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The word 'torture' comes from the French torture, originating in the Late Latin tortura and ultimately deriving the past participle of torquere meaning 'to twist'.The word may be used loosely for more ordinary or daily discomforts which would be described as tedious rather than painful.
Torture is the infliction of severe pain in order to force someone to do or say something. Torture comes into play in the context of terrorism when it is used as a tactic to force suspects or others to reveal information about their own or others' terrorist activities. The use of torture to extract evidence from those held in custody as enemy combatants in the "global war on terror" has raised discussion about the justifications for and effectiveness of torture since the disclosure of government memoranda arguing that the Geneva Conventions and other bans against the use of torture do not apply to Afghanistan war detainees, Taliban members, Al Qaeda members and others held in relation to the "war on terror." The revelation of the use of torture on Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 created further controversy over the American use of torture.
1980s: History of Torture and Terrorism Begins:
Torture inflicts severe pain to force someone to do or say something, and has been used against prisoners-of-war, suspected insurgents and political prisoners for hundreds of years. In the 1970s and 1980s, governments began to identify a specific form of violence called "terrorism" and to identify prisoners as "terrorists." This is when the history of torture and terrorism begins. While many countries practice torture against political prisoners, only some name their dissidents terrorists or face potential threats from terrorism.
Torture and Terrorism Around the World :
Governments have used systematic torture in conflicts with rebel, insurgent or resistance groups in long running conflicts since the 1980s. It is questionable whether these should always be called terrorism conflicts. Governments are likely to call their non-state violent opponents terrorists, but only sometimes are they clearly engaged in terrorist activity.
Torture in the past:
A variety of torture instruments including, at right, the Iron Maiden of Nuremberg The Romans used torture for interrogation. They did not regard crucifixion as torture, though it was a deliberately horrible way to execute people as an example to frighten others. Prior to crucifixion, victims were often savagely whipped (sometimes to death) with barbed metal lashes, also to frighten others. A slave's testimony was admissible only if extracted by torture, on the assumption that slaves could not be trusted to reveal the truth voluntarily. Over time the conceptual definition of torture has been expanded and remains a major question for ethics, philosophy, and law, but clearly includes the practices of many subsequent cultures. Modern scholars find the concept of Hell torture to be compatible with society's concept of Justice during the time of Jesus Christ. Romans, Jews, Egyptians and many others cultures during that time included torture as part of their justice system. Romans had crucifixion, Jews had stoning and Egyptians had desert sun death. All these acts of torture were considered necessary (as to deter others) or good (as to punish the immoral). Medieval and early modern European courts used torture, depending on the accused's crime and social status. Torture was deemed a legitimate means to extract confessions or to obtain the names of accomplices or other information about a crime. Often, defendants already sentenced to death would be tortured to force them to disclose the names of accomplices. Torture in the Medieval Inquisition began in 1252 and ended in 1816 when a papal bull forbade its use. While secular courts often treated suspects ferociously, Will and Ariel Durant argued in The Age of Faith that many of the most vicious procedures were inflicted upon pious heretics by even more pious friars. The Dominicans gained a reputation as some of the most fearsomely innovative torturers in medieval Spain. Torture was usually conducted in secret, in underground dungeons. By contrast, torturous executions were typically public, and woodcuts of English prisoners being hanged, drawn and quartered show large crowds of spectators, as do paintings of Spanish auto-da-fé executions, in which heretics were burned at the stake. In 1613 Anton Praetorius described the situation of the prisoners in the dungeons in his book Gründlicher Bericht über Zauberei und Zauberer
(Thorough Report about Sorcery and Sorcerers). He was one of the first to protest against all means of torture. In ancient and medieval torture, there was little inhibition on inflicting bodily damage. People generally assumed that no innocent person would be accused, so anybody who appeared in the torture chamber was ultimately destined for execution, typically of a gruesome nature. Any minor mutilations due to rack or thumbscrew would not be noticed after a person had been burned at the stake. Besides, the torturer operated under the full authority of the church, the state, or both. In Colonial America women were sentenced to the stocks with wooden clips on their tongues or subjected to the "dunking stool" for the gender-specific crime of talking too much. While in Egypt in 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to Major-General Berthier that the "barbarous custom of whipping men suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this method of interrogation, by putting men to the torture, is useless. The wretches say whatever comes into their heads and whatever they think one wants to believe. Consequently, the Commander-in-Chief forbids the use of a method which is contrary to reason and humanity.
Torture in recent times :
Modern sensibilities have been shaped by a profound reaction to the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Axis Powers in the Second World War, which have led to a sweeping international rejection of most if not all aspects of the practice. [dubious – discuss] Even so, many states engage in torture; however, few wish to be described as doing so, either to their own citizens or to international bodies. A variety of devices bridge this gap, including state denial, "secret police", "need to know", denial that given treatments are torturous in nature, appeal to various laws (national or international), use of jurisdictional argument, claim of "overriding need", and so on. Many states throughout history, and many states today, have engaged in torture (unofficially). Despite worldwide condemnation and the existence of treaty provisions that forbid it, torture still occurs in two thirds of the world's nations. There have been allegations of the torture of children by organizations in the United States.
Torture by proxy :
In 2003, Britain's Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, made accusations that information was being extracted under extreme torture from dissidents in that country, and that the information was subsequently being used by Western, democratic countries that officially disapproved of torture.
The accusations did not lead to any investigation by his employer, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and he resigned after disciplinary action was taken against him in 2004. No misconduct by him was proven. The National Audit Office is investigating the Foreign and Commonwealth Office because of accusations of victimisation, bullying, and intimidating its own staff. Murray later stated that he felt that he had unwittingly stumbled upon what others called "torture by proxy" and with the euphemism of "extraordinary rendition". He thought that Western countries moved people to regimes and nations knowing that torturers would extract and disclose information. Murray alleged that this practice circumvented and violated international treaties against torture. If it was true that a country participated in torture by proxy and it had signed the UN Convention Against Torture then that country would be in specific breach of Article 3 of that convention.
Torture methods and devices :
Physical torture methods have been used for throughout recorded history and can range from a beating with nothing more than fist and boot, through to the use of sophisticated custom designed devices such as the rack. Other types of torture can include sensory or sleep deprivation, restraint or being held in awkward or damaging positions, uncomfortable extremes of heat and cold, loud noises or any other means that inflicts physical or mental pain. Psychological torture uses non-physical methods which are used to cause psychological suffering. Its effects are not immediately apparent unless they alter the behavior of the tortured person. Since there is no international political consensus on what constitutes psychological torture, it is often overlooked, denied, and referred to in different names. Psychological torture is less well known than physical torture and tends to be subtle and much easier to conceal. In practice the distinctions between physical and psychological torture are often blurred. Physical torture is the inflicting of severe pain or suffering on a person. In contrast, psychological torture is directed at the psyche with calculated violations of psychological needs, along with deep damage to psychological structures and the breakage of beliefs underpinning normal sanity. Torturers often inflict both types of torture in combination to compound the associated effects. Psychological torture also includes deliberate use of extreme stressors and situations such as mock execution, shunning, violation of deepseated social or sexual norms and taboos, or extended solitary
post-traumatic epilepsy and dementia or chronic pain syndromes. Effects of torture : Organizations like the Medical Foundation for Care of Victims of Torture try to help survivors of torture obtain medical treatment and to gain forensic medical evidence to obtain political asylum in a safe country and/or to prosecute the perpetrators. suffering. For survivors. Psychic deadness. erasure of intersubjectivity. Typically deaths due to torture are shown in an autopsy as being due to "natural causes" like heart attack. and an inability to bear desire constitute the core features of the post-traumatic psychic landscape of torture. torture often leads to lasting mental and physical health problems. . or when the torturers are immune from prosecution. depression and anxiety disorder. Rape and other forms of sexual abuse are often used as methods of torture for interrogative or punitive purposes. e. refusal of meaning-making. Many torturers around the world use methods designed to have a maximum psychological impact while leaving only minimal physical traces. Because psychological torture needs no physical violence to be effective. inflammation. Murderers may also torture their victims to death for pleasure.g. and medico-legal examination techniques. to apply treatments which will enhance torture. musculo-skeletal problems. common are posttraumatic stress disorder. particularly when some time has passed between the event and a medical examination. Medical torture is a practice in which medical practitioners use torture to judge what victims can endure.confinement. Josef Mengele and Shiro Ishii were infamous during and after World War II for their involvement in medical torture and murder. or embolism due to extreme stress. Torture murder : Torture murder involves torture to the point of murder as for punishment in law enforcement agencies of countries that allow torture. Physical problems can be wide-ranging. or as torturers in their own right. perversion of agency. sexually transmitted diseases. brain injury. it is possible to induce severe psychological pain. a document designed to outline common torture methods. Medical and Human Rights Organizations worldwide have collaborated to produce the Istanbul Protocol. and trauma with no externally visible effects. Mental health problems are equally wide-ranging. consequences of torture. Torture is often difficult to prove.
forced nakedness. they live to prove death. as well as "the exploitation of prisoners' phobias." However. the use of dogs to frighten detainees. Methods of execution and capital punishment : . and sensory deprivation or over-stimulation only when they are likely to cause lasting harm. and the most invisible and pernicious of humanrights violations. counseling. the American Psychological Association (APA) voted to bar participation. or self-deadening modes of relating. Common treatments are psychotropic medication. simulated drowning. hooding. sleep deprivation. either direct or indirect. Treatment of torture-related medical problems might require a wide range of expertise and often specialized experience. goodness. re-enact the dynamics of annihilation through sadomasochistic. The APA echoed the Bush administration by condemning isolation. SSRI antidepressants. of curiosity. of the capacity for mutuality. stress positions or sleep deprivation". physical assault and threatening the use of such techniques against a prisoner or a prisoner's family. family systems therapy and physiotherapy. exposing prisoners to extreme heat and cold. e. And it is this perversion of agency and desire that constitutes the deepest post-traumatic injury. and mobilize their agency toward warding off mutuality. legacy of torture is the killing of desire that is . On August 19. For these patients. intractable. and to report involvement in a wide variety of interrogation techniques as torture.” That resolution would have placed the APA alongside the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association in limiting professional involvement in such settings to direct patient care. sexual and religious humiliation. to know another mind is unbearable. paranoid.S. the use of mind-altering drugs. to intervene to stop. hope and connection. They are entrapped in what was born(e) during their trauma. detention centers for foreign detainees or citizens detained outside normal legal channels. of the impulse for connection and meaningmaking. the APA rejected a stronger resolution that sought to prohibit “all psychologist involvement. In brief. To connect with another is irrelevant. of the tolerance for ambiguity and ambivalence.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. 2007. including "using mock executions. as they perpetuate the erasure of meaning. narcissistic. in any interrogations at U.The most terrible.
or through the mouth. before shock and dehydration caused death. sawing. This process was repeated several times per limb. and Ivan the Terrible have passed into legend as major users of the method. The entire process was said to last three days. nose. Severe historical penalties include breaking wheel. and such before proceeding to grosser cuts that removed large collops of flesh from more sizable parts. he was left on the wheel to die. capital punishments were often cruel and inhumane. stoning. e. as a prisoner. scaphism. decapitation. Gravity and the victim's own struggles would cause him to slide down the pole. Successive rather minor cuts chopped off ears. was a form of execution used in China from roughly 900 AD to its abolition in 1905. toes. the victim was hoisted into the air after partial impalement. the capital of the Ottoman Empire. The heavily carved bodies of the deceased were then put on a parade for a show in the public. Often. the executioner hit the victim with an iron hammer that could easily break the victim's bones. Once his bones were broken. especially in France and Germany. tongue. It could take hours.600 cuts. Vlad III Dracula. dismemberment. In France the condemned were placed on a cart-wheel with their limbs stretched out along the spokes over two sturdy wooden beams. or death by/of a thousand cuts. crushing. Through the openings between the spokes. from the rectum. Death could take many days. . The wheel was made to slowly revolve. The breaking wheel was a torturous capital punishment device used in the Middle Ages and early modern times for public execution by cudgeling to death. boiling to death. rendering the condemned incapable of seeing the remainder of the torture and. thighs and shoulders.. disembowelment. wielding an extremely sharp knife. painful.For most of recorded history. death. and to total 3. crucifixion. even days. execution by burning. impalement. Slow slicing. flaying. slow slicing. presumably. According to apocryphal lore.g. The penetration can be through the sides. língchí began when the torturer. adding considerably to the psychological terror of the procedure. This method would lead to slow. began by putting out the eyes. especially if the pole were on a wagon carrying war prizes and prisoner. who learned the method of killing by impalement while staying in Constantinople. Impalement was frequently practiced in Asia and Europe throughout the Middle Ages. fingers. Impalement was a method of torture and execution whereby a person is pierced with a long stake. or necklacing. The punishment was abolished in Germany as late as 1827.
or to control the members of a group to which the tortured person belongs. The intent was also to punish. torture was included in proceedings of the Catholic Church. torture wasn't used as much. Under Henry VIII. Stretching. and Lori Patterson Torture is the use of physical or mental pain. extract a confession from the victim or a third party.000 years and has been widespread. and woman were rarely put through torture. It was during the times of the Tudors that the use of torture reached its height in England. During the Elizabethan times crimes were treated as we would treat a murder today. However. which legally employed torture to obtain confessions. beating the body. burning.Elizabethan England Torture and Punishment in Elizabethan Times by Erin Lestikow. and the majority of incidents of torture were for reasons of high treason. and suffocating a person with water were the most common ways to torture a person in the Elizabethan times. or to intimidate the victim and others. In the Middle Ages. when Elizabeth took the throne. Torture has been used for at least 2. but soon freemen could be tortured in cases of treason. When Edward and Mary were on the throne. obtain information. Mutilation and branding were also common. The right to torture slaves was abolished in Roman law in AD 240. to punish a person . People often had their right hand . Early Greek and Roman laws specified that only slaves could be tortured. torture was used more than in any other period of history. Queen Elizabeth thought that treason was one of the worst crimes that could be committed. often to obtain information. The punishment for poisoning during this period was to be boiled to death. Lords and high officials were exempted. Katie O'Fallon. The purpose of torture was to break the will of the victim and to dehumanize him or her. torture was frequently used.
The harsher the crime committed. The pillory was another device that was commonly used. torture flourished throughout England. The accused would place his/her hands in the cross bar of the T with his/her head sticking out of a hole at the top. and the ranks. Middle Ages Torture : The Medieval period of the Middle Ages was violent and blood thirsty. then the toes were crushed with a hammer and wedge. but the excruciating physical pain was much more enduring. but in the sixteenth century cruel punishment was a normal everyday thing. Different types of torture were used depending on the victim's crime and social status. or obtain the names of accomplices or other information about the crime. Right before being pronounced dead. Torture was a legitimate way to obtain testimonies and confessions from suspects for use in legal inquiries and trials during the Middle Ages. Nowadays these torture devices seem cruel and heartless. Torture was seen as a totally legitimate means for justice to extract confessions. In barbarous times the cruel and pitiless feeling which induced legislators to increase the horrors of tortures. also contributed to the aggravation of the fate of prisoners. the stocks. rape. might find himself trapped in cages hung up in public places where others could observe his slow death. Law or custom did not prescribe any fixed rules for the treatment of hapless prisoners who faced torture. he was taken down and quartered until the pain finally killed him. The dunking stool was a stool or chair in which a woman who had been accused of adultery or other crimes would be repeatedly dunked under water until pronounced dead. Another form of the pillory that isn't as widely known was for the feet. One is still known of today. The result was a country living in fear of being the next victims.cut off if they were caught stealing. This device had holes through which the toes were forced. the ducking stool. the more horrendous the punishment during this time. the finger pillory. There were a couple of different forms of the pillory. and on certain occasions eyes were plucked out with hot pinchers and fingers were torn off. The accused then had to stay in the pillory for an extremely long time and would be harassed by everyone that crossed his/her path. or robbery. The pillory was a frame in the shape of a T. Torture chambers were included in many castles. Some minor cruelties included the pillory. This form of pillory had much less emotional pain. A person accused of manslaughter. Facts and information about various forms of tortures and executions can be accessed from the following links: . Under the Tudors. usually placed in the center of the town.
Information about Tortures during the Medieval period of the Middle Ages The Rack Torture Scavengers Daughter The Brank or Scold's Bridle Ducking Stool Torture by Dislocation Iron Balls Torture Water Torture The Boot Torture Brodequins Thumbscrews Pillory Burned at the Stake Branding and Burning Tortures Execution by Quartering Execution by the Wheel Execution by Hanging Hung. Drawn and Quartered Definition of Torture : The definition of torture is the the deliberate. systematic. whipping and beating . Devices or tools were used to inflict unbearable agony on a victim. Methods of Middle Ages Torture : There were many methods of torture which were practised during the Medieval era of the Middle Ages: • • • • • • • Ripping out teeth / nails Beating Blinding Boiling Bone breaking Branding and Burning Castration • • • • • • Choking Cutting Disfigurement Dislocation Drowning Flagellation. cruel and wanton infliction of physical or mental suffering by one or more torturers in an attempt to force another person to yield information or to make a confession or for any other reason. Or as a tool or a method for the extraction of information or confessions. Objectives of Torture : The objectives of torture were to intimidate. deter. revenge or punish.
However. vinegar. or oil. were the processes used in tortures. devices and instruments to prolong life as long as possible whilst inflicting agonising pain. The execution method itself was part of the torture endured by prisoners. Instruments or devices of Middle Ages Torture : The instruments or devices used in Medieval torture of the Middle Ages included some of the following terrible tools or machines: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Boot or Spanish boot Branding Irons Brank The Collar Drunkards Cloak Ducking stools Foot press Foot screw The Gossip's Bridle or the Brank Heretic's fork The Maiden Pillory Rack Scavenger's daughter Scold's bridle Stocks Thumbscrew The Wheel Middle Ages Torture and Execution : A skilled torturer would use methods. injection of water. and starvation. the customs of the Medieval period dictated that many prisoners were tortured before they were executed in order to obtain additional information about their crime or their accomplices. Other tortures included the compression of the limbs by special instruments. application of hot pitch. or by ropes. These final methods of torture and execution included the following methods: . into the body of the accused. There were many forms of torture and execution.• • • • • Flaying Roasting Genital mutilation Limb/finger removal Starvation • Tongue removal There was even a torture which used tickling as a method to inflict suffering.
which throws an equally great sin upon the judge. although he be not so. an innocent man may suffer to the utmost without making any avowal. what a crime for the judge! Or the person may be subdued by pain. that their custom of torturing the accused was considered contrary to divine as well as to human law: "For. and not forced.• • • • • • • • • Torture and execution by Fire The Sword or the Axe Mechanical force Quartering The Wheel The Fork The Gibbet Spiking Dismembering Middle Ages Torture Chambers and Dungeons : The torture chambers were located in the lower parts of castles. and may acknowledge himself guilty. By means of the torture." Despite this. and other please. . we find. As early as 866. internal government of prisons. Torture chambers and dungeons were often very small some measured only eleven feet long by seven feet wide in which from ten to twenty prisoners were often incarcerated at the same time. "a confession should be voluntary. Middle Ages Torture was condemned in 866 : The barbarous custom of punishment by torture was on several occasions condemned by the Church. Medieval Torture was a freely accepted form of punishment in the Middle Ages and was only abolished in England in 1640. the practise of torturing victims continued. and. in such a case." says he. The entrances to many torture chambers were accessed through winding passages which served to muffle the agonising cries of torture victims from the normal inhabitants of the castle. from Pope Nicholas V's letter to the Bulgarians.
Torture and Technology : ‘The basic tools of the torture are his fists and boots’ .DIFFERENT KINDS OF TORTURES FOR DIFFERENT REASONS This bloodfest is exaggerated. The religious of this period created a climate of paranoia in which extremes of cruelty were considered justified. This is not simply a matter of us having seen too many horror film. Down the centuries. a bottle or a burning cigarette. . perpetrators may equip themselves simply with whatever comes to hand – a knife. all wheels and ratchets and sinister-looking hook. Germany still contains some truth. ‘Nothing else I really needed to inflict suffering’. Alternatively. but the picture it presents of early 16thcentury . however. regimes and institutions have developed means of torture far more sophisticated and systematic than a simple beating. much agonizing pain and many hideous injuries have been inflicted by bullying roughs armed with nothing more elaborate than those. When most of us think of torture. a belt. And it is true to say that in a thousand army barracks and police stations the world over. we tend to think of something more hi-tech: a chamber packed with strange machinery.
Fear and anxiety may be a potent as pain in overwhelming resistance. terrifying degrees – are probably myths.but simply standing Here like this grows unbearably painful after several hours”. with the scope of dramatise the most diabolical fantasies of the torture as well as his victim’s darkest nightmares. drip of the ‘Chinese water torture’. the current will flow and His body be convulsed by an electric shock. they are not without some foundation in real fact. however fanciful. this was quite enough to secure a recantation. Following are the major instruments of torture: Under lock and key Stretching and suspension Applying pressure Trial by fire Water torture Forces of nature Beating Cutting and piercing Shock tactics Mental cruelty Capital punishment . he has been told. yet. Examples such as the interminable. drip. “Satar Jabar enjoy the hospitality of the Americans in Abu Ghraib If he falls of the box. and poe’s pendulum – swinging closer and closer by infinitesimal. The first step in the inquisition’s torture was simply to show the victim the instruments of torture and explain their applications.Theatre of Pain : Torture has always been theatrical to some extent. excruciatingly regular drip. For many heretics.
to any number of law-abiding citizens convinced that prison is ‘a holiday camp’. Holding any stationary position for long periods becomes at first exhausting and eventually painful. a fact that tortures have never been slow to use to great effect.UNDER LOCK AND KEY The truth is that taking away a prisoner’s freedom has never seemed sufficiently harsh a punishment in itself. a long series of measures have been introduced over time to make physical hardship and discomfort active components of the prison regime. either to the medieval king or the modern dictator. it is not only highly convenient but also invisible to media watch dogs. for that matter. the more deeply will the interrogatee be affected”. be restricted to the dimensions of a prison cell. . Because it involves no elaborate equipment. Types Of Under lock and Key : a) Still Surrender: Close confinement need not. Many punishment regimes have forced the prisoner to remain immobile of his own accord. or. Accordingly. “The more the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli. however.
and even then it has been something of a ideal. having proved far too useful ever to discarded”. Though popularly associated with the dungeons of a luridly imagined ‘medieval’ era. They were named after the Spanish city of Bilbao by an English penal system always quick to attribute its own barbarisms to Spain. Evidence from around the world confirms that shackles and leg-locks are still very much in use. ‘Bilboes’ were hinged iron rings attached by chains of varying lengths to a bar fixed on the prison floor. but the massive clanking chains of popular imagination have to a large extent been consigned to the past. the vast majority of prisoners were not set apart in cells under careful supervision but herded together and largely left to themselves.b) Chains and Shackles : “Pakistani prisoners wear bar shackles in a photograph taken in 1985. and to discipline particular individuals. and a particularly difficult one weighted more heavily. “For more cynical warders. for instance. . c) Mob Rule The notion that prison should be an orderly realm of regimentation is a comparatively modern one. such restraints continue in use today. A cooperative prisoner might be left completely unencumbered. These sort of instruments were used by gaolers to control groups of potentially violent prisoners. From medieval times through to the early 18th century. the appeal of ‘ironing’ went beyond administrative convenience”. allowing minimal freedom of movement.
attention and education. surely the placement of vulnerable prisoners in an abusive prison culture is. at the very least. won damages after their guards were found to have pimped them out to male inmates of the prison. If men are raped by their fellow inmates. positively ‘maniac-making’. California.Whenever large groups of potentially dangerous men are crowded together in prison. but by their guards. their keepers will always be tempted to let them police themselves. There could be no doubt that the penitentiary represented a big step forward in material comfort. d) The isolated soul : The search for an approach to imprisonment that offers inmates something more constructive than torture by brutishness and squalor has been a long and. as the London times surmised. “With the right care. the penitentiary’s approach was. women prisoners are raped too. e) Ritual Shaming : . might not these lost souls realize their inmate capacity for good?”. when a new mood of optimism about human potential went hand in hand with a deep distaste for what came to be seen as the barbarities of old. frustrating one. In 1998. conniving with a sort of torture. in its sheer unrelenting isolation from society and stimulus. five female former inmates of Dublin. The 1996 Human Rights Watch report on rape by male officers in women’s prisons in America covered only five states. in many ways. Even if the state does not officially sanction such abuses. The movement began in the west with the enlightenment of the 18th century. Yet.
the thew might also feature a raised platform to hold the offender up for public disapprobation or bombardment.” Prison is not only the arena in which punishment can take the form of torture . What is not in doubt. prostitutes were showered with dirt and excrement as they were paraded naked I wheeled cages around the town. a matter of difficult debate. In the past. “The stocks and pillory saw service in the colonies long after they had been deemed unacceptable in Britain. Essentially a simple neck-ring chained to a post. The stock of medieval Europe. a range of different punishments made public examples of miscreants without actually locking them up. In 18th century Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England. A punishment that seems largely to have been reserved for women was the thew. much in use in medieval England. f) Brank : . The precise point at which legitimate punishment becomes cruel abuse.”. or close confinement constitutes torture. a form of outdoor imprisonment. as we have seen. from dangerous murderers to mere nagging ‘scold’. had been used centuries beforehand. is the incalculable suffering endured by men and women throughout the ages. however. Another form of public exhibition was the cage: a barred or slatted cage in which minor offenders were displayed to a disapproving public.“A three fold cangue yokes three convicted criminals together in this photograph taken In the 1890s. is.
many negative characteristics were attributed to this animal. to define a stupid person. In Europe. The word pig. The version with a pig nose or even a pig head. symbolizes someone dirty. STRETCHING AND SUSPENION . in Italy. The long ears represented the ears of an ass. the victim's mouth was stopped up with a ball to prevent her from screaming and moaning. they inflicted mortification and physical torture by occluding the victims' mouth or nose and covering their eyes. France and Spain. As we can see in the picture number 3. is considered offensive in all European languages. at the same time. and. donkeys are considered to be the stupid version of horses and the epithet "ass" is still used. Even today. when referred to a person.These devices had two main features: They exposed the victims to ridicule by forcing them to wear a ridiculous likeness.
an institution that brought together the repressive force of both church and state in an attempt to put down any religious or political opposition. earnig the contraption its Spanish name. Levers at each end of the bed loosened or tightened the cord that held the prisoner’s extremities. transverse struts across the frame were used to lift the victim to a convenient height for a torture. most racked look like some macabre parody of the bed of ease. The Greek dramatist Aristophanes refers to its use in classical times. or ladder. With the right to arrest and . No organization looms larger in the history of torture than the inquisition. lifting him up slowly until he hung in the air before his questioners. In God’s Name : “Rack technology was streamlined through the middle ages and Reaissance. ratcheting gears allowing one man to operate instruments of torture. on which for many centuries torture victims found themselves stretched. but its chief advantage to the torturer was its convenience”. the “escalera”. The victim would be lain on the floor within a rectangular wooden framework.Types of stretching and suspension : a) The rack : The procrustean bed finds it perfect analogy in the rack. In later versions of this evolving technologies. Studded rollers add to the agony of this model favored in German. with both hands and feet anchored by weights. or later more often rollers. his hands firmly bound and stretched out above his head. the victim stretched out upon the revolving rim. Though some racks seem to have been circular.
interrogate whomsoever they chose. the inquisition’s authority quickly out stripped that of local bishops and clergy. he is fed throughout to ensure that he stays alive long enough to suffer’. and another longer rope fastened by one end to this bond and passed over a hook in the ceiling. after the rack. the bricks being removed only one by one . APPLYING PRESSURE . ‘Slow strangulation kills the prisoner. suspended by his wrist. The pulley offered a sliding scale of pain for the experienced tormentor. his shoulders straining at their sockets. When a suspect denied of heresy that was attested to by others. the favoured torture of the inquisition. while the wrist were tied tightly behind his back. His tormentors could then pull on the rope to hoist him high into the air where he hung in agony. involving both simple squassation and its excruciating refinement. strappado. For squassation. b) Manacles and Pulleys : The pulley or garrucha was. or when an accused was inconsistent in his answers under interrogation. the victim’s ankles were bound together to prohibit movement.
The Skeffington’ gives. Essentially a hinged iron hoop in which the victim was made to kneel. The invention was the brain child of the lieutenant of the tower of London in Henry VIII’s reign. from around 1900. the rack. it was then locked shut from behind and tightened with a screw. Far too cumbersome ever to be moved. Types of applying Pressure : a) Scavenger’s Daughter : “The Scavenger’s daughter was an ingenious arrangement of wrought iron that brought to bear enough pressure to all but burst the body it constrained. Sir Leonard keffington or Skevington hence by corruption. worked in the opposite direction from the rack by compressing the body rather than stretching it. the scavenger’s daughter appealed to tortures on account of its portability.“In the Chinese variant of the Indian kittee. the rack might take pride of place in a centre of torture such as tower. The Scavenger’s daughter was conceived as the perfect complement to the Duke of Exeter’s daughter. hands tied behind his back. The ideal instrument for the prisoner who had some how succeeded in withstanding the pains of the rack. b) Inquisitional Chairs : . its popular name. as it was also known. It marked a macabre milestone in the history of torture technology”. but it could not be taken on hunt for heresy and treason out in the province. the downward pressure of the rod behind the legs is rendered still more damaging by the victim’s being forced to kneel upon a jagged coil”.
conforming to a model where the pain starts off easy and then gets progressively worse. . on the arm-rests. by the victim's feet. a real "carpet" of spikes . then. in that they are covered with spikes on the back. One version has a bar screwed on the lower portion of the chair. upon visual inspection of the damages that have been inflicted. but still keeping the victim conscious. The chair exhibited at the museum of San Gimignano has 1300 spikes. on the leg-rests and on the foot-rests. their differences. The idea is that the Inquisitors can interrupt it at any stage. to immobilize the victim's bust. We are first going to examine their common features and. causing painful burns. All of them have common features. on the seat. thus penetrating the flesh of the victim. which by a screw mechanism forced the back of the legs against the spikes. while the spiked seat had holes to allow the victim's bottom to be 'heated" by hot coals placed under the seat. Another version had a bar at chest height. Another version had two bars immobilising the victim's wrists forcing his forearms against the arm-rests resulting in the flesh being penetrated by the spikes. The strength of this instrument lies mainly in the psychological terror it causes and the threat that the torture will get increasingly worse.This instrument of torture comes in different versions.
A small collar supported the instrument in such a manner that the victims were forced to hold their head erect. . under the chin and above the chest.c) The heretics fork : This instrument consisted of two little forks one set against the other. smell the stench of seared flesh and hear the screams of suffering”. TRIAL BY FIRE “whatever ingenuities might be imagined. and thus suffering was prolonged and death avoided. Here. in an 18th century engraving. with the four prongs rammed into the flesh. The forks did not penetrate any vital points. one can almost feel the fierce heat. Obviously the victims' hands were tied behind their back. thus preventing any movement. no tool of the torture is more elementally terrifying than the naked flame.
But if the pure pain of seared human flesh is acute. Ordeal by fire has long had a profound resonance in many cultures. there has been widespread religious belief that God will spare His own from the flames. of course. by the end of the first millennium the ancient ritual had been cloaked in Christian liturgical formulae. From those eastern mystics who walk unscathed over smouldering coals to be biblical prophets were flung into furnaces but emerged untouched. would be kept from harm by divine intervention. in many traditions. its sacral power. by which time such practices . the idea that a defendant’s guilt or innocence might be proved under pain of fire: Those who have done no wrong.Types Of Trial By Fire : a) Trial By Ordeal : Fire is not. Whatever its origins. as those who have endured cigarette burns or drips of molten polythene in modern interrogations can testify. so too is the terror aroused by the menacing glow of fire itself. a imagined by French engraver of the late 18th century. its elemental force and. went the reasoning. all too easily. b) Trial by Water : “ The medieval ordeal of boiling water. used by tortures simply on account of its theological symbolism. From this follows on.
but this terrible puihment was already well established throughout Europe. while the other is consumed directly by the raging fire in this 18th century engraving depicting the tortures of an ancient past”. in Catholic and protestant lands alike. As with the ordeal by fire. “One victim boils to death. which was similarly administered. Another trial popular in Europe at the same time was the ordeal by boiling water. in this case. The Spanish inquisition of the 17th century may have elevated the practice to new heights of ritual pomp and circumstance.very much belonged to the sort of history of ‘superstition’ from which this illustration has been taken”. . c) Burning At The Stake : The most widespread form of death by fire. the prisoner had to plunge his hand into a vessel of boiling water to retrieve a ring or coin or some other object. This pious matron had lived in medieval times and distinguished herself in death by bequeathing in her will a sum of four shillings a year towards the cost of faggots for burning heretics. was undoubtedly that of burning at the stake. Again. there would be a long and elaborate preamble of prayer ad fasting. the punishment took place in a church under the supervision of a priest. and vessel and victim alike would be blessed with holy water. however.
Types Of water Torture : a) Drinking By Force : “Witnesses stand around in attitude of parayerful piety and secretary takes scrupulous notes as a cowled . the finest dribble directed to a single spot on the flesh is said to be excruciating.WATER TORTURE Through the terrors of fire are obvious to behold. even from a distance the potential from cruelty and suffering that lurks in the life giving force of water is no less devastating. The slowly maddening drip of water torture is notorious.
Inmates at Birmingham prison in the middle of the 19th century were stripped of their clothes and doused in icy water as punishment for the most minor transgressions of the rules. Note the self-draining bench on which the victims tied down. evidently designed with this very purpose in mind”.. C) Cold Showers : Sanitation has consistently been a problem for prison management. the bound victim being thrown into consecrated water. though. b) Sink Or Swim : “A 19th century artist’s impression of a medieval trial by ordeal. FORCES OF NATURE . it had been far more general in its application”. have become associated exclusively with finding witches: previously. by the early modern period.executioner of the inquisition puts man or woman to the water torture. The technique of drowning would. but cruel regimes have always been able to find cold water with which to torment their victims.
Should he escape the boar. b) Cats and Dogs : . its obedient nature here used. twisting and turning as he tries to evade attack by a lion and a panther. The hideousness of this form of punishment derives in part from elephant’s very gentleness as domesticated beast of burden. Four bas-reliefs from the bomb of Scaurus at Pompeii. bring to life the Romans’ own particular version of animal related torture. as recorded by a French traveler in 1871. I the second scene. perversely. The first of the Pompeiian combats show the odds stacked heavily against a naked unarmed man.“Civilized man has always set himself apart from nature: the idea that be might form just another level on the food chain seems degrading to him. efficiently dispatching a male factor in India. another unarmed victim attempts to dodge a charging wild boar. hence the humiliation of these Persian thieves hung out to be eaten by vultures”. Types Of Forces Of Nature : a) Battle Of The Beasts : “The elephant an executioner. to crush a human skull”. a ferocious wolf lies in wait his probable fate given graphic representation in a tableau to his right depicting a stag being torn apart by dogs or wolves. dating from the middle of the 1st century BC.
c) Buried Alive : “An excited crowd presses round as. a discipline that has all too easily been abused in the course of recent history. ad hoc affair.Cats were placed on the prisoner’s abdomen. the threat of such violation appears to have been routinely made. the goaded and prodded to attack his flesh. The use of dogs as tortures’ assistants has been better documented. or it can be dignified by official ritual”. resisting to the last. trained to attack in the line of work. BEATING “A beating can be the most casual. Although there seems to be no compelling evidence for the claim that the tortures of Pinochet’s Chile trained Alsatian dogs to rape female prisoners. Every modern police force has its team of dogs. a Moroccan mass murderer is immured and left to die in darkness”. .
the victim is made to walk on rough ground. Anything from a thick truncheon or the finest cane can be used.The most basic of all brutalities. perhaps giving the heaviest guard a piggyback. Although a very localized assault. recorded by a French traveler in 1908” a thief is belaboured with an iron bar for stealing some fish. beating has had a history far too long to be chronicled. agonizing results. usually with the legs tied together in an upward position. and the kicking of feet. “East and West are united in brutality I this scene from the Russian-Chinese frontier. beating I torture at its simplest. The common currency of the schoolyard bully and the abusive policeman. of the military interrogator and the violent husband. Types Of Beating : a) Bastinado : In the torture of bastinado. The torture is redoubled when. or falaka. requiring no more than a flurry of blow with fists. the prisoner is beaten on the soles of the feet. After the beating. b) Flogging Round The fleet : . the pain in fact reaches quickly through the body right up to the head.
the need for discipline was overwhelming and justified the most draconian system of punishments imaginable. at the end of 18th century. Under Captain Hugh Pigot’s command of HMS Hermione. this scene captures the horrors associated with the Chinese lingchi. or ‘lingering death’. a) Lingering Death : Although imaginary. Crew members considered slow to jump to an order or sluggish in applying themselves to a task were regularly started with a stroke from a canee or switch by the bosun’s mate. however. b) Stabbing and Mutilation : The Roman emperor Caligula is said to be Suetonious to have ordered executions along lines similar to those of . it was argued. the flogging of a dozen men a day was said to be not unusual.At sea. CUTTING AND PIERCING “Spanish colonists bring civilization and Christianity to the new world. for example. As with other notorious oriental tortures. the nature of lingchi has almost certainly been exaggerated in western lore. as witnessed by Fray bartolomme de las Casas in his eloquent and impassioned(if factually less than completely reliable) brief account of the destruction of the Indies(1552). For graver offences flogging was frequent and fearsome.
I think. whose wickedness. ‘Oriental cruelty. but miss the vital organs. probably with the aim of making this horrible container look more refined. deserve to be analyzed. It is also said that this sort of sarcophagus had the face of a maiden carved on its front door. a colleague shows off an earlier trophy”. so . in the background. however. I another of his punishments.the traditional Chinese ‘death of a thousand cuts’. The inside of the sarcophagus was fitted with spikes designed to pierce different parts of the body. he appears to have acted more in keeping with what would become known as the Judaeo-Christian tradition: When he ordered a thief’s hand to be cut off and hung around his neck I token of his crime. as imagined by a late 17th century German artist: Torturers lay out a woman on a wooden framework to be flayed alive . By subjecting prisoners to a series of small stab wounds. they would be able to ‘feel themselves die’. This instrument has four main features. Caligula maintained. c) The maiden of Nuremberg : The name of this instrument seems to have originated from a prototype that was built in the town of Nuremberg.
yet the application of electricity specifically as a form of torture is a far more recent development. a senior officer arrived and told his tormentors to stop. It outlines the case of Roberto. When the sarcophagus doors were shut again. Its third feature was that the device could be opened and closed without letting the victim. heaping humiliation on top of excruciating pain. however.that the victim was kept alive. SHOCK TACTICS The electric chair has bee used to execute prisoners in the US since 1890. Instead . Its fourth feature was that the container was so thick that no shrieks and moaning could be heard from outside unless the doors were opened. and thus no relief was ever possible.’ he said. who had been pierced from the front and the back. get away. who was taken into detention by security forces and badly beaten. a 500 year old university professor living a refugee in Zaire. ’and we will get complaints from Amnesty Intl . After a short time. they applied electroshock batons to the base of his spine. in an upright position. Roberto’s captors never once laid fist or foot on their prisoner. the spikes pierced exactly the same parts of the body as before. ‘It will leave scars. This instrument can be defined both a torture and a death instrument. Types Of Shock Tactics : a) Damage Concealed : A 1991 Amnesty International report illustrates the use of electrical torture at it worst. his genitals and other area. ‘On most . Its second feature is that the victims were kept in an extremely confined space to increase their suffering. During the next 4 weeks. therefore.
. but for its capacity to break down an individual sense of self.’ b) Electrical Restraints : The application of electroshock as a type of invasive psychotherapy represented something of a break with torture tradition. forsaking this quasi-medical model of treatment in favor of one based on the herding of cattle in stockpens and abbatoirs. were reverting to type. of course. MENTAL CRUELTY Manipulation of fear has always been as integral to the act of torture as the application of physical pain. Types Of Mental Cruelty : a) The theory of fear : “Will the shots come or won’t they ? For two of his comrades the answer was a bitter yes . to find himself still alive. destroying in the process all resolve and sense of purpose. lost control of his bowels and bodily functions and fell unconscious.occasions.’ the report said. but he most certainly experiences profound disorientation. The man who has fully expected to die is not disappointed. hence the tradition of first allowing the perspective victim to view the executioner’s equipment. Even more significant than the natural fear of death is the psychological confusion caused by confounded anticipation. Fear is used by torturers not as an end itself. ‘he vomited. but this prisoner of the Mexican Civil war could either die instantly or live to be haunted for the rest of his days by his mockexecution”. Soon.
on which every one of us depends. ignoring half hearted ate. great and small. b) Who’s Brainwashing who? : Although CIA revelations may have shocked readers of the Baltimore sun. However. retarding and advancing clocks. Our sense that we know what time of day it is or what we are talking about in any given exchange and our sense of individual integrity begins to fall to pieces. which the manual lists as follows: persistence manipulation of time. these insights would have come as no surprise to any of the world’s torturers. CAPITAL PUNISHMENT . rewarding noncooperation. threats and fear. pain and other factors may all be used. past or present. unpatterned questioning sessions. Once damaged. in that acts upon the body as means of swaying the mind systematic attempt to bypass physical abuse and act directly upon a subject’s psyche does seems to have originated in the 20th century.Deprivation of sensory stimuli.’ The common theme of all these techniques is the disruption of every sort of certainty. the delicate human psyche does not easily recover. those assumptions. Such strategies might even have had lasting results.pts to cooperate. nonsensical questioning. as may a number of noncoercive techniques. disrupting sleep schedules. disorientation regarding day and night. while all torture works on a psychological level . Chip away enough at the little things. serving meals at odd times.
Eventually . in which the victim is nailed by hands and feet to a wooden cross or frame. the word drawing actually seems to have referred to the drawing out of his living entrails. Brought to the very brink of death by hanging. his belly slit open and his viscera pulled out before his eyes. this punishment would evolve into what we know as crucifixion. impalement was practiced throughout the near and middle east . the victim simply being turned off from the rungs of a ladder. b) Hung . Drawn and quartered : Though the drawing of a prisoner on a hurdle through the streets before cheering. the prisoner would be cut down and laid upon a table. he would still be alive as his guts were burned in an adjacent fire and the beating heart was carefully extracted from his traumatized body. “This anonymous print dating from 16th century shows execution by hanging in its most basic form. jeering crowds was an essential part of the punishment. then left to dangle and slowly suffocate”. though victims are thought to have been pinned to tree trunks with nails of bronze or iron.Types Of capital Punishment : a) The Bitter Cross : By the beginning of the Christian era from 1 AD . If he were in the hands of a truly skilful executioner. Only then would he be allowed to die. as he died was cut off and the quartering of his body .
the human meat was set on spikes in republic places as a warning to anyone else who might be tempted into the ways of treason. a pole was driven into the ground and a rope was tied around the victim's neck. This incident was one of the arguments used for the abolition of death penalty in that country. The "improved" Spanish version of this instrument was used for executions. Parboiled first. It had a steel collar. so that the victim would slowly suffocate as it dried. But if the pole was not very thick and the rope was tightened behind the pole. tight enough to immobilize the head and the neck. Preventing neck and head movement was necessary because it allowed the victim's cervical vertebrae to be penetrated by a steel tip. when the last person to be executed was a young student who was later found to be innocent. His carcass was cut into hunks of human meat for display at different points around the kingdom. Simply put. moved by a screw mechanism positioned in the rear . at the same time. c) The Garrotte : This instrument bears a Spanish name because it was "improved" in Spain. This instrument has very ancient origins. but. where it became the official instrument of capital punishment. This sort of torture was used all over the world as testified by etchings. the neck of the victim could be tightened more gradually and easily released. It remained in use until 1975. o it might last longer in the open air. larger in size than the victim's neck to prevent strangulation. The string tying the victim's neck to the pole could be made of a material that would shrink once wetted.began.
The drop . but even a slight error could leave the victim dangling. seemed less surgically neat. ‘Strongly as it would become associated with revolutionary France. yet it was less prolonged for the victim than a botched hanging. as employed in Franco’s Spain. The old fashioned garrotte. clean kill. such penetration was to be quick and precise. d) The Humane Death : The reluctance of may centuries to renounce to err. the possibility of error and failure is so high that I leave it to the imagination of the reader to consider the suffering it actually inflicted. the fall was supposed to snap the neck between the third and fourth vertebrae. Precise calculations of weight were made to ensure the correct result. versions of which had been throughout Europe since medieval times”. Actually. has still meant many thousands dying in agony. thus. able to administer a rapid and certain death.of the pole. . for example was incorporated into the hanging process to replace slow strangulation by a quick. the guillotine was really just the latest model of an older device. though. or rip the head completely from the falling body. In theory.
and immoral. But since shortly after the September 11. but on the grounds that evidence extracted by torture can be unreliable and that the use of torture corrupts institutions which tolerate it. such as Alan M. Ethical arguments regarding torture : Torture has been criticized not only on humanitarian and moral grounds.AN END TO TORTURE Laws against torture : On December 10. 2001 attacks there has been a debate in the United States about whether torture is justified in some circumstances. inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Organizations like Amnesty International argue that the universal legal prohibition is based on a universal philosophical consensus that torture and ill-treatment are repugnant. have argued the need for information outweighs the moral and ethical arguments against torture. Dershowitz and Mirko Bagaric. . Two of these are the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions III & IV. Some people. 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Since that time a number of other international treaties have been adopted to prevent the use of torture. abhorrent. Article 5 states. "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel.
he may explain how to defuse the bomb. a thought experiment. survey . If the terrorist is tortured. maybe dozens of attacks". 66% of Americans who identified themselves as strongly Republican supported torture. India showed 37% supporting torture and only 23% opposing). However there was a clear divide between those countries with strong rejection of torture (such as Italy. the American commander in charge of detentions and interrogations. Within nations there is a clear divide between the positions of members of different ethnic groups. but 48% opposing. asks what to do to a captured terrorist who has placed a nuclear time bomb in a populated area. Maj. and political affiliations. no one has come up with a single documented example of lives saved thanks to torture. stated "a rapport-based interrogation that recognizes respect and dignity. The ticking time bomb scenario. where only 14% supported torture) and nations where rejection was less strong (Israel showed 43% supporting torture. • Clear rules against torture should be maintained because any use of torture is immoral and will weaken international human rights.However. The study found that among Jewish persons in Israel 53% favored some degree of torture and only 39% wanted strong rules against torture while Muslims in Israel were overwhelmingly against any use of torture. Others point out that despite administration claims that water boarding has "disrupted a number of attacks. where as 24% of those who identified themselves as strongly Democratic. is the basis by which you develop intelligence rapidly and increase the validity of that intelligence.S. and having very well-trained interrogators. Miller. religions. A 2006 BBC poll held in 25 nations gauged support for each of the following positions: Terrorists pose such an extreme threat that governments should be allowed to use some degree of torture if it may gain information that saves innocent lives. In a 2005 U. Geoffrey D. In one 2006 survey by the Scripps Center at Ohio University. after coercive practices were banned interrogators in Iraq saw an increase of 50 percent more high-value intelligence. Gen. The scenario asks if it is ethical to torture the terrorist. • An average of 59% of people worldwide rejected torture.
as revealed in an ABC News/Washington Post poll. “Just a few short years ago. practiced by only a few pariah states. where more than half of the Americans polled thought that techniques such as sleep deprivation were not torture.72% of American Catholics supported the use of torture in some circumstances compared to 51% of American secularists. torture was all but obsolete. as this protest outside the white house demonstrates”. Now it is a live issue for the world’s greatest democracies. There are also different attitudes as to what constitutes torture. . A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll "found that sizable majorities of Americans disagree with tactics ranging from leaving prisoners naked and chained in uncomfortable positions for hours. it seemed . to trying to make a prisoner think he was being drowned".
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