Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
On Sunday, ABC News asked Donald Trump whether, if elected president, he would authorize waterboarding and other forms of torture. His response? “When you see the other side chopping off heads, waterboarding doesn’t sound very severe.”
According to Vox, Donald Trump has “opened the door to torturing terrorism suspects if he’s elected.”
But perhaps what’s more troubling is that Trump isn’t alone. His misconceptions and inaccuracies actually pervade American debate on torture. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Every year on June 26th, we stand with victims and survivors of torture for a day of action that is marked globally. Often, the U.S. president issues a statement or makes a speech, pledging support for the eradication of torture.
This year, as we witness evasion and inaction from the Justice Department about its failure to hold anyone accountable for CIA torture, we can’t let it pass: there are too many holes, too many hypocrisies, and too many lies in these U.S. government commitments. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Juan Mendez, lawyer and human rights activist, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. London 30 June 2014 (c) Amnesty International
By Juan E. Méndez, United Nations special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment
More than once, I begged my torturers to kill me. Years later, I think about it and wonder if I really meant it. I think I did, at the time.
I was tied up, nude and blindfolded, and electrically prodded all over my body. Twice they pretended they were executing me by placing a gun to my head or in my mouth and clicking the trigger.
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by Adotei Akwei and Bridget Duru
March 28, 2015 was a huge turning point for Nigeria. For the first time in the country’s history, the incumbent did not win the presidential election. General Muhammadu Buhari, the man who defeated President Goodluck Jonathan, was sworn in on May 29.
The largely peaceful political transition set an important benchmark for the rest of the continent’s democratic aspirations and of course it has also triggered hopes in Nigeria that the country is embarking on a new chapter and a political, economic and diplomatic renaissance. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
The Obama administration is fond of saying that it wants to “look forward” on torture, not “backward;” that is, it does not want to investigate or prosecute anyone. But failure to act now could increase the risk of torture recurring under the next administration.
There are too many horrific acts – like forced rectal feeding and hydration – that we only learned of due to the report and that we must ensure will never happen again.
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Take a minute to imagine this.
You are taken from your home in the middle of the day, blindfolded and shackled on a plane, then taken to a place you’ve never seen before. Here, you are subjected to some of the most degrading treatment imaginable.
- Forced rectal feeding to humiliate and exert control over you;
- Shackled into standing positions, hung naked except for diapers, forced into sleep deprivation for days and weeks;
- Held in total darkness and isolation for days with only a bucket to use for human waste.
But for dozens of men who were “disappeared” by the U.S. government and held in secret sites around the world from 2002 to 2008, this isn’t just imagination. This was reality. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Professor Noam Chomsky (photo: Donna Coveney)
This is an American Torture Story.
Majid Khan was at the mercy of CIA interrogators for 1,200 days — at least. During that time, he was stripped. He was forced into ice water baths. He was “hung up” for a day in a sleep deprivation position. He was denied solid food for seven days.
After about a year, Majid Khan went on hunger strike to protest the treatment he was receiving. The CIA responded with “involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration.” Majid’s lunch tray, consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, was “pureed” and “rectally infused.” This happened repeatedly. Eventually, Majid Khan attempted to cut his wrists. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
More than 100 people were “disappeared” by the U.S. government and shuttled to secret detention sites between 2002 and 2008. Many were tortured.
Thanks to a new U.S. Senate report, we know more about how this happened than ever before. We’re calling it “The American Torture Story.” It’s a story that had to be written: and now it’s a story that must be read.
Shockingly, the US Justice Department, charged with investigating violations of the law, is apparently refusing to read to this Senate study—let alone act upon it. And as a new Amnesty International report shows: No one has been brought to justice. The United States is providing de facto amnesty to torturers.
Here’s 6 ways that those responsible have gotten away with torture – and 6 reasons we must act. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Former Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge is scheduled to be released from prison today after his 2010 conviction for lying about the torture of suspects in police custody. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Swaziland’s King Mswati III is one of nearly 40 heads of state on the guest list for President Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit (Photo Credit: Stephane de Sakutkin/AFP/Getty Images).
Johanna Lee contributed to this post.
Starting August 4, the Obama Administration will host a mini replica of an African Union (AU) summit. As many as 40 heads of state from the continent will be on hand for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, a conference that will look at ways to boost trade and investment in the continent, tap into Africa’s burgeoning youth population, and promote good governance.
The idea for such a summit is laudable, considering the critical issues that will be discussed – issues that will continue to be key challenges for both Africa and U.S. policy towards the continent and as part of addressing the chronic need to raise educate the public about the realities of the different countries that make up Africa, unknown success stories and it’s untapped economic potential.
Unfortunately, unless a major change is made, the summit risks simply becoming an AU heads of state road trip with a photo-op at the end to confirm that they visited Washington before returning home.
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