Bush and Rumsfeld's policy of No Touch Torture
A close friend of mine who died a few years ago had been, just before I met him, tortured for many months by the Soviet occupying force in Afghanistan. Two of the things they did to him were confine him in sensory deprivation, and make him stand on his feet for days on end.
Unlike another friend of mine who was tortured for three years in Iran by both the Shah's and the Ayatollah's agents (for writing progressive kids' books), Farid had very few scars on his body.
Remind you of something? Certainly: the USA's Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib prisons (and countless others that have not yet been exposed). Prisoners wearing hoods, standing with arms outstretched, hands in gloves, ear muffs. Dark rooms, exposure to incessant loud music, cultural humiliation (like forcing religious men and women to appear nude in public) -- all these are part of it too, and they leave no tell-tale scars. CIA scientists, too, found out that these techniques actually break the will of the victims more quickly than physical torture and beatings. It's called No Touch Torture and President George W Bush has written it into the law of the United States of America.
Dear reader, this is a matter of USA policy, not "just a few bad apples" in the Army as Rumsfeld says. And it will continue until we stop it in its tracks. Worse -- it will grow and spread to other democracies.
Farid, my friend, a refugee from Afghanistan, was unable to live long in Sydney. He was too severely damaged in his mind. Soon after leaving me, he died on a bench at the well-known Sydney tourist destination called the El Alamein Fountain. I was honoured to be part of his Muslim funeral and I don't have to tell you how much we wept. I still weep, because I knew a little, but not as much as I do now after hearing the interview below, which I urge you to listen to. Had I known it then, I might have helped to save his life by finding the right treatment for him.
(His crime, by the way, had been that his late father had been a politician many years before, and that Farid had some US dollars and innocuous letters sent to him by his brother from Australia. No doubt the Russians called him a "dangerous terrorist", in the manner of the USA and Australian governments' treatment of people these days. But Farid had never had a political thought in his life. He was just a nice, skinny little guy in his 20s caught up in superpower geopolitics.)
Don't miss this interview
Alfred W McCoy, the eminent American author and scholar who worked for years in Australia, has recently researched the origins of this so called 'No Touch Torture', which was developed by scientists working for the CIA and the Soviets' KGB. Interestingly, he asserts that the FBI will not torture people, unlike their US Army and CIA counterparts, whose methods are based on the KUBARK Manual.
This extraordinary interview from Late Night Live is my pick of the week. Please listen to McCoy and tell your friends about it. We in the "free world" should all know this stuff.
Listen :: Real Media : Windows Media :: Download MP3 :: Podcast
A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror
Alfred W McCoy's new book, A Question of Torture is now available at discount in Cafe Diem!, the Almanac's online store.
"Cruel Science: The Long Shadow of CIA Torture Research"
Tagged: cia, kgb, torture, abu+ghraib, guantanamo, afghanistan, iraq, human+rights, civil+rights, war+on+terror, terrorism, bush, kubark, kubark+manual