Torture and Democracy

Torture and Democracy

5.0 1
by Darius Rejali

ISBN-10: 0691143331

ISBN-13: 9780691143330

Pub. Date: 06/08/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

This is the most comprehensive, and most comprehensively chilling, study of modern torture yet written. Darius Rejali, one of the world's leading experts on torture, takes the reader from the late nineteenth century to the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, from slavery and the electric chair to electrotorture in American inner cities, and from French and British colonial


This is the most comprehensive, and most comprehensively chilling, study of modern torture yet written. Darius Rejali, one of the world's leading experts on torture, takes the reader from the late nineteenth century to the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, from slavery and the electric chair to electrotorture in American inner cities, and from French and British colonial prison cells and the Spanish-American War to the fields of Vietnam, the wars of the Middle East, and the new democracies of Latin America and Europe.

As Rejali traces the development and application of one torture technique after another in these settings, he reaches startling conclusions. As the twentieth century progressed, he argues, democracies not only tortured, but set the international pace for torture. Dictatorships may have tortured more, and more indiscriminately, but the United States, Britain, and France pioneered and exported techniques that have become the lingua franca of modern torture: methods that leave no marks. Under the watchful eyes of reporters and human rights activists, low-level authorities in the world's oldest democracies were the first to learn that to scar a victim was to advertise iniquity and invite scandal. Long before the CIA even existed, police and soldiers turned instead to "clean" techniques, such as torture by electricity, ice, water, noise, drugs, and stress positions. As democracy and human rights spread after World War II, so too did these methods.

Rejali makes this troubling case in fluid, arresting prose and on the basis of unprecedented research—conducted in multiple languages and on several continents—begun years before most of us had ever heard of Osama bin Laden or Abu Ghraib. The author of a major study of Iranian torture, Rejali also tackles the controversial question of whether torture really works, answering the new apologists for torture point by point. A brave and disturbing book, this is the benchmark against which all future studies of modern torture will be measured.

Product Details

Princeton University Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xv
Acknowledgments xix

Introduction 1
Historical Claims 3
Puzzles and Cautions 5
The Priority of Public Monitoring 8
Variations among States 11
Variations within States 15
National Styles of Stealth Torture 16
Torture and Democracy 21
Does Torture Work? 23
Who Cares? 25

Part I: Torture and Democracy 33

Chapter 1: Modern Torture and Its Observers 35
Defining Torture 36
Monitoring Torture 39

Chapter 2: Torture and Democracy 45
The National Security Model 46
The Juridical Model 49
The Civic Discipline Model 55
Hell Is in the Details 60

Part II: Remembering Stalinism and Nazism 65
Introduction 67

Chapter 3: Lights, Heat, and Sweat 69
Sweating and Stealth in America 70
British Psychological Techniques 74
Interrogation Elsewhere in Europe 76
Sweating and Stealth in Russia 79
The Spread of the Russian Style 83
Remembering Pavlov 87

Chapter 4: Whips and Water 91
Labussière's List 92
Documenting Nazi Torture 93
Torture in Germany 95
Torture in Nazi-Occupied Europe 97
Remembering the War 104

Chapter 5: Bathtubs 108
Masuy's Bathtub 109
Marty's Magneto 111
The French Gestapo and Electric Torture 112
The Decline of Sweating and Stealth 115
The German Gestapo and Modern Torture 117
Remembering Nuremberg 117
The Search for Electric Torture 118

Part III: A History of Electric Stealth 121

Chapter 6: Shock 123
The AC/DC Controversy and the Electric Chair 124
The Mystery of Electric Death 126
Early Police Devices 128
The Mystery of Shock 132
Early Medical Devices 135
Transmitting Shock 138
Later Medical Devices 139
Remembering the Animals 141

Chapter 7: Magnetos 144
What Is a Magneto? 145
Indochina, 1931 146
Out of Indochina 149
Korea, 1931 150
Out of Korea 152
The Lost History of the Magneto 155
French and British Electrotorture after World War II 157
The Colonial Police and Wuillaume's List 160
The Triumph of the Ge´gène 161
Algeria, 1960 163
Remembering the Gestapo 165

Chapter 8: Currents 167
South Vietnamese Torture 170
Vietnam, 1968 172
Bell Telephone Hour 174
Out of Vietnam Again 178
Variation within the French Style 183
Cattle Prods 185
The Electric Cornucopia 186
Remembering Vietnam 188

Chapter 9: Singing the World Electric 190
When Electrotorture Was New 190
Explaining Clean Electrotorture 194
Crafting Electrotorture 197
Surging Forward 201
The Americas 203
Middle East and North Africa 207
Asia 209
Sub-Saharan Africa 211
Europe and Central Asia 214
Explaining the Surge 216
Remembering the Cold War 222

Chapter 10: Prods, Tasers, and Stun Guns 225
Electric Utopia 225
Electric-Free Protest 227
Stun Technology 229
Covering America 230
Remembering Eutopia 237

Chapter 11: Stun City 239
Magneto Torture in Chicago 240
Stun and Torture 242
Tasers and Torture 245
Burning Issues 248
Stun and Democracy 249
But No One Died 252
Civic Shock 253
Welcome to Stun City 255

Part IV: Other Stealth Traditions 259
Introduction 261

Chapter 12: Sticks and Bones 269
Clean Whipping 269
Paddles 271
Beating Feet 273
Remembering Slaves and Sailors 277

Chapter 13: Water, Sleep, and Spice 279
Pumping 280
Choking 281
Showers and Ice 285
Salt and Spice 287
Deprivation of Sleep 290
Remembering the Inquisition 292

Chapter 14: Stress and Duress 294
Great and Lesser Stress Traditions 295
British Stress Tortures 296
French Stress Tortures 301
American Stress Tortures 306
Authoritarian Adaptations 311
Remembering the Eighteenth Century 314

Chapter 15: Forced Standing and Other Positions 316
Old Users after the War 317
Positional Tortures in the Communist World 322
Positional Tortures in the Non-Communist World 324
The Universal Distributor Hypothesis Revisited 329
Remembering the Hooded Men 332

Chapter 16: Fists and Exercises 334
Clean Beating 335
Adapting "the Necktie" 341
Exhaustion Exercises 342
Remembering the Grunts and the Cops 345

Chapter 17: Old and New Restraints 347
Bucking (the Parrot's Perch) 347
The Crapaudine 349
Standing Handcuffs 350
Sweatboxes 351
Adapting Old Restraints 353
The Shabeh 354
Remembering the Allied POWs 357

Chapter 18: Noise 360
Low-Technology Noise 360
High-Technology Noise 363
The CIA and Sensory Deprivation Boxes 368
Beyond the Laboratory 371
Principles and Guinea Pigs 373
Remembering Evil 384

Chapter 19: Drugs and Doctors 385
Police and Drugs 386
The CIA and Drugs 388
The Decline of Pharmacological Torture 390
Soviet Pharmacological Torture 392
Communist Pyschoprisons 394
Lines of Defense 397
Remembering the Prison Doctors 401
V Politics and Memory 403

Chapter 20: Supply and Demand for Clean Torture 405
Historical Claims 406
The Priority of Public Monitoring 409
Variations among and within States 414
National Styles of Stealth Torture 419
The Strength of Low Technology 423
The Power of Whispers 426
Why Styles Change 434
Disciplinary Interventions 439
The Demand for Torture 444

Chapter 21: Does Torture Work? 446
Can Torture Be Scientific? 447
Can Torture Be Restrained? 450
Does Technology Help? 453
Can Torture Be Professionally Conducted? 454
Works Better Than What? 458
Is Anything Better Than Nothing? 460
How Well Do Interrogators Spot the Truth? 463
How Well Do Cooperative Prisoners Remember? 466
How Good Is the Intelligence Overall? 469
Even When Time Is Short? 474
Remembering the Questions 478

Chapter 22: What the Apologists Say 480
Remembering the Battle of Algiers 481
Information in the Battle of Algiers 482
French Interrogation Units 485
Coerced Information in the Algerian War 487
Saving Innocents, Losing Wars 492
Gestapo Stories 493
Stories from the Resistance 495
CIA Stories 500
The Interrogation of Al Qaeda 503
Abu Ghraib and Guanta´namo 508
Afghanistan 511
Testimonial Literature from Other Conflicts 513
Remembering Abu Ghraib 518

Chapter 23: Why Governments Don't Learn 519
How Knowledge Does Not Accumulate 520
How Knowledge Is Not Analyzed 521
How Torture Warrants Might Help 523
Regulating Torture 526
Variations in Regulative Failure 529
Stealth and the Regulation of Torture 532
How Knowledge Does Not Matter 533
Remembering the Soldiers 535

Chapter 24: The Great Age of Torture in Modern Memory 537
The Great Rift 538
The Architecture of Amnesia 540
The Designs of Genius 542
Demons in the City 543
Algerian Souvenirs 545
Caring for the Memories 550

A: A List of Clean Tortures 553
B: Issues of Method 557
C: Organization and Explanations 566
D: A Note on Sources for American Torture during the Vietnam War 581

Notes 593
Selected Bibliography 781
Index 819

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