In the last few months, the tiny pacific island nation of Nauru has exploded back onto the international news circuit. This time, it isn’t for the lucrative strip mining of fossilized bird droppings, it’s news of the Australian Government using the island as a detention center for intercepted refugees and asylum seekers attempting to reach Australia and New Zealand by boat. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
I just ate an apple. Later, I’ll try to resist the temptation to munch on crackers. I keep hearing about the importance of a “clean diet.” I think that means no crackers. Maybe carrots instead?
As I make these decisions, I can’t help but compare them to the ones this torture survivor makes every day. If he eats, he will experience excruciating pain. If he wants to avoid the excruciating pain, he cannot eat.
This man weighs about 110 pounds. I have seen him through glass, in a makeshift courtroom at Guantanamo, and he seems frail, a wisp of a person, a man broken and hardly repaired. His name is Mustafa al Hawsawi. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan, December 11, 2014. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
“You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” I keep a poster up in my office with this quote from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. To me, it perfectly summarizes Amnesty International’s work of pushing back against the human rights abuses carried out in the name of national security. That’s because we’re fighting against fear and hate, which are powerful, intimidating adversaries. But recent victories have reminded me that there’s something stronger than fear and hate, and that our fight is worthwhile. We may feel sometimes as if human rights rarely win – but this time, they did. And they won big.SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Still from ‘Waiting For The Guards ‘ shows simulated torture by the CIA
Too little, and much too late. CIA Director John Brennan this week declared that the CIA would refuse to engage in waterboarding in the future, even if ordered to do so.
This was the latest in a recent string of headline-grabbing proclamations from current and former U.S. officials insisting that, if faced with the dilemma between following orders or rejecting torture, they would reject torture.
As welcome as these promises are, they ring hollow. That’s because the same U.S. intelligence community was already faced with that exact dilemma, and they got it wrong. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA – OCTOBER 28 (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Will Guantánamo still be open a decade from now? What about in 2050, a half century after it opened? Years from now, will we still be protesting—every January 11– the grim anniversary of this site of injustice, torture and detention without charge?SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
To be a Muslim in America right now is to fear that your best days — your most ordinary days — are behind you. Anti-Muslim hate and fear-mongering is going mainstream, and the future is a startling unknown.
Many fear that the vicious rhetoric we are hearing is a harbinger of things to come: discrimination, harassment and violent attacks on Muslims, or people who look Muslim that spreads and even becomes a new normal. That could set the stage, one day in the not-so-distant future, for government policies like mandatory registration of Muslims and internment.
Could that really happen? Perhaps my background as an American Muslim makes me more sensitive to the possibility. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Egyptian human right activist with chained hands during a protest against torture in police stations. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
In 2014, Amnesty International USA gave one of its highest awards for human rights activism to a collection of women who for more than two decades ignored governmental harassment and ran a torture and domestic violence rehabilitation center in Cairo, Egypt.
For years, Amnesty International has witnessed public figures repeating misconceptions and inaccuracies about waterboarding. This American debate on torture has mostly got it wrong – here are three realities you need to know:
Waterboarding is slow-motion suffocation
People who take the time to learn about Waterboarding see how horrific it is.
But many people don’t. Media and public figures often describe waterboarding as a form of “enhanced interrogation”—a euphemism that rationalizes and sanitizes torture. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Fayha Shalash, the wife of Palestinian journalist Muhammed al-Qiq, sits with her son at her home in the West Bank village of Dura on January 20, 2016. Al Qiq is seen in the poster. Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/APA images
Muhammed -What were you thinking about when you accepted the reality of your own death?
What thoughts and images went through your mind when you realized you were willing to risk permanent physical damage or even death to gain your freedom?
Were you thinking about the softness of your babies’ cheeks? How they smelled so fresh and their skin felt so soft after bath time?
Muhammed al Qiq, a Palestinian journalist and father of two small children, has been on hunger strike for over seventy-five days – refusing everything but water, to protest the torture and other ill-treatment to which he says he was subjected to in Israeli custody, and to demand his release from detention he believes is motivated by his work as a journalist. He was placed under administrative detention, unable to see the evidence against him and unable to challenge the ‘evidence’ or his accusers in a fair judicial setting. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
Action for Human Rights. Hope for Humanity.