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Western Civilised Torture

February 13, 2010

By CoolnessofHind

“One of the most atrocious violations against human dignity is the act of torture, the result of which destroy the dignity and impairs the capability of victims to continue their lives and their activities.”[1]

If it is argued that Muslims have monopoly on suicide bombing, then without a doubt the “Civilised” West in the present era has made its claim to fame through torturing. The West cannot even legitimately criticise Muslims for suicide-bombing as the argument that is often used – killing innocent civilians – equally applies to the purveyors of democracy and human rights.  The critics conveniently forget to look in their own backyard when reports about 39 out 44 drone attacks targeting civilians surface.  The only difference between suicide attacks and drone attacks is that of proximity and bravery.  The US drones kill innocent civilians from the skies, the suicide-bombers are on the ground giving their lives for a cause they deem legitimate.  The allegation of torture however, is something states such as America and Britain are increasingly unable to refute.

The “Progressive” Regression of the West

Such is the nature of godless nations – they regress at the whimsical desires of man.  When voices from thinkers such Montesquieu and Voltaire in Europe came to the forth against the use of torture to extract confession the subsequent abolition of torture was received as the dawn of “enlightened conscious”.[2] Today, the great West has CIA torture cells in Europe with European ministers being complicit to crimes against humanity as they were fully aware of the existence of such hell-holes in which 70 year olds were being beaten into pulp.

Terms such as “waterboarding“, “torture” and “US/UK/CIA/West” have now become synonymous with each other as they increasingly appear together in the same sentence.  The West continues its “freedom” operations across the Muslim world, and demonstrates its civility in the best of ways through extraordinary renditions and sub-contracting torture to countries which were ravished by English and French imperialists and which left stooges in place to continue their mental imperialism and resource domination.  It demonstrates its humanistic values by waterboarding suspects 183 times in a month, through Abu Ghuraib, through Bargram where US soldiers abuse Afghan boys, and through Guantanamo Bay which has become a symbol of US “civilisation” and a sign of humiliation for the rest of humanity.  It shows its justice by letting the torturers of human beings go free.  In the latter-most case, this was done at the calls of the “bridge-building Obama”; the same Obama who declared in his famous (or rather, infamous) Cairo speech:

“I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States”.

How very convenient; prohibit torture, but let there be no justice for those who have committed heinous crimes against Muslims.  And for the record, torture was barred a long time preceding the election of the fox that is Obama.  Who is Obama to bar it?

Right Against Torture – It’s Status in International Law

It is useful at this stage to understand how the right against torture is established and what it’s status is in international law.  The right against torture is enumerated in a number of treaties.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) Article 5 states, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) reiterates at Article 7, “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”  Perhaps Americans need to read their own American Convention on Human Rights:

1. Every person has the right to have his physical, mental, and moral integrity respected.

2. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment. All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.

In all the abovementioned treaties, and the many others which have not been mentioned above (such as the specific treaty on torture: the UN Convention Against Torture) make the right not to be tortured an absolute right – which means it cannot be subverted on any basis, be it national security or public emergency.

In addition to the abovementioned instruments, the norm against torture is a peremptory or jus cogens norm of international law[3].  It is inherently non-derogable and supersedes all treaties and laws, both domestic and international which conflict with it.  Article 53 of the Convention on the Law of Treaties states:

“A treaty is void if, at the time of its conclusion, it conflicts with a peremptory norm of general international law. For the purposes of the present Convention, a peremptory norm of general international law is a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of States as a whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted and which can be modified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same character.”

Not only is it non-derogable and impregnable, it gives domestic courts the jurisdiction to prosecute any national of any state because the perpetrator of torture commits a crime against humanity as a whole, not just an individual.  This was elucidated upon in Britain by the highest court of the land.  Lord Brown-Wilkinson stated,

“the jus cogens nature of internal crime of torture justifies states in taking universal jurisdiction over torture wherever committed.  International law provides that offences jus cogens may be punished by any state because offenders are ‘common enemies’ of all mankind and all nations have an equal interest in their apprehension and prosection…”[4]

Torture therefore, is not a crime to be banned by deceitful presidents whenever it tickles their fancy.  It has been well established and universally accepted for at least 60 year.  It is now inherently a non-derogable crime which can be tried in any court in the world.  Outside the group of human rights legists, the blinded world fails to grasp this reality.

Architected and Actual Realities

The hypocritical, self-serving and deceptive US continues its onslaught in the most humiliating fashion with the recent judgment on the case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.  The US Justice system is complicit to covering up the 5 year torture conducted under the evil eye of the CIA by refusing to allow that period of Dr Aafia’s ordeal to be put before the jury.  France did the same with Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda, which time limited the crimes to a set period in order to prevent itself being convicted of crimes against humanity; France of course supplied the arms to and supported the Hutu tribe who then went on to commit genocide.

The reality of the real Western civility is cloaked by a manufactured illusion which has blinded the masses into believing anything that is told to them. The truly sickening case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui which has been elucidated upon elsewhere on the ISSM Blog, exemplifies this illusory “justice” of the Americans.  In the context of Britain, the horrifying story of Binyam Mohamed is a case in point.  The government and the MI5 have persistently denied being involved in torture, but the actual reality is beginning surface.

British Torture: Binyam Mohamed

According to one report,

“Since September 11 Britain has connived, wittingly or otherwise, in the secret rendition by the CIA of British residents and others. Mohamed was not the only case.”

The government through the mouthpiece of foreign secretary David Milliband even attempted to suppress inter alia, a document which proved that the MI5 officers were involved in torture through full awareness of the maltreatment of Binyam Mohamed.  The UK’s top judges ruled in favour of the release of the CIA documents which shows the CIA and, through collusion with the CIA, the MI5 both breached the basic, fundamental right of any human being not to be tortured.  But victory chants for those seeking justice are somewhat subdued when one learns that the actual judgment via some prestidigitation was watered-down at the behest of the government.  According to the Guardian, the parts removed from the judgement were the most “damning details of MI5’s complicity in torture”.  So much for “rule of law”.

Nevertheless, what was released was the letter which showed that,

“that MI5 officers had “deliberately misled” the Intelligence and Security Committee, the body of MPs and peers supposed to oversee its work, on the question of coercive interrogations, and that this “culture of suppression” reflected its dealings with the committee, the foreign secretary and the court.”

It further stated,

“the letter makes clear that the court ruled MI5’s culture of suppression “penetrates the service to such a degree” that it undermines any government assurance based upon information that comes from MI5 itself.

In other words, the UK government lied to us, it engaged with the US in kidnapping and secretly exporting British citizens to torture cells, colluded with the US in the torture, then attempted to suppress the evidence which showed them doing the all this and even got the judgement censored.

Also all this raises the most crucial set of questions: can the government be trusted in its claims?  Can evidence from the MI5 ever be relied upon when a “culture of suppression” permeates the highest echelons of itself?  Next time a news item of a foiled terror attack on the basis of “intelligence” is paraded in the headlines, be sure to have these burning questions constantly racking in your minds.

Concluding Remarks

Is torture becoming a norm in the West?  Perhaps in America it is, where parents are beginning to waterboard their 4 year old children if they do not recite their alphabet properly.  It can be envisioned that the Western torture-sympathisers would perhaps highlight Rwanda, Somalia, Burma as the real exemplar torture states.  However, to this it will be replied that when a group of nations assert themselves as the role-model of civilisation and great proponents of democracy, justice and human rights, it is down right hypocritical, shameful, embarrassing and utterly disgusting for these nations to then engage in the very acts they set out to apparently eradicate.  The further irony is that they set out to achieve these aims through the destruction of entire countries and their infrastructures.

The dark reality of America and Britain is coming to the fore and the public needs to wake up to the fact that the information which is perceived is exactly that; a perception.  And this perception is based upon a set of packets of information which has been “spinned” by governments and their agencies in order to perpetuate an agenda which has not be created by the public, as per democracy, but rather, architected by policy-makers who serve nothing but their own interests.  The truth is often that which cannot be perceived – but when it is, it is for us to take stock of and be wary of the claims our government and its’ agencies make.  The Western Civilised Torture is very real indeed.


[1] United Nations, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (New York: United Nations department of Public Information) 1993 para 55 (pt II).

[2] Marks S. and Clapham A. (2005) International Human Rights Lexicon (New York: Oxford University Press) 359.

[3] Prosecutor v Furundzija, Case IT-95-17/1-T, Judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, 10 December 1998, para. 153

[4] General Pinochet case as referenced in Rehman J. (2003) International Human Rights Law A Practical Approach (Harlow, England: Pearson Education) 422

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