Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Third National Quaker Conference on Torture & Accountability

From F/friends at the Quaker Initiative to End Torture.

Dear Friend,
Will you please post the enclosed flyer, and share the information below with Friends, through your Meeting newsletter or online community email list? Thank thee!
The QUIT Conference Planning Committee

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Mark Your Calendars Now:
The Third National Quaker Conference on Torture & Accountability:
September 24-26, 2010
Quaker Center, Ben Lomond CA:

Two internationally known anti-torture activists will headline the third Quaker Conference on Torture. Human rights attorney and investigator Scott Horton will be the keynote speaker. Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, will also bring his unique perspective on the work.

Scott Horton has been one of the most tenacious investigators and reporters on issues of torture and accountability. Earlier this year, he broke the stunning story about three Guantanamo prisoners, whose deaths there were previously reported as suicides. Horton's investigations showed they more likely died during torture by US secret units. They were killed at a previously unknown “black site” outside the Guantanamo complex. Scott continues his reporting at a hard-hitting blog, “No Comment” here:

Roy Bourgeois, a decorated Vietnam veteran and former missionary to Bolivia, founded SOA Watch in 1990, and has been active in the effort to abolish the “School of Assassins” ever since. He has also been active in the struggle for women's ordination in the Catholic church.

Friend John Calvi, coordinator of QUIT, The Quaker Initiative to End Torture, has been working on the concern for torture and accountability for several years.

Accountability today is the way to prevent torture in the future. The road to accountability will be long and difficult. This 2010 Quaker conference (which is open to other interested persons as well) will be one strong step down that long path. Watch for more details soon about the program. Fees will be kept as modest as possible, and registration will be limited. More information at the QUIT website:


Patience & Determination: Tools for Ending Torture & Seeking Accountability. 54 pages. $3.00 plus $2 shipping.
This new study booklet from Quaker House and QUIT is for those working to end torture and hold torturers accountable, or seeking encouragement in the effort.

It was produced because, despite an initial flurry of reform, the new administration in Washington has left in place many of the interrogation policies and programs of its predecessors. It has also turned aside efforts to hold accountable those who planned and carried out illegal torture policies and programs.

In short, opposition to a real examination and uprooting of the "Torture Industrial Complex" in the United States is strong and deeply entrenched. There is still much work to do.

This emerging reality has deeply dismayed those who hoped that 2009 would bring a clear break with the history of US torture, and accountability for those responsible as a way of preventing its return. But it has also underlined the need for pressing forward with accountability work.

Such work is difficult and stressful, and requires, in the words of pioneering Swiss torture investigator Dick Marty, "patience and determination"; hence the title.

While torture is a worldwide problem, this booklet is addressed mainly to readers in the United States, where torture became a particularly salient issue in the years since 2002. Patience & Determination includes nine concise selections. All are suitable for private reflection or reading aloud in small group discussion. The booklet is a Quaker initiative, but should be "user-friendly" for other groups.

Keeping up with the developments on torture and accountability in 2009 and now 2010 has been like a roller-coaster ride: full of rapid ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns, with more to come.

Order copies from: Quaker House, 223 Hillside Avenue, Fayetteville NC 28301.
Quantity pricing: 5 copies or more to one address, $2.50 each, plus $1 per copy shipping.

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