Hacktivist Culture: Witness Against Torture

Raymond Johansen, a torture victim and co-founder of Hacktivist Culture, speaks out against global torture campaigns by various governments, in particular the US and the UK.

Potkaars podcasts: 2019-01-14 Witness against Torture – Raymond Johansen

Kitty Hundal, a target of state persecution and co-founder of Hacktivist Culture: Personal Statement on Torture.

Countries that are signatories to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment are required, as per Article 2 of the Convention, to make torture a criminal offense in their countries and most, including the US, Canada and UK, have done so.

Article 2

1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.

3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.

18 U.S. Code § 2340A – Torture

(a) Offense.—

Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

UK Criminal Justice Act 1988 c. 33 Part XI Torture Section 134

134 Torture.

(1)A public official or person acting in an official capacity, whatever his nationality, commits the offence of torture if in theUnited Kingdom or elsewhere he intentionally inflicts severe pain or suffering on another in the performance or purported performance of his official duties.


(3)It is immaterial whether the pain or suffering is physical or mental and whether it is caused by an act or an omission.

Canada Criminal Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. C-46)


269.1 (1) Every official, or every person acting at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of an official, who inflicts torture on any other person is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.

Yet renditions and Black sites like Guantanamo as well as secret Black sites continue to proliferate both within the countries that are signatories, in violation of their domestic laws/due process, and on foreign soil, in direct contravention of the Convention.

Chicago’s “Black Site” Police Scandal Is Primed to Explode AgainChicago’s “Black Site” Police Scandal Is Primed to Explode Again

Homan Square detention facility is reportedly like something out of “Homeland.”

On the basis of internal Chicago police records, the Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman reported in February that officers had brought thousands of detainees (mostly black, often low-level drug offenders) to Homan Square, where they were essentially “disappeared”—held and questioned without access to attorneys or phone calls. Of 7,185 people detained there since 2004, Ackerman wrote, just 68 had access to a lawyer or were able to make their whereabouts known to family or friends—about 65 percent of the detentions took place after May 16, 2011, when Emanuel took office.

“US must stop policy of impunity for the crime of torture”- UN rights expert“US must stop policy of impunity for the crime of torture”- UN rights expert

“By failing to prosecute the crime of torture in CIA custody, the US is in clear violation of the Convention against Torture and is sending a dangerous message of complacency and impunity to officials in the US and around the world.”

Many of these torture sites have professional medical and psychiatric/psychological personnel on staff who participate actively, not only in developing and advancing the torture programs but in participating directly as well.

This is a direct violation of the Nuremberg Code established to prevent further horrors like those which occurred during the Holocaust against the Jews in Nazi Germany.

Nuremberg Betrayed: Human Experimentation and the CIA Torture Program

Based on an analysis of thousands of pages of documents and years of research, Physicians for Human Rights shows that the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program constituted an illegal, unethical regime of experimental research on unwilling human subjects, testing the flawed hypothesis that torture could aid interrogators in breaking the resistance of detainees. In “Nuremberg Betrayed: Human Experimentation and the CIA Torture Program,” PHR researchers show that CIA contract psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen created a research program in which health professionals designed and applied torture techniques and collected data on torture’s effects. This constitutes one of the gravest breaches of medical ethics by U.S. health personnel since the Nuremberg Code was developed in the wake of Nazi medical atrocities committed during World War Two.

In addition, the Intelligence Agencies of many countries are being given legal carte blanche to engage in “Disrupt and Destroy” campaigns. Campaigns which are often engaged in, without judicial oversight, or oversight which is exercised at the discretion of the Agency and without transparency, abuses would inevitably occur. This is a historical fact.

Canada Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (S.C. 2015, c. 20)Canada Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (S.C. 2015, c. 20)

12.1 (1) If there are reasonable grounds to believe that a particular activity constitutes a threat to the security of Canada, the Service may take measures, within or outside Canada, to reduce the threat.


(2) The measures shall be reasonable and proportional in the circumstances, having regard to the nature of the threat, the nature of the measures and the reasonable availability of other means to reduce the threat.


(3) The Service shall not take measures to reduce a threat to the security of Canada if those measures will contravene a right or freedom guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms or will be contrary to other Canadian law, unless the Service is authorized to take them by a warrant issued under section 21.1.

So, what does this tell us about the current state of our society and it’s approach towards Torture?

It tells us that our governments have gone rogue. They are openly violating domestic and international law, at the behest of the global elite and their military industrial complex, which is expanding by the day.

It tells us we are being ruled by criminals who hold the reins of power and will never hold themselves accountable for their own crimes.

It tells us that We, the People, need to act to hold the bastions of power accountable for their crimes. We need to do this through the enforcement of transparency as well as by becoming the media so that we can enlighten and educate the unaware. Then, we need to use that knowledge and education to rebuild our democracies and social infrastructures into healthy ones. Ones which represent the best interests of the people as a whole, rein in and limit the powers of the elite, while also enshrining individual and social rights as natural, inviolable rights.

by Kitty Hundal

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