Torture is terrorism

The New York Times yesterday cited an article in Foreign Affairs in the northern summer of 2007, in which Mr Obama wrote: “To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people.The Australian

After years of delay, the CIA declassified a raft of documents Monday, with lots of detail about the Bush Administration’s harsh treatment of detainees following the September 11 attacks. The biggest document, with the most new detail, is a 2004 report by the CIA Inspector General (CIA IG) that is highly critical of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program. Here are five new things you need to know about the disclosures:

1. The CIA IG concluded that the public had been misled about the interrogation program.
2. The CIA IG found that the CIA used waterboarding in a way that had not been approved by the Justice Department
3. The CIA IG repeatedly brought what it viewed as abuses or violations of law to the attention of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Justice Department, without any positive result.
4. The CIA IG concluded that while high-value detainees did produce valuable intelligence, the measurement of the effectiveness of harsh interrogation techniques “is a more subjective process and not without some concern.” The CIA lists four reasons for this muddled view.
5. The initial harsh interrogation program, begun in 2002, was poorly managed, some interrogators were poorly trained and informed, and they used techniques that were substantially harsher than what had been approved by the White House and the Justice Department.

I admire President Obama for taking action on this and I hope that he follows his promise and that he lets justice run it’s full course, right to the top. (What a pity that this report was released with redactions)

The USA is showering itself with blessing IF it pursues openness and honesty. It is involved in ending the wars in the DRC and I applaud them for that. These are good men doing good things, opposing evil. Awe-sum.

Many other countries participated in this wrongdoing. Are they covering up for their mates, or will they take up the mantle of leadership in this world? To be a world leader, other countries and people will be watching how you use your power. Are you honest? Are you merciful? Are you righteous? Do you promote healthy behavior? Do you protect the wicked, or protect the innocent?

Do these other countries they have the moral rectitude to face their own abusive past and take public action to right the wrongs? We must always remember, democracy is a public experience and wrongs need to be seen to be opposed by leadership. And the public must vote for those who will take that action.

Truth and reconciliation commissions

Archbishop-Desmond-TutuI see that many countries now have truth and reconciliation commissions. This is an excellent way to encourage forgiveness instead of witch hunts… a TRC brings up the past, healing it and then letting it go – all without people having to do jail time. In South Africa we had a terrible time of darkness called Apartheid. Archbishop Desmond Tutu led South Africa through a TRC and we are so much better for it.

The “Arch” received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism, the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2005 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. The people watched the veil being lifted on (some aspects) of the past. The people let go of (some) of their anger. Crisis was averted. Healing was promoted.

But our leaders can do nothing if the people aren’t willing to support them. We simply must be vocal and active in our support of a healthy democracy. Obama and other good men and women need us to support their good intentions.

Without our support, they don’t have the power to extinguish darkness, instead they have to compromise with darkness and so it lives on.

I keep posting this quote, because it is so true…

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing – Edmund Burke (?)

Burke’s alleged quote bears a striking resemblance to the narrated theme of Sergei Bondarchuk’s Soviet film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s book “War and Peace”, in which the narrator declares “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing” – Source: Wikisource

And so I am extremely pleased to see the investigation into the abuses conducted.

Dick Cheney’s counter-argument is that the end justifies the means… in other words, it’s ok to be evil in your fight against evil, it’s ok to behave like a terrorist in order to combat terrorism. That is pure darkness. Everyone needs to stand up for the light and say “NO!” to Dick Cheney. Tell him that we don’t cover up darkness so it can rise up again in the future. To let this stuff go unanswered is to ensure that it will happen again to a future generation. Not only again, but worse.

I fully agree with this columnist.

Torture is terrorismBy Stephen Henderson, Free Press Editorial Page Editor

Torture is terrorism. And while it may ultimately be forgivable, it’s simply not forgettable, and it can’t appropriately be swept under the rug. Not in a nation of laws. Not in the world’s longest-surviving democracy.

So let Attorney General Eric Holder proceed with haste in his criminal inquiry into whether interrogators of 9/11 suspects crossed the line into torture. And let him be undeterred by President Barack Obama’s insistence that his administration will “look forward,” not back, with regard to transgressions committed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

That’s the important distinction between the White House and the Justice Department. The president can be about politics. But the AG has to be about the law, even when the president’s politics might be in conflict with the law. Holder’s worked up now because of a five-year-old CIA report that was partially declassified Monday. In it, American interrogators are depicted engaging in abhorrent behavior in pursuit of information about possible terrorist attacks.

They threatened detainees with violence, often implying they would be shot or mutilated with power tools. They choked one repeatedly until he started to pass out, then shook him awake. They frightened others with mock executions. They told one detainee that they might sexually abuse his mother in front of him, and another that they’d kill his children.

Look up terrorism in the dictionary, and tell me that doesn’t match the definition. Is this not the unlawful use of violence or threats to coerce for political purposes?

Ok, so I did look it up in the dictionary!

terrorism-dictionaryThe reason I am posting this to my blog is because democracy only works if people think about issues. You don’t have to agree with my viewpoint, but I do want you to form a viewpoint.

If you are in agreement that we should protect future generations from this behaviour, then make a noise, and then our leaders around the world can take action. If you remain quiet, evil continues and your children might face the same behaviour, or worse.

And it might not take that long to happen again. We live in a troubled world and until that changes, there may be more trials to live through. Our leaders need our active noisy support so that they can be bold enough to take a stand against evil.

Good people must take a stand for right and stand against wrong wherever it is found. Democracy only works if people speak out and get active. The direction this world goes in, is in your hands and mine. We all play a part in this gestalt effect.

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