Cascadia Catholics

A left-leaning Catholic discussion forum.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Amnesty International on the Evil of Torture, American Style

"...what we do to those who suffer, we do to the Last Judge of our life..."

Pope Benedict XVI

Rubber stamping violations in the "war on terror": Congress fails human rights

By passing the Military Commissions Act, the United States Congress has, in effect, given its stamp of approval to human rights violations committed by the USA in the "war on terror". This legislation leaves the USA squarely on the wrong side of international law, and has turned bad executive policy into bad domestic law.

On 27 September, the House of Representatives passed the Military Commissions Act by 253 votes to 168. On 28 September, the Senate passed the Act by 65 votes to 34. After any discrepancies between the Senate and House bills are reconciled, the legislation will go to President Bush for signing into law. If President Bush signs the bill, as expected, Amnesty International will campaign for repeal of the Act. The constitutionality of the legislation is also likely to be challenged in the courts.

In the "war on terror", the US administration has resorted to secret detention, enforced disappearance, prolonged incommunicado detention, indefinite detention without charge, arbitrary detention, and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Thousands of detainees remain in indefinite military detention in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay. Congress has failed these detainees and their families. President Bush has defended the CIA’s use of secret detention and in the debates over the Military Commissions Act, members of Congress have done the same. Yet this is a policy in clear violation of international law.

Accountability among higher officials for human rights violations authorized or committed by US personnel in the "war on terror" has been absent, as has been reparation for such abuses. Investigations into alleged war crimes and human rights violations have lacked independence and have not gone up the chain of command. Not a single US agent has been charged with war crimes under the USA’s War Crimes Act or torture under the extraterritorial anti-torture statute, despite compelling evidence that such offences have occurred.

Meanwhile, the Military Commissions Act provides for trials of the "enemy" in front of military commissions using lower standards of evidence than apply to US personnel, and with the power to hand down death sentences. Whether charged for trial or not, those detained by the USA as "enemy combatants" will not be able to challenge the lawfulness or conditions of their detention in habeas corpus appeals. Habeas corpus is a fundamental safeguard against enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

There appears to be little doubt that President Bush will sign the bill. He had sent a version of it to Congress on 6 September at the same time that he had announced the transfer of 14 "high value" detainees from years in secret CIA custody to detention in Guantánamo. He said that these detainees could be tried if Congress authorized military commissions acceptable to the administration.

Amnesty International deeply regrets that Congress failed to resist this executive pressure and instead has given a green light for violations of the USA’s international obligations.


At 9/29/2006 11:59 AM, Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Alyosha and all,

Why do religious leaders and followers so often participate in and support blatant evil?

The time is long past to stop focusing on symptoms and myriad details and finally seek lasting solutions. Until we address the core causes of the millennia of struggle and suffering that have bedeviled humanity, these repeating cycles of evil will never end.

History is replete with examples of religious leaders and followers advocating, supporting, and participating in blatant evil. Regardless of attempts to shift or deny blame, history clearly records the widespread crimes of Christianity. Whether we're talking about the abominations of the Inquisition, Crusades, the greed and genocide of colonizers, slavery in the Americas, or the Bush administration's recent deeds and results, Christianity has always spawned great evil. The deeds of many Muslims and the state of Israel are also prime examples.

The paradox of adherents who speak of peace and good deeds contrasted with leaders and willing cohorts knowingly using religion for evil keeps the cycle of violence spinning through time. Why does religion seem to represent good while always serving as a constant source of deception, conflict, and the chosen tool of great deceivers? The answer is simple. The combination of faith and religion is a strong delusion purposely designed to affect one's ability to reason clearly. Regardless of the current pope's duplicitous talk about reason, faith and religion are the opposite of truth, wisdom, and justice and completely incompatible with logic.

Religion, like politics and money, creates a spiritual, conceptual, and karmic endless loop. By their very nature, they always create opponents and losers which leads to a never ending cycle of losers striving to become winners again, ad infinitum. This purposeful logic trap always creates myriad sources of conflict and injustice, regardless of often-stated ideals, which are always diluted by ignorance and delusion. The only way to stop the cycle is to convert or kill off all opponents or to end the systems and concepts that drive it.

Think it through, would the Creator of all knowledge and wisdom insist that you remain ignorant by simply believing what you have been told by obviously duplicitous religious founders and leaders? Would a compassionate Creator want you to participate in a system that guarantees injustice and suffering to your fellow souls? Isn’t it far more likely that religion is a tool of greedy men seeking to profit from the ignorance of followers and the strife it constantly foments? When you mix religion with the equally destructive delusions of money and politics, injustice, chaos, and the profits they generate are guaranteed.


...and here...


At 9/29/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger _alyosha_ said...

You might want to read a few posts down. Violence and evil and oppression exist very well without religion. But I suspect you aren't really listening.


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