Aunty Ism

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Aunty Ism
I posted this at Mash's Dr. Strangelove site:

He wrote a very insightful article about the insane Orwellian doublespeak the US government is using to defend the use of torture, in the name of its citizenry. After all, everything changed after 911, didn't it?

Here's a few paragraphs from Nash's post:
The United States has come a long way from the Clinton days when our biggest moral dilemma was whether or not fallatio constituted sex. The fact that the United States finds itself in the untenable position of arguing that it does not torture on tortured definitions of the word "torture" and geographical jurisdiction of the Convention should give all citizens pause. Our Government is essentially arguing that torturing someone on foreign soil is not torture. Our Government is arguing that the word "torture" can be defined so that most torture (like beating a man until he dies) can be construed as not being "torture". Our Government is arguing that kidnapping someone so that they disappear from the face of this planet is not torture because the person is now a non-person and no one can hear his or her screams. Our Government is arguing that if a bear shits in the woods and no one is there to see it, the bear did not in fact shit in the woods. Our Government is arguing that we can only torture someone if we are at peace with him or her. If we declare war on someone we are free to stick baseball bats up their asses to our hearts’ content and be safe in the delusion that we are not torturing them.

Our Government has lost its collective mind when it comes to torture. Is it any wonder that we are losing hearts and minds in the War on Terror? By our condoning of torture, by our tortured defense of torture, by our complete lack of humanity we are now viewed in the world as a rogue state. This must end.

For centuries the United States has been a beacon of hope for people fleeing torture and persecution. For centuries the wretched of the earth have pointed to the United States and said, "there, that is where there is hope; that is where there is justice." For centuries people have come to our shores with wounds emotional and physical and we have given them shelter and given them solace. We cannot be the great country we have been, the shining example to the World of human dignity and human achievement, if we allow our Government to torture and destroy all that this country has stood for.

This must end. This must end now. We, the people of the United States of America, must say in one voice to our Government that We do not torture. You will not torture, not in Our name. This must end now.

(end of clip)

Here's my comment:

Alfred W. McCoy gave an interview on Latenight Live, I think it was in March, about torture and its consequences. Hementioned the 1963 KUBARK CIA “interrogatin” manual and how these same techniques are being used and abused beyond the offical recommendations today. Here’s a link on KUBARK:

Here’s an article in Counterpunch that McCoy gave in 2004:

What better way to create a platoon of terrorists than by addicting them to adrenalin, and setting them loose after years of panic inuced delirium to get their fix by enacting revenge on their captors.

What better way to train a platoon of soldiers capable of torturing what is perceived to be a group of dehumanized objects. They then return home to walk the civlian streets of America. Who would be better able to enforce Martial Law: someone trained to respect the Geneva Convention and Human Rights Laws, or, someone who has experienced the power of unrestrained authority over a objectified prisoner, treated as less than human, with no rights. Once one has treated another human as an object, it is easier to do it again. We are all capable of “training”; some resist, but some succumb.

According to McCoy, there are far more effective ways to obtain information from people. He spoke of one technique used in WW2 on Japanese prisoners. Getting the prisoners to connect with their captors, empathizing with their situation, reasons for fighting, valor in saving their compatriots by helping the US capture them rather thatn killing them, etc. wore them down and within 48 hours, according to McCoy, they had very good intelligence from those prisoners. Terrorists are evil, but intelligence is too important to employ techniques that are not effective. And besides, if they were not guilty of a crime before they were interred in the panopticon of Guantanamo, AbuGhraib, or secret renditon factories, they just may become jihadis after we get through with them. Heck of a job, Wbyuh.

Great post, it is important to keep talking about this. The sanctioning of torture under the authority of the US Government is a symptom of a very serious disease.

(end of clip)

The month of June is Torture Awareness Month. There is a site devoted to this (thanks again, to Nash on Dr. Strangelove blog):

June 26th is the date that the United Nations has marked as the International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture. This year a coalition of human rights, civil liberties and faith organizations have declared June “Torture Awareness Month” in an effort to respond to the growing evidence that the United States government is engaging systematically in the use of torture and inhuman treatment as part of the “war on terror.” (from the above website)

There is a blogroll set up at Bloggers Against Torture:

I encourage everyone to sign up if you blog or tell someone who does. I'm still learning how to click and link things to my blog, and I hope my name was added to the list (I can drive the computer, but I can't change the sparkplugs). Post the links at the blogs you visit, get the word out. I would love to hear a reporter ask Snowjob at a televised press conference:
What does the President think about the remarkable phenomenon currently occuring on the internet, namely, the addition of tens of thousands of bloggers per week to the website "Bloggers Against Torture"?


  • That's a great post. Don't worry, your blog was added. I'm on a different timezone to most of you, so I might be updating at strange hourse.

    Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could get such a massive blogroll together? My personal goal is to get together a group of dedicated bloggers to promote Torture Awareness Month. I'm good at keeping subdued expectations, but really, if we get enough good bloggers together at the start, people willing to push this effort and really give it some momentum, couldn't it be possible? I suppose, with a small group of dedicated citizens, anything is possible :-)

    By Blogger elendil, at 5:27 AM  

  • Aunty, the Bloggers Against Torture was started by Elendil of Rummy's Diaries. I was lucky enough to discover this worthwhile alliance last night through a post on Daily Kos. I do believe it will grow into a potent force.

    I love your insightful comments on my blog. They add greatly to the discussion and debate. Thanks and, as they say, keep 'em coming.

    By Blogger Dr. Strangelove, at 6:11 AM  

  • Aunty,
    have seen your intelligent comments on Mash's site. Strong women are so needed in politics or the political blogosphere..just to counter that terrible Coulter woman! I too have high expectations (elendil, I can understand the subdued expectations but already we're growing in exciting is that?!) and yes 'E'..anything is possible. I am proseletizing (sp?) like crazy and will actually try to undertake any or some of those community actions..I am very excited about this. Sadly, excited about a very sad topic but it is a worthy cause to rally around.
    Thanks for starting this up Elendil and I enjoy your comments on Mash's site anytime Aunty. Glad to have found your blog too. I will add you to my favourites list until I got the blogroll figured out after some changes I will make to my blog during the summer.
    Like I said on my post; let's make some waves!

    By Blogger Ingrid, at 7:19 PM  

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