Religion as a Tool of Repression

Freedom of speech and dissent are always curtailed in times of war. Whenever soldiers occupy foreign nations, rational thinking is proscribed in favor of nationalistic hubris. Minority opinions, although grounded in ethics and reason, are repressed, often brutally. The majority becomes intolerant of dissenting views. Thoughtful dialog is suspended and irrational ideology gains ascendancy. Civil discourse breaks down, and the social order disintegrates into anti-intellectual emotionalism and chaos.

During World War I and World War II, it was dangerous for anyone to oppose war or to speak truth to power. When Eugene Victor Debs delivered his Canton anti-war speech in 1918, he went to prison. In An Enemy of the People, Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen demonstrated that the majority of the people are easily deceived, their emotions manipulated by profiteers and special interests. It requires serious conviction to take a principled stand in the midst of nationalistic fervor in which men and women so easily turn upon one another. During war, nationalism and repression are conducted with the fervor of a religious crusade.

In this era of permanent war we see bumper stickers that attempt to meld religion with nationalism. They carry jingoistic slogans like “God bless America” or “God bless our troops.” Significantly, God even appears on our currency. But why would a just God, if God exists at all, bless a nation that kills with impunity? Why would God bless a nation with a history of repression and genocide?  Why would God bless a nation that institutionalized chattel slavery and the repression of its working class?

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‘Firm sold Israel torture instruments’

A Danish-British security company has sold torture instruments to the Israeli prisons, holding Palestinians inmates, a Danish newspaper has written.

The firm, named G4s, sells the devices to the detention facilities in the occupied West Bank, which provide the necessary means for torture of the Palestinian prisoners, Berlingske Tidende reported on Nov. 23.
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Red Cross confirms ‘secret jail’ in Bagram, Afghanistan

The US airbase at Bagram in Afghanistan contains a facility for detainees that is distinct from its main prison, the Red Cross has confirmed to the BBC.

Nine former prisoners have told the BBC that they were held in a separate building, and subjected to abuse.

The US military says the main prison, now called the Detention Facility in Parwan, is the only detention facility on the base.

However it has said it will look into the abuse allegations made to the BBC.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that since August 2009 US authorities have been notifying it of names of detained people in a separate facility at Bagram.

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Fallujah birth defects investigated

An investigation of a rise in birth defects in Fallujah is underway, which is being attributed to the use of chemical weapons by British and American soldiers.

Public Interest Lawyers, representing Iraqi families, has requested that the Ministry of Defence release information regarding whether any British soldiers were involved in the fighting or helped to supply the use of prohibited weapons during the seize on Fullujah in 2004, and any legal advice given to Tony Blair at the time. During the attack, coalition forces are alleged to have used white phosphorus, a modern form of napalm, and depleted uranium against the population. Iraqi families accuse the UK government to breaching international law, war crimes and failing to intervene to prevent a war crime.
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223,190 Kids Legally Beaten in US Schools

For the first time in over 18 years, Congress has held hearings on the use of Corporal Punishment in U.S. Schools. In the coming weeks, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (NY) will introduce a bill to institute a federal ban of corporal punishment in all US Schools.

Every 20 seconds of the school day, a child is beaten by an educator. Every 4 minutes, an educator beats a child so severely that she seeks medical attention. According to conservative reporting to the U.S. Department of Education 223,190 students were the victims of institutionalized violence at least once in the 2006-2007 school year, of which over 20,000 sought medical attention.

Pre-school age through high school, students are being beaten with boards, belts, paddles, and whips… in public schools… in the United States… and while corporal punishment has been repeatedly shown to be ineffective and has deleterious effects on students, the practice continues and is legal in 20 states.

The iron age practice of “corporal punishment” is still legal in 20 states and there are no federal laws prohibiting it. The National Association of School Nurses defines corporal punishment as “the intentional infliction of physical pain as a method of changing behavior. It may include methods such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, shaking, use of various objects (paddles, belts, sticks, or others), or painful body postures.”

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US school for disabled forces students to wear packs that deliver massive electric shocks

Mental Disability Rights International (MDRI)  has filed a report and urgent appeal with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture alleging that the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center for the disabled, located in Massachusetts, violates the UN Convention against Torture.

The rights group submitted their report this week, titled “Torture not Treatment: Electric Shock and Long-Term Restraint in the United States on Children and Adults with Disabilities at the Judge Rotenberg Center,” after an in-depth investigation revealed use of restraint boards, isolation, food deprivation and electric shocks in efforts to control the behaviors of its disabled and emotionally troubled students.

Findings in the MDRI report include the center’s practice of subjecting children to electric shocks on the legs, arms, soles of feet and torso — in many cases for years — as well as some for more than a decade. Electronic shocks are administered by remote-controlled packs attached to a child’s back called a Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEI).

The disabilities group notes that stun guns typically deliver three to four milliamps per shock. GEI packs, meanwhile, shock students with 45 milliamps — more than ten times the amperage of a typical stun gun.

A former employee of  the center told an investigator, “When you start working there, they show you this video which says the shock is ‘like a bee sting’ and that it does not really hurt the kids. One kid, you could smell the flesh burning, he had so many shocks. These kids are under constant fear, 24/7. They sleep with them on, eat with them on. It made me sick and I could not sleep. I prayed to God someone would help these kids.”

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War Criminals: Arrest Warrants Requested

International arrest warrants have been requested for George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, George J. Tenet, Condoleeza Rice and Alberto R. Gonzales at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands.

Professor of Law Francis Anthony Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champain, United States of America, has issued a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court against the above-mentioned for their practice of “extraordinary rendition” (forced disappearance of persons and subsequent torture) in Iraq and for criminal policy which constitutes Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute which set up the ICC.

As such, the Accused (mentioned above) are deemed responsible for the commission of crimes within the territories of many States signatories of the Rome Statute, in violation of Rome Stature Articles 5 (1)(b), 7 (1)(a), 7 (1)(e), 7 (1)(g), 7(1)(h), 7(1)8i) and 7(1)(k). Despite the fact that the USA is not a signatory State, the ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute under Article 12 (2)(a) of the Rome Statute.

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