During Algeria's fight for independence in the 1950s, French Resistance fighter Paul Aussaresses felt it was his duty to electrocute Arab nationalists.The truth about torture
Like many former torturers, he still believes it is the most effective way to gather intelligence in a so called "ticking bomb" case. He claims to have stopped Algerian bomb makers from killing French civilians by extracting confessions though electrocution and suffocation with a water saturated towel. They were methods he'd adapted from the Nazis.
The belief that torture works is justification enough for most torturers. Some experts claim that information divulged under force is always unreliable, but many who've practised torture say they have the experience to prove otherwise.
Torture, they say, is the fastest and most reliable means of forcing prisoners to divulge information.
During the apartheid era in South Africa, Gideon Nieuwoudt, one of South Africa's most notorious torturers, used a range of techniques on his ANC victims and retains a philosophical perspective.
"It's like a piano: you make use of the black notes and the white notes to make a sweet melody," he says.
He has no doubt the beatings he inflicted on detainees forced them to talk: "The people will never give you anything without torture, that I can assure you."
Former colleague Paul Van Vuuren lost count of the number of people he tortured under apartheid, but is still proud of his skills.
"There are all these movies about Rambo and stuff where they put electricity on his bodies and he's not talking. That's bullshit. There is no-one in the world; I haven't yet seen one guy that don't talk. I can take anyone on and make them talk, that's no problem."
Former Prisoner of Zion Ida Nudel, together with Shurat HaDin - the Israel Law Center, filed the petition on behalf of fifteen Arabs on death row in the PA. The law suit charges that the Israeli government has refused to act to rescue the condemned prisoners, who were convicted and sentenced to death on charges of having assisted the IDF and security services in thwarting terrorist attacks and capturing wanted terrorists.And here's a previous post about Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, she does a wonderful job seeking justice.
The petitioners are demanding that Israel undertake an emergency campaign to pressure the PA to cancel the impending executions of the prisoners, or alternatively, to conduct a military operation to free the condemned men by force.
The president of the PA military courts, Saeb Al-Kidwa, announced on March 2nd that the fifteen prisoners on death row for "collaborating with the Israeli security services" would be executed in the coming weeks. Kidwa said PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was expected to officially approve the executions soon, after the PA-appointed Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrimah Sabri endorsed the sentences. Sabri, who also administers the Islamic wakf that asserts power over the Temple Mount, recently confirmed that he had been asked by Abbas to review the files of the prisoners and has made recommendations in several of the cases.
Following the announcement, on March 7th, Ida Nudel and the Shurat HaDin organization wrote to Prime Minister Sharon demanding that he take immediate action to rescue the Arab prisoners. The Prime Minister has yet to respond to the letter.
"There is a moral obligation for the Prime Minister to rescue the prisoners," the Supreme Court petition contends. "After utilizing the vital information they provided, at great risk to their own lives, to safeguard the lives of Israeli citizens and soldiers, he cannot simply abandon them to their own fates."
Russian-born Ida Nudel became one of the founders of Soviet Jewry's "refusenik" movement in 1972 after being denied a visa to immigrate to Israel. During the next seven years, she established herself as the most defiant and outspoken of Jewish figures in the Soviet Union and was frequently arrested by the KGB. On June 21, 1978, Nudel was sentenced to four years of exile in Siberia. Finally, in 1987, after years of an international struggle to secure her freedom, the Soviet government bowed to world pressure and allowed her to make Aliyah (immigrate to Israel).
Nudel has been outspoken in the past on the issue of Israel's refusal to aid and rescue Arabs arrested by the PA on charges of assisting the IDF in its war against the PA terrorist groups.
It is believed that approximately 68 Palestinians have been sentenced to death in show trials before hastily convened PA "military tribunals" since the PA was established in 1994. In those trials, the accused prisoners were not given the opportunity to defend themselves or even provided with a defense attorney to argue on their behalf. Moreover, despite the capital punishment imposed, the defendants had no right to an appeal.
"Despite the repeated reports that the PA is going to imminently execute fifteen prisoners accused of having risked their lives on Israel's behalf, the Prime Minister is refusing to even lift a finger to rescue these Arab agents," Shurat HaDin Director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said this morning. "We are asking the Supreme Court to compel the government to undertake every effort available to secure the freedom of these brave individuals from the PA. It defies belief that the government would be contemplating releasing another 400 Palestinian terrorists while the PA is planning to execute fifteen of our prisoners. These so called 'collaborators' are Israel's front line in the war on Palestinian terror; they have assisted the IDF in thwarting thousands of suicide bombing attempts and must not be merely thrown to the dogs."
Sixty years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt, on his way back from the fateful Yalta conference, met King Abdulazziz, founder of Saudi Arabia, aboard the USS Quincy, in Egypt's Bitter Lake. The meeting led to a special relationship based on oil and security - but it also dealt extensively with the consequences of the Holocaust and the future of Palestine.
Roosevelt's role regarding the plight of European Jewry had been far from perfect. Though among the first to recognize the dangers of Nazism, neither he nor his administration lifted a finger to help Jews escape Germany or find safety in America. As Ted Morgan, a biographer of FDR put it, "saving Jews had not been a high priority on his agenda."
He told the program that he was "dismayed" by the Schiavo case and opposed efforts by lawmakers to get involved.Presumably prison has only enhanced his sense of the preciousness of the lives of convicted killers.
"What bothers me is the bit of hypocrisy in all of this," said Kevorkian. "When the president and the Congress get involved because life is sacred and must be preserved at all costs, they don't say anything about the men on death row, and their lives are just as precious.
BRITAIN'S leading medical ethics expert has suggested that the frail and elderly should consider suicide to stop them becoming a financial burden on their families and society.Lest we think this is solely an academic discussion, euthanasia is being practiced in The Netherlands and for a short time in Australia as mentioned above. And according to the linked article on Dutch euthanasia, the practice is unoffically widespread throughout Europe.
Baroness Warnock spoke on the eve of a Commons debate on the Mental Capacity Bill, which critics claim will allow "euthanasia by the back door".
In an interview with The Sunday Times, she said: "I know I'm not really allowed to say it, but one of the things that would motivate me [to die] is I couldn't bear hanging on and being such a burden on people."
In other contexts, sacrificing oneself for one's family would be considered good. I don't see what is so horrible about the motive of not wanting to be an increasing nuisance."
If I went into a nursing home it would be a terrible waste of money that my family could use far better."
Warnock, 80, a Lords' cross-bencher who helped frame Britain's legalisation on embryo research, also suggests that parents of premature babies should be charged to keep them on life support machines if doctors write off their chances of leading a healthy life.
In France, 73 percent of doctors in one study reported using drugs to end a newborn's life, but those cases aren't reported to authorities. Meanwhile, 43 percent of Dutch doctors surveyed and between 2 percent and 4 percent of doctors in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and Sweden reported doing so.And of course euthanasia is now legal in Oregon, although apparently they are still working out the kinks.
Germany may have more than five million unemployed for the first time since the 1930s, but they are too lazy to help bring in the springtime asparagus harvest, the country's farmers have complained.
The DBV farmers' association urged the government to continue to allow farmers to employ thousands of seasonal harvest workers from eastern Europe, despite rising joblessness.
"The willingness of German jobseekers to do physically demanding harvest work is extremely limited or totally absent," DBV head Gerd Sonnleitner said in a statement.
"There is something wrong with Germany," top-selling Bild daily said on Wednesday in reaction to his comments.
Some 300,000 seasonal foreign workers help harvest fruit and vegetables in the spring, summer and autumn but calls have grown to limit them and force more Germans to work in the fields.
But farmers say they cannot find suitable locals because Germany's generous welfare provisions make low-paid, strenuous work unattractive to most jobseekers.
"The movement is totally led by young people," Nabil said. "Both Christians and Muslims. We are living together in the same tents. We stay up all night strategizing and getting to know each other. It's amazing, but it's also sad. We Christians and Muslims never really knew each other until now. Hariri's assasination broke down that wall. We are talking together - really talking and getting to know each other - for the first time.Go read all the posts, they're well worth it.
"It is so important," he said, "that we heal the old wounds. We cannot go back to the past, to the civil war. We want to rebuild our country." He tapped the side of his head. "And that includes rebuilding our minds. Lebanon has been so divided. We stand not only for freedom and independence, but also national unity and a new, modern, common, tolerant Lebanese identity."