Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Torture 101

This is very interesting:

Before the Abu Ghriabe scandal broke, Sociology Professor Martha Huggins submitted an editorial to the Albany Times Union predicting that torture would occur in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. Her predictions had nothing to do with the people involved, but were entirely based on objective criteria and an analysis of what conditions prevailed when torture occurred previously. According to Professor Huggins, the ten criteria which cause torture to occur are:
1. The word “torture” is mislabeled or avoided by perpetrators and responsible officials.

2. Evidence of torture is ignored, hidden, denied and lied about.

3. Ad-hoc legalism is employed.

4. Ideologies of ‘national security’ are advanced.

5. Torture is systemic, and not the work of a few ‘bad apples.’

6. Multiple actors are deployed

7. Responsibility is diffused.

8. Competition rages.

9. Insularity and secrecy hide torture.

10. Impunity is widespread.

A fascinating study. I especially find her mention of #3 interesting: "Ad-hoc legalism is employed." Ad-hoc legalism is exactly what Gonzales was doing, at the behest of Bush. I also find it interesting that someone was able to see this coming so clearly before it ever happened.

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