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February 9, 2005 10:21 PM   Subscribe

Survivor: Guantanamo Bay A group of volunteers have been locked in cages and sexually humiliated for the British reality television show Guantanamo Guidebook which explores torture techniques allegedly used against terrorist suspects held at Camp X-Ray.
posted by fandango_matt (18 comments total)

 
Some groups are outraged, while other groups deny it. The torture techniques used in the show have been gleaned from documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
posted by fandango_matt at 10:52 PM on February 9, 2005


"For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." -- Hosea 8:7

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever." --Thomas Jefferson

Or to paraphrase Malcolm X: the chickens will come home to roost.

On September 11th 2001, nearly the whole world was with America -- today, nearly the world mistrusts or fears or hates us.

That anyone will volunteer to re-enact this should only convince you how deep the antipathy runs.

Forget the morality of torture if you care to, and consider only this: you've already spent your grandchildren's taxes on this useless pointless ugly criminal "war on terrorism"; enraged Muslims will demand their blood as well.
posted by orthogonality at 11:22 PM on February 9, 2005



That anyone will volunteer to re-enact this should only convince you how deep the antipathy runs.


Well, some people like being sexualy humiliated.
posted by delmoi at 11:51 PM on February 9, 2005


So what are they trying to do, explore the injustices at Gitmo or get sweet ratings for sensationalizing terrorist torture in prison?

I mean, maybe they intend to do both.

Declassified documents would have this kind of torture stuff in it? And no one's noticed yet?

One of the articles points out one of the side effects of this reality show, that it will start to allow torture to be condoned by society as a necessary evil. Under what circumstances is torture allowed? Okay, what if its just a little less than that? And so on. Until we arrive at public whippings, floggings, hangings and burnings. Oh wait, we've already been there.

But those were witches and these are.....terrorists. Yeah. Couldn't happen here, no way. But how hard is it to imagine a red neck rally around a gallows?
posted by fenriq at 12:22 AM on February 10, 2005


fenriq wonders "But how hard is it to imagine a red neck rally around a gallows?"

Um, you are being sarcastic, right?

Because you don't have to imagine it.
posted by orthogonality at 12:59 AM on February 10, 2005


Guantanamo Bay was a bad idea, and this show is a bad idea. One, however, is worse than the other.
posted by walrus at 2:57 AM on February 10, 2005


Guantanamo Bay was a bad idea, and this show is a bad idea. One, however, is worse than the other.
posted by walrus at 2:57 AM PST on February 10


All 'reality' TV is a bad idea. Some people don't read the internets, or paper, or do anything beyond watching TV. To be able to 'show' an 'event' is able to move some people.

If these people get moved to 'hey, I would not want the happening to me, so why should I condone it happening to others?', that is progress.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:43 AM on February 10, 2005


I think it's a great idea. It's sensational reality TV, but with a point.

How many douchebags out there still think that Gitmo and Abu Ghraib torture was just "frat boy pranks"? Isn't it time we were shown what really happened? Isn't it worth discussing whether torture works or is pointless? Shouldn't we face up to what we've done?

The only problem I see with this show is that it's British; it should be shown in America. Of course, if Americans got their hands on it, there would be huge swooping spotlights, a booming soundtrack, a million dollar prize and product placements on every available surface.
posted by fungible at 7:46 AM on February 10, 2005


For a second there I thought they were making a reality show about the actual torture in Guantanamo Bay, and was set to freak. Then I realized, ohhhhh, it's a re-enactment.

Honestly, I think such a show could be very educational and have an effect. If a country's administration is making a practice of such torture and abuse and it isn't stopped, who has the right to tell TV producers they can't show people an exploration of said abuses?
posted by orange swan at 8:03 AM on February 10, 2005


It's one step from the running man with a thin moral veneer.
posted by walrus at 8:12 AM on February 10, 2005


To extend my last comment: a documentary would be educational. This is sensationalist voyeurism.
posted by walrus at 8:19 AM on February 10, 2005


A lot would depend on how it is done, yes, walrus. But I think it's entirely possible to produce a show that is a blend of reality show and documentary. This show needs both to be seen and to be factual.
posted by orange swan at 8:26 AM on February 10, 2005


The article notes that participants were a mixture of those both for and against the use of torture, and that two of the volunteers had to drop out early. It will be very interesting indeed to hear each person's reflections on their experiences and on the acceptability of these specific practices. Then again, there isn't really any way to truly make this a comparable experience. The point of torture and indefinite confinement is to instill a sense of profound helplessness in the victim's mind. That there is no escape, no end, except by telling the torturer whatever they want to hear. As long as you know it's just a stunt, that there are boundaries on what can be done to you and a guaranteed route to safety if you need it, then no matter how much their physical limits are tested it cannot begin to replicate the psychological stresses of the real Gitmo. Fear Factor et al have already proven that people can put up with quite a bit of pain and humiliation when it suits them. We don't need another reality show just to learn that.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 10:07 AM on February 10, 2005


When you want to deny fascism is alive and well in this country, keep in mind this fact:
There are millions of people who believe it's totally OK for a person to be jailed for 20 years for posession of a couple of Oxycontin pills (because they broke the law). The same people also believe that those who torture our prisoners in the War on TerrorismĀ©, destroy our country's reputation abroad, and place our own troops in danger of receiving the same treatment are simply doing their patriotic duty.

I hope this show takes off, becomes a huge hit, wins an abundance of awards, and raises the level of awareness in the unwashed masses about this issue. I think most people have no clue that this ever happened, and the mass media could do a lot more to bring the issue to the forefront.

"I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever." --Thomas Jefferson
Oh, we are fucked.
posted by mullingitover at 10:54 AM on February 10, 2005


I hope this show takes off, becomes a huge hit, wins an abundance of awards, and raises the level of awareness in the unwashed masses about this issue.

I'm afraid of the opposite effect, that people will see this show and think to themselves, "See, torture's not so bad. If these people were *really* suffering, they couldn't show it on TV."
posted by straight at 4:08 PM on February 10, 2005


straight, that's exactly my concern. Mainstreaming torture is a bad idea, a documentary would accomplish the intended effect without sensationalizing it.

And orthogonality, I was being sarcastic. But thanks for the pictures that will haunt my dreams.
posted by fenriq at 6:19 PM on February 10, 2005


what straight said, and fenriq--they're trivializing and sensationalizing it.
posted by amberglow at 6:25 PM on February 10, 2005


Metafilter: it haunts your dreams.
posted by orthogonality at 6:27 PM on February 10, 2005


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