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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Torture Awareness Month and Survivors’ Week is here

Abughraib June is Torture Awareness Month and the week of June 23 – 29 is Survivors' Week. The Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) is commemorating the public awareness opportunities by opposing the monstrous and lawless practice of torture.

For the past 12 years, TASSC has played a crucial role in organizing survivors and their friends to publicly oppose torture.

Is torture just and necessary? I don't think so, but Western Standard blogger Terrence Watson has some interesting things to say on the subject here.

(Picture: Torture at Abu Ghraib)

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on June 23, 2009 | Permalink



"June is Torture Awareness Month". Yeah? According to whom? I did a quick google because I wanted to know who had declared June thus. I assumed it would turn out to be either the UN or the US government or the Canadian government, but found no evidence of any of those options. In fact, I found nothing (in, admittedly, a quick search) indicating who has declared it Torture Awareness Month. So I am left wondering if this is just something some pyjamaed blogger madfe up and a few others have decided matters or whether there is some significant sponsor for the occasion. Do you know?

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-06-23 5:46:41 AM

According to Human Rights Watch (www.hrw.org ), the use of torture was documented in the following countries in 2004 and 2005: China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan.

I would question the inclusion of Israel. Far and away the biggest users of torture are adherents of the "religion of peace".

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-06-23 7:46:04 AM

Follow the TASSC link, Fact Check:

June Torture Awareness Month and Survivors' Week: June 23 – 29

For the past 12 years, the Torture Abolition and Survivor Support Coalition (TASSC) has played a crucial role in organizing survivors and their friends to publicly oppose torture.

The focus of TASSC's activities this year will again be June Survivors' Week, which commemorates the UN International Day in Support of Survivors and Victims of Torture, and issues a call to abolish torture once and for all.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-06-23 9:39:48 AM

What hothouse flowers we have become. Confusing humiliation and intimidation with torture indicates a lack of understanding of torture. I do not agree with the indiscriminate use of torture (real that is), to obtain a confession, since most will confuse to anything under such conditions. As for the use of intimidation and humiliation to obtain information, I fail to see the big deal.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-23 4:02:53 PM

I'll accept that distinction, Alain.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-06-23 6:17:05 PM

I see a typo in my comment, just returning to it now, which should have read - since most will confess to anything under such conditions.

Matthew, the photo shows a prisoner being humiliated but not tortured. In fact the claim that the Abu Ghraib incident was proof of torture was dishonest. What was revealed was the intent to humiliate Islamist prisoners, nothing more, nothing less.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-23 8:18:19 PM

If I ever went to prison, I'd like to be treated as well as those detained in Gitmo. It's better than any other prison on Earth.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-06-23 9:09:38 PM

I followed the link, Matthew. As I suspected, there was a request for $25. I think I'll start my own cause. Any ideas out there?

The distinction between intimidation and torture is not as clear as you might think. You can threaten 100 people with dogs, but if not one of them ends up with bite marks, the intimidation factor starts to get pretty weak. You have to back up the threats once in awhile.

Once you start with the intimidation, it's not much of a jump to all out torture. The feeling of power these guards start to feel is a big factor. They sometimes start to experiment on their helpless captives. The Japanese used to practise their swordsmanship on Australian prisoners. I can't imagine what has to snap in your head to want to torture someone. It doesn't seem like a normal human reaction.

Of course, if you really do have a chance of accomplishing something, it might be worth testing some sneaky psychological stuff.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-23 9:48:59 PM

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