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December 11, 2007

TomDispatch: Greg Grandin On The Torturable And The Untorturable

New Tomdispatch:

The Unholy Trinity
Death Squads, Disappearances, and Torture -- from Latin America to Iraq

By Greg Grandin

The world is made up, as Captain Segura in Graham Greene's 1958 novel Our Man in Havana put it, of two classes: the torturable and the untorturable. "There are people," Segura explained, "who expect to be tortured and others who would be outraged by the idea."

Then -- so Greene thought -- Catholics, particularly Latin American Catholics, were more torturable than Protestants. Now, of course, Muslims hold that distinction, victims of a globalized network of offshore and outsourced imprisonment coordinated by Washington and knitted together by secret flights, concentration camps, and black-site detention centers. The CIA's deployment of Orwellian "Special Removal Units" to kidnap terror suspects in Europe, Canada, the Middle East, and elsewhere and the whisking of these "ghost prisoners" off to Third World countries to be tortured goes, today, by the term "extraordinary rendition," a hauntingly apt phrase. "To render" means not just to hand over, but to extract the essence of a thing, as well as to hand out a verdict and "give in return or retribution" -- good descriptions of what happens during torture sessions.

The rest.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 11, 2007 10:15 AM

Seldom has such Manicheanism seemed so reasonable. The 'tortureable' and the 'untortureable.' In the latter category, all the elite/corpoRat oligarchs; in the former category, all the rest of us.
Simple, elegant, Occam-ish...

Posted by: konopelli/wgg at December 11, 2007 11:55 AM