Saturday, August 7, 2010

From the Veterans for Peace webcast on Torture: Short Summary

Refer to Veterans for Peace dot org for more information

Justine Sharrock: Justine is author of "Tortured: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things," was live streamed from San Francisco, CA
Andy Duffy: Andy Duffy enlisted as a medic in the Iowa National Guard two days after he turned 17. He testifies to incidents in which Iraqi detainees in Abu Graib Prison desperately in need of medical treatment were denied it.
Woody Powell: Served in the USAF, 1950-54, in Korea 1952-53. Air Police, K-9 Corps. Air Base Defense. Was Executive Director of Veterans For Peace from 2001 to 2005. He is the author of "Two Walk the Golden Road."

Moderated by John Chappell: Dr. Chappell is an Associate Professor of History at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is author of the book, "Before the Bomb: How America Approached the End of the Pacific War." In May 2010, he was panelist in the workshop, "The Atomic Bombings and Indiscriminate Attacks on Civilians," at the International Conference for a Nuclear-Free, Peaceful, Just, and Sustainable World held at Riverside Church in New York City.
Torture: The Prisoner's Reality and International Law

During course of this dialogue of panel including questions from public via email, a number of factors were alluded to regarding the heavy increase and yet similar use of torture to other wars.

There were a number of questions which asked WHAT/WHY/HOW has torture become so prevalent?

Here are a few of the reasons given:

1) The TRAINING of soldiers, often who have little background in ethics, philosophy and not even in The Geneva Conventions (not mentioned but Army Field Manual which at least has rules that are continually ignored.)

2) The SCOURGE of War itself is what brings about this Scourge of Torture...
Torture happens in war.

3) The DEHUMANIZATION OF PEOPLE allows for torture to INCREASE even flourish. I fact leaders and others frequently use diminutive or derogatory names to describe people in the occupied areas such as Hajies for older men...similar to use of "gooks" during Vietnam or in North Korea.

4) The TORTURE of ISOLATION (of detainees/prisoners and others) forces leaks if anything is going to come out to public.

5) "Everything was contracted out"... "I didn't find them to be very (empathetic) to Iraqi people..."

6) Everything getting kinda MIXED up...CHAOS - after awhile you don't know who's who at any given moment..who's from US? Who's a contractor? Who's on our side from Iraq? etc.

7) Many won't talk because of fear of higher ups - pressure by leaders, recruiters, authorities who threaten, fear of being ostracized, denial, can't talk with anyone including at the Veterans Administration where docs want to treat post-trauma with 'band-aids' but don't want to hear about torture complicity. (The Things They Carried - see this amazing novel from Vietnam era)

Constantly reiterated throughout this show was the fact that Post-Trauma and Suicide Rates have been mushrooming and that it's inevitable if you can't talk, heal, deal you're going to have multiple problems...that if you've tortured others or been quiet about this, you will be much more likely to commit suicide...

Here are a few of the other questions asked with the answers:

Q. How do you see this war having impacted
America as a whole?

A. We have rolled back decades on progress we've made on human rights. (Torture) and War Crimes...profoundly changes our identity...

Q. Wikileaks...will they have an impact?

A. "Made the Pentagon Papers look relatively simple...with angle...coming from outside"...unfortunate that it was a journalist who tried to minimize effects and prevent more...IAW may provide support for soldiers to offer information...

(November 2nd Daniel Ellsberg to be interviewed on similar program discussing Wikileaks...and find out about the next in this series just below)

It takes a tremendous amount of courage for people to come forward to share such personal, painful accounts. Yet, such people as were interviewed here today are BECOMING THE MEDIA themselves...including and especially the soldiers and former military staff who are speaking out and being transparent concerning what they and their troops have done and what they so deeply regret.
Streamed live on Saturday October 9 (6pm London & 10am Pacific time)

Another live event in St. Louis that will be broadcast via the internet. We encourage all to view it live here at here

Phil Butler: Dr. Butler is a 1961 graduate of the United States Naval Academy and a former light-attack, carrier pilot. In 1965 he was shot down over North Vietnam where he spent 2,855 days and nights, almost eight years, as a prisoner of war. He is a highly decorated combat veteran who was awarded two Silver Stars, two Legion of Merits, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Heart medals. After his repatriation in 1973 he earned a PhD in sociology from the University of California at San Diego and became a Navy Organizational Effectiveness consultant. He completed his Navy career in 1981 as a professor of management at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey. Phil is also a Lifetime Member of Veterans For Peace. He is also the author "Three Lives of a Warrior."

Moazzam Begg - Moazzam Begg was seized by the CIA in Islamabad in February of 2002. He was flown to the U.S. detention facility at Kandahar then taken to Bagram where he was held for a year before being transferred to Guantanamo. He was labeled as an "enemy combatant" but never charged with a crime. In all, Moazzam spent three years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement. He was subjected to over three hundred interrogations as well as death threats and torture. He was released in January of 2005 along with three other British citizens. He is the author of "Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar." Begg will be joining us from England via web cast.

Plan ahead for a GROUP Showing for the next in the series...

How to view this with a group - A group showing can easily be done with a screen (or white wall) with an LCD projector attached to a computer. You will need internet access. Simply go to here where you will be able to project the live stream on your wall or screen.

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