Archive for the ‘Police State’ Category

Christian Support of Torture

I was reading the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life(1) of a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press illustrates differences in the views of four major religious traditions in the U.S. about whether torture of suspected terrorists can be justified. The study found that of those good american christians who attended church on a weekly basis 73% answered that the use of torture can be justified. That 73% was made up as Often / Sometimes / Rarely justified. 

I found this staggering.

Abu Ghraib torture instruments

Abu Ghraib torture instruments

In the New Testament the word “Witness” is the proper translation of the Greek word for Martyr, specifically someone who suffers for speaking out. In the mythology of the christian bible Christ was martyred on the cross for speaking truth to power & authority. The imagery of Christ nailed to a cross should be a constant reminder to christians of what torture really means. For us atheists we should always keep in mind that bearing witness is the fundamental tenant of what we today call Human Rights.

In the latin Vulgate translation of the bible in John 19.5  Pontius Pilate utters the words “Ecce homo” as he presents the tortured (by the scourge) Christ to the crowd – “Behold the man”. Given that this heritage is so deeply embedded into the christian bible I find it utterly stunning that anyone thinking themselves to be christian can in anyway condone even the merest thought of torturing a fellow human being, no matter what their supposed crime(s) might be. Shame on them.

In the west we think ourselves as Human Rights cultures (even though the evidence of our hypocrisy is all to evident – ref 3), so what has gone wrong ? I think Human rights in our liberal cultures has shifted away from witnessing the rights of our fellow individuals to institutionalising human rights into a larger term we call “democracy”. By making this shift some very clever people in power have accommodated the concept that individual human beings maybe tortured when it is part of preserving the so called “greater cause” of democracy because that is “the big picture of human rights”, it is seductive, especially to the non-thinkers, the mere followers, in society, but it is the road to hell because it is a Lie.

Human Rights (2) start and end with how each one of us bear witness to our fellow individual human beings. When we stop doing this the gateway is opened up for authority to commit whatever evil they wish and justify it as being something for the greater good (defence of the state/democracy/freedom). But the only effective way to achieve a greater good is for that greater good to be made up of many small goods, the good of the individual act of bearing witness.

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References
Reference One

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life.
<http://www.pewtrusts.org/news_room_detail.aspx?id=51580>

Poll question wording: Do you think the use of torture against suspected terrorists in order to gain important information can often be justified, sometimes be justified, rarely be justified, or never be justified?

http://pewforum.org/Politics-and-Elections/The-Religious-Dimensions-of-the-Torture-Debate.aspx

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Reference Two

United Nations Convention Against Torture

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 or 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. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.

— Convention Against Torture, Article 1.1

Ban on torture and cruel and degrading treatment

Article 2 of the convention prohibits torture, and requires parties to take effective measures to prevent it in any territory under its jurisdiction. This prohibition is absolute and non-derogable. “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever” may be invoked to justify torture, including war, threat of war, internal political instability, public emergency, terrorist acts, violent crime, or any form of armed conflict. Torture cannot be justified as a means to protect public safety or prevent emergencies. Neither can it be justified by orders from superior officers or public officials. The prohibition on torture applies to all territories under a party’s effective jurisdiction, and protects all people under its effective control, regardless of citizenship or how that control is exercised.Since the Conventions entry into force, this absolute prohibition has become accepted as a principle of customary international law.
Because it is often difficult to distinguish between cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and torture, the Committee regards Article 16’s prohibition of such treatment as similarly absolute and non-derogable.
The other articles of part I lay out specific obligations intended to implement this absolute prohibition by preventing, investigating and punishing acts of torture.

Ban on Refoulement

Article 3 prohibits parties from returning, extraditing or refouling any person to a state “where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”. The Committee against Torture has held that this danger must be assessed not just for the initial receiving state, but also to states to which the person may be subsequently expelled, returned or extradited.

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Reference Three
CIA Training Materials:

“Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual-1983”
“KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation-July 1963

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Reference Four

  • It allowed brutal and horrific tortures, including sexual torture, to take place over many months in Abu Grabe, tortures that including beatings, hangings, anal rape, starvation, sensory deprivation, dog attack, electrocution, hot boxes, water-boarding, drugging, walling, facial holds, facial slaps, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation (11 days), it allowed brutal tortures at Guantanamo Bay -sensory deprivation, sleep deprivation, electrocution, hot boxes, water-boarding, drugging.
  • It allows it to continue today at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan – insects placed in a confinement box, beatings, hangings, anal rape, starvation, sensory deprivation, dog attack, electrocution, hot boxes, water-boarding, drugging, walling, facial holds, facial slaps, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation.
  • CIA Black prisons around the globe.The CIA seem to favour stripping prisoners naked, strapping them to a bed, in a very white room which is air-conditioned to be very cold – Cold Cell Torture – where a prisoner can be left for up to three weeks. They also use Sweatboxes and coubarils.
  • It allows countries that should know better to detain people without trial and cut off from family and friends for many years because this is just another form of torture. I could go on and on with examples but I hope you see my point.
  • It allows The use of Cold Cell torture in US prisons (Miami/Dade, Florida, 9th floor) and sheriffs stations (Sheriff James Cannon of Charleston County, South Carolina.).The US Military brigs, both in Charleston and Quantico, have entire wings of temperature controlled hypothermic torture chambers. At night Private Manning was (may still be) stripped naked and locked onto a cold metal slab. The air conditioning units blew 45 degree air into the cell at great speed. Private Manning curled into the fetal position and shook violently all night long. There was no way to sleep when the body sustains that level of pain. Torture.

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USA’s TSA Workers Getting Cancer While TSA Launches Cover-Up

Those of use familiar with human physiology and the effects of radiation exposure knew this was going to happen, its a real “I told you so” situation.  

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents reveal how “large number of (airport) workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease”

Back scatter Scanning

Back scatter Scanning

Fearful of provoking further public resistance to naked airport body scanners, the TSA has been caught covering up a surge in cases of TSA workers developing cancer as a result of their close proximity to radiation-firing devices, perhaps the most shocking revelation to emerge from the latest FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

American Federation of Government Employees Union representatives in Boston discovered a “cancer cluster” amongst TSA workers linked with radiation from the body scanners. Then the TSA sought to downplay the matter and refused to issue employees with dosimeters to measure levels of exposure, while accusing the union of being “Unpatriotic” – the modern US equivalent of being a heretic.

The documents obtained indicate how, “A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.” Radiation exposure increase heart attack and stroke risk factors by causing damage to blood vessel walls. The TSA acted just like most government departments, rather than acting on it, or explaining its position seems just dismissed them. Negligent to say the least.

In an email sent to Heather Callahan the deputy federal security director at Boston Logan International Airport, union representatives express their concern about “TSA Boston’s growing number of TSA workers that have thus far been diagnosed with cancer.”

Personally I have little problem with people who choose to help impose a police state on American citizens by taking jobs with the TSA developing serious illness. What troubles me are the travelling public who are routinely FORCED to be blasted by potentially lethal radiation or face the prospect of being sexually molested while being treated like a criminal..

The documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, reveal that the TSA, and specifically the head of the Department of Homeland Security Janet_Napolitano “publicly mischaracterised” (that means that she lied through her evil, amoral teeth)  the findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NSIT), in stating that NIST and Johns Hopkins school of Medicine had positively confirmed the safety of full body scanners in tests. In citing both NIST and the Johns Hopkins school of medicine to claim that the body scanners are safe, the TSA has also deliberately misled the public on the dangers posed by the devices.

Airport DNA Wrecker

Airport DNA Wrecker

In fact the scanners have NEVER been properly tested in proper trials, the only trials done were on specially set up pre-production machines by the machine makers themselves who did not allow independent verification of the results. President Obama’s Science Advisor, several University of California professors also complained of how, “There is still no rigorous, hard, data for the safety of x-ray airport passenger scanners.” The scientists noted how the safety tests for the scanners were carried out exclusively by manufacturers, and recommended an immediate moratorium on use of the devices until the health risks can be independently studied. The  Department of Homeland Security then classified all information regarding tests in the name of “national security”. Documents obtained by EPIC show that, far from affirming their safety, NIST warned that airport screeners should avoid standing next to full body scanners in order to keep exposure to harmful radiation “as low as reasonably achievable.”

It gets better because a Johns Hopkins study actually revealed that radiation zones around body scanners could exceed the “General Public Dose Limit,” contradicting repeated claims by the TSA that Johns Hopkins had validated the safety of the devices. Can anyone pronounce “Liars” ?

In 2010 a study by Dr David Brenner, head of Columbia University’s center for radiological research, found that the body scanners are likely to lead to an increase in a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, which affects the head and neck. Never have so many millions of people been exposed to radiation millions of people without proper oversight or study, a point raised in February 2010 by the influential Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety. They warned in a report that the scanners increase the risk of cancer and birth defects and should not be used on pregnant women or children – better to sexually molest them with “pat downs”. Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, according to the report, adding that governments should consider “other techniques to achieve the same end without the use of ionizing radiation. Children and passengers with gene mutations – around one in 20 of the population – are more at risk as they are less able to repair X-ray damage to their DNA. The Committee pointed to the IAEA’s 1996 Basic Safety Standards agreement, drafted over three decades ago and to which the USA is a signatory, that protects people from radiation. Frequent exposure to low doses of radiation can lead to cancer and birth defects, even the very flawed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concedes this fact. Dr Brenner said recently “If there are increases in cancers as a result of irradiation of children,  they would most likely appear some decades in the future. It would be prudent  not to scan the head and neck,’ he added. He recently aired his concerns to  the Congressional Biomedical Caucus in the US – members of Congress who meet to  exchange ideas on medical research. Dr Brenner urged them to look at his  concerns but said it was important to balance any health issues against  passengers’ safety when flying, but it looks like the motion is going to be slow played due to pressure from the US Federal Government.

Michael Chertoff, former head of the TSA and the man responsible for bringing in the scanners into US airports is now heading the company that is selling the full body scanners to the government. Conflict of interest, corruption, lies, deception and total disregard for human health, it is what the US Government is all about. The most likely risk from the airport scanners is a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma, a rise in those will signal a rise in other cancers as well.

Mean while here in The European Union, MEPs accept that body scanners would enhance aviation security, but ask Member States “to deploy technology which is the least harmful for human health” and addresses privacy concerns. Due to health risks “scanners using ionising radiation should be prohibited in the EU”.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/en/pressroom/content/20110705IPR23378/html/Airport-body-scanners-MEPs-demand-strict-safeguards

Would I go through an airport scanner in America based on my medical knowledge – NO, absolutely not. Would I believe one word that comes from the mouth of any US official any more – NO, absolutely not.
Author: Tyjardia
Tyjardia

Tyjardia