September 19, 2006

Gulag University

The U.K. Guardian has obtained a list of seven interrogation techniques that the CIA would like to use to interrogate al Qaeda terror suspects.

They are:

  • induced hypothermia
  • forcing suspects to stand for prolonged periods
  • sleep deprivation
  • a technique called "the attention grab" where a suspect's shirt is forcefully seized
  • the "attention slap" or open hand slapping that hurts but does not lead to physical damage
  • the "belly slap"
  • sound and light manipulation

Color me unimpressed. Throw in copious amounts of alcohol and some co-eds, and this sounds more like my college years than torture.

Inducted hypothermia
Hundreds of thousands of people expose themselves to this voluntarily every Saturday for three to five hours at a time, once tailgating is included. It's called going to a college football game.


Forcing suspects to stand for prolonged periods
In college, this period is called "registration."


sleep deprivation
This is called "final exams," where sleepless nights are commonplace and stress levels stay very high for days at a time.


a technique called "the attention grab" where a suspect's shirt is forcefully seized

We called this "going to bars." Sometimes the grabbing was wanted (where we called this horrific act "flirting"), was innocuous (grabbing a friend by the shirt to drag them to the next bar), or was not wanted (grabbing someone to eject them from a bar). I've done all three as a student and short-term bar manager, and at least at my college, you saw a lot of all three on Halloween, where the holiday was one of the biggest celebrations of the year.


the "attention slap" or open hand slapping that hurts but does not lead to physical damage

We have another term for this: male bonding.

It was observed pretty consistently throughout college, and it is also called "horsing around." Fraternities--groups people voluntarily joined of their own free will--generally did things that were a lot worse and often lot more disgusting. I'd rather go through a chest slap than get the "wear a raw egg on your head under a hat all day" treatment one fraternity made their pledges go through when I was in school, and the stuff they did in earlier times to pledges would certainly be a war crime in today's climate.


the "belly slap"

See above. Not uncommon where testosterone and alcohol intermingle. Annoying? Check. Torture? If so this blogger (certainly an odd duck by any measure) is the Marquis de Sade reincarnated.

sound and light manipulation
Here in the United States, we don't call that torture, we call it "going to bars and concerts." Again, tens of thousands of college students pay good money for this kind of treatment every night of the week.


Admittedly, the environment provided by the CIA to carry out interrogations will not be festive and those being interrogated are not there of their own free will, but that hardly constitutes torture. Some normal prison conditions in the United States expose prisoners to far worse treatment, and most of that comes from other inmates. Some prisons such as the Cook County Jail in Dick "Gulag" Durbin's home district are worse than the conditions of Abu Ghraib.

I don't feel outraged if terrorists are slapped around a little bit, or made cold, or tired, or uncomfortable. Run-of-the-mill prisoners in American jails face the same treatment as those terrorists we've captured, and many face far worse.

Many of the techniques described here are no more violent or degrading than what I've seen fraternity pledges exposed to, and to the best of my knowledge, no members of al Qaeda have been forced to serenade a sorority with "You lost that Lovin' Feelin'" wearing nothing but their "tighty whiteys" and a smile on a cold winter morning.

Perhaps when John McCain is done torturing our intelligence gathering capabilities, he can do to the universities what he has already done to campaign finance reform.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 19, 2006 10:54 AM | TrackBack

If they are that concerned about prisoners safety, they should check out Rikers Island in NY.

Posted by: jay at September 19, 2006 11:41 AM

I guess that means students can now sue universities in the ICC for torture, and get their chancelors thrown in jail.

Posted by: sammy small at September 19, 2006 01:59 PM

Too funny CY.

Posted by: Specter at September 19, 2006 07:06 PM