Helping the Wrong People - by Mark E. Smith

There is a group called Survivors of Torture International that has a chapter in my city, and I get their newsletter, sometimes attend their events, and have even occasionally donated to them. It is a very good cause and the people who give their time, money, and efforts to help survivors of torture are to be commended. But, as I’ve stated publicly, there is a problem here. Sometimes survivors of torture are reclusive, afraid to go outside, to socialize, or to lead normal lives. The survivors program helps them.

Although most torture survivors who are granted asylum in the United States were not tortured by the United States directly, it is a good bet that their torturers were trained and equipped by the United States, most by the CIA in the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC). Those tortured directly by the United States rather than by its proxies, are not likely to be granted asylum here. But the US does torture people as policy, and is the country most responsible for supporting torture regimes all over the world.

Before torture became open US policy, the US trained torturers from other countries and would then ship people it wanted tortured to those countries in order to avoid direct responsibility. People who are tortured suffer horribly. Those who survive such trauma are understandably reluctant to trust anyone or to interact with the general public which was often aware that they were being tortured yet remained silent and did nothing to stop it.

In helping torture survivors to become “normal,” volunteers and therapists help them learn English and job skills, if necessary, and accompany them to go shopping or on recreational outings. The object is to get them to be just like the people who are helping them.

But who are the people helping them? With a few notable exceptions, the people helping torture victims are considered to be normal people in the USA. They pay taxes to a government that tortures, vote their consent of the governed to a government that tortures, and buy almost everything they use in their daily lives from defense contractors. The latter is difficult to avoid as the US is a war economy and all large corporations prefer government contracts because the military purchases goods in large quantities and rarely disputes being overbilled. So the people who are trying to help victims of torture, are normal people who support torture. Victims of torture have endured enough agony. They should be left alone so that time can heal their wounds, if possible, and not encouraged to become “normal.”

In the USA it is considered normal to vote, pay taxes, and buy products from defense contractors, all actions that support and abet torture. How can it possibly help torture victims for them to become supporters and abettors of torture themselves? Victims of torture have been fucked with enough. It is good to ensure that they have a safe place to live, food to eat, and basic necessities, but it is not good to turn them into people who themselves support torture or a government that tortures.

Experts on torture will tell you that, unlike in the media, torture never reveals anything important. People being tortured will say anything to try to make the torture stop. Eight different people in Guantanamo confessed under torture to being Osama bin Ladin, and none of them looked anything like him.

Recently a group of torture survivors sued their torturers and not only lost their case, to add insult to severe injury, they were ordered by the court to pay their torturers' court costs. I suspect that these survivors had been encouraged by do-gooders to forget the reality they had so painfully learned, and to pretend that the world was a good place and that the USA was a decent country where justice could prevail. It is likely that those deluded fools will have to put up the money to pay the torturers, as the survivors of torture aren't likely to have that much money themselves. But paying for torture won't faze the "therapists" in the least--they do it every day and rarely stop to think about it.

It is the “normal” people of the United States who need therapy. They need to be helped to understand that torturing other people is wrong and that they shouldn’t do anything to support a government that tortures. The concept of helping is a good one, but it is the perpetrators and those who abet such crimes against humanity who are sick and need help, not their victims.

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