Wednesday, January 3, 2007
Snapshots of a Sadean State
One of Sean Hannity's "great Americans" in action.
On two occasions I can recall, a book has disgusted me so thoroughly that rather than setting it aside lightly, I threw it away with great force.
The first volume to go airborne in that fashion was the Satyricon of Petronius Aribter; the second was Juliette by the Marquis de Sade. Both of them were assigned reading. I made it through neither. Beyond its opening sixty or seventy pages, Juliette remains entirely unknown to me.
What I did read in that book, unfortunately, made an indelible impression. Some of it reads very much like this:
“[An] interrogator bragged about doing lap dance on a d [detainee at the Guantanamo military base].... [We learned of] another making d listen to satanic black metal music for hours then dressing as a Priest and baptizing d to save him.... [M]ale d was dressed in female clothing, made up and given a lap dance by female prison guard. [Investigator] was told that this was a tactic to break the d and get cooperation..... [We learned of another incident] in which d alleged female guard removed her blouse and, while pressing her body against a shackled and restrained d from behind, handled his genitalia and wiped menstrual blood on his head and face as punishment for lack of cooperation.”
In these Gitmo glimpses – culled from FBI reports pried from the Bureau through a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU -- we see a refined application of the methods described by Sade in Juliette – the co-mingling of sexual perversion with brutal violence against the helpless, the profanation of Christian ritual and symbolism, and the unabashed embrace of satanic imagery.
All of these acts fell within legal guidelines handed down from Donald Rumsfeld's office. They were carried out by military and intelligence operatives paid with our tax dollars (some of the latter most likely were private contractors, and from what we know of Abu Ghraib, Israelis and other foreign nationals may have participated as well).
Those entrusted with these chores weren't inhibited with a normal capacity for shame. FBI accounts describe female interrogators tittering with glee as they described the sexual debasement of detainees; on one occasion, interrogators were laughing as they described wrapping a detainee's head in duct tape as punishment for reciting the Koran.
These tactics weren't improvised at Gitmo, although heaven knows our depraved popular culture would provide suitable inspiration. They were the result of long, detailed study by people who specialize in this kind of thing, and were eager to try their skills out on anybody who fell into their hands.
As O'Brien pointed out to Winston Smith, the purpose of torture is torture. Granted, it may have ancillary benefits to those who carry it out – such as extracting useful information, or gratifying the prurient interests of the State servants charged with the task. But its central function is simply to reduce a victim to something worse than a corpse. This is why torture, in some ways, is morally worse than murder.
The FBI, which collected the Sadean snapshots from Gitmo, displayed its own expertise at Mt. Carmel outside Waco nearly 14 years ago. With the able assistance of Igor Smirmov of Moscow's Institute for Psycho-Correction, the FBI mounted a 50-day psy-war campaign against the Branch Davidians that was designed (in the words of one horrified law enforcement analyst) to torture the Davidian children into forcing their parents to surrender. When that failed, the FBI simply attacked the Davidian sanctuary with tanks, poison gas, and incendiary rounds.
I bring up the Waco holocaust again in order to emphasize this fact: The conduct of military and intelligence interrogators at Gitmo was found to be unacceptably sadistic by agents of the same FBI that tortured and then incinerated the Branch Davidians.
This is how the Regime that rules us operates when nobody but those in its employ are watching. And lest we think it only authorizes such indulgences when the subject is a foreign detainee, we should focus our attention once again on the pathetic figure of Jose Padilla, a U.S. Citizen (albeit hardly an exemplary one) who was held for roughly three years in military confinement as an “enemy combatant.”
The purpose of that designation was to induce Padilla to become an intelligence asset – either an informant or a provocateur. But as a result of being confined and tortured, Padilla was deprived of his sanity. He is now a human wreck, his mind destroyed by the Regime.
Like its Soviet predecessor, the Regime that rules us will occasionally destroy an individual and then allow the result to be paraded before the public to illustrate what can be done to those upon whom the State visits its wrath.
at 11:32 AM