Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Day of Support for Victims of Torture


Perhaps appropriately, today torture enablers John Yoo (former Bush Justice department lawyer) and David Addington (Dick Cheney's right hand man) finally had to answer a few questions from a Congressional committee.

There were some macabre moments:

[Representative John] Conyers asked Yoo if the president could order a prisoner buried alive, or order a detainee's children tortured. "There are a number of things I don't believe an American president would ever order," Yoo said. [Rep. Jerrold] Nadler observed that Yoo dodged the question of whether, under his 2002 memo, a president could order such activities.

Compare these guys to what the United Nations said last year about the International Day of Support for Vicitms of Torture.

Torture is one of the most profound human rights abuses, taking a terrible toll on millions of individuals and their families. Rape, blows to the soles of the feet, suffocation in water, burns, electric shocks, sleep deprivation, shaking and beating are commonly used by torturers to break down an individual's personality. As terrible as the physical wounds are, the psychological and emotional scars are usually the most devastating and the most difficult to repair. Many torture survivors suffer recurring nightmares and flashbacks. They withdraw from family, school and work and feel a loss of trust.

"Today the United Nations appeals to all governments and members of civil society to take action to defeat torture and torturers everywhere", [said] UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. "This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable", he said.

Representative Nadler summed up the unspeakable posture of the United States at the conclusion of the Yoo/Addington hearing.

"It does not go too far to say the reputation of our nation as the leading exponent of human rights and human dignity [sic] have been besmirched by this administration," Nadler said.

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