Thursday, June 10, 2010

Enhanced Techniques

On DemocracyNow

A second instance we document is the use of saline, as opposed to water, in waterboarding. We see a meticulous collection of data related to waterboarding. And that data is used, it appears, to inform basically how the CIA took the tactic from what we call the SERE technique—the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape military training program—and basically reversed-engineer then to what we call waterboarding 2.0. And in the attempt to, quote, "make the tactics safe, legal and effective," it appears that the inevitable outcome of using health professionals to attempt to take inevitably harmful tactics and, quote-unquote, to "sanitize" them or make them safe means applying medical knowledge in ways that would never have been clinically allowed. And one of those examples, which I mentioned a moment ago, the use of saline in waterboarding, was ostensibly to prevent hyponatremia, a sodium deficiency that can come from large volumes of fresh water being ingested. That is not only unethical and illegal, it makes a mockery of the core foundations of the healing arts, which are about doing no harm in the application of medical expertise, specifically in reference to the interests of the patient.


We’ve sanitized what we’ve done. We call it "waterboarding" rather than "mock drowning." We call it "enhanced interrogation techniques" rather than "brutal torture."

The genius of the post-marxist, post-modern reaction in the humanities was to instill in a slice of the population which is typically informed and influential, the beneficiaries of civil liberties, some leisure, and managerial level employment in socially significant institutions, the impulse to critique this as spectacle, for example to discuss whether the term "brutal torture" has some more direct purchase on reality (or "reality") and greater emotive and motivating power than the new jargon of "enhanced interrogation techniques". It is not only that "enhanced interrogation techniques" is a euphemism, in contrast to "torture" - certainly to many of us now, enhanced interrogation techniques is even more chilling precisely because of the immense power, invulnerability and inhuman mercilessness of the implied perpetrator - but that the deployment of jargons and their availability for manufacture of ancillary discusive products in yet other jargons contributes to the recession of historical reality from the perceptual capacities of its producers that does not constitute the admirable achievement of de-sentimentalised, advanced modern(ist) egoist individuals who have overcome humanist and anthropocentric prejudices as preparation for some dissolution in an immortal abstraction but rather slashes a gulf between the individuals of our species so wide that even the element of calculating self-interest that can sustain empathy through antipathy of all sorts is extinguished, morality becomes so unintelligible the educated/indoctrinated elites with avant garde affiliation widely deride it as contemptible while their class rivals exploit its travesty, and those neither paying nor fully benefitting from the situation can demand some unattainable abstraction as the sole efficacious activator of their righteousness, justifying suspension of contest in perpetual "messianicity".

Meanwhile there is a gulag full of (mostly) Muslim (mostly) men being tortured and tortured to death, and used in lethal medical experiments. For two billion people (the figure of the total population of our species in 1929), as Jonathan Beller reminded his audience in the clip below, who live on less than $2 a day, the apocalypse has already happened. At least we have to face that our inaction or inefficacy in action to ameliorate this hell on earth has nothing to do with lack of thought or theory - it would be surely impossible even to get the numbers necessary to overthrow the current ruling class to agree on, or even be interested in, fanciful and trivial matters that occupy professional thinkers about "change" and "freedom" and "will" and "power". There are more obstacles than our individual spiritual inadequacies.

The instrument of control of the necessary courtier and comprador class is the culture industry. A mass withdrawal alone, a planetary general strike of the volunteer unwaged labour whose surplus is extracted through media and telecom technologies, a total refusal to participate in the production of looking/listening as commodity and its class of commodities (some old like fine art, some new like derivatives of fine art collections) and other commodities involved in its production, is the minimum for a beginning of a movement to dethrone the capitalist rulers of the world. It's the obvious beginning - global playbor strike, the strikers not risking essential income but only giving up the culture/entertainment goods bartered for, to minimise the hardship for labour while inflicting a serious blow on capital. This is what is to be done. The reason it is (or seems, for now) impossible is not because it isn't obvious that it's necessary and would answer.

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