For years, Amnesty International has witnessed public figures repeating misconceptions and inaccuracies about waterboarding. This American debate on torture has mostly got it wrong – here are three realities you need to know:
Waterboarding is slow-motion suffocation
People who take the time to learn about Waterboarding see how horrific it is.
But many people don’t. Media and public figures often describe waterboarding as a form of “enhanced interrogation”—a euphemism that rationalizes and sanitizes torture. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Fayha Shalash, the wife of Palestinian journalist Muhammed al-Qiq, sits with her son at her home in the West Bank village of Dura on January 20, 2016. Al Qiq is seen in the poster. Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/APA images
Muhammed -What were you thinking about when you accepted the reality of your own death?
What thoughts and images went through your mind when you realized you were willing to risk permanent physical damage or even death to gain your freedom?
Were you thinking about the softness of your babies’ cheeks? How they smelled so fresh and their skin felt so soft after bath time?
Muhammed al Qiq, a Palestinian journalist and father of two small children, has been on hunger strike for over seventy-five days – refusing everything but water, to protest the torture and other ill-treatment to which he says he was subjected to in Israeli custody, and to demand his release from detention he believes is motivated by his work as a journalist. He was placed under administrative detention, unable to see the evidence against him and unable to challenge the ‘evidence’ or his accusers in a fair judicial setting. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
US President Barack Obama speaks at the Islamic Society of Baltimore, in Windsor Mill, Maryland on February 3, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
I never thought it would happen, and it may never happen again. On Wednesday, President Obama visited a U.S. mosque for the first time in his presidency. He quoted from the Islamic holy book, the Quran. And he unequivocally denounced anti-Muslim hate.
This may sound uneventful, but it was actually bold. Muslims, Islam and the Quran are nearly dirty words in the U.S. political mainstream right now. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Dr. Maha Hilal, Executive Director at National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms
“[W]hat counts as a livable life and a grievable death?”
(Judith Butler, 2004, p. xv)
The Muslim body in the so-called War on Terror has been treated as if it is without value and inconsequential. Muslim bodies have been detained, extradited, tortured, and unlawfully killed.Muslim lives have been drowned in a sea of policy and rhetoric that justifies the loss of lives as “collateral damage” in the name of protecting U.S. security. Methods which would otherwise be considered brutal and inconsistent with the U.S. government claims to uphold democracy and human rights position Muslims as less than human, and in this way their lives and their deaths are treated as inconsequential. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
As of January 30th, 2016, Guantanamo will be open under President Obama longer than it was open under President Bush. Here is one detainee’s story—and he is not alone:
“When I used to go for interrogations, I was unable to walk because of the restraints on my legs and tightness on my feet. I would fall down to the ground and scream that I cannot walk. They would pick me up from the ground and I would walk with them while they are hitting me on the way to the interrogation until I would bleed from my feet. When I would fall to the ground, they would drag me while I am on the ground. … Sometimes they would put a weapon on my head threatening to kill me….”
This is how Guantánamo detainee Toffiq al-Bihani described the treatment he suffered at the hands of the CIA before coming to Guantánamo. Starting in early 2002 the U.S. government detained and interrogated Toffiq for about a year. After being subjected to the infamous CIA torture program, he was transferred to Guantánamo in early 2003. That’s where he remains to this day.
As of January 30, 2016, the detention camp has been open under President Obama longer than it was open under President Bush. Despite multiple promises to close Guantánamo, President Obama oversees the continued detention of 91 individuals including Toffiq.SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
By Phyllis Rodriguez, Activist and mother of 9/11 Victim Greg Rodriguez
My son Greg was 31 years old and worked on the 103rd floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center.
I first learned he was there on the morning of September 11. But it wasn’t until 36 hours later that I learned he had perished. Through the shock and pain of my grief, I was afraid of what our government was going to do in the name of my son and my family.SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
That’s how it was – how it may still be – for the prisoners at Guantánamo. As the prison enters its 15th year of operation, there are 107 people still there, and most are held without charge. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
On January 11, 2016, the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will enter its fifteenth year of existence. The “forever prison” is perhaps the most infamous icon of the human rights abuses resulting from the global war on terror. Instead of justice for the September 11 attacks, Guantánamo has given the world torture, indefinite detention and unfair trials. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
It’s been exactly one year since shocking new details emerged about the CIA’s torture program. After years of investigation, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence published a report – known as “the torture report” – that contained more than 6,000 pages.
This week I traveled to Guantanamo naval station, on the southeastern tip of Cuba, to observe the military commission proceedings. So far, the thing that surprises me most about Guantanamo is how beautiful it is.
On the beaches here, stones crackle like fireworks as the waves recede over them. Green hills are dotted with yellow flowers. The breeze is the kind that gently stirs your appetite, or tempts you to nap in the shade.