Friday, July 30, 2010

Educating to END and HEAL TORTURE

"Every time he tortures, the torturer reinforces the idea that we cannot trust one another, and that we cannot trust the world we live in." Sister Dianna Ortiz
The Blindfold's Eyes: My Journey from Torture to Truth

Will U.S. Psychologists Ever Be Called to Account for Torture? Harvard’s Human Rights Clinic, the Center for Justice and Accountability, and the MacArthur Justice Center have demanded that psychologists involved in torture be disbarred. Can the American Psychological Association be far behind? Well…yes.

"Torture destroys the soul of the torturer even as it destroys the body of his victim. The boundary between humane treatment of prisoners and torture is perhaps the clearest boundary in existence between civilization and barbarism."
Jonathan Schell - What Is Wrong With Torture

Milgram Experiment Updates here

Video #1 here


The Center for Victims of Torture is a member of the unprecedented national coalition which has launched a new campaign calling on the President to issue an Executive Order unequivocally rejecting torture and cruelty. Nationally respected faith, military, foreign and security policy leaders have united behind core principles of humane treatment that reflect deeply cherished American values, and have issued a Declaration of Principles providing a blueprint for action. Coalition members are the Center for Victims of Torture, the National Religious Campaign to Ban Torture, and Evangelicals for Human Rights. Get more information about the Campaign to Ban Torture

Video #2 here


Not as much as they should, according to a disturbing study published in the International Journal of Health Services. The Refuge Media Project recently taped an interview with lead author J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist with the Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School. The study was undertaken in response to concerns about the roles of physicians and psychologists in military interrogation. Its introduction notes that "Several reports have alleged physicians' complicity in the mistreatment of prisoners being held by the United States: Physicians may have advised interrogators as to whether particular prisoners were fit enough to survive physical maltreatment, informed interrogators about prisoners' phobias and other psychological vulnerabilities, failed to report torture, and altered the death certificates of prisoners who died as a result of torture."

Video #3 here

“Almost without realizing it, we have become accustomed to institutions being exactly the opposite of what they are meant to be: those responsible for guaranteeing our safety are the main source of insecurity; those in charge of justice defend abuse and injustice; those called on to enlighten and guide are the first to deceive and manipulate...

"In this environment of lies...violence dominates life to such an extent that people begin to believe that violence is the only solution to the problem of violence itself." — Ignacio Martín-Baró, War and Mental Health

Award-Winning Public "Spot": BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION…
INTERNATIONAL REHABILITATION COUNCIL FOR TORTURE VICTIMS: The IRCT promotes and supports the rehabilitation of torture victims, and works for the prevention of torture. Its 142 members include rehabilitation centers and programs worldwide. This PSA is the Refuge Media Project’s award-winning entry in the IRCT's competition for spots to be shown on and around June 26th, the United Nations’ International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. The images were filmed during the annual ceremony and tree-planting sponsored by the Center for Victims of Torture in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; the 24-hour vigil and day of solidarity held each year by TASSC, the Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition in Washington, DC; and “New Bostonians” day in Boston, Massachusetts.Writer/Producer: Ben Achtenberg Camera: Jesse Achtenberg, Ben Achtenberg, Roger SchmitzEditing & Music: Jesse Achtenberg Voice-Over: Jeff Loeb

MORE Recent Items:

Films to Watch For: 9500 Liberty is an outstanding documentary on a community in conflict over immigration -- prefiguring what's going on in Arizona right now. The multi-award winning Enemies of the People offers an inside look at the Cambodian genocide, as one of its victims goes on a "mission of truth."

Head of Cambodian Torture Camp Found Guilty: 30 years after the end of the Khmer Rouge regime, the head of the notorious Tuol Sleng Prison has been found guilty of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Some survivors worry he could walk free some day.

Student Journalists Document Media Collaboration in Redefining Torture: The New York Times, Washington Post, and other major papers almost always called waterboarding torture for more than 70 years – but almost never after the Bush administration began using the technique.

New Resources: A new book on the Cambodian Killing Fields from University of Pennsylvania Press; web resources on Honduras; the IRC’s latest report on Iraqi refugees; an editorial on physician involvement in interrogation; the Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights.

Rape as Terrorism: In her new book, Denial, terrorism expert Jessica Stern confronts the impact of her rape as a teenager on her fascination with terrorists. Can we start a new conversation on the connections and parallelisms among rape, terrorism, and torture?


People who know me can't fathom how this mother of four and grandmother of five can even look at such horrors. But facing, and doing something about, these ugly realities while living a "normal" personal life, is probably my way of preserving my sanity.-- Ella Mazel, February 2005

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Connie L. Nash said...

Part of healing will depend on admitting and transparency about the truth, apologies which will involve compensations:

excellent review by Jeremy Harding in the London Review of Books of the book:

The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of US Detention and Interrogation Practices by Laurel Fletcher and Eric Stover
California, 210 pp, £10.95, October 2009,
ISBN 978 0 520 26177 8

As Deborah points out, it provides good food for thought about compensation owed by Aero Contractors and the CIA for those whose lives have been destroyed by torture and ER. From Fletcher and Stover’s interviews with 62 former Guantanamo detainees:

“Only six of the 62 respondents said they were in full-time work; 34 had no work at all. A majority believe that the US government should offer them compensation for ‘wrongful imprisonment’. ‘If they have any proof regarding my case,’ one remarked, ‘and even if they find me guilty now, I’m ready to be punished; otherwise they should compensate me.’ Fletcher and Stover tend to agree. They call for a non-partisan commission to investigate the detention policy in Guantánamo and all the so-called ‘black sites’, and go on to raise the possibility of compensation when rights have been clearly violated. Which covers most of the cases in this study.”

Connie L. Nash said...