Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: Alfred W. McCoy: A MUST READ article for all peace/justice activists!

Sorry to be so heavy on this site without much let-up but this can't be missed. He's the one expert I have followed on these issues for a long time, featured his work in a workshop in my area. I find him to be easy to corroborate as well as to be ahead of most other human rights groups/persons on these topics. We need to take heed...

Impunity at Home, Rendition Abroad: How Both Parties Made Illegality the American Way of Life

By Prof. Alfred W. McCoy

August 14, 2012

After a decade of fiery public debate and bare-knuckle partisan brawling, the United States has stumbled toward an ad hoc bipartisan compromise over the issue of torture that rests on two unsustainable policies: impunity at home and rendition abroad.

President Obama has closed the CIA’s “black sites,” its secret prisons where American agents once dirtied their hands with waterboarding and wall slamming.

But via rendition -- the sending of terrorist suspects to the prisons of countries that torture -- and related policies, his administration has outsourced human rights abuse to Afghanistan, Somalia, and elsewhere. In this way, he has avoided the political stigma of torture, while tacitly tolerating such abuses and harvesting whatever intelligence can be gained from them.

This “resolution” of the torture issue may meet the needs of this country’s deeply divided politics. It cannot, however, long satisfy an international community determined to prosecute human rights abuses through universal jurisdiction. It also runs the long-term risk of another sordid torture scandal that will further damage U.S. standing with allies worldwide.
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1 comment:

CN said...

McCoy shows that since the time of the Roman author Ulpian torture has never been good at eliciting information. Those tortured will confess to anything to get the pain to stop, and often invent information they think the torturer wants to hear.

He also demonstrates that not only is the evidence that torture fails to work, it in fact increases hatred of the regimes that use it.

In Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and through extraordinary rendition, the CIA made widespread use of torture of suspects, producing no useful information that could be used in any criminal court against any suspect. Scapegoats have been tried for these offences.

McCoy also demonstrates, not only does torture produce psychotic effects upon the tortured, it historically has led to violence afterwards perpetrated by torturers.

He concludes "In sum, the powerful often turn to torture in times of crisis, not because it works but because it salves their fears and insecurities with the psychic balm of empowerment."

From Wikipedia -- referring to McCoy's previous work on torture.