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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, November 05, 2013

 
Rape by instrumentality

by digby

Anal rape is often considered a "funny" aspect of prison culture in America and an inevitable kind of rough justice for anyone who finds himself caught up in the maw of the legal system. It appears we're finding new and novel uses for it:
Eckert's attorney, Shannon Kennedy, said in an interview with KOB that after law enforcement asked him to step out of the vehicle, he appeared to be clenching his buttocks. Law enforcement thought that was probable cause to suspect that Eckert was hiding narcotics in his anal cavity. While officers detained Eckert, they secured a search warrant from a judge that allowed for an anal cavity search.

The lawsuit claims that Deming Police tried taking Eckert to an emergency room in Deming, but a doctor there refused to perform the anal cavity search citing it was "unethical."

But physicians at the Gila Regional Medical Center in Silver City agreed to perform the procedure and a few hours later, Eckert was admitted.

While there...
1. Eckert's abdominal area was x-rayed; no narcotics were found.

2. Doctors then performed an exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

3. Doctors performed a second exam of Eckert's anus with their fingers; no narcotics were found.

4. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

5. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a second time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

6. Doctors penetrated Eckert's anus to insert an enema a third time. Eckert was forced to defecate in front of doctors and police officers. Eckert watched as doctors searched his stool. No narcotics were found.

7. Doctors then x-rayed Eckert again; no narcotics were found.

8. Doctors prepared Eckert for surgery, sedated him, and then performed a colonoscopy where a scope with a camera was inserted into Eckert's anus, rectum, colon, and large intestines. No narcotics were found.
Throughout this ordeal, Eckert protested and never gave doctors at the Gila Regional Medical Center consent to perform any of these medical procedures....
I think that speaks for itself.

But keep in mind that doctors and nurses have been performing "anal" torture duty in the CIA and the military for quite some time. Recall this from Jane Mayer's book The Dark Side:
"A former member of a C.I.A. transport team has described the 'takeout' of prisoners as a carefully choreographed twenty-minute routine, during which a suspect was hog-tied, stripped naked, photographed, hooded, sedated with anal suppositories, placed in diapers, and transported by plane to a secret location. A person involved in the Council of Europe inquiry, referring to cavity searches and the frequent use of suppositories during the takeout of detainees, likened the treatment to 'sodomy.' He said, 'It was used to absolutely strip the detainee of any dignity. It breaks down someone’s sense of impenetrability. The interrogation became a process not just of getting information but of utterly subordinating the detainee through humiliation.' The former C.I.A. officer confirmed that the agency frequently photographed the prisoners naked, 'because it’s demoralizing."
Or this, reported in the New York Times:
None of the approved techniques, however, covered some of what people have now said occurred. Mr. Kahtani was, for example, forcibly given an enema, officials said, which was used because it was uncomfortable and degrading.

Pentagon spokesmen said the procedure was medically necessary because Mr. Kahtani was dehydrated after an especially difficult interrogation session. Another official, told of the use of the enema, said, however, "I bet they said he was dehydrated," adding that that was the justification whenever an enema was used as a coercive technique, as it had been on several detainees.
Or this, which I wrote several years ago:
There have been many similar reports of forced sodomy and other sexual abuse collected by the Center for Constitutional Rights, which have routinely been dismissed as some kind of slick propaganda training by Al Qaeda. Now we have a former Guantanamo prison guard also validating the charges --- and implicating medical personnel (which is another sick aspect of this that we've discussed at length, but still don't know the extent of.) Scott Horton reports:
T]the Nelly account shows that health professionals are right in the thick of the torture and abuse of the prisoners—suggesting a systematic collapse of professional ethics driven by the Pentagon itself. He describes body searches undertaken for no legitimate security purpose, simply to sexually invade and humiliate the prisoners. This was a standardized Bush Administration tactic–the importance of which became apparent to me when I participated in some Capitol Hill negotiations with White House representatives relating to legislation creating criminal law accountability for contractors.  
The Bush White House vehemently objected to provisions of the law dealing with rape by instrumentality. When House negotiators pressed to know why, they were met first with silence and then an embarrassed acknowledgment that a key part of the Bush program included invasion of the bodies of prisoners in a way that might be deemed rape by instrumentality under existing federal and state criminal statutes. While these techniques have long been known, the role of health care professionals in implementing them is shocking.
Forced colonoscopy wasn't part of the prisoner plan as far as I know, but I'm sure they would have used it if they'd had the right technology available. Our military and CIA personnel spent a lot of time probing detainees' anuses. It was a major part of the program.

We don't know if any of the unethical police and medical personnel who participated in this recent horrifying act of official rape had ever been in the military. But even if they weren't, it's not surprising that this sort of thing would be done --- after all, they had a warrant. And these days we are constantly legalizing and excusing abusive authority, so it's easy for people to rationalize that what they are doing is completely above board as long as they have the official paper in their hands.

I don't recall much of an outcry about these acts perpetrated by American personnel when they were revealed a few years back. I was personally pretty stunned that this was just treated as business as usual. And I'd imagine people care even less now:
A new study by the American Red Cross obtained exclusively by The Daily Beast found that a surprising majority—almost 60 percent—of American teenagers thought things like water-boarding or sleep deprivation are sometimes acceptable. More than half also approved of killing captured enemies in cases where the enemy had killed Americans. When asked about the reverse, 41 percent thought it was permissible for American troops to be tortured overseas. In all cases, young people showed themselves to be significantly more in favor of torture than older adults...

“Over the past 10 years, they’ve been exposed to many new conflicts,” says Isabelle Daoust, who heads ARC’s humanitarian law unit. “But they haven’t been exposed to the rules.”

“For young people, to put themselves in place of a soldier is a level of empathy that most people simply don’t have anymore.”

The reasons may be even more nuanced than that—a combination of social and political factors new to the national conversation since the Bush administration claimed that today’s enemy was different from the ones we’ve fought in the past. Intelligence attained through controversial interrogation techniques, Bush’s lawyers at the Department of Justice argued, may be the only way to save American lives. A 2006 dossier detailing the U.S. government strategy to combat terrorism described the difficulty of pursuing new enemies who constantly “evolve and modify their ways of doing business.” As a result, the document suggested, the military would have to evolve its understanding and treatment of the enemy.

Legal scholars see societal influences that may be responsible for de-stigmatizing torture, including increasingly graphic media. “I think it suggests the national conscious is becoming more and more corroded and more accustomed to the violation of fundamental principles of human rights and international law,” says Lawrence Tribe.
Also too this:
In his statement last week, the president said: "This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke. We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."
After all, they throw the book at whistleblowers and even journalists. This can't be that much of a big deal, right?

There is a price we've all paid for normalizing torture in our society, whether it's through the "comic" use of electricity via the taser or our blase attitude toward the torture regime of George W. Bush. I don't think the scope of just how much we destroyed the basic moral fabric of our culture will be seen for many decades.

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