June 1, 2006

This Blog is Against Torture...is yours?

June is Torture Awareness Month. I discovered an online campaign against torture through fellow blogger Kel. Bloggers Against Torture aims to raise awareness about events going on this month and different types of action that bloggers and average citizens can take to bring attention to torture policies around the world.
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.” We believe that the use of torture and inhuman treatment must end immediately and everyone involved in committing these abuses or fostering the environment in which they occurred be held accountable.
You can visit the Bloggers Against Torture and register your support as a blogger. Your blog will be added to their blogroll and in return each blogger should post about torture at least once during the month of June and promote this campaign. Check out their blogroll for hundreds of bloggers who will be posting about torture throughout the month.

Stay tuned for a series of posts on this blog about torture policies and stories of torture victims from the US, Israel, Egypt, Syria and many more.

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13 Comments:

At 8:17 PM, Anonymous tommy said...

What!?!

I suppose I can understand an "Anti-Tortue" sticker but what about the essentials?

I mean, I can't find a single "Buy Danish" banner anywhere on this blog? ;-)

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger elendil said...

Thanks for joining up :-) Just curious- I recognise the "Denounce Torture" button, but where is the "I blog for human rights" one from?

PS: You're pretty funny, Tommy.

 
At 8:32 PM, Blogger moi said...

Tommy--What does anti-torture have to do with the Danish cartoons? In any case, while I was not fully supportive of the boycott, I didn't see the point of the "Buy Danish" campaign. It would've been more appropriate to have a "Let's Talk" dialogue kind of campaign.

elendil-- I'm more than happy to be able to contribute whatever I can to this great cause :) You can find the human rights button here: http://hrw.org/blogs.htm

 
At 9:27 PM, Anonymous tommy said...

What does it have to do with cartoons?

Nothing. It could be a little friendly sarcasm, you know.

;-)

 
At 11:23 PM, Anonymous tommy said...

I'm curious as to whether we will see the same vigorous response to evidence of torture in Muslim countries as we do against what you perceive as evidence of torture by the U.S. Or will you report every reported instance of American torture, regardless of its credibility, and ignore the very real torture that occurs throughout the Middle East?

If the former is the case, this banner should instead read "This blog is (very selectively) anti-torture."

Or maybe:

"This blog is anti-American."

After all, if you and your fellow bloggers were really against torture, this campaign could have started much earlier. Even left-wing human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have been documenting torture in the Mideast for eons.

The "growing evidence" of American torture, I suppose, includes the inability of the European Union to find any evidence of alleged secret prisons in Eastern Europe, right?

 
At 11:54 PM, Blogger moi said...

Tommy-- I am against torture of all forms, regardless of the perpetrator. You are well aware that I have previously blogged about Egyptian authorities abusing and torturing innocent journalists and peaceful protesters. So you know that I am not "selectively" targeting the US when speaking of torture. The anti-torture campaign that I mention in this post actually appears to be focused on torture policies of the US, but I personally chose to expand it and raise awareness about torture in countries such as Egypt, Syria, Israel, and others that I find information about. I cannot possibly blog about every instance of torture that occurs in this world.

Second, you must be aware by now, after following my blog for some time, that I hold the US to higher standards than countries such as Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, etc. These countries are undemocratic and most of them exhibit characteristics of autocratic regimes. We do not expect that these countries will respect human rights. On the other hand, a country like the US, the world leader and the "champion" of human rights and democratic ideals, is expected to act with much more responsibility in order to maintain its legitimacy in the eyes of the rest of the world. Don't get me wrong, any country that engages in human rights abuses is wrong. But, a country like the US that invades a country like Iraq for reasons such as "liberation" and "spreading of freedom" should be ashamed to have a scandal such as Abu Ghraib stain a "noble" cause as Operation Iraqi Freedom.

I hope you will wait and see what I will post in the next few weeks on the subject of torture around the world before you make such sweeping judgements.

This campaign coincides with June being Torture Awareness Month. I was not a blogger last June, so I couldn't have started earlier. I am doing what I can to contribute to raising awareness about such horrific abuses of human rights around the world.

What are you doing, Tommy, to hold your government accountable for the scandals it has mired our country in and shamed our people with?

 
At 12:57 AM, Anonymous tommy said...

I hope you will wait and see what I will post in the next few weeks on the subject of torture around the world before you make such sweeping judgements.

I will do that. Thank you.

What are you doing, Tommy, to hold your government accountable for the scandals it has mired our country in and shamed our people with?

Frankly, for Al-Qaeda operatives, I have no objections to the use of water boarding, stress positions or other tactics that do not permanently harm a detainee to gain information.

The war on terror (actually not terror, but jihad, more precisely) is difficult, and al-Qaeda members have been taught to dissemble to interrogators whenever possible. I don't have a problem with coercion being used on such individuals. I am opposed to torture being used against American citizens, regardless of their backgrounds.

To further horrify you, I also believe that jihadists captured on the battlefield, who do not constitute members of militias as defined by the Geneva Convention, enjoy no protection from torture of summary execution. They are neither civilians nor soldiers and should not be protected. While I believe, as a matter of policy, we should avoid extreme forms of torture, I do support the sort of measures I mentioned above. I would also support summarily executing such jihadists if they cannot or will not provide useful information.

Nevertheless, if it is events related to the war in Iraq you are specifically concerned about, I have written (actually, emailed) my Congressional representatives and the President to let them know that I believe we should partition Iraq and use air power and the selective supply of armaments to ensure three separate states. I don't want our ground troops trying to clean up the antediluvian Sunni-Shia divide. It is a waste of our time and resources.

 
At 11:31 AM, Blogger Fatima said...

Let's hear about Ahmed Abu Ali.

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Christopher Brown said...

Thanks for posting this Moi, I also oppose torture regardless of the form it takes. Whetehr it be hard or light (whatever the heck that means), it is against the UN declaration of Human Rights. And for those of you who want to find excuses when it can be used, be sure to think about what you say. It is a very slippery slope if you venture down this road.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Cyberotter said...

Articles for Day 1 and Day 2 have been posted.

http://donkephant.blogspot.com/2006/06/bloggers-against-torture-month.html

http://donkephant.blogspot.com/2006/06/bloggers-against-torture-month-day-2_02.html

I encourage everyone to cross-post or write your own articles as much as possible this month.

Thank you
Cyberotter

 
At 4:12 PM, Blogger moi said...

Tommy-- I really don't even know where to begin. You are opposed to torture being used against American citizens but justify it for others? What makes non-Americans worse than others, more inhuman that others, that they should not be exempt from this form of abuse? You also support "summarily executing jihadists" who do not provide information to their captors. Why don't we all just pull out our guns and take matters into our own hands? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty? If you do not believe your country should give others the rights granted to them by international law, then do not expect the same if god forbid you are caught in some 3rd world country and accused of any crime. Disregard for international law by the world's superpower will only come back to bite us in the ass. It puts every American abroad at risk, including US troops. This type of indiscriminate killing and torture sounds more like a horror story from the Middle Ages.
And I wasn't referring to contacting your reps about walking out of Iraq, but about conducting this mission with honor and dignity and without bringing shame to the people of the US, which is what Abu Ghraib and Haditha have brought.

Fatima--The case of Ahmed Abu Ali is a clear example of extraordinary renditions which will be discussed as a yet another dangerous path that leads to torture.

Chris--It is a slippery slope indeed, and any wavering on this issue will only allow for those in power to take advantage of such "grey areas".

Cyberotter--Thanks for stopping by and introducing us to your blog. You have some great posts and I continue to check them, as I hope you will too to for my posts on this issue.

 
At 5:42 PM, Anonymous tommy said...

Moi,

The whole substance of your objections to my proposals is based on not distinguishing citizens from non-citizens nor differentiating between conditions of peace and war. I accept that Iraq is a war zone. I thus believe that rules of war apply. If Iraq was not an area of conflict, none of what I advocated previously would be applicable.

The whole basis of the Geneva Convention rests upon mutual observation of its rules of conduct by combatants. Insurgents in Iraq do not uphold such rules. They are not soldiers as defined under the Geneva Convention, nor can they be properly considered civilians since they choose to take part in the conflict. By contrast, the regular military force that the United States faced initially when going into Iraq was guaranteed the protection of the Geneva Convention. The regular Iraqi Army was different, as are civilians in Iraq.

In fact, the United States, during the 70's, quite properly refused to sign an "enhanced" version of the Geneva Convention that would have extended such treatment to insurgents and 'guerrilla movements' that don't play by the same rules that govern conduct among regular military forces.

Finally, I mentioned in my previous comments that I am only referring to jihadists captured on the battlefield. I would not favor extending such methods to those captured during the course of subsequent investigations who, presumably, might be the subject of spurious charges.

Why don't we all just pull out our guns and take matters into our own hands? Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

To both questions: we are talking about a war zone, where the rules of war apply, not civil society.

then do not expect the same if god forbid you are caught in some 3rd world country and accused of any crime.

Of course not. But then, I don't expect to find myself in a foreign country waging jihad in war-time conditions.

disregard for international law by the world's superpower will only come back to bite us in the ass.

What body of international law are you referring to? I have explained previously that insurgents do not enjoy the protection of the Geneva Convention.

This type of indiscriminate killing and torture sounds more like a horror story from the Middle Ages.

I'm sorry you feel that way. First, I think I am being very discriminating about who ought to face summary execution: jihadists captured on the battlefield. Furthermore, the sort of coercive techniques I favor are those that involve little or no risk of maiming or killing the detainee. By way of contrast, torture as practiced during the Inquisition frequently resulted in maiming or killing a person.

And I wasn't referring to contacting your reps about walking out of Iraq, but about conducting this mission with honor and dignity

Which begs the question I've been asking all along. Many Arab bloggers seem critical of the US role in the country. They admit that Saddam was no angel, but they really have no plan for what to do with Iraq themselves. They simply want to vent their anger against the US in some fashion. I haven't heard a single constructive proposal from US critics about what should be done in Iraq from this point forward.

Oh, did I mention that I favor destroying mosques that are used as defensive fortifications by jihadists? I favor that too. ;-)

 
At 3:48 AM, Blogger Kel said...

Moi, well done for signing up!

Kel.

 

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