The content in this page ("Tortured Thinking" by Harrison George) is not produced by Prachatai staff. Prachatai merely provides a platform, and the opinions stated here do not necessarily reflect those of Prachatai.

Tortured Thinking

The new President of the United States believes that ‘torture works.’  Or rather, with his unremitting bombast, ‘absolutely torture works.’

He bases this not on any empirical evidence (which all points the other way) but on the same kind of fact-free ugly-gut faux-hard-man reaction that has led him to claim that climate change is a Chinese hoax, that his election victory would have been more impressive if millions had not voted illegally, and that his inauguration attracted the biggest audience ever.  Period.  Ever.

In other words, he is again making an outrageously false claim based on tabloid headlines, irresponsible blatherings on the internet and whatever happens to coincide with his wilfully uninformed prejudices.

And we are left hoping that the CIA will be able to restrain him.  (What have we come to when we have to look to the CIA to safeguard basic human rights?)

But the world has to live with Trump, even if Trump doesn’t seem to want to live in the real world.  So the prospect of the US moving back into the torture business has provoked international reaction. 

Since Trump cannot overnight rewrite United States law, the constitution and US obligations under international treaties, there has been speculation that Trump will have to indulge his criminal fantasies by bringing back the so-called ‘black sites’.  These were secret prisons in an impressively large number of foreign countries with a history of torturing their own people and a willingness to take on a bit of outsourcing.  Or at least turn a blind eye while the US imported both torturers and torturees. 

A number of governments have even started touting for custom through discreet but expensively glossy brochures that have been shoved through influential Washington letterboxes.  Prachatai has come into possession of some examples whose authenticity is as credible as a Trump tweet.  We publish them here as a service to humanity and satire.

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Poland – the best of both torture worlds

With a history that spans subservience to the Communist Bloc and membership of NATO, Poland is uniquely placed to offer the best of both communist and capitalist torture traditions.  Our many abandoned Soviet-era air bases offer top-notch torture suites in secluded settings with excellent direct air connections for extraordinary renditions to anywhere in the world.  Our authorities have a proven record of discretion, dissimulation and deception, so you can be confident that your crimes against humanity will remain completely hidden from both domestic and international scrutiny.

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Egypt, where torture is a way of life

Ever since the mighty pyramids were built with slave labour, Egypt has enjoyed a long and proud tradition of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.  From ministerial palaces to the backrooms of the lowliest police lockups, criminals, anti-government elements and the occasional innocent bystander are subjected to a battery of torture techniques both ancient and modern, from the latest in high-voltage electrodes to the good old broom handle up the anus.  Our expertise in extracting confessions from guilty and innocent alike is second to none.  Whatever information you need to back up your most outlandish suspicions, we can force it out of anyone. 

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Amazing Thailand

Where else in the world can you find country that signs the UN’s Convention Against Torture but passes no domestic law to criminalize it?  That bans corporal punishment but regularly beats schoolchildren?  That successfully hosted the longest waterboarding session in US black site history but steadfastly denies knowledge of the existence of any black sites on its territory?

Welcome to now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t Thailand, where normal things, like crossing the street, can take an eon, but where the legally, morally and ethically impossible can happen before you know it. 

Why not try our special foreign torturers’ package?

  • Work permit waivers for accredited torturers
  • Reduced utility rates for registered torture sites (water boarding and electrocution can send those water and electricity bills soaring!)
  • Tax-free repatriation of any profitable information extracted under torture
  • Importation of torture equipment exempted from customs duties
  • And much, much more.

For further details, contact our website at or call our toll-free number 1-800-TORTURE where our highly trained assistants will meet your every need and then immediately forget whatever you told them.

Remember – think torture, think Thailand

About author:  Bangkokians with long memories may remember his irreverent column in The Nation in the 1980's. During his period of enforced silence since then, he was variously reported as participating in a 999-day meditation retreat in a hill-top monastery in Mae Hong Son (he gave up after 998 days), as the Special Rapporteur for Satire of the UN High Commission for Human Rights, and as understudy for the male lead in the long-running ‘Pussies -not the Musical' at the Neasden International Palladium (formerly Park Lane Empire).