Torture 101

Pop quiz! This Friday, June 26 is:

A: International Day in Support of Torture Victims
B: The U.N. anniversary of the day the Convention Against Torture came into effect
C: A day to take action and demand accountability for torture
D: All of the above

If you answered "D," you are correct!

The Convention Against Torture (CAT) is the most important international human rights treaty that deals exclusively with torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.  The treaty went into effect on June 26, 1987, and was ratified by the U.S. in 1994. Countries that have signed the treaty are obligated to prohibit and prevent torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in all circumstances. The treaty also compels governments who ratified it to investigate all allegations of torture, to bring to justice the perpetrators, and to provide a remedy to victims of torture.

In this new video, Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU's Human Rights Program, explains more about international legal standards — including CAT — that criminalize acts of torture, as well as the United States' obligations to seek accountability for torture.

Privacy statement. This embed will serve content from
Please note that by playing this clip You Tube and Google will place a long-term cookie on your computer. Please see You Tube's privacy statement on their website and Google's privacy statement on theirs to learn more. To view the ACLU's privacy statement, click here.

Given the significance of this date, June 26 has also been named as International Day in Support of Torture Victims, a day to demonstrate solidarity with victims of torture.  Although the U.S. once led the fight against torture around the world, this June 26 we face a different challenge — one that requires this country to face the facts and come to terms with the reality of this country's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and the abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody that took place over the last eight years.

We hope you'll join us by taking action on June 26 (stay tuned for details), because if we don't demand accountability for the crimes that were in committed in our name, who will?

Add a comment (20)
Read the Terms of Use

Hawaiian style

If we don't EVENTUALLY come to our senses and live up to our legal obligations and our American ones, the Spanish might help us.

I wonder if Congress could impeach Attorney General Holder???


I wonder if the pro torture people who post here know how much their ideas are similar to those of Stalin,Pol Pot,Heinrich Himmler and Sadam Hussein.
They also thought that their victims got what they deserved.

Andrew Peebles

* We must all work together to end torture in all its forms and charge
those whom are responsible, especially
police departments in the United States. Still need verification/help
regarding the same big case (22 years) here in Los Angeles regarding mental and physical torture and human rights violations(primarily by the Los Angeles Police Dept.)and were willing to share damages, of course. Please
work with us to get the U.S. Atty Gnrl
Eric Holder and President Obama Barrack
to clear and enforce our basic human and civil rights! This will restore
our privacy and security for our in-nocent family, friends, churches and even some LAPD officers! Thank you very
much. Andrew Peebles (213) 347-6300

Steven Jones

When is the ACLU going to do something about the casual use of sexual torture by law enforcement using the Taser? Every year I find more and more news articles from every state in the US involving police shooting men and boys in the testicles with 2 inch long stainless steel Taser darts, and then frying them with 50,000+ volts. In none of the articles were the male victims armed, nor were the police in danger of being killed. This constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, without any possible argument. It also constitutes torture, which is illegal in all instances. Police are also using the 'drive stun' to ram the Taser into men's groins and direct 100 percent of the 50,000 voltes into the men's genitals. In every case, there has been burns and nerve damage left behind, with many men reporting that they have such severe nerve damage as to be left without any feeling whatever in their genitalia for months after. One police captain, who was himself shot in the groin during a Taser demonstration, sued Taser over its fraudulent claims that the Taser leaves no permanent damage. Where has the ACLU been during all of this? If spearing a man's testicles with a 2 inch long barbed spike and then frying them with high voltage does not constitution torture then nothing does.


People think their Right know more than the one it happens to.

Deadly brainwash sex drugs deaths. Old to many exposed new. Organized Crime FBI have an admittance problem. Different depths parts. Crawl across floor to bathroom head body soaked in sweat hold myself up on the toilet vomitt in trash can same time. Get the privelige walking clean shaves showers clothes shoes. Much protein vitamins minerals nutrients can get. Physical contact stopped block out harassment. Safety boxes taken. I request to military proof Torutre/Rights official supervision since I'm not allowed to stand up prove used to try and kill me my family.
No tunnels connect under homes, hidden rooms. Theres no deadly brainwash sex drugs deaths. They don't torture people fast hidden in jail. They don't run infront behind me control the people. It's my mother me. FBI did a great job keeping us safe watching youner generations trained generate power. Thats' reverse sentecning lies.
Electronics different color tints represent translucent to solid once become imaged. Cut audio impersonations synthesizing voice copies. Second flash see yourself then inside looking out shoulders arms legs feet motion- non. Mixed with prerecorded surroundings. Images home video libraries. Shows obtained befored aired altered. Caucasion around 7ft thin. Short light hair cut muscular build black suit white shirt. Big powerful stride feet break in walk silent name used. Crawl across floor head body soaked in sweat hold myself up on toilet vomitt in trash can simultaneous. Comes out powerful little after-next day. Get the privilage walking exercise daily clean showers shaved clean clothes shoes. Protein vitamins minerals nutrients I can get. Block out as much harassment keep body temperature cool. Conspiracy against me weaknesses' involved from birth them unaware forced departure 2005. Control torture wash warfare cruel inhuman degrading used the system to set up plain view. Bad tail public wire west to east coast. Marriage cardinal used personal business. Restraining orders etc tools drug control one factor. Allowed enemies Trojan War accurate. Watched and in home surveillance to barricaded alone private hidden entries. Different places amphetamines tools.. Communications played restrained depths quiet fast aware muscle locations grow back extent. Wife libraries shown speechless during torture libraries of myself. Body movement voice replicas one communication game possessors non. Lack user knowledge no learning attempts. Body adjusts brought back in bad resets. Photographic memory. Kansas City Mo underground group teams informants police etc involvement knowledge. Jail penitentiaries. FBI. Hip shoots finger KCMO CIA. Network television access. Military knowledge. Rights made no lawyer victim center assist out of country aware Washington D..C. expensive easy to use ready to go video-picture cell phones 2008 Christmas gifts no contact made. Paranoia skitzofrania delusions given. Disposed through own race selected "we are the people" became stronger each race educated tactics threats against lives power by suggestion. Divide and conquer common. Big busts fake rumors endanger. Greyhounds exposed drivers aware unknown Caucasion unknown Sony spoke nervous Italian attempted detour truck stop scarmbles idenity inside one ways possible state employee son. Over 9 W2's 2006 kept homeless free food etc resources mind open chemicals broken. Hospital reported mental institutionalized indirect verbals robbed.. Social security taken attempted child support arrears. Slammed in rear exiting bus doors two cities. Verbal disoriented Seattle airport shuttle bus. Aware email postal mail. Minimum fifteen years documents. Over twenty erased public court records became mental physical aggressive pinpoint eyes head different counties. Fifteen emergency rooms out patients became stronger over time. Some emergency rooms are pelvic floor muscle damage. Bank statements. Travel tickets. Never questioned. Try and kill using this is torture. Premeditated suicide attempts one traceless form verbal visuals aided outside communications. Dangerous vehicle alterations blacked out seconds. Prolonged both mothers of children etc participated allowed infiltrators attackers under outside roofs hid covered up. Marriage trained system corruption team outside race females from Northeast Jackson Co use enhancement non reluctant verbal different times. To reluctant oral done once. Terrorizing family trapped in elevator doctor visit. Homicide demented images caused missed funeral paul bearer.. Seattle small blade cut hand paralyzed control visual verbal if mobile consume own flesh no feeling. Skin stripping mutilations weaknesses' imaged. Walked around block up to 11 times hid under bridge union teamster Seattle. Remote on bridge subliminal sprayed message cuffed by police two cars one Caucasion male Hispanic American male recognized taken off bridge no report filed. Phoned torture Kansas City FBI used reverse sentencing lie disconnected no response. Never questioned banned from counter police report civil complaint injunction. Threaten directions bad tail continues. In homes vehicles hospitals etc start deadly trouble use unlawful legal power join people. Torture set up family extermination escape form directions. Immediate mentally attacked under poor health repeat for cut audio impersonations voice copies synthesizing. Infiltrators attackers lie cry angry set up their casualities no legal consequences. For records showing it's every excuse etc directions except facts of what they state. Weaknesses' first word ma ma said to me crying packed suit case looking for me. Minimum contact stopped summer 2007.. Sickened trained to hate hide their feelings. Have to be put on threatened endangered list department etc Agency aware. Responsible took all safety boxes I call them clean spots in my soul. Future moves were executed danger can happen anytime anywhere to weaknesses' past harassmet attempts.


As a child I watched the horror of Vietnam on television and now, as an adult I am witness to another American atrocity: torture. After witnessing many photos of said methods, it was quite evident that the smiling military officer is not too far in semblance to the Nazi's SS. It is my heartfelt opinion that the United States must prosecute ALL involved from the top on down which of course, includes the Bush administration. Shame on you for allowing such horrendous activity. Especially when there were no weapons of mass destruction or true terrorists other than the Bush/Cheney administration. Truly, our government terrorized these men for entertainment. Sick, horrible indifference in the name of freedom? The world will inevitably hold us responsible and thus, we must consider the welfare of our young men and women in the military if they should ever be incarcerated. Let us remember Sen. McCain's incarceration in Vietnam and how, he detested the idea of torture. I don't sway either way politically speaking--I sway for what is right and what is right is to acknowledge atrocities committed in the name of fear and not, freedom. For those unwilling to repent, I will repent as an American: I am sorry, please forgive us.


Are we allowed to torture people that speak out against Obamacare?


I hate the ACLU. You guy are fat no good liberal jerks who would do anything to sell mom, apple pie and god down the river. You are pink, with yellow bellys. I would like to see if you are really for the freedom of speech you all talk about? put this up on your website if you are really for free speech


What do you do when a man twice your size, is obviously on drugs, wants to harm you, kill you, or just get away, and he, more then likely can.

You can't shoot him, that's murder.
You cannot reason with him.
You can't tackle him because you would certainly be harmed to.

What do you do as a policeman\woman.

What would the ACLU do it that position with only seconds to make a choice?

It just seems like the ACLU and it's members sit back ready to pounce on anyone who defends themself or others. Basically, we should all just run.

When you have a split second decision to make, it may not be the "perfect" choice. It's so easy to sit back and judge after the fact, and tell someone how wrong they were. In our lifetime most of us will never have to fight for our life, or defend ourselves with a weapon. Just because you cannot even conceive of it, does not make it wrong when force is used.

The whole torture thing, your being so very hypocritical. If you knew your son or daughter were being held hostage and they only had 24 hours to live, and you had the person in your presence who knew where they were. . I honestly do not believe you would read a rule book to determine what you could or couldn't do to that person to get the whereabouts of your son or daughter. I think you would use any means possible to get the information that would save your family members life.

Again it's so easy to sit back after the fact, after all decision were made and judge everyone else for their actions, all the time saying "I would never do that", or "thats just wrong".

Within the next century I believe that average Christian will be, as the ACLU has long wished for, in the minority. We will slowly sink to the background. While other major religions come forward. Unfortunately, they will not be as tolerant when it comes to the ACLU, if they are crossed. It will be, an unfortunate awakening to the ACLU, one that some surely see coming also. I guess bitter sweet would be the term.

I am certain there are plenty of instances where the ACLU comes through for the individual, the one horribly discriminanted against.

Ask any woman who has been raped, if her rapist deserve the right to freedom, or a parent whos lost a child to a pedophile if they deserve there freedom.

When does common sense come into play?


I’m sure that the ACLU gives little concern regarding the financial drain they cause on the general population due to their frivolous law suits. I agree that perhaps this group should actually make an effort to help or country instead of sitting around casting judgment. It is easy to sit back and comment on others actions from the security of an office building.


Sign Up for Breaking News