Writing about the strip-search decision the other day, I said:
This is punitive, anyone can see that. They are "breaking down" suspects with humiliation to make them docile and afraid. There is no reason to grant the police blanket permission to do this except for a naive belief that anyone who is arrested must be guilty of something. Scott Horton points out in this article called "The High Court’s Body-Cavity Fixation" that this is a well documented technique,
Just as the Florence decision was being prepared, the Department of Defense released a previously classified training manual used to prepare American pilots for resistance to foreign governments that might use illegal and immoral techniques to render them cooperative. Key in this manual are the precise practices highlighted in Florence. Body-cavity searches are performed, it explains, to make the prisoner “feel uncomfortable and degraded.” Forced nudity and invasion of the body make the prisoner feel helpless, by removing all items that provide the prisoner with psychological support. In other words, the strip search is an essential step in efforts to destroy an individual’s sense of self-confidence, well-being, and even his or her identity. The value of this tool has been recognized by authoritarian governments around the world, and now, thanks to the Roberts Court, it will belong to the standard jailhouse repertoire in the United States. Something to consider the next time you walk Fido without scooping up his droppings—a cop may well be watching, ready to seize the opportunity to invade your rectum.This reminded me of this from Jane Mayer back in 2007:
"The C.I.A.’s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic aura. 'It’s one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever,' an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. 'At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you’ve heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling.'"Strip searches are a form of torture. So is tasering.
"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."
where all that good stuff comes together. That cavity probe is always the next step:
" 'Let me get my shoes,' " Maten quoted Booker as saying as he walked toward the chairs to get his shoes.
The deputy yelled at him repeatedly to stop, got up and followed Booker. Booker turned and repeated that he was getting his shoes, Maten said.
The deputy grabbed Booker by the arm and put a lock on him, Yedo said. Booker, who was 5 feet 5 and weighed 175 pounds, pushed her away. At that point, four other deputies wrestled Booker to the concrete floor. They slid down two steps to the floor in the sitting area. Yedo said the deputies each grabbed a limb while he struggled.
" 'Get the Taser. Get the Taser,' " Yedo quoted one of the deputies as saying.
Yedo said he was only about 3 feet away, and Maten said he was close enough that if he stood and took one step, he could reach out and touch one of the deputies.
None of the deputies involved in the restraint has been identified. One female deputy was treated at a hospital for an injury she suffered in the confrontation, Gale said.
A fifth deputy put Booker in a headlock just as the female deputy began shocking him with a Taser with encouragement from one of the deputies, who kept repeating, "Probe his ass," Maten said. He could hear the Taser crackle repeatedly.
Booker said, "'I can't breath . . .," Yedo heard. Then, Booker went limp.
Booker's wrists were handcuffed behind his back in an awkward position when the deputies picked him up, each holding an arm or a leg, and carried him stomach-down to a holding cell with an unbreakable glass door.
They set him down on his stomach, with much of his weight on one shoulder and his legs bent, Yedo said. They took the handcuffs off and without checking his pulse, the officers left him on the floor of the holding cell.
The deputies walked away high-fiving and laughing, Maten said. Several inmates were saying, " 'I can't believe they're doing this,' " Maten said.
Both President Bush and President Obama have used the same phrase repeatedly: "The United States doesn't torture."
Oh yes it does. And the highest court in the nation just approved another torture technique last week.