Migrant Tales (January 26, 2013): Making torture and hate acceptable

by , under Enrique Tessieri

Migrant Tales insight: It always amazes me how the United States and the media conveniently forget that torture has been used by many administrations as a means of scaring and getting information from its imagined and real enemies. Torture isn’t a recent interrogation technique used by the CIA and did not appear after 9/11.  That is why linking the American Psychological Association (APA) to the CIA in making torture a more effective tool in interrogation is vital to ensure that the United States or any government prohibit such an outlandish practice. 

Writes the Guardian: “For more than a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has maintained that a strict code of ethics prohibits its more than 130,000 members to aid in the torture of detainees while simultaneously permitting involvement in military and intelligence interrogations. The group has rejected media reporting on psychologists’ complicity in torture…”


Even if the media in the United States speaks of torture as something recent, the truth is that it has been going on for a very long time. These type of barbaric interrogation techniques were widely used in the last century in regions like Latin America. The CIA and the United States trained and promoted torture and state-sponsored terrorism in places like the School of the Americas.

Torture is not only a part of my history, but the legacy of millions of Latin Americans, Africans and Asians who are gripped today by drug wars, violence and poverty.  Matters have got so bad in the underdeveloped world that people are ready to risk their lives to migrate and work for slave wages.

One has to connect the historical dots when looking at undocumented migrants and immigration in general. It’s the same story taking place over and over again: we colonize, enslave, pillage, support dictatorships; we reap the greatest profit by promoting poverty and underdevelopment in these regions.

If you devastate a country’s democratic institutions and make a mockery of human rights, how can you on top of it ask people to live in the destruction you created?

It is surprising, if not incredible, that politicians in Europe still stigmatize migrants and refugees as “welfare shoppers.” Apart from exposing their greed, these types of politicians are making a clear statement: You have no right to opportunity and a better life.

The George W. Bush era (2000-08) not only brought to light the ugly face of USAmerica when it comes to torture and meddling in other countries’ affairs, it has inspired some critics to claim that Hollywood is now condoning it.

I personally have not seen the movie but if one surfs the web, one will find arguments for and against it.

Slavoj Žižek, a Slovenian cultural critic, wrote about Kathryn Bigelow’s film, Zero Dark Thirty,  on The Guardian:

”One doesn’t need to be a moralist, or naive about the urgencies of fighting terrorist attacks, to think that torturing a human being is in itself something so profoundly shattering that to depict it neutrally – ie to neutralise this shattering dimension – is already a kind of endorsement.”

Näyttökuva 2015-7-11 kello 12.51.39Read about the alleged complicity of the American Psychological Association (APA) in torture here.

Even Republican US Senator John McCain, a Vietnam POW who was tortured, has condemned the film.

”The story is torture does not work, it is hateful, it is harmful, incredibly harmful to the United States of America. And to somehow make people believe that it was responsible for the elimination of Osama Bin Laden is in my view unacceptable.”

In the same way some try to sell torture as acceptable is the same reasoning being used to convince us that social exclusion and exploitation of immigrants and visible minority group is fine.

Greedy businesses, and politicians at the service of the latter, reveal to us why matters will get worse before they improve.

Racism, prejudice, discrimination and social exclusion is all about defending the privilege of certain groups at the cost of others.

Undocumented immigrants are welcomed to Europe because it’s profitable in the short-term.

In the long-term, however, such contradictions and values will end up destroying us in the same way we destroyed other countries.