“The closer you adhere to the most exacting standards of human rights and treatment of prisoners -- what Scharff did -- you will be more effective. Here is a guy who was caught up in a horrible situation he couldn’t walk away from, and his moral standards still allowed him to be successful, perhaps among the most successful interrogators in history.” Meet Hanns Joachim Scharff, an interrogator for the German Luftwaffe who pioneered interrogation techniques that were intelligent, humane, and also produced significantly better results than the other, much more widely used Nazi interrogation method, physical torture. [more inside]
On The Tamms Poetry Committee: "One of the artists' initiatives was "photo requests from solitary." Prisoners on solitary would request photos and professional photographers would then shoot the request and send the photo back. The gallery of prisoners requests is surprising and poignant."
I am an artist who by a stroke of good fortune met a brave American lawyer who represents several hundred Iraqi detainees in the US federal courts....the Iraqis I interviewed, released by the American military after many months or years of detention, were never formally accused of a crime, brought to a trial or given legal representation. Daniel Heyman paints and draws while sitting in on interviews between former Abu Ghraib detainees and their lawyer Susan Burke. Interview (including Heyman's thoughts about Errol Morris' documentary Standard Operating Procedure). Review. Another gallery. Related: The Detainee Project. Via zunguzungu. [more inside]
Black Panther: The Revolutionary Art of Emory Douglas, the Black Panther Party's Minister of Culture from 1967 to 1979. Douglas is still alive and making posters for the cause, in this case the San Francisco 8, who were arrested earlier this year for the murder of a police officer in 1971 -- despite the fact that evidence was thrown out of federal court in 1976 because "officers stripped the men, blindfolded them, beat them and covered them in blankets soaked in boiling water," and "used electric prods on their genitals." The SF Weekly published a detailed 5-page story about the case in November 2006.
Trevor Paglen is a scholar and artist who investigates the California prison-industrial complex and secret military bases in his work as an "experimental geographer." In his new book, Tracking the Torture Taxi, Paglen uses the methods of "21st century participatory journalism" (including a Google Earth image of a CIA interrogation facility) to uncover the network of private planes (such as Aero Contractors of Smithfield, NC) that whisk people off to secret prisons without oversight.
Harold Pinter at 75. In One for the Road, the protagonist is Nicolas, a whisky-sodden interrogator who has brought in a family for questioning (and, it is implied, raping and torturing). In the short, sharp shock of The New World Order, we eavesdrop on a conversation between two torturers, held over the top of their mute, blindfolded victim's head ("We haven't even finished with him. We haven't begun."). In Ashes to Ashes, the interrogation of Rebecca by Devlin takes a sinister turn as we learn that her ex-lover participated in state-sponsored violence. In Mountain Language, a sadistic guard plays power games with a group of mountain dwellers, who are forbidden from speaking in anything but the language of the state. In Party Time, Pinter lampoons the smug security of the middle classes, portraying an insufferably élite party which carries on regardless of the violence and terror on the streets outside. Now, for Pinter's 75th birthday, some of the tormentors and the tormented so potently etched in his later plays are assembled together in a new dramatic work with a musical setting by the composer James Clarke.
Democratic Torture - "By touching a hotspot on their screens the Global audience can shock my exhausted face...". Yesterday his face "was sewn into a bind" today in around 3 hours time viewers may "contribute an electric shock direct to Mike Parr by interacting directly with the webcast" A SMH article and an Artist's Biography provide some context.
Torture by Art. 'Bauhaus artists such as Kandinsky, Klee and Itten, as well as the surrealist film-maker Luis Bunuel and his friend Salvador Dali, were said to be the inspiration behind a series of secret cells and torture centres built in Barcelona and elsewhere '. Maybe there is a future for those Turner Prize winners after all.