Those Secret Torture-Prisons:
A Modest Proposal
By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
December 13, 2005
I am always open to innovative ways of raising money for cash-strapped
governments, as long as it doesn't cost me anything extra. Many states,
for example, sponsor lotteries; nobody is forced to buy in, but millions
of citizens purchase tickets that help underwrite our schools and
In that light, I have a modest proposal for the Bush Administration:
Auction off torture rights.
Here's how it would work. The Bush Administration, either through eBay or
by establishing a website all its own (>> torturersRus.gov <<), would let
citizens bid for the right to brutalize a terrorist suspect in one of the
secret CIA prisons around the globe.
The Torture Abroad program would be aimed at those who, for a price, might
delight in exercising their dominance and control of dangerous, inferior
beings. (Note: This project is NOT to be confused with the similarly-named
Torture A Broad program.)
For purposes of full disclosure, it's essential to note that the Bush
Administration denies having supersecret CIA prisons around the world, and
emphatically insists that torture does not take place at those facilities.
If "harsh interrogation methods" are employed at the non-existent prisons,
it's totally without the Administration's knowledge or approval.
A MARKETING FLYER
Trying to be helpful, I've composed some possible text for a Torture
Abroad advertising flyer:
Want to do something to aid your country's battle against terrorists,
and to participate in frat-style pranks and good, clean aerobic fun at
the same time?
Then consider sending in your bid to become a member of Torture Abroad.
Remember, high bidders have more chance to be selected.
Wearing our handsome black mask and windbreaker -- with the eye-catching
Volunteer Torturer Militia seal -- you'll be flown free on one of the
CIA's luxury secret airflights with, of course, stopover privileges in
Poland, Romania, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Morocco, et al. Naturally,
you'll be in First Class, and your assigned torture-buddy, appropriately
enough, will be in Cargo.
You will be permitted to indulge in sexual humiliation, stress
positioning, rape, thumb-screws, pyramid-building, baseball bat-play,
use of the wrack, whip&chain teasing, the employment of rabid dogs, and
so on, but you'll have to pay a bit extra for the privilege of
near-drowning (our popular "waterboarding" option) and for the awesome
We realize, based on our polling data, that some people will be repulsed
by this suggestion. Granted, the idea of having to pay this extra fee is
offensive, but the whole idea of this enterprise, let us remember, is to
raise money to help subsidize our country's vital "war on terror."
Note: If you torture a detainee to death, which has been known to happen
even with professionals in charge, there will be a hefty surcharge and
you will suffer severe penalties: You will NOT receive the video of your
handiwork or the program's parchment certificate signed by Karl Rove
All torture implements will be provided but if you have certain
activities that cannot be accommodated by government-issue, you will be
permitted to bring your own props. No chain-saws, please. We do not want
to give even the slightest appearance of savagery.
If perchance, as a result of your time spent together, your detainee
chooses to confess to something or other, you will be granted a 10%
refund. If the confession actually contains anything remotely resembling
the truth, you will be gifted another prisoner at no extra charge.
(Note: This rarely happens.)
Please be aware that while we carry out due-diligence in certifying our
terrorist suspects, in the event that an innocent man or woman was
provided you -- which does happen on occasion as street sweeps can be
fairly random -- we assume no financial or criminal liability. We also
cannot provide assurance that governments or family members of the
prisoner won't try to locate you later for purposes of revenge.
But most red-blooded American citizens won't let those minor caveats
stop them from coming to the aid of their country in this time of war.
And you can have jolly good fun doing so, and feel patriotic pride in
your valuable work for the homeland.
Slots are limited, so act now. For the first hundred who sign up, we
will provide a framed, autographed photo of Jeffrey Dahmer.
HOW TO SUBMIT YOUR BID
So that's the basic outline of my proposal, which, as you can see, is a
win-win for all concerned. The war effort gains much needed fundage, the
capitalist system is promoted, bad guys are punished, ordinary citizens
are permitted to participate in important governmental programs, and the
recipients of the carnage no doubt will be adopted by liberal do-gooder
groups and nursed back to health. If they make it.
Should you be interested in applying to Torture Abroad, send your name,
address and phone number, and a good-faith deposit of $5000 cash, to the
address below. A special email address for VIP entry into the program will
be forwarded to you -- in other words, you won't have to log onto the
website's home page, which, as you can imagine, is sure to attract all
sorts of low-life thugs.
Mail all inquiries to John Ashcroft, Torture Abroad Program Director, at
the Department of Homeland Security, P. O. Box 666, Washington, D.C.
Enclose a photo, a brief bio, a key to your home, and your email password.
Thank you from all of us on Torture Abroad's Board of Directors: K. Rove,
G. Bush, R. Cheney, D. Rumsfeld, C. Rice, A. Gonzales, L. Libby, J.
Ashcroft, S. Hadley, K. Hughes, M. Matalin, J. Bolton, J. Woo, J. Bybee,
B. O'Reilly, R. Limbaugh, A. Coulter, J. Inhofe, W. Boykin, G. Miller, S.
Cambone, M. Chertoff, and Founding Fathers J. Mengele, A. Eichmann, and T.
God Bless the United States of America.
Copyright 2005, by Bernard Weiner
Bernard Weiner, a poet-playwright who has concocted
numerous political satires and parodies, has taught at various
universities, worked as a writer/editor for the San Francisco Chronicle,
and currently is co-editor of The Crisis Papers (www.crisispapers.org). To
comment: >> firstname.lastname@example.org <<.