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Sunday, October 30, 2005
LYNCHING & TORTURE : THE AMERICAN WAY
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GOYA IN IRAQ
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While searching for websites & images of the Spanish artist Francisco Goya’s art work I stumbled upon these images from the online magazine THE REVEALER. The pictures above are from an article entitled GOYA IN IRAQ: PICTURES AT AN INQUISITION. I have taken the liberty of republishing the text which follows:
But first Here is the editors’ mission statement as such:
" The Revealer is a daily review of religion in the news and the news about religion. We're not so much nonpartisan as polypartisan -- interested in all sides, disdainful of dualistic arguments, and enamored of free speech as a first principle. We publish and link to work by people of all persuasions, religious, political, sexual, and critical. The Revealer was conceived by Jay Rosen, chair of New York University's Department of Journalism, and is executed by journalist Jeff Sharlet and staff. We begin with three basic premises: 1. Belief matters, whether or not you believe. Politics, pop culture, high art, NASCAR -- everything in this world is infused with concerns about the next. As journalists, as scholars, and as ordinary folks, we cannot afford to ignore the role of religious belief in shaping our lives. 2. The press all too frequently fails to acknowledge religion, categorizing it as either innocuous spirituality or dangerous fanaticism, when more often it's both and inbetween and just plain other. 3. We deserve and need better coverage of religion. Sharper thinking. Deeper history. Thicker description. Basic theology. Real storytelling. "
The Revealer is a publication of the New York University Department of Journalism and New York University's Center for Religion and Media.
THE REVEALER: PICTURES AT AN INQUISITION
" The picture on the left is by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya (1746-1828). It's from a series of notebook sketches he drew in an attempt to depict the Spanish Inquisition's (1478-1834) prosecution of "heretics." Not its most graphic horrors, such as strangulations and public burnings, but the Inquisitor's use of humiliation and fear as a form of torture. The picture on the right is a work by Army Specialist Sabrina Harman, who has testified "that it was her job to keep detainees awake, including one hooded prisoner who was placed on a box with wires attached to his fingers, toes, and penis." Other sources report that the subject, an Iraqi prisoner, was being prepared for a mock execution. It is unclear, given the beatings administered to his fellows, whether he knew that it was "mock." Nor could he have been aware, given his dunce cap, that the visual he presented was of a crucifixion, the beams of the "cross" made not of wood but of the wires attached to his hands.
A crucial element of torture is humiliation. The fact of the victim's powerlessness must be impressed upon his psyche. Laughter is an effective tool, as demonstrated by this Inquisitor, 21-year-old Private Lynndie England, of Ft. Ashby, W. Virginia. And genitals are often the focus of attention. Private England, since transferred back to the U.S., where she is expecting the child of Specialist Charles W. Graner (who also appears in the pictures), is here forcing the prisoners to masturbate -- a tactic proposed by her superiors in Military Intelligence to insult the prisoner's Islamic sensibilities and thus break his will through sexual shame.
Sexual shame is always double-edged, as illustrated in the picture on the left. It shows the 1935 lynching of Rubin Stacy, in Ft. Lauderdale. Young girls from the area, including the one seen here on the left, were brought out to witness Stacy's emasculation and murder. They are orderly, they are high-minded and also high-spirited. They are smiling. They are a congregation, not a mob, gathered to view the Inquisitor's work, undertaken on their behalf, for the sanctity of their community, for the sacred order of "civilization." " ( END OF ARTICLE )
UPDATE: The New Yorker's Seymour M. Hersh has obtained a copy of a secret report on American abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. Major General Antonio M. Taguba, commissioned by Lt. General Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior commander in Iraq. Hersh excerpts Gen. Taguba's list of offenses, committed, charges Gen. Taguba, with the approval of top ranking officers as part of procedure: "Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chA crucial element of torture is humiliation. The fact of the victim's powerlessness must be impressed upon his psyche. Laughter is an effective tool, as demonstrated by this Inquisitor, 21-year-old Private Lynndie England, of Ft. Ashby, W. Virginia. And genitals are often the focus of attention. Private England, since transferred back to the U.S., where she is expecting the child of Specialist Charles W. Graner (who also appears in the pictures), is here forcing the prisoners to masturbate -- a tactic proposed by her superiors in Military Intelligence to insult the prisoner's Islamic sensibilities and thus break his will through sexual shame.
Anyway see you later,