Terry Karney (pecunium) wrote,
Terry Karney
pecunium

Torture, and what it is

I see people all the time who talk about torture as though it were only a valid charge if people's fingernails are pulled out, who cavil when I say I agree with the Geneva Conventions' description (any physical, or mental, coercion).

Read the NYT piece on Padilla, and try to imagine it.

No human contact, unless he was being interrogated.

No light.

Nothing to read.

Nothing to sleep on but a metal slab.

The only person in a naval brig; locked into a 10' cell.

For three years.

He was given food, adequate to his needs (and I've seen people say that his captors seeing to it that it was Halal, and so met with his religious needs was "too good for him,"; who opined that he ought to be getting a BLT for breakfast, and crabcakes for lunch), allowed enough sleep (often touted as not something we need to do, after all "what's it hurt to keep 'people like him' a little tired. I've gone for weeks on only four hours of sleep, and I wasn't driven crazy. Heck it wasn't even that bad."), doctors checked up on him and when he was ill, he was treated.

As a description it sounds like the care given a catatonic, or a person who's so brain-damaged we think of them as vegetables. It's not acceptable treatment for a human being.

It's certainly not acceptable treatment for someone who hadn't been charged with anything. Someone who enjoys a presumption of innocence. It wouldn't be acceptable for two-weeks, let alone for three years.

I've been inside a brig, as a prisoner. It was on an excercise to train Marine Interogators. I don't know if his brig is on a ship, but I recall the fear/disorientation of being led, with a white, but opaque, bag over my head, down endless ladders, my feet lifted over the sills of the bulkhead hatchways, and the slow shifting of the ship getting less.

There was light in the cell, but I'd been deprived of my glasses. I had a jumpsuit, and nothing else. The rack was bare steel, and without the jumpsuit I've have been more miserable. I was moved to another cell, with a foam pad on the the bed. I was fed (which was the first food I'd had in about 18 hours. I managed to get about three hours sleep (which made up for some of the lack I'd had, not havig been allowed/able to sleep the night before. It was cold, I was without blanket, or clothes adequate to the weather. I stayed warm by walking in circles. When the sun came up, I lay on the ground and got about two hours sleep in the sun, before they took us to the ship).

That was bad. But it was bad in a survivable way. I knew I was going to get out. I knew I wasn't going to be beaten. I knew I could choose to "give in" and it would all be over.

I can't really imagine what it would be like to live in my own head, except for the time I was being questioned. If it was to be questioned about things I couldn't answer (and the changes in Padilla's charges makes me pretty certain he didn't know what they wanted him to know)... Angels and ministers of Grace.

That's torture.

Those who don't think so, are wrong.

Those who don't care (because they were told was going to use a "dirty bomb", and I use told because that's all we have... some reports from the DoJ saying they thought he planned to build a dirty bomb, and set it off. They've not charged him with that. It was a way to pump up hysteria); are in favor of torture.

They are complicit in torture.

They don't care that they are in support of stripping away the civil rights discussed in the Constitution (they may be endowed by "Nature, and Nature's God" but they are kept alive by the unflagging efforts of those who defend them... A strongman may take them, or a lazy populace give them up. They are not inalienable, no matter how pretty that sounds).

Padilla's treatment is an outrage. Not just that it happened (secret prisons aren't really that hard to make, nor even to keep secret) but that when the details come out, no one seems to care.


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  • Regarding Marna Nightingale, Sexual Assault, and Me

    I’ve been accused of raping an ex. This puts me in a difficult spot, because I didn’t do it, and there is nothing I can say which will prove it…

  • I have made a Patreon

    I'm not sure there's much more to announce. The interface is a bit clunky, and I've yet to make more than one post, but it's up, and (in theory)…

  • travel plans

    I will be at Boskone (the weekend of the 14th of Feb), for those who might want to see me (or perhaps ogle some yarn).