Wednesday, March 3, 2010


According to U.S. Justice Department memos released last year, the government's medical service opined that sleep deprivation up to 180 hours didn’t qualify as torture. It determined that confinement in a dark, small space for 18 hours a day was acceptable. It said detainees could be exposed to cold air or hosed down with cold water for up to two-thirds of the time it takes for hypothermia to set in. And it advised that placing a detainee in handcuffs attached by a chain to a ceiling, then forcing him to stand with his feet shackled to a bolt in the floor, “does not result in significant pain for the subject.” The service did allow that waterboarding could be dangerous, and that the experience of feeling unable to breathe is extremely frightening. But it noted that the C.I.A. had limited its use to 12 applications over two sessions within 24 hours, and to five days in any 30-day period. As a result, the lawyers noted the office’s “professional judgment that the use of the waterboard on a healthy individual subject to these limitations would be ‘medically acceptable.’”


  1. I read these words like a surrealistic seeming flash of starteling insight into the practice of specialized warriors acting on other specialized warriors, sided by civil institutions providing expertise.

    In 1991 I wrote into my diary a considering on what I called the "paradise of the west and especially Europe" stating in how lucky a time we were living, comparing to all the other parts of the world and arguing that the democracies eventually might not be able to avoid one day to use torture in order to prevent major averages, and that in such a situation the distinction between use, misuse and abuse could be traced only arbitrarily in theory and would in practice drop. When I mentioned my thaught publicly I earned only worried disconcert and consternation.

    But I wanted only to say how lucky we were then and I wanted to be reassured myself that correct, legal, civil rights respecting proceedings would never be abbandoned and were strong enough in any case to hold!

    Now we have to recuperate and to restore them with increased decision and we have to proove that intelligent determination can and will make them hold.

    The first step is working well: huge publicity has been obtained and will never be forgot again.

    Who remembers today yet that in Germany Ulrike Meinhof has been confined into total social and acustic isolation for 273 days, and that this was an application of Mr. Edgar Schein's teachings?

  2. Isn´t it embarrassing how far from us the U.S. is? There it is allowed to use weapons and to practise torture, in western Europe both is – with some restraint and after WW II - unimaginable. It is a tragedy, fighting for human rights since 100 years, all over the world, and simultaneously forgetting the content of these rights. Remember the brutalisation of a war which only lasted for 30 years.

  3. @cs

    You are obviously right.

    What would happen yet, if Europe became the leading country? (after becoming a political unit and country)

    It is so good to stand in the second row. I hope, we will keep staying there.