Daily Archives: October 3, 2006

Important Reading on Torture and Terror

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

Read: What A Terrorist Incident in Ancient Rome Can Teach Us

But it was too late to raise such questions. By the oldest trick in the political book — the whipping up of a panic, in which any dissenting voice could be dismissed as “soft” or even “traitorous” — powers had been ceded by the people that would never be returned. Pompey stayed in the Middle East for six years, establishing puppet regimes throughout the region, and turning himself into the richest man in the empire.

Read: ‘The More Subtle Kind of Torment’

The prisoner’s environment must be manipulated to produce a “regression of the personality to whatever earlier and weaker level is required for the dissolution of resistance.” This usually doesn’t take much. “Relatively small degrees of homeostatic derangement, fatigue, pain, sleep loss, or anxiety” are generally sufficient.

It doesn’t require “real” torture to produce disastrously unreliable information.

Read: Lloyd’s on dehumanization.

History clearly shows that the use of torture moves quickly from an interrogational method to elicit vital information to a device that wrings a confession from an individual. This distinction is critical to understand.