Thursday, 6 October 2016

CAN TORTURE DRIVE VIOLENCE EXTREMISM/GLOBAL TERRORISM?



 
 CAN TORTURE DRIVE VIOLENCE EXTREMISM/GLOBAL TERRORISM?


Yes it has. Please turn in, I am by the balcony reading about one Mahar Arar and his incarceration, even though am curious to know what could have possibly lead him to joining extreme violent group as alleged in the first chapter, yet I keep my mind open so I don’t pass judgment on him before finishing the book. But I’ll like to summarize my read to you right away. Mahar Arar was or is a dual national of Canada and Syria. He was detained while in transit at New York’s John F. Kenedy airport on 26 September 2002 by U.S authorities based on what I view as “mistaken and unfairly prejudicial intelligence” as was provided by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He was detained and interrogated for almost two weeks and on October 7, 2002, the regional director of U.S Immigration and Naturalization Service issued an order finding Mahar Arar to be a member of Al Qaeda. And thereby directing his removal from the United State, and he was flown next day to detention center in Amman, Jordan, where he was blindfolded and beaten by Jordanian guards. Later on, the next day, he was driven to Syria, where he was imprisoned in the Far Falestin detention center.

Torturing for information and investigation
He was detained for more than ten months in a tiny grave-like cell- seven feet high, six feet long, and three feet wide, beaten with cables, and threatened with electric shocks, among other forms of torture. On August 20, 2003, he was transferred to Sednaya prison, before ultimately being released on October 5, 2003 and returned to Canada. Mr Arar was tortured despite the fact that the U.S government had obtained diplomatic assurance from Syrian government that it would not torture him. But they did torture him. Although it is clear that the Canadian consular officials visited him several times while he was imprisoned in Syria, but as we all know, during such visit he could not open up nor speak or tell Canadian consular’s about his torture for fear of retaliation. But as the torture intensifies he became more helpless and on the seventh visit of the consular, he decided to speak out of his torturing despite the serious risks of doing so.  So many tortured inmates barely speak of their torture at detention centers to Government officials on visit to them and are the points to drive home.

The rest follows
Following the terrorist attack of 9/11, the United State government commenced a search that lead to secret detention program under which suspected terrorists were arrested and detained in secret prisons across the world.  Many detained were outside the U.S and some of the detainees were more likely mistaken identity yet apprehended for interrogation with a follow up torture to elicit security intelligence information and confession. To my mind, this was grave mistake that spark hates beyond lines that the world is battling with till tomorrow. So I pondered and wondered how on earth could we have reacted and relied to intelligence information gathering from picking people who seems to us as suspect and apply torturing to elicit information, as sensitive as it was then and now. But I know ordinarily that a suspects that gives information under duress, that such information can never stand the test of time in any court of law globally. So I wondered why that method was preferred, knowing very well that such can be misleading and misleading information can cause more conflict, more confusion in any society  than any other. Misleading information has led countries into years of war. A war that people are killed without reasons, a war that nobody can really pin point why the war. Or tell me why war? So I can tell you why for peace. Tell me what is going on in Syria, DR Congo, South Sudan, Iraq, Afghanistan etc and spreading wild round the world. All are needless war.  
 9/11 as I see took the world by shock and forced the US to take a new approach to countering terrorism. Terrorism was not new really but never dive nosed to the extent as of date. But it is the counter technique implored after 9/11 that gave less regard to domestic and international human rights law and birth a digital dragon the world never prepared for. From Nigeria to Kenya, France to Belgium, and UK to Australia, terrorism is spreading wild and young people and women are recruited as active participants. Violence extremism cum terrorism is recruiting high number of youths into deadly suicide missions, through the aid of technology vis a viz facebook, twitter, YouTube etc and we are watching. They are using appealing narratives inherent in social and religious gaps in our communities, and we are in slow motion. Those working to counter such narratives are awaiting two steps backward and are more reactive than proactive. We wait for bomb to explode before we mobilize!

Back to the point, I mean terrorist suspect that are arrested and detained should be interrogated and tortured? Torturing suspecting terrorist in attempt to gather intelligence information has failed time and time again. Torturing technique has most often proved misleading, therefore this write up is allow us time to re-think, mirror, sleep over and be truthful, if torturing as technique to eliciting intelligence information has really helped? Think back into past mistake so we can move in and win in the fight of countering violence extremism/terrorism all over the world using a new approach for new result.    
Interestingly is Mathew Alexander a US Intelligent officer that led the interrogation team that located Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the former leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq. I lay my foundation on his speech as I quote, “when interrogators used harsh methods that fit the definition of abuse in every instance, that method served only to harden the resolve of detainees and made them more resistant to interrogation”. “In contrast, detainees are likely to cooperate when non abusive technique is applied”. He further said “using torture technique has proved ineffective in eliciting reliable intelligence information”. Unquote and I wonder why we are still using it.  
Let me reflect also on Ibn Al-Sheik al-Libi in 2002 who was extraordinarily rendered by the U.S to Egypt. He was tortured by Egyptian officials for confessional statement, and out of duress he fabricated information relating to Iraq’s chemical and biological weapon training of Al Qaeda. Whereas it was false information given out of duress, and based on his confessional statement, the then U.S Secretary of State Collin Powell relied on it.  And according to Powell’s speech to United Nations remains the reason why the US went for war against Iraq. A war that was avoidable. A war birth by misinformation from torture; a war we are still fighting to no end.