Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Some hide torture, some like it (for others), some fight it

As a consequence of Erudite Partner's writings against torture, I maintain several standing web alerts that tip me off to any flurry of activity about this dreary topic. Monday was the anniversary of the Senate report which confirmed the shameful story of the Bush administration's enthusiasm for vicious and unlawful treatment of its prisoners.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that torture apologists have trotted out a researcher from the conservative Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford to explain that really the report was a lousy piece of work. Ms. Zegart faults the Feinstein committee's, enumerating her complaints:

"It was not bipartisan, took too long to write, made little effort to generate public support along the way and produced a declassified version that constituted a tiny portion of the full study..."

That's actually not a bad list -- and every one of those limitations derived from Republican obstruction. On torture, the GOP is the party of cover up, delay, and accountability denied. (The Prez hasn't been so good on that last item either.)

Unfortunately Zegart's silly tripe is being reported as if she were saying something. Reporters can be credulous beasts.

Not surprisingly all the Republican presidential hopefuls are eager for more torture, especially in the context of the current national panic. It's not just Trump; it's all of them. The Donald says he

would support torturing detainees – even “if it doesn’t work” in producing valuable intelligence – simply because he thinks it’s a worthwhile thing to do.

I'm not going to try to explain that pathology.
The same web alert that brought me this dreck also brought me a biographical piece on Vilma Núñez de Escorcia who has headed the Centro Nicaragüense de Derechos Humanos (Nicaraguan Center for Human Rights) for the past quarter of a century. Born into rejection because her mother was not married to her father, tortured herself under the dictatorial Somoza regime, she was made a judge of the country's Supreme Court during the revolutionary 1980s. When that regime ended, she turned to non-governmental work against torture:

Today, Vilma’s concern is about the limits of torture’s characterization, in particular with the forms of torture that do not leave visible traces, but still affect individuals and families.

... As crime has increased in recent years, especially in the countryside, people have been tortured for being considered supporters or accomplices of politically motivated armed groups when in fact these peasants were forced to feed guerilleros, Vilma explains.

... Vilma, who has held leading positions in international or regional human rights NGOs ... admits that it is hard to say that thanks to her work torture has diminished.  On the contrary, there seems to be more torture in Nicaragua today. But at least people now know they have the right not to be tortured.
“For us our greatest success is that people have now understood the concept, and that it is a human rights violation,” she says.

The World Organization Against Torture is profiling 10 international human rights defenders in the run up to December 10, United Nations Human Rights Day. Several in addition to the Nunez piece are available at the link.

1 comment:

amspirnational said...

Obama legitimized and now rewards torture. Don't expect Hillary to be much different.

Related Posts with Thumbnails