On December 31, 2003, Khaled El-Masri was seized by Macedonian border officials after being mistaken as a member of al-Qaeda. El-Masri was held in Macedonian custody for 23 days before being “rendered” (an extrajudicial transfer of a prisoner) into the hands of the CIA.
After receivership of Khaled, the CIA put him through a process that the Agency refers to as “capture shock”. El-Masri, a German citizen, was subjected to being stripped, hooded, shackled, severely beaten and sodomized with a suppository. The man was then drugged and taken to a secret detainee facility located in Afghanistan called the “Salt Pit”. (more…)
Thank God for Noam Chomsky. Not for his lifetime of eviscerating assaults on our political hypocrisy, but for his linguistics. Long before I knew him, undergraduate Fisk laboured at his university linguistics course, where Chomsky’s work first alerted me to the pernicious use of language. Hence I condemn at once the vile semantics of the Pentagon and the CIA. Not just that old, wolfish, obscene phrase “collateral damage”, but the language of torture.
Or, as the lads who torture on our behalf call it, “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Let’s take a closer look at that. “Enhanced” is a word of improvement. It suggests something better, more learned, even less costly. For example, “enhanced medicine” would presumably involve a more streamlined way of improving your health. Just as “enhanced schooling” would suggest a more worthy education for a child. “Interrogation” at least gives a hint of what this is all about. Asking questions and getting – or not getting – a reply. But “techniques” beats the lot. A technique is a technical skill, is it not? Usually, so my dictionary tells me, in artistic work. (more…)
Washington’s Blog notes how the CIA’s torture techniques resemble those used by the Nazis.
The Nazis called it “Verschärfte Vernehmung,” German for “enhanced interrogation.”
“It’s a phrase that appears to have been concocted in 1937, to describe a form of torture that would leave no marks, and hence save the embarrassment pre-war Nazi officials were experiencing as their wounded torture victims ended up in court. The methods, as you can see above, are indistinguishable from those described as ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ by the president,” The Atlantic wrote in 2007. (more…)