America’s Universal Torture Regime

According to the newly released Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture, prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere in the CIA’s global archipelago of “black sites” were subjected to “rectal feeding,” “rectal hydration,” and similar violations.

Defenders of the Warfare State insist that such methods are a cruel but necessary tactic in a generational struggle against implacable foreign enemies. After all, “we’re at war,” supposedly, and foreign enemy combatants aren’t entitled to Due Process or the protection of law.

The same perspective informs the domestic “War on Drugs,” and similar forms of interrogation-through-torture have been employed by police on the basis of nothing more substantive than a hunch.

David Eckert was stopped by police in Deming, New Mexico, without cause, subjected to an illegal search of his vehicle and person, and eventually forced to undergo what amounts to object rape in the form of multiple rectal probes, forced enemas, and a colonoscopy.

The announced justification for this treatment was suspicion of narcotics possession. A more credible explanation is that the police wanted to punish Eckert for politely asserting his rights by denying a search of his vehicle during an encounter a few weeks earlier.

A second man named Timothy Young was also detained by Deming’s Anal Probe Patrol, and given roughly the same treatment Eckert experienced: He was abducted by deputies and taken to Gila Regional Medical Center for abdominal X-rays and a rectal exam. As in Eckert’s case, this was done without the victim’s consent, and outside of the jurisdiction covered in the search warrant.

Reciting the same song of self-justification chanted by the CIA officials who authorized and committed torture, Deming Police Chief Brandon Gigante insisted: “We follow the law in every aspect and we follow policies and protocols that we have in place.”

A third case involved a woman detained on suspicion of narcotics smuggling while crossing the border in El Paso, Texas. According to an attorney, police took her to a nearby hospital, where “medical staff observed her making a bowl movement and no drugs were found at that point. They then took an X-ray, but it did not reveal any contraband. They then did a cavity search and they probed her vagina and her anus, they described in the medical records as bi-manual–two handed. Finally, they did a CAT scan. Again, they found nothing.”

Obviously, the victim did not consent to this abuse. Her government-employed kidnapers didn’t bother to seek a judicial permission slip (sometimes called a “warrant”) to inflict it on her. This is simply standard procedure in the American Soyuz.

People who defend the use of torture against foreign “terrorists” generally don’t understand that they are subject to the same “protocols” here at home. Any American can be subjected to Gitmo-grade abuse at the whim of a police officer who – like the CIA’s hired torturers and foreign subcontractors – will never be held accountable for that crime.


11:19 am on December 10, 2014