Barack Obama was, in 2008, the anti-torture candidate. It's a sad comment on the state of U.S. democracy that such a thing ever existed. After all, it would be startling to hear appeals from a pro-oxygen or an anti-apocalypse candidate. Still, it was refreshing. So what happened?
There are more than 40 torture rehabilitation programs in the U.S., operating in 25 states and doing life-saving work with torture survivors -- but each of these already has a waiting list of survivors. Will Syrians in desperate need have to wait months or even years to receive care?
The Supreme Court speaks not only through its rulings in cases argued before it, but also through its choice not to hear certain cases -- the ones denied certiorari, in legal lingo. By refusing to hear claims brought by victims of Bush-era torture and detention practices, and failing to decisively reject the government's array of bad excuses for denying them a modicum of justice, the Court in recent years has sent an appalling message of indifference and impunity. These missing cases constitute a profound stain on the court's record, and they are worth recalling on this week's tenth anniversary of John Roberts's swearing-in as Chief Justice.
The purpose of the penal system is social rehabilitation, according to the ICCPR. In contravention of that mandate, the California legislature has specified that the purpose of sentencing is punishment. Solitary confinement implicitly denies any chance of social rehabilitation.
After the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA torture in December 2014, seven Fordham professors formed Fordham Against Torture, an ad-hoc committee that petitioned the university president to revoke CIA Director John Brennan's honorary degree.
In preparation for my first meeting with famed activist, Ahmad Batebi I read up about his involvement with the student reform movement, his participation in the demonstrations and his subsequent arrest.
On Aug. 7, the American Psychological Association overwhelmingly approved a sweeping ban on any involvement by psychologists in national security interrogations conducted by the U.S. government. This ban includes even non-coercive interrogations.
We won't move all that much in terms of our human climate, until we realize that our cruelty, through being an active participant or a bystander, transforms us for the worse. Dehumanizing prisoners dehumanizes us all.
Here's why a direct call for the prosecution of torturers is among the best metrics for one's commitment to anti-torture measures. By declining to advocate for such legal actions, we're announcing our willingness to let bygones be bygones.
Today, World Humanitarian Day, is the 12th anniversary of the devastating attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad which killed 22 humanitarian workers and injured many more.
Unfortunately the laws in Thailand and Cambodia are not strong enough to protect elephants from abuse. Today they are considered nothing but livestock, no different than buffalo or cattle, which are not protected against abuse. The law is rarely enforced and fines are small.
This last-minute rescue of nothing less than the soul of American psychology was the work of six psychology heroes who performed the most effective and improbable advocacy success in the history of American psychology.
This week offered a textbook example of not learning from the past. Just before joining the other presidential candidates stampeding to the cattle call of the Iowa State Fair, Jeb Bush laid the blame for the Iraq mess at the feet of... President Obama and Hillary Clinton. According to Bush's foreign policy analysis, it was President Obama's "premature withdrawal" in 2011, after only eight years of war, that created ISIS -- not his brother's decisions to dissolve the Iraqi army, de-Baathify the government, spectacularly fail to create a representative government that included Sunnis, or, of course, invade in the first place. Maybe Bush is auditioning to replace Jon Stewart. Two days later in Iowa, he refused to rule out resuming his brother's torture program. "When you are president, your words matter," he said. Indeed they do. We should take Jeb at his. We can't say he didn't warn us.
We're going to begin today with a wrapup of the week that was in the presidential campaigns, and as befitting his status as the Republican frontrunner, we're going to start with Donald Trump.
The military commissions have once again cancelled two weeks' worth of hearings scheduled in the case of the five alleged plotters of the September 11 attacks. Although the attacks themselves took place nearly 14 years ago, the five men accused of masterminding the deadliest terror attack to ever take place on U.S. soil are still nowhere near trial.
Finally: Last week, after a ten-year internal struggle, the American Psychological Association voted to ban its member psychologists from any involvement in national security interrogations and, more to the point, in torture.