Archive for June 8th, 2012

How you can stand up against torture

Friday, June 8, 2012 at 7:47 pm by

Realizing the severe impact the use of torture had on their local community, Chicago residents and advocates succeeded this past year in securing a city-wide declaration against the use of torture by law enforcement and military forces.

The action was spurred by the torture of hundreds black men by Chicago police commander Jon Burge and his officers. Additionally, many people wanted to speak out against the US treatment of prisoners abroad at places like Guantanamo, Bagram, and the clandestine CIA black spots. stop torture, close Guantanamo

In January 2012, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed the Chicago anti-torture resolution. The Illinois Coalition Against Torture (ICAT) – a collaboration of individuals and organizations that spearheaded the campaign – recently released a How To Guide for individuals who are interested in launching similar efforts in their own communities.

As individuals like Jose Rodriguez continue to espouse claims on the effectiveness of torture and government officials like John Yoo walk free despite their key role in implementing the use of torture, it is important for communities and individuals to vehemently rebuke such rhetoric.

Torture “is morally corrupting of society as a whole,” said Linda Gustitus, president of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in a recent op-ed. ”It violates the most fundamental values of a civilized world that each person must be treated as having worth and dignity or we risk the worth and dignity of us all.”

June is Torture Awareness Month. Now is a perfect time to take a stand against torture, whether that be through promoting important federal legislation, by starting an accountability campaign, or both. To ensure the “worth and dignity of us all” we must replace the voices of torture apologists with those who realize the cruel and inhumane practice torture truly is.

 

News Digest 6/8/12

Friday, June 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm by

The 6 Most Disturbing Revelations About Obama’s Drone Strikes (Part 1)

Friday, June 8, 2012 at 10:17 am by

President Barack Obama has greatly expanded the power to target suspected terrorists with drone strikes. As part of its global war on terror, the United States now launches armed drones into Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. But thanks to investigative reporting by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and many others, unsettling details have been leaked about this controversial program. Like…

#6. Targets are guilty until proven innocent

Supporters of Obama’s drone strikes point argue that drones are acceptable because they can minimize civilian casualties. In a recent speech, Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, defended drones as “ethical and just,” since collateral damage has been “exceedingly rare.” More impressively, a senior administration official recently boasted that civilians killed in Pakistan by drones during Obama’s presidency numbered in the “single digits.”

But in a groundbreaking piece published by the New York Times last week, it turns out there was a more sinister reason for why the official death civilian toll was so low:

Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants, according to several administration officials, unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.

Counterterrorism officials insist this approach is one of simple logic: people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.

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