Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wingnuts = Psychopaths

Stupid wingnut fucktards really piss me off, and no more so than in the current "debate" regarding torture and the terror technique known as "waterboarding."

In a recent comment at Sadly, No! Larry nailed it:
...everybody knows waterboarding is torture, that torture is not just “bad,” it’s evil. You see, this is why the Right-wingers win so many arguments...(T)hey turn every obviously-wrong thing they want to do into a great debate, and we obligingly play of (sic) the field they choose.

Torture is evil and waterboarding is torture, full stop. Condemn it loudly for what it is, don’t beg people to accept what is obvious in the first place.

It doesn't surprise me, but it still pisses me off that wingnuts don't care about the cost of torture, or of any humiliating, degrading, and coercive interrogation technique. They're too busy jerking off to violent video games and episodes of '24.'

In their own pathetic way, they’re just aping the psychopaths at the White House and in the Justice Department, specifically:
The memo (authored by John Yoo and Jay Bybee) defines torture so narrowly that only activities resulting in “death, organ failure or the permanent impairment of a significant body function” qualify. It also claims, absurdly, that Americans can defend themselves if criminally prosecuted for torture by relying on the criminal law defenses of necessity and/or self-defense, based on the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

When our own senior Justice Department (!!!) officials set the table like this, what else can we possibly expect from their authoritarian followers?

The transcript of an interview on Democracy Now with Dr. Angela Hegarty, the forensic psychiatrist who interviewed Jose Padilla is one of the most disturbing things I’ve read recently (and given the depravities of the Cheney administration, there are plenty of candidates for most disturbing).

Even if we assume that Padilla was not “tortured” based on the weaselly definition above (a highly doubtful assumption), what exactly was done to him?

In this very small cell, he was monitored twenty-four hours a day, and the doors were managed electronically. And between what Mr. Padilla told us and other sources, essentially it’s possible to open and close these doors electronically. And he would hear the click of the door opening, which is a loud click that sort of echoed, and then a very loud bang over and over and over again for hours at a time, possibly days. He had no way of knowing the time. The light was always artificial. The windows were blackened. He had no calendar or time, as you mentioned earlier. He really didn’t see people, especially in the beginning. He only had contact with his interrogators.

…as a clinician, I have worked with torture victims and, of course, abuse victims for a few decades now, actually. I think, from a clinical point of view, he was tortured.

…during my time with him, some of his reasoning seemed somewhat impaired, some of his thinking seemed impaired, his memory certainly, his ability to pay attention seemed very impaired. I developed a differential diagnosis from this: severe anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder can do that. But also, we know from really basic neuroscience studies that extreme isolation for prolonged periods of time — and I’m talking, you know, the studies are on maybe days or weeks, and he had extreme isolation for years — really do, in fact, impair higher brain function. And I recommended that we get some neuropsychological testing. And, unfortunately, he wasn’t able to fully cooperate with that. However, the testing we did do was consistent with brain damage, yes.

…This was the first time I ever met anybody who had been isolated for such an extraordinarily long period of time. I mean, the sensory deprivation studies, for example, tell us that without sleep, especially, people will develop psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, panic attacks, depression, suicidality within days. And here we had a man who had been in this situation, utterly dependent on his interrogators, who didn’t treat him all that nicely, for years. And apart from — the only people I ever met who had such a protracted experience were people who were in detention camps overseas, that would come close, but even then they weren’t subjected to the sensory deprivation.

…given what sensory deprivation and isolation of this scale does, it’s also entirely possible that he wasn’t given drugs, and it’s just the psychiatric effects of the isolation and the sensory deprivation, because the hallucinations can be incredibly vivid. People feel like they’re losing their minds, that they’re coming apart. It’s absolutely terrifying.

…What happened at the brig was essentially the destruction of a human being’s mind. That’s what happened at the brig. His personality was deconstructed and reformed.

…the purpose of keeping Mr. Padilla isolated was to foster a sense of dependence on his interrogators and to essentially foreclose in his mind utterly any hope of rescue. And it makes reference to the fact that, given that people who have had contact with the criminal justice system will expect to see an attorney and be rescued by an attorney, they want to essentially disabuse him of the notion that he will ever be rescued. They want him to believe that he is in their power forever. And I believe, in a sense, they succeeded.

…One of the things that came out in the course of my evaluation was, he was required to sign his name John Doe.

(Q - And what was the reason for wanting to have him sign his name John Doe?)

…He’s no longer a person. He’s no longer an individual. There will be no record that he was ever there, that the interrogators — this is from my knowledge of torture around the world — that the interrogators essentially will be absolutely immune to any accountability.

So, maybe some prominent wingnuts will sign up for a few weeks of good ol’ sensory deprivation, followed by a spin on the water board. I mean, if it isn’t torture, what's the hesitation?

As Dick Cheney himself said:

Q Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: It's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there, I was criticized as being the Vice President "for torture." We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in. We live up to our obligations in international treaties that we're party to and so forth. But the fact is, you can have a fairly robust interrogation program without torture, and we need to be able to do that.

As the leading expert on twisted personalities, Dr. Robert Hare, said, "...psychopaths have little difficulty infiltrating the domains of...politics, law enforcement, (and) government."

If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention.