When Afghanistan's president, Ashraf Ghani, addresses the U.S. Congress this week, his government's commitment to human rights is likely to get a passing reference in his speech -- but given the formidable challenges Afghanistan faces in protecting fundamental human rights, it deserves much more than that.
The Middle East is suffering the blowback from rotten U.S. policies, disastrous wars, and cultural turmoil. ISIS and its ilk are one result.
Is ISIS medieval? However much ISIS is committed to returning the world to the seventh century, their atrocities have a more complicated genealogy that stretches from the beheadings of the Middle Ages through the tortures of 18th-century France all the way up to the present day.
We need to see criminals as humans before we begin to spill their blood -- the very blood that makes us all human.
Just before the U.S. Senate released its report at the end of 2014 on the CIA's use of "harsh interrogation" tactics against prisoners, the question was whether or not the report would provoke a public backlash against torture. The answer is no.
This unilateral focus on the dark side has had the unintended effect of blinding us to one of the most obvious and inspiring features of the experiment: it also showed that hundreds of ordinary people -- though the minority of Milgram's participants -- did in fact have what it takes to stand up for what is right.
Repressive regimes around the world currently and throughout history have scapegoated, oppressed, and murdered LGBT people. The time has long since passed that we speak out against repression in all of its forms
Was the creation of a domestic Guantanamo-style "black site" made inevitable by the Pentagon's practice of unloading military surplus weapons on local police departments? Maybe -- but it's remarkable how many inevitable things can be avoided if the people in charge just refuse to misbehave.
Walter Ruiz, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi's lawyer and a former Navy commander, told the court that Hawsawi's treatment needs stem from injuries he sustained under U.S.-sponsored torture. Ruiz wants to interview his client's doctors to learn more about the "ongoing bleeding" and "colorectal issues that stem from his time in captivity...."
As was said over and over again at that moment, 9/11 "changed everything." That meant they felt themselves freed to do all the mad things we now know they did, from preemptive wars and occupations to massive programs of torture and kidnapping.
Why was it again that, as President Obama said, "we tortured some folks" after the 9/11 attacks? Because apparently everyone knows that being afraid gives you moral license to do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe.
In a broadcast exclusive, Democracy Now! airs an in-depth interview with John Kiriakou, a retired CIA agent who has just been released from prison after blowing the whistle on the George W. Bush administration's torture program.
ISIS has no monopoly on cruelty or immolation. On the contrary, it has exploited for its own ends the shock value of something used for centuries to punish and terrify heretics and African-Americans, and lately used by desperate dissidents around the world upon themselves.
Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads. Between 1882 and 1968 -- 1968! -- there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the U.S. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks. My father, who was born in 1904 near Paris, Texas, kept in a drawer that newspaper photograph from back when he was a boy of thousands of people gathered as if at a picnic to feast on the torture and hanging of a black man in the center of town. On a journey tracing our roots many years later, my father choked and grew silent as we stood near the spot where it had happened. Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot's horrendous end. ISIS be damned! I thought. But with the next breath I could only think that our own barbarians did not have to wait at any gate. They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us.
Our perception of the world is horribly off because the scale we use to measure ourselves is skewed and it will never be stacked in our favor unless there is a radical transformation. And that transformation does not exist outside of an encounter with Jesus.
He was left without justice. All his demands for an apology and an acknowledgment that he was detained unjustly were left without answer. And no one seems to notice his blight. No one seems to understand his psychological wounds, not to mention the physical ones.