The U.S. government has tortured people at CIA “black sites,” at Army prisons like Abu Ghraib and Bagram, and at prisons run by cooperating countries, called “extraordinary rendition.” Our government has also assassinated many people — not only alleged foreign enemies but U.S. citizens (all without charge or trial) — and killing thousands of innocent people.
But numerous human experiences and reasons have taught us not to torture and kill, and to reject torturers and murderers from civilized society. A cynic might reply: unless they torture and kill in large numbers and speak patriotic cant. But we can hope that someday such cynicism will not have such food to feed on. Remember the revolution in Public Health in the U.K. in the 19th century, when what was unacceptable was redefined and society decided that open sewage in the streets was disgusting. Enough was Enough; engineers built drainage and water systems; and Enough Was Enough became Never More and Never Again.
Despite the present Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Obama reality of U.S. state torture and murder, let us be among the vanguard of future generations for whom such heinous crimes are unacceptable. President Obama has again urged Congress to end the Guantanamo torture center. He has also now proposed limitations on the use of military special operations and drone assassination. Let us support him in these initiatives and urge him to go further and end torture and murder by the government of the United States.
June is Torture Awareness Month. The OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology is responding to Torture Awareness Month and these deepest of crimes and moral outrages by a series of actions.
On Sat., June 22, 10 a.m., at the Federal Building we will hold a public rally on the theme of “Crime Scene.” The building will be ringed by “crime scene” tape. The day and time were chosen to coincide with the Farmer’s Market, to enable citizens to combine the two activities, and instead of a work day because we are not accusing the workers at our Federal Building of wrong doing, but rather the leaders of our country who have ordered torture and murder and who should be named and shamed.
The UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is Wednesday, June 26, which reminds us that we share the international abhorrence for torture and murder expressed in all religions, and we join with other citizens of the world in supporting the victims.) That night, Wednesday, June 26, 7p.m., OMNI will show a film by Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars, based on his book with the sub-title: The World Is a Battlefield. Scahill takes us inside our government’s new covert wars, with orders from the White House to capture or kill individuals designated by the president as enemies. The Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command, the CIA’s Special Activities Division, the Navy SEALs, and other elite commandos operate secretly worldwide, the global killing machine funded by “black budgets.” While the Bush administration deployed these secret militias, President Obama has expanded their operations.
James Madison wrote: “a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Wednesday, July 17, OMNI will host a Book Forum at 7 p.m. The day is UN International Justice Day that among other purposes celebrates the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Many excellent books have been published about US leaders’ torture and special operations/drone (extra-judicial) assassinations programs, numerous articles, and some films. Knowledge about US Torture and Assassination is ample and readily available. Each panelist will report on a book, with opportunity for discussion following. Here are some of the books.
Books on U.S. Torture
Michael Ratner, The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld: A Prosecution by Book; Alfred McCoy, A Question of Torture; Philippe Sands, Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values; Stephen Grey, Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program; Moazzam Begg, Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar
Books on U.S. Assassination
Jeremy Scahill, Dirty Wars (also a film); Medea Benjamin, Drone Warfare; Cavallaro, Living Under Drones; Engelhardt and Turse, Terminator Planet
OMNI has published online a series of newsletters on U.S. torture and extra-judicial kidnapping and killing.
Torture Awarenss Around The World
UN Torture Awareness Month, June 2013 http://jamesrichardbennett.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2013-06-03T09:02:00-05:00&max-results=30&start=2&by-date=false
UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, June 26
UN International Justice Day (ICC), July 17