Torture, Brain Surgery, Evolution and Pat Robertson

I’m reading into intricate details of Haiti and Dominican Republic history. I’m reading on the slave rebellions, the colonial oppression and subsequent “justice” in particular. I’m reading this due to the not so surprising but still amazingly un-Christian like attack by Pat Robertson on the history of Haiti. Robertson said that Haiti was cursed because its slave rebellion leaders (notably Dutty Boukman) had made a “pact with the Devil”. In fact, this pact got a response from the Dark Lord of the Underground, oh yes, it did. But we’ll get to Dick Cheney in a minute. Yes, the one, the only, Satan The Monty Hall of Evil  said, “‘OK, it’s a deal.'”

Now, just like with Liz Cheney and other whack jobs and their claims, the easiest way to dismiss Robertson is through evidence or the mute button. I’d ignore him but I am fascinated by mythology, history, and lore, so it didn’t take me minutes to hit the ground running on the search for this “pact” with the devil. Along the way I found stories of rebel leaders who were beheaded by the French, like Dutty Boukman 1791, or who were burned alive, like François Mackandal 1758. In part of this story is the narrative being dominated by the French and subsequent European overtone of Slaves rebelling using voodoo (or vodou) versus the internal narrative of a people overthrowing the devil in the form of French slave masters and bosses. Depending on which view you come from, you will arrive at different conclusions.

Mackandal  was an interesting chap. He was well informed on poisons and was a threat to the French control and even the people themselves. He would distribute poisons to other slaves who would then poison their slavemasters and their families. In The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below by Carolyn E. Fick, there is a translation of the tortured interrogation of one of the slaves who betrayed Mackandal. Mackandal was executed at Cap-Haïtien.

Then it occurred to me. The narrative about Mackandal implies immediately that the betrayal story itself is suspect because it comes at the hands of torture. The odds of torture producing some positives in intelligence seems statistically inevitable, aka sometimes you’ve got the right guy and he will cough it up. But…sometimes, you don’t and he will say anything including recite rumors he may not know for sure and the case is sealed. This crude method has been a part of our controlling authorities tool box for most of our history. In some crude way, I’m sure occasionally busting someone’s toes to the point of powder did really get them to betray their allies. The odds say its entirely likely if you torture enough people you’ll get something as a result.

The Art of Brain Surgery or The Pick and Rock Cavity Clearance Sale
I remember being in the science museum when I was young and seeing our Cro-Magnon pre-TV Dinner ancestors and hearing about the ways that migraines and brain swelling would be eased. The various ways we tore people up to help them is rather nauseating. But keeping time in context we must acknowledge that to many this was advanced science at the time and now it is nothing short of criminal. No doctor today would simply start sawing your skull open to relieve pressure for a headache or Harvey Cushing would roll over in his grave. Yes, there are some procedures where removing the skull can create positive effects but you wouldn’t use it to cure what a good glass of water, lowering your salt intake and a bit of exercise would solve. Perhaps there is your remedy for what ails you.

It occurs to me that those who advocate for ‘any means necessary torture’ thinking wouldn’t exactly like the crude pick and rock technique should they require an aneurysm to be treated. No, I’m sure at this point they would want to trust the professionals. Certainly sawing their domes open to get at relax a headache wouldn’t be preferred. Yet when it comes to gaining actionable intelligence about “terrorist threats”, they’ll take the Neanderthal route and take what comes.

Professional interrogation by the FBI is a science that has long evolved since the days when tortured slaves or common criminals were burned or whipped into telling anything that would come out of their mouths. Yet in the world of Marion Gordon Robertson (aka Pat) and other extremely ignorant people who hate evolving, these methods are perfectly suitable to telling themselves that they are safe and clean from impurity. See, in the minds of people like Robertson, they are pure. Everyone else is sinful and whatever happens to those sinful people is completely justified because God on high smote them. It is this ignorant view of Christianity and history that propagates more discord about torture. Those who continue to support the resist of evolution are just about the same folks who support torturing anyone with the name Abdul in order to figure out if they know a bad guy. They know if they detain a Christian named then that couldn’t possibly be a terrorist. Nobody with the name Richard Reid could be a bad guy or a big danger right? Certainly not Timothy McVeigh. Why would anyone be so afraid of those names? Some very Anglo folks might be afraid of Jose Padilla but David Hicks or John Walker Linde?

If I’m to be superstitious may it simply be in asking, “Lord, please bless me with just enough cynicism to not fall prey to Pat Robertson. Amen.”

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