Sunday, December 16, 2007

Torture Always Works

Digby had last week's post most worth remembering: "Torture Works":
Then Dr. Braun asks me, "Kinsman, how come you here?" I answer, "Through falsehood, through misfortune."

"Hear, you," he says, "you are a witch; will you confess it voluntarily? If not, we'll bring in witnesses and the executioner for you." I said "I am no witch, I have a pure conscience in the matter; if there are a thousand witnesses, I am not anxious, but I'll gladly hear the witnesses."

Now the chancellor's son was set before me . . . and afterward Hoppfen Elss. She had seen me dance on Haupts-moor. . . . I answered: "I have never renounced God, and will never do it--God graciously keep me from it. I'll rather bear whatever I must." And then came also--God in highest Heaven have mercy--the executioner, and put the thumb-screws on me, both hands bound together, so that the blood ran out at the nails and everywhere, so that for four weeks I could not use my hands, as you can see from the writing. . . .

Thereafter they first stripped me, bound my hands behind me, and drew me up in the torture. [2] Then I thought heaven and earth were at an end; eight times did they draw me up and let me fall again, so that I suffered terrible agony. . . .
And so I made my confession, as follows; but it was all a lie.
Now, dear child, here you have all my confession, for which I must die. And they are sheer lies and made-up things, so help me God. For all this I was forced to say through fear of the torture which was threatened beyond what I had already endured. For they never leave off with the torture till one confesses something; be he never so good, he must be a witch. Nobody escapes, though... .

Scott Horton brings us up to date about America's Torturer-in-Chief.
We should be very clear about this. * * * Real moral and legal culpability lies with those in leadership positions who sanction and approve this system. The use of torture—waterboarding, hypothermia, long-time standing, and other extreme practices—is a criminal act. If the Justice Department has blessed it—and we now know this for a fact—then figures in the Justice Department, including the Attorney General, have made themselves accessories to a serious crime. Since the end of World War II at least, the use of these torture practices has been universally recognized as a criminal act subject to the most severe sanction.

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