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February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘torture’

Jordan Vows ‘Earth-Shaking’ Response to Pilot’s Execution by ISIS

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Jordan has vowed a “strong, earth shaking and decisive” response to a video of the execution of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

The January 3rd murder of 26-year-old pilot, Muath al-Kasaesbeh, was announced Tuesday by the group.

The news came while Jordan’s King Abdullah II was in Washington DC for a state visit at the White House with Pres. Barack Obama. Abdullah II immediately cut short his visit to fly back to Amman to deal with the issue.

In response, Jordan’s military vowed its revenge would be as brutal as the execution of its much-loved pilot. Al-Kasaesbeh came from a well-known family in a large Bedouin tribe that forms the backbone of support for the Hashemite monarchy.

The Hashemite monarch addressed Jordanians on national television via a video hookup from Washington, calling the murder an act of “cowardly terror” by a deviant group bearing no connection to Islam. He asked all Jordanians to unite.

“The sentence of death pending on … Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi will be carried out at dawn,” said an unnamed security official, speaking to the AFP news agency.

“While the military forces mourn the martyr, they emphasize his blood will not be shed in vain,” said military spokesman Mamdou al-Ameri in a statement read on Jordanian state television.

Thousands of Jordanians gathered in the pilot’s hometown of Karak, burning tires and blocking roads to demand justice and express their outrage at his death and the means used to kill him.

Obama Condemns ‘Viciousness, Barbarity’ of ISIS in Burning Alive Jordanian Pilot

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The United States hasn’t yet confirmed the authenticity of a video purporting to show the murder of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, held captive since December 2014 by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) since his F-16 fighter jet crashed in Syria.

The video shows the pilot, wearing the typical orange prisoner jumpsuit, being burned alive in a cage, according to the SITE Intel Group, a Maryland-based analysis firm. A trail of gasoline is seen being poured in a trail leading up to the cage, and then set alight. The video is entitled “Healing the Believers Chests.”

Within an hour after media announced the video was uploaded to the Internet, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a somewhat restrained, almost subdued statement condemning the group for the murder.

“Should the authenticity of this video be confirmed, its just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization,” Obama said.

Shortly after, White House spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said in a statement, using another acronym for the terrorist group, “The United States strongly condemns ISIL’s actions and we call for the immediate release of all those held captive by ISIL. We stand in solidarity with the Government of Jordan and the Jordanian people.”

Jordan Confirms Video Shows ISIS Burned Captive Pilot to Death

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

The government of Jordan has issued a statement confirming that a video uploaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) shows the execution of captive Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, held hostage by the group since December 2014.

The 26-year-old pilot was burned to death in a metal cage by the group on January 3 — five weeks ago. He is seen in the video wearing the typical orange jumpsuit of the ISIS prisoners and a trail of gasoline is poured in a trail leading up to the cage, and then set alight. The video is entitled “Healing the Believers’ Chests.”

The date of the execution explains why the group was unable to provide the Jordanian government with any signs of life from the pilot in negotiations for a prisoner swap. It also explains why he was not seen in the execution videos involving the two Japanese captives, both of whom are now dead. A video of the second beheading was posted to the Internet just three days ago.

“This is just one more indication of the viciousness and barbarity of this organization, U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement within the hour after news of the murder was announced, “should the authenticity be confirmed.”

Jordan had warned yesterday (Monday, Feb. 2) that if the ‘hero’ Kasaesbeh came to any harm, Amman would “quickly judge and sentence” all those being held on suspicion of membership in ISIS. Last week Jordan also vowed to “fast-track” the execution of the Iraqi Al Qaeda suicide bomber being held on death row that was to be swapped for the pilot, if he was killed.

Bedouin Wrath

King Abdullah’s father, the late King Hussein, declared military rule and slaughtered more than 7,000 Palestinians on September 16, 1970, in response to an attempt by Palestinian Arab fedayeen to seize his kingdom. Thousands of other Palestinians were expelled as well.

The Hashemite monarch is the oldest son of King Hussein, who was said to be a direct descendant of the founder of Islam, the 6th century prophet Muhammad. The family is Bedouin, as is the rest of the extended royal family and those who support the monarchy in Jordan.

In Bedouin culture, those who create an enemy in a blood feud, as has ISIS with Jordan, create an enemy “unto the seventh generation.” The concept of “an eye for an eye” applies, sometimes with added murders for good measure. Such feuds between individuals and extended families or other parties can continue for decades.

It is the practice of the local Council of Sheikhs to attempt to work out a “sulhah” — a peace deal — between the parties involved, in order to avoid excess and ongoing bloodshed between communities. In this case, however, such a tradition is not relevant.

It remains to be seen whether Abdullah II has the courage of his father and the fortitude to carry out the threat he has made.

Kasazbeh’s warplane was allegedly shot down over Raqqa, Syria. Photos of the pilot being dragged half-naked from a lake were flashed around the Internet by ISIS at the time. Other sources also later reported the pilot’s jet crashed in northeastern Syria during a U.S.-led coalition bombing mission against ISIS.

The terror group demanded that Jordan free female Iraqi Al Qaeda suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi, who is imprisoned in Jordan on death row for her involvement in a suicide bombing attack that killed 60 people in 2005. Her own explosives vest failed to detonate, and she was captured.

Jordan last week agreed in negotiations with the terrorist group to swap Rishawi for Kasaesbeh, but insisted the group provide proof the pilot was still alive. When Japanese journalist Kenji Goto was murdered last Friday, the execution video did not show the Jordanian pilot as the customary “next victim,” leading the Jordanians to question whether Kasaesbeh was still alive.

Nevertheless, the Hashemite Kingdom said Sunday, “We are still ready to hand over the convict Sajida al-Rishawi in return for the return of our son and our hero,” Reuters reported, despite the beheadings of both Japanese hostages with whom the pilot had allegedly been held. There were also ongoing protests in Karak, the hometown of the pilot, who was from an important Jordanian tribe that forms the main pillar of support for the Hashemite monarch.

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called King Abdullah II over the weekend to thank him for his efforts in trying to secure the release of the Japanese hostage, “who was killed in cold blood and without any justification,” a palace statement revealed.

 

2 Tortured Bodies Found Dumped in Sloviansk, Ukraine

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Two dead men whose bodies were marked with signs of “brutal torture” were found dumped near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk, according to numerous media reports.

One has yet to be identified.

Israeli-American journalist Simon Ostrovsky was kidnapped on Monday by armed gunmen working for the self-declared separatist mayor of Slaviansk. He is being held hostage in the eastern Ukranian city, now under pro-Russian rule. Mr. Ostrovsky, who works for the HBO-owned Vice News media outlet, has not been seen or heard from since his capture.

The second was allegedly identified in a preliminary investigation as that of Volodymyr Rybak, a member of the ruling Ukrainian Batkivshchyna party. Mr. Rybak was kidnapped last Wednesday by terrorists in Horlivka. His body was found in the Seversky-Donets River. Mr. Rybak served as a local council member in the town of Horlivka, near Donetsk.

Although the identification has yet to confirmed, Ukrainian interim President Oleksander Turchinov said in a statement to media that at least one of the bodies appeared to be that of Mr. Rybak. Turchinov called for an anti-terrorist operation to be relaunched in Ukraine.

Despite efforts by fellow journalists to determine his status and condition, journalist Simon Ostrovsky has not been seen since.

The Israeli government did not respond to phone calls and an email from The Jewish Press asking for a comment on the situation.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters at a briefing on Monday, that the U.S. believes “there’s a strong connection between Russia and the armed militants that we’ve seen in eastern Ukraine and Crimea and other places… what we see in the photos that have been, again, in international media, on Twitter, and publicly available, is that there are individuals who visibly appear to be tied to Russia. We’ve said that publicly a countless number of times.”

Psaki added that Secretary of State John Kerry had called on Russia to speak out against the seizing of journalists and other innocents as hostages.

PA Times Charges of Israeli ‘Torture’ of Children with Kerry’s Visit

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

The Palestinian Authority opened up the propaganda taps Wednesday with charges that Israel and the “occupation forces” are “torturing” Arab children.

The allegations were reported several hours before U.S. Secretary of State John Kelley landed in Israel. He previously has incited Arab violence by warning Israel that if it does not do as he says, it might face a new intifada.

“The international community is urgently required to act against Israel and punish the occupation state for violating international laws in the first instance, and in the second to save arrested Palestinian children who are under Israeli torture,” PA Minister of Detainees’ Affairs Zeyad Abu Ain told GulfNews.com.

“Meetings have been organized between European Union ambassadors and Palestinian children released from Israeli prisons and detention centers where the children told the ambassadors their torture stories,” he added. “We have solid and undisputed proof of violations by the Israeli occupation against Palestinian children and the Israelis cannot deny this occurs,” he stressed.

It is true that Israel arrests minors, Jews and Arabs alike. That is because the minors commit acts of violence, like Arabs throwing rocks at Jews and Jews throwing rocks at police.

The Palestinian Authority apparently considers that it is “torture” for a child to be in jail. It certainly is not pleasant, nor is it pleasant to be on the receiving end of a rock.

But Israeli jails really are not jails. The Gulf News report called them “iron cages.”

And the children really are patriots, the Palestinian Authority minister said. “Those patriotic children are usually sent to unauthorized detention centers in the spreading colonies in the West Bank,” the official told Gulf News. “The children are not kept in official detention centers or prisons so the occupation forces can treat them in their own way.”

Torture

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Why do we inflict torture on each other so much? We have been doing it from the earliest of times. In Syria rival groups are inflicting the most indescribable and barbaric pain on each other (and let us not forget that Assad’s sub-humans started torturing and castrating children). If the reason for this cruelty were to try to get information that might lead to saving lives, this might arguably leave some room for mitigation. But all I see is primitive sadism and barbarism regardless of what the victims themselves may have inflicted on others. I am completely opposed to any torture. It says something very disturbing about those who inflict it.

Torture is not just the inflicting of pain. We can do that to ourselves in the gym. Military training often forces recruits to undergo deprivation and pain. Endurance athletes willingly drive themselves to suffer. Some sports, such as boxing and extreme fighting, are calculated to cause pain. What we mean by torture is the intentional inflicting of pain by one human on another simply out of sadism or because a state or power has authorized it. There is a nuance. Torture that will inevitably lead to death where there is nothing one can do to stop or reduce the suffering as opposed to torture that might be ended if certain goals are achieved. But they are both evil.

In the ancient times, if you conquered a king or tribe, inflicting pain was both an incentive for victory and an expression of superiority. It gave the victors total control over the vanquished. The more pain you inflicted the happier were your gods. I won’t go into the psychological pathology of this sort of cruelty. Sometimes it was payback for resisting and avenging your own losses. But the most common aim of such torture (other than human sadism, something that has been replicated in recent scientific experiments) was to so terrorize one’s opponents that they would capitulate without a fight. Romans impaled, and left to agonizing and prolonged death, hundreds of thousands of their captives in order to discourage revolt. Genghis Khan inflicted incredible agony on conquered cities to deter others from resisting. There was no escape, nothing one could do to stop the long, drawn-out agony.

Medieval monarchs would hang traitors, then while they were still alive, take them down and castrate them. Then slice open their torsos and pull out their organs for public display. King Edward I, who expelled the Jews, was very keen on hanging, drawing, and quartering. Perhaps there is a connection between being an anti-Semite and being a sadist! They were still burning traitors in the early nineteenth century in England. Twenty thousand spectators witnessed the last one. Impose a terrible death on traitors and others will be less likely to try. That’s what Germans under Hitler did, as well as every other hell associated with that infamous era.

Just as barbaric was the torture used as part of the judicial process. If a suspected criminal survived a ducking in the river or having his body pierced or mangled, this would prove he was in either forgiven by God or in league with the devil. While if he died that was atonement or punishment. You could not win. There is a recognizable change in a victim’s state when he knows he will die regardless. Judicial torture was only banned in England and the USA towards the end of seventeenth century. Confessions achieved through torture were, and sadly still are, often accepted throughout the so-called civilized world, although the methods are slightly less gruesome and less visibly degrading. But that’s not because we humans are any less cruel. Just that we fear public exposure. Gangsters, dictators, and ordinary evil people who feel themselves above or beyond the law continue, around the world, to torture to death thousands of ordinary human beings each year.

I suspect the survival of torture for so long owes as much to the Church as to human nature. Early Christians were tortured by the Romans to such an extent it seems they thought it only fair to do the same to their own theological enemies. The “Holy” Inquisition thought torture would eradicate its own heretics. As a sideline, it might encourage someone to convert to Christianity. Torture persists in some because they were founded on the belief not only that they are the possessors of the sole truth, but also that they had a mission to force it on everyone else if they could. Why is it that before they slash and kill, Muslim fanatics yell out “Allahu Akbar”, implying it is the will of their God? I guess if you think nonbelievers will burn in hell forever, aren’t you doing them a favor if a quick burn now or a slit throat is nothing in comparison?

Survivor of North Korean Jail Warns of ‘Holocaust-Era Inaction’

Friday, June 21st, 2013

When guards dragged Shin Dong-hyuk from his North Korean cell in 1995, he was pretty sure the end was near.

Dong-hyuk, then just 13, was born in the prison known as Camp 14, not far from Pyongyang. Camp 14 is part of a network of political prisons believed to be the largest in the world, where an estimated 150,000 dissidents and their families live in conditions reminiscent of Holocaust-era concentration camps.

As he was brought to the camp’s execution field, Dong-hyuk realized he wasn’t the one due to be killed that day — it was his mother and brother. The boy calmly watched the executions, he says now, having been brainwashed into believing his family members deserved to die. After all, he was the one who had turned them in.

“They hanged her and shot him for planning to escape,” Dong-hyuk, now 31, told JTA in Brussels. “I was only brought to watch.”

In 2005, Dong-hyuk (pronounced dong-YUKE) became the only known survivor of Camp 14. In the years since, he has traveled the world raising the alarm about North Korea’s treatment of political dissidents, including five visits to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and a meeting with survivors in 2009 at the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. He plans to visit Yad VaShem in Jerusalem later this year.

To date, the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva has convened 19 special sessions, none on North Korea. Israel has been the subject of six — more than the Syrian civil war, in which 90,000 people are believed to have died, or the genocide in Darfur, which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands, according to some estimates.

Dong-hyuk’s father and grandfather were incarcerated because two of the grandfather’s brothers had defected, Dong-hyuk said in a recent interview on “60 Minutes.”

His accounts of his treatment at the hands of sadistic guards, and the arbitrary torture to which he was subjected, are reminiscent of Holocaust stories, but Dong-hyuk is careful to avoid such comparisons, saying the only thing Nazi camps have in common with those in North Korean is “that they never should have existed.”

Yet he feels a certain kinship with survivors of the Nazis. “Through the horrific stories of Holocaust survivors, I could see my own life in the prison camps,” Dong-hyuk said. “

Yoon Yeo-sang of the Seoul-based Database Center for North Korean Human Rights likenins global inaction on North Korean camps to the world’s indifference to the Nazi genocide in Europe.

“What goes on in North Korea is maybe worse than the Holocaust, where the Nazis were active for 12 years,” Yeo-sang said. “The enslavement of the camps in North Korea has been going on for decades.”

Dong-hyuk lost a piece of his index finger as punishment for breaking a machine at a military factory where he and his family were forced to work. Another time he was given a choice between hunger and a beating. He chose the beating.

“We were constantly hungry,” he said. “Some ate rats and insects to survive. I was hungry for 23 years.”

The North Korean government has long denied the existence of political prisons, and in the absence of other escapees, there is no way to corroborate details of Dong-hyuk’s story. But Yeo-sang says that Dong-hyuk’s testimony is consistent with accounts by survivors from different areas.

Dong-hyuk said the trigger for his escape was meeting an inmate named Park, who had been on the other side of the electric fence and told stories of people eating pork and chickens. In the course of their escape attempt, Park was electrocuted and died on the fence. Dong-hyuk says he crawled over his friend’s body to escape.

From the camp, Dong-hyuk walked to China, bribing locals to avoid detection. He now lives in South Korea, where he runs an organization, Inside NK, that tries to publicize the cause of North Korean prisoners and document the testimony of survivors.

“Too much attention goes to [the North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un and his wife and too little attention to ending the camp reality,” Dong-hyuk said.

But there is also a personal reason for his devotion to the cause: Dong-hyuk says he feels guilty for betraying his mother and brother as a boy and hopes that admitting to his actions and raising awareness for other prisoners will serve as a small act of penance.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/survivor-of-north-korean-jail-warns-of-holocaust-era-inaction/2013/06/21/

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