In his report to the General Assembly of the UN on October 15, Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer delivered an incisive and damning indictment of the human propensity for self-deception and denial, citing these attributes as contributing to the prevalence of torture. He discussed how these innate propensities paved the way for denial that torture was taking place and for compartmentalization of one’s own participation in hurting other people. While applauding the normative structure of society and law in terms of “official” prohibitions against torture, Melzer unequivocally stated that these structures were not sufficient in stopping torture, given the human tendency towards self-interest and self-protection, and discussed how this tendency rears up in fear-based societies.
Melzer’s report stated:
The root cause of the systemic governance failure is not a lack of expertise, resources or normative consensus, nor generalized malicious intent, but lies in generic biopsychosocial factors that have shaped human decision-making throughout history, irrespective of national, cultural, religious or other distinctive influences. (Report A/75/179 – E – A/75/179)
Referring to the growing concerns about the “national security” state, he declares that “The need to defend against threats to individual or public security is the predominant utilitarian basis upon which torture and ill-treatment are justified. One can see where the threats inherent first in the attacks of September 11 and now in the “public health emergency” of the pandemic would provide sufficient basis for the preconditions for torture cited here.”
As he stated in the call out for submissions,
The….report aims to demonstrate that torture and other forms of ill-treatment cannot be effectively eradicated in any governance system failing to fully acknowledge and rigorously mitigate the corrosive effect of such psychosocial dynamics through normative, institutional and policy measures ensuring full transparency and strict accountability for all exercise of governmental power.
In producing this report, Melzer has essentially made a strong indictment of human consciousness and delved into the darkness which has resulted not only in the well-established Hitlerian and Stalinesque atrocities of the 20th century, but also those which are continuing on, unabated, under a smoother set of protocols, wherein the need for “protection” from bogeymen and bogeyviruses is cited as sufficient rationale for the widespread practice of torture. In so doing, he joins a growing list of authors, social psychologists and ethicists who have explored the human tendency towards self- deception and self- gratification, and how these tendencies result in horrific abuses. Stanley Milgram’s experiments on “obedience to authority,” Howard Bloom’s book, The Lucifer Principle and even Scott Peck’s theological treatise, The People of the Lie, have also explored the roots of human on human abuse and have come up with disturbing conclusions about the very heart of humanity.
At the end of this most recent report, Melzer provided a list of recommendations to address this human proclivity to harm other humans. His recommendations included an abolition of secrecy, so that practices would become transparent. He recommended also that reports of wrongdoing be promptly investigated by the authorities, not covered up.
Matthew Olmsted, delegate from the US State Department, responded to Melzer’s report by stating that the US is leading the world in efforts to eradicate torture. Olmsted also denied Melzer’s previously published claims that Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were victims of torture. It should be noted that Olmsted’s assertions have a certain legalistic basis. In fact, US law defines torture as occurring outside the borders of the US. There is no acknowledgment that torture exists in the US and US law excludes those who claim they were tortured by the US within the borders of the US from any torture rehabilitation services….
“Self” deception is a fuzzy term. Mass self deception is generally orchestrated from the top. It wouldn’t be possible in the USA without the satanic media and the equally satanic medical establishment. People in an imprinted trance of terror and mortal danger are easy to manipulate on behalf of elite interests.
BTW, regarding US sponsorship of foreign torture, does this count?
2018-06-22 CIABASE: CIA Support of Honduran Death Squads
2018-07-22 CIABASE: The Office of Public Affairs
2018-07-22 CIABASE: The Phoenix Program
2018-11-25 CIABASE: CIA Support of Guatemalan Death Squads
2018-11-30 CIABASE: CIA Support of Salvadoran Death Squads
2019-08-29 Ralph McGehee’s CIABASE Database Online