Thursday, May 14, 2009

Torturing to Falsify Evidence for War

Thank you Bob Cesca!

According to multiple accounts and experts, the efficacy of torture is limited to ascertaining what the torturer wants to hear -- rather than information that's actually true. In other words, if Jesse Ventura tortured Dick Cheney with The Waterboard, he could very likely force Cheney to confess to the Sharon Tate murders even though, obviously, Cheney didn't have anything to do with them.

If we eliminate the idea that torture works; if we eliminate the fact that the terror suspects who were tortured had previously revealed valuable information without being tortured; if we factor in the reality that these techniques were invented in order to gather intentionally false confessions; and if we look at the evidence showing that detainees were tortured so they would specifically connect Iraq and al-Qaeda, we're left with no conclusion other than [using torture as a means to falsify evidence for war.] Or sadism as sport.

No wonder Dick Cheney is so frantic.

Read his whole article here:
The Real Motive Behind the Cheney Family Torture Tour

I agree with Dade as well, the only honest response is to:

Investigate! Prosecute! If there are convictions, imprison! And if Nancy Pelosi gets swept up in the net, so be it. It's not about Democrats or Republicans. And it certainly is not an expression of solidarity with murderers or terrorists.It is about revering the Constitution of the United States. It is about refusing to relent to the beast inside all of us that William Golding wrote about in Lord of the Flies.

It's not business. It's personal.
Read his post here:

I don't know if it will do any good, but I did sign Senator Leahy's online petition at:

"...urging Congress to consider establishing a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the Bush-Cheney Administration's abuses.

We'll see!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why torture is NEVER okay!

In contrast to the many voices fearfully justifying their support, or rare acceptance, of torture... you know..."for the good of the many," I can think of three reasons why torture should NEVER be justified :

Number ONE) It doesn't work!

There are numerous studies and reports that show this to be true:
One of the main arguments given for using torture is that it is a means to a truth and that torturing a person outweighs the hundreds of lives that could be saved. But, this argument is ill-founded. Even the CIA's own Human Resource Exploitation Manual of 1983 clearly notes that use of force only induces the victim to say what he thinks the torturer wants to hear...

"the only thing that torture guarantees is pain, it never guarantees the truth".
-Torture Care
"...there is irrefutable evidence from the civilian criminal justice system that techniques less coercive than torture have produced verifiably false confessions in a surprising number of cases... -SPSSI

Number TWO) It damages, beyond repair, the tortured!

I have personally witnessed the broken life of one tortured by her own father. Some of you know who I am speaking of, please don't mention names in this public place. I spoke often with the little girls, trapped, forever young, inside the adult body, along with the other fragments of the amazingly intelligent creative person she was not allowed to become. No amount of medical or psychological treatment can completely overcome the scars left by the one who should have loved and protected her.

Perhaps you think it's different when we are discussing adults, enemy combatants, "bad guys." I disagree! NO human (or animal, even) should ever be subjected to torture. It's even worse when you realize that we had/have teenagers held as enemy combatants at Guantanamo, and then take into consideration that many of those we brought there were random strangers people turned in for the cash reward we offered. How many innocent civilians did we "interrogate?" How many people has our country permanently scarred?

"The objective of torture is to try and destroy somebody physically, psychologically and spiritually," says Alex Sklan, MF Clinical Director. "The sensation of pain after the torture has happened is a reminder of what caused the pain in the first place. I've heard clients who were subjected to very sophisticated methods of torture where they were made to squat for hours, which damaged their backs. They were told 'you'll remember this for the rest of your life'. It's part of the destruction process; 'you won't be able to function because you'll always remember this pain'."

It can take years to combat the effects of torture that may have involved repeated rape, whipping, beatings, starvation, prolonged isolation, suspension with hooks, being cut with broken glass and being forced to listen as others are executed. The methods vary in sophistication and cruelty. Sklan refers to the need for survivors to transcend torture, a process that can take years and will never be fully complete because the reminders will always seep back in; even when the physical scars have grown less distinct, the psychological scars will always be indelible. -Torture Care

Number THREE) It damages, in ways unknown, the torturers!

How can we justify creating monsters, forming calloused minds, that are capable of stripping a human being of its dignity, it's sense of security, its humanity. What consequences are there when this person steps out of the concealed secret rooms and joins society as a father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, friend, leader, neighbor...
The effects of torture are never confined to the interrogation room. The cruelty extends far beyond the moment and there are well-documented instances where knowing the suspects to be innocent, the torturers have remained unrepentant.
A study from 2004 found that 1 in 8 soldiers returning from the war in Iraq suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Have any studies been done on the psychological well being of the interrogators themselves? I don't know, and am out of time to research any more. If you know of a study please share it with me!

Ultimately, I believe that the negative consequences of torture far outweigh any perceived benefit. I think we, as a society, have been filled with fear, and when afraid, we are able to justify the unthinkable because we have been led to believe that it will make us safer. I believe we have been lied to! I believe the acceptance of torture itself is much, much more dangerous than what it is supposed to keep protect us from.
The acceptance and use of torture and other forms of cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment in military or law enforcement situations has far-reaching implications for society. Impunity for perpetrators of torture (whether offered directly as a result of legal action or indirectly through neglect or incompetence) has been examined for ways in which it can affect the survivor, the perpetrator, and the community, including through an erosion of moral codes; an implied acceptance of violent behavior in the community; feelings of fear; helplessness and insecurity in society; and “social alienation” manifested by feelings of failure and skepticism, frustration, and addictive and violent behavior. -SPSSI
Well, I am out of time today. The words of Matthew 10:26 found in one of my other posts on torture, encourages me again:

"So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. "

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Torture Poll

So, it does seem like everyone is talking about the "Christian/torture poll, so I thought I'd take a second to document the views I appreciate. First off, here is the poll (you can click to go to the Pew site):

One fellow blogger points out that:
"Christians have a long history of breaking out the hot pokers and thumbscrews when they're trying to root out the devil."

I remember running out horrified from a Medieval Times torture museum as a teenager. Torture is not a new invention. But just because we don't condone taking it as far as they did back then, does not mean we no longer torture. My first blogspot post was prompted by a radio program about Guantanamo:

Let's go back to what my conscience (and apparently sub-conscience) has been wrestling with. The program about Guantanamo, although fascinating from the start, did not immediately surprise me. It was only after I heard:

"We tried out many of our new interrogation techniques on Jumah Al Dossari...."

...that I stopped behind my living room couch, grabbing the back like a ballerina at a bar to steady my self. I won't quote the rest of the paragraph here, but when it reached the end...

"we smeared this blood [not his] on his face. We kissed the cross around our neck and said “This is a gift from Christ for you Muslims.”
I lost my grip on the couch and collapsed on the floor. This is being done in the name of Christ? "No, no, no!" I sobbed! This is not the government, nor the religion I want to be associated with!
And I am not alone. I am encouraged by the approximately 1 in 4 Christians the poll found who stated that torture can NEVER be justified! Much is being made of the others, but I believe the rest of us need to continue to speak up.

Someone who is doing this is David Gushee who wrote: A Christian's lament over the Pew torture poll. He addresses his letter to Jesus, and asks:

Is your church already empty of courageous leaders who are willing to lose their jobs in order to say a resounding NO to a heretical idea like that? Is it already empty of people who understand that if you are a Christian, you cannot serve two masters, like, for example, Jesus and National Security? Is it already empty of people who understand that because all human beings are made in your image, there are some things that we just can’t do to anyone, no matter who they are?

The answer, I hope, is NO. It's not empty of them, but aparently they have become a minority. I don't know what this means for the future, but if the comments on his editorial are an indication, it could be ugly. I suppose time will tell. Meanwhile, I hope the true character of the God I know, the God who is described as LOVE, can begin to shine brighter. Can we reflect that pure love out to those around us? We'll see.

Found another good point made on the Gruntled Center blog:
"Torture expert Darius Rejali found that people who are likely to support or commit torture are loyal to institutions. If the leaders of the institution say torture is necessary, the institutional loyalists are likely to accept that."
I think it's very important to be loyal to God and God alone. God is Love! As another friend told me today,
"Do NOT expect [religious leaders] to be infallible. They are human beings. Human beings are not perfect."
If an institution teaches something contrary to the basic truth that God is Love, then choose Love over the institution!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tired of Tea

I was just reminded that the tea bag protesters are still claiming a great victory. It reminded me of something I read before the tax day protests:

The Weird Contradictions of the Tea Bag Revolution

by Bob Cesca

"It turns out that that the tea baggers, led in part by Michelle Malkin, Glenn Reynolds and the Coward Rick Santelli, are politically more in line with the tax policies of King George than the views of the Sons of Liberty and the colonial patriots. The tax baggers emulating a protest against a corporate tax cut -- but, oddly, in support of tax cuts for the rich and corporations. Furthermore, King George was against a corporate bailout loan. And so are the tea baggers. And I don't think it'd be a stretch to suggest that many of the tea baggers are recipients of the president's middle class tax cut.

...Perhaps it's time to quietly abandon the whole tea bag thing."

I highly recommend this enlightening article...maybe the tea baggers should have checked it out before showing up with all their crazy signs: