Monday, September 25, 2006


The Dark Corners

The other day, RSR felt compelled to write a post on a Washington Post essay, "Torture's Long Shadow," by Vladimir Bukovsky outlining the very real consequences of our nation's torture policy.

In the essay, Bukovsky, who spent nearly 12 years in Soviet prisons, labor camps and psychiatric hospitals for nonviolent human rights activities drew a sobering parallel between the torture our government now carries out in the name of fighting terrorism with the torture of dissidents under Stalin and his heirs in the Soviet Union.

We don't intend to turn Red State Rabble into a blog about torture, but neither can we remain silent on moral issues just because they are outside its scope.

Today, we read a chilling interview in Harper's Magazine with Kate Brown is Associate Professor of History at the University of Maryland. Her book, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland won the American Historical Association’s George Louis Beer Prize. As a historian of Soviet history, she has sifted through an array of declassified NKVD and KGB documents about the abuse of prisoners in the Gulag.

Here's a bit of what Brown has to say:
American law enforcement agencies can now wiretap American civilians and detain citizens and permanent residents without charges, and consequently without evidence. Last week the House passed legislation to build a 700-mile Israeli-style fence on the U.S.–Mexico border and to deploy there many of the surveillance technologies tested in Iraq. Perhaps the domestic installation of wartime technologies and military surveillance in civilian settings has become acceptable to us because we have become accustomed, as Soviet citizens did during the endless Stalinist purges, to open-ended wars—wars with no opening salvo and no concluding treaty. Whether or not one agrees that American detention centers and secret prisons are the “Gulag of our time,” the comparison deserves serious consideration. It might help us shine a torch into the dark corners of repression, where the totalitarian qualities of our own society lurk, before the scale of violence ascends to Gulag dimensions.

If you care at all about what is happening to this country, read this interview.


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