Torture and torment in 2007 AD

In-depth Report:

David Halpin argues that, under the pretext of “war on terror”, Israel and its allies are practising torture with impunity while the rest of the world looks on.

To inflict severe pain or mental suffering, especially as a punishment or to extract information: Latin – tortura, torment.

On this the 59th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights by the UN one can hear the thuds, splutters and screams in a good many of those united nations. When did man first start applying physical and mental pain to his fellows? I doubt those artists and masons who made the beautiful cave paintings at Lascaux 20,000 years ago did this to neighbouring peoples. No, this expression of the worst in homo ‘sapiens’ came with political power and religious belief. It has been used more for confession and subjugation perhaps than the extraction of supposed information.

Palestinian women grieving in Gaza
Palestinian women grieving in Gaza

The litany of method and device includes the fire, the rack, Palestinian hanging, “water boarding”, the “banana chair”andindeed any possible imagined perversion. But it was clearly shown in the Stanford Prison Experiment that it took no more than five days for most people to become sadistic in those conditions. Since the attack on the twin towers and the “collapse” of tower number seven there have been plenty of excuses to turn the screws. The engine of the Project of the New American Century was warmed ready to unleash its black imagination on the Islamic world. A fuel distilled from the apocalyptic nonsense of “Christian” fundamentalism was mixed with simple racism and fear – a fear implanted by an amoral media at the behest of leaders without one thread of principle but with respect for the Reichstag fire.

The imperator certainly led the descent into hell; the symbol of the hooded Iraqi man standing on a plinth with electrodes will be a more potent symbol of US of A than the statue  – ‘”Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. A succession of pseudo-legal excuses for torture in the name of “terror” gave way to every abomination under Lucifer. Surrogates were recruited in this war of liberation of the tongues. A Syrian born Canadian citizen was “rendered” from JFK to his home country and into a six-by-two foot cell for nine months. Almost all the Arab dictatorships jumped to attention. And devout Muslims everywhere were being fingered for Uncle Sam. In Uzbekistan they were being tortured by gradual immersion in boiling water. When Her Majesty’s ambassador, Craig Murray, reported this he was put under the heat as well.

Perfidious Albion has stayed outside the torture chamber and instead accepts evidence gained by torture in other nations like Morocco. Solitary confinement of a young Muslim citizen in Bellmarsh prison will not be labelled “torture” by the Home Office and Ms Jackie Smith MP.

The “only democracy in the Middle East” has imprisoned at least 600,000 Palestinians since the ethnic cleansing of those native people started in 1948 en masse. Remember that the population was hardly a million to start with. Many are arrested at dead of night in a manner similar to that taught by Ord Wingate to the Zionist terrorist squads in the 1930s – the Special Night Squads (The Blood Never Dried: John Newsinger). British Mandate law is still invoked. Torture was very common and it is still practised widely. The mantra, “the war on terror”, was soon latched onto by Sharon. The Supreme Court of Israel has disallowed the use of “moderate physical pressure” but in 1999 the “ticking bomb” justification was acknowledged. Torture continues but in a less systematic manner.

Palestinian children protesting against the Israeli blockade of Gaza
Palestinian children protesting against Israel’s blockade of Gaza

Those wanting to stop the breaking of bodies and minds have only pens, keyboards and their will. A letter from seven doctors is in the online edition of the Lancet. One signatory was driven from her home in Jerusalem with her family at the age of eight in 1948. It is entitled “Medical ethical violations in Gaza”. It notes that Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) have made an emergency appeal for medical supplies for Gaza, the borders of which are virtually closed. Forty-four patients have died since June because of delay or denial of medical care. Eighty-five types of drugs which the World Health Organization defines as essential are out of stock. “The threatened disruption of fuel and power supplies will cripple the running of hospitals, including haemodialysis and ventilation”. They consider these actions to be war crimes and they have petitioned the Israeli High Court of Justice without success. They have also highlighted how the Israeli General Security Service has coerced sick people into informing on relatives. These descriptions are of collective punishment. This punishment is both torture and torment.

The letter further notes that PHRI has spoken out on this negation of international and moral law, whereas the Israeli Medical Association (IMA) has stayed silent as it has also done in regard to torture carried out by Israeli agencies. Many nations and their medical associations are mute as well. A report entitled “Ticking bombs: testimonies of torture victims in Israel” from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel 2007 needs to be studied.

What befell one of the victims, Luwaai Ashqar, is described by the courageous Gideon Levy. “‘Now you are paralyzed as we promised’: a glimpse into the world of torture in Israel“. Fundamentalists worldwide will be pleased perhaps that Luwaai spent time in Meggido Military Prison.

The star of light, burning bright, leads the kings in adoration to a baby folded in his mother’s arms. Not many years hence he will be crucified. With every crack and thump countless Christs are crucified. Hearts are walled in like the place of his birth. There are no beatitudes written in the men and the few women who hold sway. The powerful own the law and plan the next convulsion. For the residue of our humanity – Stop It.

David Halpin FRCS is a trauma and orthopaedic surgeon. He founded the Dove and the Dolphin charity, one of whose aims is to promote the health and welfare of Palestinian children.

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Articles by: Dr. David Halpin

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