An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Torture Continues

"American legal investigators have discovered evidence of abuse, torture and rape throughout the US-run prison system in Iraq. A Michigan legal team meeting with former detainees in Baghdad during an August fact-finding mission gathered evidence supporting claims of prisoner abuse at some 25 US-run detention centers, most of them so far not publicly mentioned as being embroiled in the Iraq torture scandal..."
"During an interview with Alomari and attorney Shereef Akeel, TNS reviewed documentation the men accumulated covering 53 separate cases of former detainees alleging gross mistreatment at the US-run prisons in Iraq. All of the witnesses have been vetted, said Akeel, their presence at various detention centers corroborated by official, US military-issued paperwork and identification information. Some of the plaintiffs allege US captors committed severe abuses against them as recently as this summer, challenging the widely-held assumption that the military has put an end to the violations." New Standard News, Sept. 25, 2004.

The explanation for this behavior may be found partly in the recently released report by James Schlesinger, described in the New York Review of Books as follows, "Policies and practices developed and approved for use on Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees [in Afghanistan and Guantánamo] who were not afforded the protection of the Geneva Conventions, now applied to detainees who did fall under the Geneva Conventions' protections." - New York Review of Books, Mark Danner, Oct. 7, 2004.

Who makes the decision about which human beings have rights and which do not? Which Iraqis deserve the protections of common humanity and which do not?

"The human person is also entitled to a juridical protection of his rights, a protection that should be efficacious, impartial and inspired by the true norms of justice. As Our Predecessor Pius XII teaches: "That perpetual privilege proper to man, by which every individual has a claim to the protection of his rights, and by which there is assigned to each a definite and particular sphere of rights, immune from all arbitrary attacks, is the logical consequence of the order of justice willed by God."" - Pacem in Terris, paragraph #27

Perhaps, John XXIII can throw some light on why the Iraqis so stubbornly resist our benevolence: "Men all over the world have today--or will soon have--the rank of citizens in independent nations. No one wants to feel subject to political powers located outside his own country or ethnical group." - Pacem in Terris, paragraph #43.

"Authority comes from God alone."


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