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unite against human rights abuse in the war on terror.
November 23, 2007 5:37 AM   Subscribe

unsubscribe-me.org is not what you might first think it is from the name. (SL-non-YTP)
posted by allkindsoftime (51 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
I highly recommend watching the videos done by the actor and the director after seeing the feature.

Seeing how that affected someone who was in the situation by choice made me want to literally vomit at the thought that some people still maintain that the US doesn't torture people. If they do a waterboarding video I'm not sure I could watch it.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 5:50 AM on November 23, 2007


Warrantless searches, Prison Nation, and . . . now this. What a series of posts I see this morning. I am grateful to those who posted them.

I so, so grieve for my nation, the land and the people I love.

Where will this end? Where are we headed? Can we change direction?
posted by swlabr at 5:51 AM on November 23, 2007


From the website:

Waiting for the Guards is not a normal film. What you are watching is a real person going through the excruciating pain of Stress Positions over a period of 6 hours. We decided that the only way to show the horror of this "enhanced interrogation procedure" that the CIA and others use was to show you the reality of it. There is no acting from the prisoner. He is in pain. Real pain. These links take you to more info, pics and video on the making of the film.
posted by kisch mokusch at 6:07 AM on November 23, 2007


I would have added more of the detail myself... but all I could really come up with after watching it was...

ugh.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:10 AM on November 23, 2007


There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!

Mario Savio, December 3, 1964
posted by Goofyy at 6:14 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


Jetzt sind wir alle "In der Strafkolonie."
posted by nax at 6:25 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


[i]Mario Savio, December 3, 1964[/i]

Also Galen Tyrol, Lay Down Your Burdens Part II, Battlestar Galactica.
posted by tapeguy at 6:27 AM on November 23, 2007


You know, I think this is extremely important. I give money to Amnesty International every month. I think the videos are effective. But I don't think they could have chosen a more confusing name for this campaign.

"Here's an important message about human rights violations. Do you want to unsubscribe?" Maybe they could have named it, "Let's join together and not not stop torture." Or, "A human rights violation has occured. Do you want to continue? [Ok] [Cancel]." It took me about thirty seconds when I first saw it to figure out what the hell they were talking about.
posted by jiiota at 7:05 AM on November 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Wow. I wasn't really ready for that this morning. Thanks for the wake up.
posted by papercake at 7:07 AM on November 23, 2007


"Senator, here's a list of ten thousand people who have unsubscribed from Amnesty International's campaign to ban torture."
posted by jiiota at 7:10 AM on November 23, 2007


Here is the page with links to the making-of videos.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 7:13 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I unsubscribed yesterday. The fact that America tortured prisoners during this time will always be a dark, horribly fucking stain on our history, and I want to be on record that it was not done with my consent.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:41 AM on November 23, 2007


What happens if he just steps down? Just refuses to do it?
posted by futility closet at 7:44 AM on November 23, 2007


time to watch that beheading video again, and the one of the woman in the stadium on her knees being shot in the head. just for some perspective, you know. and i wonder if there's any video of fingernails being pulled out, for comparison purposes. because this shit is mild and humane, you whining shitbags.
posted by quonsar at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


I just don't understand quonsar anymore. Either there is an incredible obscure sense of humor going on here, or it is the writing of someone entirely without a moral compass.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:54 AM on November 23, 2007 [12 favorites]


because this shit is mild and humane, you whining shitbags.

Everything is relative, thus nothing matters.
posted by iamck at 7:55 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


You're against beheading and fingernail extraction? So delicate, quonsar. Did we interrupt your tea party? War is hell- you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Next you'll be saying we can't use rape rooms or landmines.

Futility closet, my understanding is that they don't know what happens if they step down (that's what the hood is for), or they're threatened with something worse- death, for example- if they step down. The famous image of the guy in the hood with the electrodes was told he would be electrocuted if he stepped down.
posted by jiiota at 8:02 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


time to watch that beheading video again, and the one of the woman in the stadium on her knees being shot in the head. just for some perspective, you know. and i wonder if there's any video of fingernails being pulled out, for comparison purposes.

The thing is, he's right. He's very right. I'm every bit as opposed to that shit as I am to the sanctioned torture that groups like AI are fighting against. You think that the AI folk for one second are happy about the beheadings and executions and fingernails? I certainly hope not.

I think we need that perspective, just as quonsar pointed out. We need to realize that there are terrible things going on in other parts of the world outside of Guantanamo. The number of nut-jobs in our government who have let things like this go down in our day and age aren't the only evil human beings bent on destroying the lives of others. The fact that even one human being is capable of this shit means that every single one of us must be capable of it, most of us just didn't get the benefit the chemical imbalance, or the religious hypnotizing, or the sick power trip addiction. Its time to stop polarizing. Its time to realize that it is all evil, and that we need to fight against it all, not just the parts that happen to be freshest in our memory, or perhaps worse - closer to our heart.

Yes, the torture is wrong. Yes, the beheading is wrong. Yes, the man who jumped to his death from the burning second tower was so incredibly, unendingly wrong. Its all wrong.

because this shit is mild and humane, you whining shitbags

And that, quonsar, is where you are wrong, too.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:20 AM on November 23, 2007 [8 favorites]


Ah, I see. They've treated some of us in a really shitty way, so we're justified in treating them in a shitty way too! Because our shit is not as bad as their shit!

The problem with that is that its still shit.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:24 AM on November 23, 2007


because this shit is mild and humane, you whining shitbags.

And everybody knows that it's okay to torture as long as there's other people out there doing worse things, right?

Yep, you're one of the people that makes civilised folk want to puke, quonsar.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:26 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I too give money to AI each month, and I unsubscribed when I received the email a couple of weeks ago. I like the campaign because it does make you think, it catches your attention. Not one person on the list of friends I sent the link to responded though, and one I spoke to about it said this was because he thought it would be a waste of time, would make no difference.

Despite AI, we still got Iraq and Abu Ghraib, we still get Gitmo and rendition, and we still get the British government strengthening their already draconian anti-terror laws. People around the world are being detained for weeks without charge, beaten, deprived of sleep, subjected to psychological abuse of the worst kind. The list goes on.

I think it's important to think about the torturers, to try to understand what makes a person capable of doing these things to another human being.

That's all from me.
posted by Myeral at 8:35 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Excellent idea.
Poor naming/branding.
Poor site design and load-capacity.

What am I unsubscribing from?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:00 AM on November 23, 2007


I actually like the branding -- if the link said "sign up to stop torture," I might pass it by, because I tend to think, "ugh, the torture issue is so horrible and depressing, I can't do anything to stop the people in charge of this country right now ..." The non-specific branding got me to look at the site and engage.

I liked the site design overal but agree about the loading issue. Also the second of two panels used to un-subscribe was awkward.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:07 AM on November 23, 2007


I believe quonsar was channeling the mentality of those who would sanction such actions.

Yep, you're one of the people that makes civilised folk want to puke, quonsar.

quonsar doesn't make me want to puke any more than a tornado makes me want to puke, or a hurricane or cancer or getting hit by a drunk driver. He simply is, and you can rail against it or accept it, but it won't make a lick of difference one way or the other.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:23 AM on November 23, 2007


Someone asked about waterboarding?

Current TV did a show about it.
posted by winna at 9:25 AM on November 23, 2007


quonsar writes "time to watch that beheading video again, and the one of the woman in the stadium on her knees being shot in the head. just for some perspective, you know. and i wonder if there's any video of fingernails being pulled out, for comparison purposes. because this shit is mild and humane, you whining shitbags."

What the hell is wrong with you? When did some torture become OK, as long as it's not too extreme according to your scale?
posted by krinklyfig at 9:27 AM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


“The number of nut-jobs in our government who have let things like this go down in our day and age aren't the only evil human beings bent on destroying the lives of others.”

Used to be that is what defined us. It was our enemies that tortured and mistreated prisoners and so forth. Somewhere that got twisted (as quonsar...parodied?) into justification for our own human rights violations.
I’m sure we have widely divergent conceptions of why and how this came to be.
The fact of the matter is (as is implicit in your statement on “benefit” allkindsoftime) it is folks with weak character and poor grasp of their own identity that end up tolerating (or performing) these kinds of injustices. It’s not merely a lack of empathy (which is a weakness, albeit not often seen as one) but laziness of thought and passive pride (the self-aggrandizement of the foolish).
The fight, therefore, is within. You must decide who it is you wish to be and what you wish to be part of and work to make that happen.
Much like with racism, there are simple actions you can take every day to combat it and reinforce principle. Someone makes a “nigger” joke, you can frown, confront that person, in a number of ways that doesn’t make them your enemy but makes it clear that such things are intolerable.
People say such things as quonsar said in passing. I myself have made it clear to in a number of social situations that I am perfectly willing to die to prevent torture and, more importantly, kill.
I’ve been presented with hypotheticals from men who never served in the armed forces attempting to tell me that if my buddy was killed or tortured or something along those lines. I have told them that I have lost friends, I have had friends captured and tortured to death, and I would never torture an enemy because that would make me become just like them. And what do I tell my tortured friend then?
Most people speak with a great deal of hyperbole, myself among them. Something like this must be spoken of in earnest and with the weight of history upon us.
When you speak of it to your friends and collegues, allow it to have that gravity, as though you were speaking before children and trying to instruct them on rectitude. If there’s anything worth opposing with everything you have by God it’s torture. But don’t push them, or cajole them, you are not trying to win but rather bring them into the fold.
Simply advocate and allow your words to carry the strength of your conviction.
Most folks haven’t thought seriously about it, they’re just beguiled by the flash and thunder of war and the mock heroics on television dramas.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:27 AM on November 23, 2007 [10 favorites]


I think there are people who don't understand why some of us are focused on trying to stop atrocities committed by Americans, when there are extremists in the Middle East doing things that are much, much worse. It's absolutely true that the stonings and beheadings and power drills to the forehead that go on in Iraq and other places are immeasurably worse than waterboarding or stress positions. No one disputes that. But here's the thing--I'm not complicit in that. It's not my country doing those things. I don't have blood on my hands when that happens. And I could sign all the petitions I want, but the terrorists aren't interested in my opinion.

But the United States is my country, and my tax dollars are funding torture, and my president is authorizing it, and my congress isn't taking action to stop it. It's the USA that I have some moral responsibility for. And it's the actions of the USA that I have some chance--however slim--of influencing. So instead of wasting my time expressing outrage at the unthinkably evil stuff I can't possibly stop, I work instead to end the lesser evils in which I also am implicated.

I don't know why that seems hard to understand, but apparently it is.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 9:37 AM on November 23, 2007 [21 favorites]


It was our enemies that tortured and mistreated prisoners and so forth.

Look up the history of the Philippine-American War.
posted by winna at 9:45 AM on November 23, 2007


winna writes "Look up the history of the Philippine-American War."

Yes, that's true, but our military rules since WWII and the Geneva Conventions were supposed to change that. Since then, we've pretty much stuck to it, until now.
posted by krinklyfig at 10:01 AM on November 23, 2007


But the United States is my country

The United States is no more your country than Russia was to its serfs.

If, on the other hand, you meant "my" like "my cancer" -- which is to say, something that is a part of you but that you have absolutely no control over, then I would suggest that the domestic torture is similarly not your responsibility, nor is it within your power to excise even if you wanted to.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:03 AM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'd still speak out if my tumor leaped out of my body and waterboarded someone, at least to say, hey, I really don't support my tumor's actions.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:19 AM on November 23, 2007 [5 favorites]


All I see is an infinite redirection loop. Is this something I'd need cookies to see?
posted by mr. strange at 10:31 AM on November 23, 2007


It seems quonsar was joking, and I'm an idiot. Actually, even if he wasn't joking, I did a terrible job of making my point in this comment. But regarding the campaign, I still think it's a good campaign with a bad title.
posted by jiiota at 10:54 AM on November 23, 2007


I just don't understand quonsar anymore.

quonsar is a living illustration of both the evils of drinking and the evils of stopping drinking.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:55 AM on November 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


Atom Eyes writes "quonsar is a living illustration of both the evils of drinking and the evils of stopping drinking."

Alcohol is the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:30 AM on November 23, 2007


I have been online since 1989, and am pretty savvy, but I have NO idea what 'SL-non-YTP' means.

And I don't want to click on the link to find out.

So I will scour the comments first!
posted by newfers at 12:05 PM on November 23, 2007


I have been online since 1989, and am pretty savvy, but I have NO idea what 'SL-non-YTP' means.

It's metafilterspeak for single-link non youtube-post.
posted by rtha at 12:10 PM on November 23, 2007


quonsar is a living illustration of both the evils of drinking and the evils of stopping drinking.

That's kind of a shitty thing to say.
posted by cortex at 12:57 PM on November 23, 2007


Yeah, and now I regret having said it.

Sorry, quonsar.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:38 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would suggest that the domestic torture is similarly not your responsibility, nor is it within your power to excise even if you wanted to.

There's just no sensible reason in the known universe to think this is true. Okay, one individual can't do it. You can't just send a letter to your congressbeing and then pat yourself on the back. But a lot of people working towards a common goal, applying the right kind of pressure year after year, certainly can do it.

Listen, the people who give these orders - "Torture that guy over there, bomb this village over here." - live in constant fear that you and I will get up off our butts and actually do something. Remember the eighties? Reagan's people moved heaven and earth to keep the their Latin American terrorism below the media radar because they knew that if the public actually started paying real attention to what they were doing down there, the whole thing would be over in a week. Remember, these were the guys who had just been forced out of Viet Nam by a bunch of pissed off nobodies waving signs and publishing leaked Pentagon memos. In fact, they would have loved nothing more than to send the 82nd Airborne into Nicaragua , but they knew they couldn't even discuss it because they'd all be forced to resign.

There are many, many examples of the general public having an impact on major foreign policy issues. Public opposition is easily the single biggest reason we're not invading Iran as we speak.

This shit is very real and it works. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has.
posted by Clay201 at 2:43 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Beautifully said, Smedleyman.
posted by Quietgal at 3:13 PM on November 23, 2007


This shit is very real and it works. In fact, it's the only thing that ever has.

No, fear is the one thing that throughout the centuries has proved the most effective deterrent to excessive abuse of power. Fear of losing a battle, having your enemies storm into your cities, raping and eating you and your parents... or fear of your own people doing the same because they have had enough shit shoved down their throats.

Right now, the only thing stopping our current administration from calling an eat-the-kittens holiday is that somewhere in the backs of their reptilian brains, they fear the ramifications of such a decree. So instead they move in small steps, evaluate our response, then take it a step further. Each step is not enough to cause outrage, but taken as a whole they've gone a marathon's distance from where we started. Yet the public does nothing.

The reason we can't just go after these motherfuckers and crucify them by their genitals is because they are so adept at turning their fear into our shared fear. Hypothetical example: if ten or twenty people decided today that they'd had enough of this shit, stormed the homes of America's top CEO's, flayed them alive and hung their skins on pikes as a warning to future cowards and thieves, the others that survived would just turn it around and say, "You could be next!" And naturally there would be a line of opportunistic fellow-Americans ready to take their place.

The president says he needs these powers to protect us, but the reality is he needs these powers to save his own skin.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:17 PM on November 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


If, on the other hand, you meant "my" like "my cancer" -- which is to say, something that is a part of you but that you have absolutely no control over

Oh, enough with this disempowering bullshit. "you have no control" is B.S.
posted by delmoi at 3:44 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seeing this sort of thing makes me flash forward to my inevitable trial, years down the road;

"So, Mr. quin, you were found in an abandoned warehouse with at least a dozen career politicians, whom you had kidnapped, stripped, blindfolded, and forced to stand in stress positions for hours on end."

::prosecuting attorney consults notes::

"Furthermore, it appears that you subjected them to frigid conditions, struck them repeatedly, and in several examples, nearly drowned them. What possible defense can you provide this court? Where did you ever get the idea that acting like this was acceptable?"

::the entire court turns to see my angst filled reply::

"You, alright? I learned it by watching you!"
posted by quin at 4:30 PM on November 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, enough with this disempowering bullshit. "you have no control" is B.S.

You have plenty of control, but you're too afraid to do what's necessary. If you really think holding hands and singing Kumbaya is going to save the world, there's a bunch of 60 year-old's I could introduce you to that still have the sheet music.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:20 PM on November 23, 2007


Don't underestimate the power of Kumbaya. It's the song they played on the horn that brought down the walls of Jericho.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:28 PM on November 23, 2007


Just dropped Amnesty International a c-note. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:53 AM on November 24, 2007


I like the name of the campaign. It made me think that I could do something by clicking on one link. Too bad that isn't really true, but now they have my name on their "unsubscribed" list. Too bad that doesn't stop my taxes from funding this stuff.
posted by salvia at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2007


Smedleyman: It’s not merely a lack of empathy (which is a weakness, albeit not often seen as one)..

Smed, Can you explain what you mean by this?
posted by Skygazer at 1:09 PM on November 26, 2007


Is it inappropriate for me to say that the guy being tortured in the video is hot?
posted by HotPatatta at 2:01 PM on December 5, 2007


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