T Nation

Tortured by the Evil Empire

One of these men was tortured by Brezhnev’s secret police in a Soviet gulag, while the other was interrogated by the CIA. Can you tell which is which?

Man A

“I went on a hunger strike demanding a defense lawyer of my choice… To break me down, they started force-feeding me in a very unusual manner – through my nostrils. About a dozen guards led me from my cell to the medical unit. There they straitjacketed me, tied me to a bed, and sat on my legs so that I would not jerk. The others held my shoulders and my head while a doctor was pushing the feeding tube into my nostril…”

Man B

"I was beaten again and left in a small, dirty, cold concrete cell. I was extremely thirsty, but there was only a bottle of putrid water in the cell… The following night my interrogations began. They asked me if I knew why I had been detained. I said I did not…

In desperation, I began a hunger strike. After 27 days without food, I was taken to meet […] the prison director and another man, referred to as “the Boss.” I pleaded with them to release me or bring me before a court, but the prison director replied that he could not release me…

After 37 days without food, I was dragged to the interrogation room, where a feeding tube was forced through my nose into my stomach. I became extremely ill, suffering the worst pain of my life."

Nice illustration of the differences.

[quote]Zap Branigan wrote:
Nice illustration of the differences.
[/quote]

Agreed, except that it left out the (very important) part where one story could be shared by maybe 800 people at the utmost and the other could be shared by millions, if they survived.

Also, is it still considered a hunger-strike if you go from being starved to not eating?

It’s that blasted CIA with their feeding tubes again. I swear it is horrible, you would think someone who might have critical information would just be allowed to starve themselves to death. But NOOOOOOOOO the CIA has to go and insert a feeding tube to keep the person alive horrible people I tell you, horrible people.

If they are beating people that is reprehensible, feeding tubes on the other hand, are not.

So which is which? These are actual first-person accounts: extra points for identifying the speakers.

Fine.

Man A is Vladimir Bukovsky. Soviets.
Man B is Khaled El-Masri. USA.

[quote]nephorm wrote:
Fine.

Man A is Vladimir Bukovsky. Soviets.
Man B is Khaled El-Masri. USA.[/quote]

We have a winner.

America is certainly not the evil empire that the Soviet Union was under Stalin.

But still, it should not happen to ANYONE. The amount of people this kind of thing happens to is almost irrelavant. It should not occur period.

The torture must stop. But that doesn’t mean we can go and mouth off about the US being an “Evil Empire”. It’s still a country founded on the greatest of principals, and it still has the potential to become even greater.

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
America is certainly not the evil empire that the Soviet Union was under Stalin.

But still, it should not happen to ANYONE. The amount of people this kind of thing happens to is almost irrelavant. It should not occur period.

The torture must stop. But that doesn’t mean we can go and mouth off about the US being an “Evil Empire”. It’s still a country founded on the greatest of principals, and it still has the potential to become even greater.[/quote]

For the record, I wasn’t trying to imply that the United States is an evil empire. Those of us over thirty years of age recall the Soviet Union under Brezhnev, and its characterization as “the Evil Empire” by President Reagan. At the time, America could clearly claim the moral high ground compared to our competition. The Soviets and their proteges were demonstrably evil, and Eastern Europe is a much nicer place now that they are gone.

But the moral high ground is a precipitous place, one from which it is easy to lose one’s footing. Vlad Bukovsky, who ought to know a bit about torture and oppression, has this cautionary statement for the United States:

[quote][i]If America’s leaders want to hunt terrorists while transforming dictatorships into democracies, they must recognize that torture, which includes CID, has historically been an instrument of oppression – not an instrument of investigation or of intelligence gathering. No country needs to invent how to “legalize” torture; the problem is rather how to stop it from happening. If it isn’t stopped, torture will destroy your nation’s important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East. And if you cynically outsource torture to contractors and foreign agents, how can you possibly be surprised if an 18-year-old in the Middle East casts a jaundiced eye toward your reform efforts there?

Finally, think what effect your attitude has on the rest of the world, particularly in the countries where torture is still common, such as Russia, and where its citizens are still trying to combat it. Mr. Putin will be the first to say: "You see, even your vaunted American democracy cannot defend itself without resorting to torture. . . . "[/i][/quote]

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/17/AR2005121700018.html

[quote]Beowolf wrote:
America is certainly not the evil empire that the Soviet Union was under Stalin.

But still, it should not happen to ANYONE. The amount of people this kind of thing happens to is almost irrelavant. It should not occur period.

The torture must stop. But that doesn’t mean we can go and mouth off about the US being an “Evil Empire”. It’s still a country founded on the greatest of principals, and it still has the potential to become even greater.[/quote]

You might even say that this potential has increased.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:

You might even say that this potential has increased.[/quote]

Ha! That was a lot more subtle than your usual attacks, Wreckless. Very clever.

[quote]Wreckless wrote:

You might even say that this potential has increased.[/quote]

:0 !

[quote]Wreckless wrote:
Beowolf wrote:
America is certainly not the evil empire that the Soviet Union was under Stalin.

But still, it should not happen to ANYONE. The amount of people this kind of thing happens to is almost irrelavant. It should not occur period.

The torture must stop. But that doesn’t mean we can go and mouth off about the US being an “Evil Empire”. It’s still a country founded on the greatest of principals, and it still has the potential to become even greater.

You might even say that this potential has increased.[/quote]

Bonus points for Wreckless, I say.

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

But the moral high ground is a precipitous place, one from which it is easy to lose one’s footing. Vlad Bukovsky, who ought to know a bit about torture and oppression, has this cautionary statement for the United States:

[i]If America’s leaders want to hunt terrorists while transforming dictatorships into democracies, they must recognize that torture, which includes CID, has historically been an instrument of oppression – not an instrument of investigation or of intelligence gathering. No country needs to invent how to “legalize” torture; the problem is rather how to stop it from happening. If it isn’t stopped, torture will destroy your nation’s important strategy to develop democracy in the Middle East. And if you cynically outsource torture to contractors and foreign agents, how can you possibly be surprised if an 18-year-old in the Middle East casts a jaundiced eye toward your reform efforts there?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/17/AR2005121700018.html[/quote]

Great points. Torture, and that’s what it is, is helping us lose this war.