Friday, May 15, 2009
An article today in Der Spiegel describes a study on the use of torture over the last couple of thousand years:
A new book, ["Extreme Violence in the Visuals and Texts of Antiquity"] by Martin Zimmerman, a professor of ancient history in Munich, looks at current research into the kinds of violence that inspired "loathing, dread, horror and disgust."
In the ancient Far East, where there were large states peopled by many different ethnicities, leaders demonstrated their might by inventing ingenious new tortures and agonizing methods of execution -- as a way to keep the population obedient...
The issue of state-sanctioned torture to achieve political goals is still a current one.
The study reinforces what I wrote last year:
Listen to the testimony to Congress by a representative of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:"Governments that use torture intend to intimidate their citizens in order to maintain control; those who are tortured become examples of the consequences of dissent."Indeed, this is a well-known tactic for brutal regimes. Take Zimbabwe, for example:"Victims and eyewitnesses told Human Rights Watch that [Zimbabwe’s brutal regime] has set up detention centers . . . to round up and instill fear in suspected political opponents."Torture is a form of terrorism, plain and simple.
As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services director told Congress:"... torture is the deliberate mental and physical damage caused by governments to individuals to ... terrorize society."