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Torture Videos: Why Are They Made (by the Government)?

chicago dyke's picture

>A May 2005 report by Lieutenant General Kevin Kiley confirms that each interrogation at Guantánamo was videotaped. Lieutenant General Randall Schmidt issued a report the following month stating that more than 24,000 interrogations of detainees took place at Guantánamo over a three-year period. In the meantime, the Bush administration has announced it will pursue the death penalty for six detainees who will stand trial for crimes related to the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Professor Mark Denbeaux, Director of the Center for Policy and Research at Seton Hall Law, commented, “Our students proved that Guantánamo interrogations were videotaped, which impacts the impending trials of the six detainees. We all want to see the perpetrators of 9/11 punished. But if the tapes of those interrogations still exist, it is imperative that we understand, before these trials start, whether the information was obtained through standard interrogation procedures or through torture.”

Why videotape a torture session?

To my mind, there can be only one reason. Obviously, these detainees were tortured- that's why the Bush administration and its torturing minions won't produce them now. But the torturers must have known that such video records don't help them execute their charges- for exactly the reason why we shouldn't torture in the first place: it produces no reliable information, nor can that information subsequently be used in a court of law. So why make them?

Another "official" answer will be that these "records" will have value in later, as yet unknown "anti-terrorism" investigation. See, Abdul screamed out the name "Ali! Aliiiiiiiii!!!" So it must be Ali who is responsible for today's bombing. Or some similar unlogic that has no actual effect in the process of preventing terrorism. But that's crap too. Again, because torture doesn't work.

So why make them? Really, why? Think about what it would take for you to run a camera, 24,000 times of people being tortured? Would it warp you, just a little? I know it would make me sick after the first second of the first one, but I'm hypersensitive; I understand how 'hardened military professionals' could probably stomach many more. But- why? If you can't really use them, and they won't really help you in the future with anything, and you can't even share them with people outside the torture industry, why make them?

I'll let you decide for yourself, but I think it is a key element to understanding the torturers. Not only will they do torture, defend it, twist the legal system to get away with it, hide it from the public and international communities, but they obviously like to record it. For their own enjoyment. I'll leave it at that.

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myiq2xu's picture
Submitted by myiq2xu on

Sorry to invoke Godwin, but it's true. It's part of that "banality of evil" thingie.

Of course they kept records! How can you be sure what was said if you don't record it?

hypnot's picture
Submitted by hypnot on

Not only will they do torture, defend it, twist the legal system to get away with it, hide it from the public and international communities, but they obviously like to record it. For their own enjoyment. I’ll leave it at that.

I suspect that you're right, and I want to suggest that those who record also serve those who cannot be present, but who also like to watch. If we ever find out what really went on in the Cheney-Bush administration, we're going to learn about the role of torture--the exercise of sadistic power over the powerless--in validating their inflated opinions of themselves.

News reports have delivered a whiff or two of the excitement and interest aroused at the highest levels by the prospect of and reports of capturing enemies and squeezing them until they scream. I doubt that the people who directed these extreme and illegal measures would have been satisfied without vivid accounts, preferably accompanied by evidence that would send them to jail in a just world.

I'll bet that Cheney, and maybe even that perpetual slowpoke Bush II, saw a few of those tapes (remember, Bush don't read) before they mysteriously dematerialized.

Submitted by lambert on

I can't find the article online (it was in Harpers) but the thesis was something like tortuters have lost their very personhood in the act; they have become unreal; and so they amass paperwork to prove that they have.

So, of course the NSA is keeping and reading everything.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.