The Future of Torture
Abstract

What is called physical torture comprises methods of producing severe pain. What is called psychological torture comprises methods to produce exhaustion, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, desperation, psychic disorganization, loss of control of mental states and acts, and extreme dependency. Physical torture aims to arouse intense fear. Psychological torture is the torture of the future, not only because it is "no marks" torture but also because its aim is different from physical torture and more radical. The victim is not simply reduced to impotence, helplessness, but to a state of ever-greater dependency on his or her torturer. We have to distinguish between informed and deliberate conversion of a detainee's political convictions, through a kind of hard bargaining that appeals to the detainee's rationality; inducing a detainee to betray his or her convictions and his or her community and bringing that about by deceit and deception; and inducing a detainee to betray his or her convictions and his or her community by the deliberate destruction of the detainee's identity and sanity.


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