning Georgia at the School of the Americas. To learn more about America's school for assassins visit here. Torture is terrorism in its worst form. It isn't about getting information, it's about sending messages. The message that the U.S. has sent to the world by allowing our leaders to torture without any culpability is that we all endorse this cruelty. Why do the women at Abu Ghraib want someone to kill them?

From Daily Kos' partial transcript of a video (link to REAL stream) of Seymour
Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. He says the US government has videotapes of
children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

" Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there.
Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out
to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out
saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what
happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in
cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling.
And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that
your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."

These are our children raping their children. Our boys and girls proudly going to serve their country, and then being turned into the worst monsters imaginable. How can we live with this, and how can our children live with this on their souls? Why do you think so many of our brave soldiers are coming back and killing themselves? This is not just torture, but child pornography of the worst kind. This is what Obama's administration does not want to see released. So I'm sure the CIA is busy with the shredders and incinerators. The evidence can be destroyed, but the scars and hate will live on and grow.

If you want to better understand how a good American kid can become an evil torturer watch this TED talk with Phil Zimbardo, or read his book, The Lucifer Effect. Be forewarned, the TED talk has graphic scenes of violence from Abu Ghraib.

If you feel as angry as I that our government allows this terrible inhumanity to continue, please take time to visit TASSC and/or NRCAT and see what you can do to stop this.

1 comment:

Joe said...

These things take your breath away.
Being a person in this world is so precarious and often brutal. I am not convinced humans respond to these dark distorted passions through arguement.I am thankful for a spiritual inclination. Something to reference outwith the human. Best wishes, Joe (formerly shift commuter)