What The War On Terror And The War On Drugs Have In Common: Torture

William Finnegan reports on the various ways that the Mexican government is fighting the drug war in Tijuana. This excerpt is especially chilling:

Castellanos was tortured for three days, primarily by a soldier whom he called “the person of the voice.” He came to learn who had denounced hima fellow-officer who had also been tortured for names. The other man had told his torturers that he saw Castellanos’s car in the company of members of the Arellano Félix ganga powerful organized-crime group sometimes known simply as the Tijuana cartel. He also mentioned that he thought Castellanos had been looking at his wife. Castellanos sighed. “I’ve never met or seen his wife. I don’t even know her name.”

On the second day, with his torturers threatening to harm his wife and two young daughters (his wife, frantic about his disappearance, was meanwhile receiving phone threats, warnings to stay silent), Castellanos came to the end of his power to resist. He was willing to say or sign anything. “I say, ‘O.K., I’ll do what you want.’ I was always screaming, ‘Please, please don’t do that to me.’ But I think they don’t care.” He was given a denunciation, a list of names, to sign. “The worst thing to me was that I signed that paper, which I hadn’t even read.”

His eyes searched mine, fierce and pleading. It looked to me as if something terrible had happened to him inside. A friend of his later told me that when Castellanos couldn’t sleep he did pushups and pullups, hour after hour, which explained his physique. He went on, “I just signed the paper. Whatever. This was on a Wednesday. They destroyed my mind. They destroyed my spirit. Always with tape and handcuffs. No opportunity to defend myself. But the government, the military, believed what I’m confessing. They believed things I said yes to from torture, because I don’t want to die. They are very bad persons, but they are also stupid.”

It's a kind of stupidity they share with Dick Cheney.