Continuing with our series of looking at other issues to pursue for our chapter (the Arms Trade Treaty is now out of the way as well, and we won’t hear about the Reggie Clemons case until June), this blog post is a short synopsis about torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment. This has been a huge human rights issue for Amnesty International ever since the Bush Administration started using these techniques under the guise of national security. Although President Obama has made an opposite commitment, one to end the practice of torture and prohibiting its use, our chapter and the organization are worried that the next president can switch that commitment and implement policies that torture and other inhuman treatment techniques once more.
Torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment are all illegal under the U.S Constitution and international law. There are not circumstances that justify its use, and international law requires a full investigation into allegations of torture and other ill-treatment. However, there has not been much call for accountability for previous officials who are suspected to have been involved in torture and ill-treatment in the early years of the War on Terror. Without accountability, it is that much easier for our next president or for other officials in the U.S government to commit acts of torture and other ill-treatment.
Although Amnesty International has several recommendations for taking action on this issue, there is one that our chapter is focusing on:
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence must seek declassification and public release, with as few redactions as possible, of its report on CIA detention and interrogation.
This is our primary action because we suspect that the reason this report hasn’t been released is because the findings are abhorrent that it would turn the tide of public opinion against the use of torture and the CIA’s detention and interrogation techniques. Part of what makes changing minds on this issue in the United States is that the public views torture as a necessary evil, something that’s awful but is successful at catching terrorists and in stopping attacks. It doesn’t help when techniques like waterboarding aren’t viewed as torture but as “enhanced interrogation techniques” instead.
Of course, if you have ideas as to how we should proceed with this issue, we are welcome to hearing them! You an leave a comment for us, or you can come to our event on Saturday to speak with us in person.
Reminder! Event this Weekend!
Don’t forget that this Saturday is our Day of Action on Drones! Our rally will be starting at 12 p.m. at Soldier’s Memorial Military Museum on the corner of 14th and Chestnut. Afterward, we will march to the federal building. We will be joined by several partners, including the Peace Economy Project, Instead of War, and Veterans for Peace. So, it’s going to be a huge event. The weather is also projected to be wonderful (cool and sunny, with a high of 61), so don’t worry about this week’s thunderstorms! If you are at all concern about the administration’s policy regarding unmanned drones, then you ought to attend to build awareness and to make sure your voice is heard!