Annually on June 26, The
International Day in Support of Victims of Torture remembers and honors
victims, survivors, and family members.
On June 26, 1987, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment took effect.
The Torture Convention defines it as:
"any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,
is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining
from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him
for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having
committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for
any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain and suffering
is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence
of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity...."
Torture is prohibited at all times, under all conditions with no allowed
Third Geneva's Article 13 states prisoners "must at all times be humanely
treated. Any unlawful act or omission by the Detaining Power causing
death or seriously endangering the health of a prisoner of war in its
custody is prohibited....(these persons) must at all times be protected,
particularly against acts of violence or intimidation...."
Its Article 17 says:
"No physical or mental torture, nor any other form of coercion, may
be inflicted on prisoners of war" for any reasons whatsoever.
Its Article 87 states:
"Collective punishment for individual acts, corporal punishments, imprisonment
in premises without daylight and, in general, any form of torture or
cruelty, are forbidden.
Fourth Geneva's Article 27 says:
Protected persons "shall at all times be humanely treated, and shall
be protected especially against all acts of violence or threats thereof...."
Its Articles 31 and 32 states:
"No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected
"This prohibition applies to....torture (and) to any other measures
of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents."
Its Article 147 calls "willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment....grave
breaches" under the Convention and are considered "war crimes."
All four Geneva Conventions have a Common Article Three. It requires
non-combatants, including "members of armed forces who laid down their
arms," to be treated humanely at all times.
The (1966) International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Article 7 states:
"No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment."
Its Article 10 states:
" All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity...."
The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain (AOHR) is half right.
It says Israel is "the sole country to have legalized the use of torture."
George Bush institutionalized it in America. More on both countries
On December 12, 1997, UN General Assembly Resolution 52/149 designated
June 26 as an "International Day in Support of Victims of Torture" and
annual day of remembrance.
The Human Rights Education Association (HREA) said this year's theme
The International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT)
"Despite its absolute prohibition torture continues to be a global phenomenon:
both physical and psychological torture. Torture is today prevalent
in over half the world’s countries. This is a disgrace in the twenty-first
"Its victims are men, women often targeted by rape and other sexual
torture, and also, children. Torture victims are disproportionately
from marginalized groups, in particular the poor, but also women and
"The aim of torture is to exert power, to punish, create fear and to
IRCT explained that torture victims suffer long after their ordeal ends.
Rehabilitation is crucial. It's to "empower (survivors) to resume as
full a life as possible."
It takes time, patience and support. Most important, it works. It's
also a right under the Torture Convention's Article 14, stating:
"1. Each State Party shall ensure in its legal system that the victim
of an act of torture obtains redress and has an enforceable right to
fair and adequate compensation including the means for as full rehabilitation
as possible. In the event of the death of the victim as a result of
an act of torture, his dependents shall be entitled to compensation."
2. Nothing in this article shall affect any right of the victim or other
person to compensation which may exist under national law."
Annually, over 100,000 victims receive treatment. Global centers provide
it. Many other survivors needing care never get it. They and family
members both suffer.
IRCT reminds governments of their responsibility to ensure rehabilitation
"from this most horrendous form of abuse."
Rehab is a right, and it works, IRCT stressed.
Hypocritically, on June 26, a White House Office of the Press Secretary
America "joins the international community in pledging to work toward
the elimination of torture and all other forms of cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment."
"As the President has made clear since the first days of the Administration,
the United States rejects torture as unlawful, counter to our values,
and inconsistent with the universal rights and freedoms that should
be enjoyed by all men, women, and children wherever they live. Torture
is abhorrent: we do not practice it, and we will not countenance it
or transfer individuals to any country where they will be subjected
America is the world's leading human rights abuser. Straightaway as
president, Obama pledged to close Guantanamo. It's still open. Torture
It's institutionalized in US-controlled overseas torture prisons and
in America's homeland gulag.
On May 11, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, an independent tribunal found
George Bush, Dick Cheney, and other administration officials guilty
of crimes of war and torture.
Obama continues the same cruel, degrading, and dehumanizing practices.
Policy remained seamless from one administration to the next.
Bradley Manning is a national hero. He's also one of many torture victims.
He remained in punishing confinement for 19 months untried. He's been
subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment. It's unclear to what extent
For 11 months, he was held in punishing isolation 23 hours a day.
One hour alone outside his cell, he was shackled, allowed to walk in
circles, then returned to confinement the moment he stopped.
Video monitored him 24 hours a day.
He was prohibited from accessing news and other information.
He was forced to respond to guard inquiries almost every five minutes.
He was awakened at night for being out of full view.
He was denied a pillow and sheets. He was given an uncomfortable blanket.
At night and outside his cell mornings, he faced forced nudity.
In March 2011, his lawyer, David Coombs, said:
"There can be no conceivable justification for requiring a soldier to
surrender all his clothing, remain naked in his cell for seven hours,
and then stand at attention the subsequent morning."
"This treatment is even more degrading considering that Pfc. Manning
is being monitored - both by direct observation and by video - at all
At the time, UCLA Professor Mark Keiman said:
"The United States Army is so concerned about Bradley Manning's health
that it is subjecting him to a regime designed to drive him insane....This
is a total disgrace. It shouldn't be happening in this country."
In a New York Times commentary headlined "A Cruel and Unusual Record,"
former President Jimmy Carter condemned America's "widespread abuse
of human rights."
He cited targeted assassinations, indiscriminate drone killings, indefinite
detentions without charge, warrantless spying, abusing people based
on "their appearance, where they worship or with whom they associate,"
keeping Guantanamo open, and obtaining confessions by torture.
What George Bush authorized, Obama continues. Illegal practices remain
policy. Horrific torture is institutionalized. International law is
spurned. Constitutional rights don't matter.
On August 2, 2002, Bush administration officials John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales,
Jay Bybee and David Addington urged using harsh measures amounting to
They said, by presidential authorization, international and federal
laws don't apply during wartime. They also claimed "war on terror" priorities
On March 14, 2003, the same officials issued what became known as "the
Titled "Military (or CIA) Interrogation of Alien Unlawful Combatants
Held Outside the Unites States," they claimed extreme measures amounting
to torture are permitted.
Presidents may use "the fullest range of power....to protect the nation."
He "enjoys complete discretion in the exercise of his authority in conducting
operations against hostile forces."
It argued against prohibiting anything considered cruel and unusual.
It institutionalized use of "intense pain or suffering" short of what
would cause "serious physical injury so severe that death, organ failure,
(loss of significant body functions), or permanent damage," would result.
On July 20, 2006, Bush's Executive Order (EO) titled "Interpretation
of the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3 as Applied to a Program of
Detention and Interrogation Operated by the Central Intelligence Agency"
authorized the CIA director to use abusive interrogation practices.
Obama governs by diktat authority. He continues the same horrific practices.
They include sleep deprivation, waterboarding, painful stress positions,
prolonged isolation, sensory deprivation and/or overload, severe beatings,
electric shocks, induced hypothermia, and other measures able cause
irreversible physical and psychological harm.
Gerald Celente is right saying "America's political system is degenerate,
corrupt and ineffective. It cannot be patched up or papered over." It
needs to be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. It can happen
if enough concerned people accept no less.
The Arab Organization for Human Rights in Britain (AOHR) urged lawsuits
against all torture perpetrators.
On June 26, it "expressed concern about the suffering of the Palestinian
people who are tortured under the occupation...."
It said for decades they've been subjected to horrific forms of torture.
It's official policy despite Section 277 of its 1977 Penal Law prohibiting
the practice. In similar language to the UN Convention against Torture,
"A public servant who does one of the following is liable to imprisonment
for three years:
(1) uses or directs the use of force or violence against a person for
the purpose of extorting from him or from anyone in whom he is interested
a confession of an offense or information relating to an offense; (or)
(2) threatens any person, or directs any person to be threatened, with
injury to his person or property or to the person or property of anyone
in whom he is interested for the purpose of extorting from him a confession
of an offense or any information relating to an offense."
Nonetheless, Israel ruthlessly persecutes Palestinians and Arab Israeli
citizens. They're denied rights afforded Jews. Courts provide legal
cover. They also permit torture.
Since 1967, Israel willfully, systematically and illegally practiced
torture. In 1987, the Landau Judicial Commission addressed the practice.
It condemned the it but approved the Penal Law's "necessary defense"
Israel's High Court of Justice (HCJ) legitimized coercive interrogations
in three 1996 cases. Abusive practices were raised. They include violent
shaking, painful shackling, hooding, playing deafeningly loud music,
prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, and lengthy detainments.
Israel's HCJ ruled painful shackling illegal. It continues nonetheless.
Children are treated like adults. The court sanctioned the other practices
despite international law prohibitions.
In 1999, the HCJ banned most torture methods. It said "necessity" doesn't
constitute sweeping a priori authorization for "physical" interrogations.
At the same time, it left a huge loophole. It empower Israel's attorney
general to decide guidelines on "ticking bomb" cases.
They're whatever officials say. Horrific practices got de facto approval.
They continue unchecked.
Israel and America are the world's leading human rights abusers. They
spurn international laws and norms. They exercise abuse of power and
defy rule of law inviolability.
Neither country is fit to live in. Celente is right calling America
"degenerate." Most Palestinians feel the same way about Israel and then
some. So do Israelis voting with their feet and leaving.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
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