Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On June 26

On this day in ...
.... 2003, on the annual International Day in Support of Victims of Torture (marked yet again today), U.S. President George W. Bush said in an official statement:
'[T]he United States declares its strong solidarity with torture victims across the world. Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. We are committed to building a world where human rights are respected and protected by the rule of law.
'Freedom from torture is an inalienable human right. The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States and more than 130 other countries since 1984, forbids governments from deliberately inflicting severe physical or mental pain or suffering on those within their custody or control. Yet torture continues to be practiced around the world by rogue regimes whose cruel methods match their determination to crush the human spirit. Beating, burning, rape, and electric shock are some of the grisly tools such regimes use to terrorize their own citizens. These despicable crimes cannot be tolerated by a world committed to justice.'
Bush called out "[n]otorious human rights abusers" in, "among others, Burma, Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Zimbabwe," lauded "Iraq's liberation" by a U.S.-led multinational coalition, and continued:
'The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.'
Less than a year later, photographs depicting brutality at Abu Ghraib, as well as Administration briefs dubbed the "torture memos," were revealed in the media. Since that time, as described in posts available here, here, and here, few persons have been prosecuted or otherwise held accountable.

(Prior June 26 posts are here, here, here, here, and here.)

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