28 March 2012
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incapacitating and paralysing technologies
by Dr Steve Wright, Director of the Omega Foundation
Full-text of report: pdf
This paper covers the emergence of new sub-lethal, incapacitating and paralysing technologies and their coming role in the mass production of torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. It grew out of the work the Omega Foundation has undertaken for Amnesty International (on electroshock, restraining and torture technologies), the European Commission, the European Parliament and Landmine Action. Throughout its' existence, Omega has tracked technologies, particularly less-lethal weapons) deployed by the police, military and security services to create human rights violations, including weapons used in torture. However, such technologies have always been seen by us as multi-functional, weapons of flexible response rather than specifically designed just for a role in torture.
Thus in many senses, to look for specially designed implements
of torture is a rabbit hole, since very few manufacturers would
deem such a role for their products. There are of course exceptions,
for example, the House of Fun' electronic torture chamber
designed for the Dubai Special Branch by a company here in London.
Standard operating procedures become routinely used in torture
and should be considered as a form of torture software, with
the teaching of the torturers as a live-ware capable of being
exported and replicated. Some of these devices and techniques
are bespoke. For example, the Apollo machine' devised by
Savak, the Shah's secret police in Iran (it delivered an electric
shock to sensitive parts of the body whilst a steel helmet covered
prisoners heads to amplify their screams) was also used by the
succeeding regimes religious police. Others, such as the sensory
deprivation techniques evolved by the British Army in Northern
Ireland, now form part of the interrogation procedures by Special
forces throughout the world."
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