Sunday, July 30, 2006

Peter Gabriel Peter Gabriel: WITNESS!

The rock singer Peter Gabriel founded the organization WITNESS:
Gabriel came up with the idea for Witness in 1988, while he was on a world tour sponsored by Amnesty International. "I met, for the first time, many victims of human rights abuses," he said in a recent e-mail interview. "There were people who had suffered all manner of tortures, those who had seen loved ones murdered in front of them and many whose relatives had been 'disappeared.' I was appalled by everything that I was learning, but was just as shocked to discover how often the perpetrators avoided prosecution and successfully buried their atrocities. Although written reports were often published, they often seemed impotent, leaving justice undone and many activists and victims very isolated."

Gabriel had a video camera with him on the trip, and he hit on the idea "to arm the activists with cameras that they themselves would operate" in order to document abuses. He sought funding for the project until 1991, when amateur video footage of Rodney King being beaten by Los Angeles police officers proved how potent a tool for change video could be: Soon the King footage was ubiquitous, sparking a national discussion of racism and police brutality. With seed money from the Reebok Human Rights Foundation, Gabriel set up Witness under the umbrella of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.
Since 1996 Witness, which occupies the second floor of a loft building in downtown Manhattan, has been a full-service organization for its partners. It provides not only cameras but training and assistance in editing footage and in creating game plans for getting it seen, whether in a full-blown TV documentary or as streaming video on the Witness Web site. This year it has given cameras to groups in India, Romania, Gambia, the Philippines and Palestinian communities of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, and trained groups in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

Here is one example: OUTLAWED:Extraordinary Rendition, Torture and Disappearances in the 'War on Terror'

Thank you Mash for posting this during the Blogathon 2006, and sharing the video with me.


Blogger Lindsay Lobe said...

A tad off the subject matter of your posting(plus the previous one on torture)reminded me of David Hicks (Australian) who was tortured and continued to be ill treated at Guatnamo Bay.

Having now been held now for 4.5 years without any prosecutions in the Kangaroo courts set up by the military. He was initially badly beaten,tortured and but has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence. I was listening to his father on radio to day , who reported how he is still being mistreated and it srtaing to take its toll mentally and phsiclaly.
Apparently things have further deteorated since the reported suicides in this hellhole.

Terry Hicks (his Father) not long after September 11 manicured himself inside a cage in Manhattan to indicate the conditions of his sons imprisonment. When he visited his son at Guatanamo he was presented to him manicured with chains but when his trials took place , as foreign media was present, these we removed.

Originally Hicks was apprehended in Afghanistan as consequence of the CIA leaflet drop in Afghanistan offering rewards to locals for information that led to the capture of Taliban fighters. As an obvios foreigner , it must have seemed like manna from heaven to turn over Hicks for money. I don’t know whether Hicks is actually guilty of anything or not, but what we now know of human rights abuses and torture practised at Guatnamo Bay. Hicks had converted to Islam and
his father reported he has travelled to Afghanistan to assist its people.
Best wishes

4:10 AM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Lindsay, I did do a piece on them a few months ago, do not remember exactly when but I think it was May.. the thing is, paying for information was something the Northern Alliance used to just round people up and sell them $5000 a which any intelligent person would say; consider the source! It's not even that people will get paid once it is proven that the accused was/is, everyone is already guilty and the proven innocent part is conveniently forgotten!

8:50 AM  

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