Posts Tagged ‘Presecution’

h1

Rationalisations of the torturers

June 13, 2009

How do ordinary people come to justify torture?  It is impressive to read something written in 2000 that so accurately predicts events in 2009.  It would be a fair guess that these ‘predictions’ also describe many other countries besides Great Britain in 1971…i.e. the Bush Thugs in 2009.  I have edited the article to emphasize the principal thrusts of justification for torture.  Read the entire article here.

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People

by John Conroy
University of California Press, 2000, paper
Source
… It takes no genius to see a pattern … and that pattern is repeated throughout the world: torturers are rarely punished, and when they are, the punishment rarely corresponds to the severity of the crime.

When a dictatorship is overthrown by a democratic regime, torture squads typically elude punishment because the new government is not entirely secure.

Furthermore, it is often difficult to mount an effective prosecution. Torture usually occurs in a closed room without independent witnesses. Sometimes the victims have been blindfolded or they are dead..

A prosecutor’s task is made more difficult by the fact that torturers are often decorated soldiers or policemen who have served their country in time of need, men who often represent popular belief: they were tough on crime, or they were saving the country from subversion or immorality….

Consider, for example, the British reaction to the revelations that they were torturing the Northern Irish in 197I.

The first stage of response was absolute and complete denial, accompanied by attacks on those who exposed the treatment. Northern Irish Prime Minister Brian Faulkner announced that there had been “no brutality of any kind.”

The London Sunday Times was denounced for printing “the fantasies of terrorists.”

The second stage was to minimize the abuse….

A third stage is to disparage the victims. Lord Carrington judged them to be “thugs and murderers,” while Reginald Maulding proclaimed, “It was necessary to take measures to fight terrorists, the murderous enemy….
A fourth stage is to justify the treatment on the grounds that it was effective or appropriate under the circumstances. Lord Balniel, junior minister of defense, said that there was no evidence of torture, ill-treatment, or brainwashing, and that the methods employed had produced “invaluable” information about a brutal, callous, and barbaric enemy.

A fifth component of a torturing society’s defense is to charge that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state….

A sixth defense is that the torture is no longer occurring, and anyone who raises the issue is therefore “raking up the past.”…

A seventh component of a torturing bureaucracy is to put the blame on a few bad apples….

A final rationalization of a torturing nation is that the victims will get over it.
It is perhaps understandable that public officials accused of a crime as heinous as torture would react defensively and follow a predictable route of denial. What is perhaps more difficult to understand is the rampant indifference that grips most societies in the face of revelations of torture.

Does this sound uncomfortably current?