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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Were they Tortured?

This is a long post, you'll have to click the "read full post link" to see it all. Please read it, and comment on the issue of whether or not this is torture. After I read the comments later today I'll post my own with the resolution of the story. I will tell you now this is a true occurrence

They were startled and forced from a deep sleep at 12am. Nearly a dozen masked men, carrying what looked like rubber paddles screaming woke up 18 people.

They were forced up, and told "Scum, you are worthless scum and need to be cleaned, get to the showers!" In all 18 were rounded up from the sleeping area and forced into a trio of 4x4 shower stalls, six per stall, all near naked and huddled together. Then they turned on the water, cold salt water poured from the open pipes, soaking all.

The screaming continued as the soap was dumped on them "You are all worthless scum! Get Clean!". For nearly 30 minutes they were forced, in the cold salt water, to wash each other, before they were pulled from the showers and taken outside, still wet, and forced to get on their hands and knees on the hard rough surface.

Each was given a handler, who put a leash made of rope on them. "Pushups Scum! Do Pushups, NOW!" the largest and loudest of the handlers screamed. On the rough surface, which scuffed the skin, they did pushup as another handler screamed questions "Which one of you bastards attacked the Colonel? Fess up and it will be easier". No one answered. The screaming got louder "Which one of you assholes strung up Oscar? We found him hanging, WHO DID IT!!" No one answered.

They were all ordered to get on their bellies, the gravel like surface scraping as they did. "Swim jerk offs, there are sharks chasing you! Swim!" As they kicked the knees and elbows were roughed up as they hit the ground in the mock swimming motion. The same questions about Oscar and the Colonel were screamed, and still no one answered. For over an hour this went on, before suddenly their leader put a stop to it, and told the handler to put them back to bed.

At 4:30 it started again, everyone woken by the screaming handlers. "Get dressed, you have 1 minute to be in formation in the lounge, don't be late!" he slapped his hard paddle against the bunks to make his point that being late would mean something less than fun.

The handlers, all with masks, t-shirts with slogans about killing the scum, waited in the lounge, slapping the paddles against tables screaming.

"On your knees scum!" was the first command in the lounge, the handlers came by and put the leashes back on each of their charges. Time for confession, each of you will be given the chance to tell the Padre who attacked the colonel and who hung Oscar. We are very pissed about Oscar and want to know who did it.

The man dressed somewhat like a priest came and offered each of the men something like communion, but it stunk of rotted something. "Eat your communion and confess that you did it!" the priest screamed. Each was fed a wafer of something, but none would confess. Each received five lashes with the paddles for not coming clean.

The head handler order then all into a single file line, on hands and knees, "Take them to the staging area". When they had crawled nearly 100 yards, up and down stairs, then outside, they were put into a larger group of nearly 100, all with handlers screaming at them. "Today you will pay for what happened last night. One of you will confess to hanging Oscar, and attacking the Colonel. All of you will pay for it", the man who seemed to be in charge screamed.

Groups of 10 at a time were taken up a final stair case every 10 minutes or so. When they reached the top they saw an array of props set up. Coffins, toilets, troughs , table , long tubes, huge chairs.

Each was lead from station to station. "Did you attack the Colonel?" The answer was always "no", and then it would begin. At the toilet, which was filled with something that stunk and was brown, they would be forced to bob for apples, most throwing up.

If they still didn't answer correctly they were taken to the "tube" 80 feet long, full of old trash, food, and the vomit of those before them. The same questions were asked, and the result was always "no", and they were sent through the tube. The handlers screamed for them to crawl faster through the 2.5 foot diameter tube. There was no choice but have their faces in the slop in the bottom.

They were taken to the confessors chair, where a huge, hairy man sat. His belly was covered in lard, with something in his navel. "Did you kill Oscar?" "Did you attack the Colonel?" When the answer was no, their faces were forced to the fat belly, and forced to retrieve whatever it was in his navel, and swallow it.

After nearly 2 hours, and 10 stations, none had confessed, and were taken to a new area. It continued until all 100 had gone through. No one confessed to hanging Oscar or attacking the colonel.

(please click "read full post" to see the full story)
I will give the followup sometime this evening.
Follow up:

No, it wasn't torture, it was my military (Navy & Marine) initiation into the Royal Order of Shellbacks, which is done on your first crossing of the equator, in 1986. (Ascan wasn't there, he was with me the third time I crossed).

I was the one who hanged Oscar, (who is the man overboard dummy on Navy ships) from the aft 70 ton boom on a cargo ship. To the lookout at 11pm, it was kind of frightening.

I was also in the group who kidnapped, and slightly degraded the Colonel who was the Office In Charge of our landing force. I paid for that, cuz someone ratted us out.

I also spent a few 10 minute stints in a coffin (not alone) full of rotted potatoes, two stints in a bathtub full of ice cubes, and various other less than fun activities.

But my point is, as some folks in the comments thought, what one defines as "torture" is totally dependent on the point of view, and what they are trying to get from that definition. Some of the folks in Congress who are complaining that rap music, "stinky hoods", etc are torture went through this same initiation, probably worse if they were in before I joined, and know better. They didn't call it torture when it was done to them.

(On a side note, the Navy has clamped down on initiations over the last 10 years, and stuff I went through would be forbidden. Mostly because they were afraid of offending the sensibilities of the fairer sex when they began assigning them to combatants.)

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Blogger armed_and_christian said...

Sounds like military training to me.

9:07 AM  
Blogger armed_and_christian said...

...or maybe fraternity hazing

9:08 AM  
Blogger asacan said...

This brought back wonderful memories! Well, they weren't exactly wonderful at the time it was happening, they are now. Nearly two years later, I was a handler cleaning, feeding, and teaching the scum. I'm not going to spill the beans, because I know exactly what he's referring to, because I was along side CP when I was a handler.

Funny thing, when I was being put through this "torture", the highest ranking member of our unit was right next to me receiving the same treatment, with a smile on his face and a dog collar around his neck. It was sort of humiliating for me to see this nearly fifty year old man being treated like that, but he just smiled the whole time and took the brunt of the beating, he was picked on due to his seniority.

Now I'm proud to call myself one of the initiated in our "secret" society. Bob, you will pay dearly for telling of our rituals to the uninitiated.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Freedomnow said...

This cant be torture because they weren't subjected to loud rap music. Please study up on your latest torture updates and bulletins.

Saddam Hussein has revealed that the US tortured him as well. I think it has something to do with the withholding of Cheetos from him or something like that...

11:19 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

According to the dictionary definition, yes it is torture. Torture just means the infliction of pain and suffering on another, not necesarily with any object in mind other than inflicting pain. It may matter whether a person consents to the torture, however. Consent can be given either explicitly or implicitly, e.g. if I were to join the Marine Corps, I could reasonably expect to experience some mental and physical torture. Therefore, by choosing to join the Marine Corps anyway, I consent to the torture.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Freedomnow said...

What does that have to do with rap music? You dont know anything about the law!!!!!!!!!!

4:25 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Freedom, you have an obsession with Rap music, unfortunately, at the time this took place, Rap hadn't really hit the scene, it was still about 6 months before it took off.

Matthew, wouldn't it be nice if everything in life were as clear cut as Miriam Webster makes it? Going by the dictionary definition, basic training in most service would be considered torture.

ASCAN, this was actually my original initation in 1986. You were with me on my third trip across the line. Ask Jim Hirsch about the second trip, he remembers it :)

Armed- You were correct, military "training". I won't write about my initiation to the brotherhood of Chief Petty Officers, it lasted longer, and may have been more degrading.

10:19 PM  
Blogger asacan said...

I think you mis-interpreted what I had said. When I was initiated, you hadn't come back aboard the ship yet, but after you returned, I had been a handler (or Shellback) along side you, except I think you took the watch for a while if I'm not mistaken. I wasn't saying that I went through the initiation with you.

Our initiation was not quite as bad as previous. They couldn't use shillalies, and we had to do a "duck walk" on the non-skid rather than crawling on it. The things we were "served" to eat also had to be edible. The following initiation, when we were there together (and Dave hid in the display shop, AGAIN), was officially much tamer (although if you recall what had transpired in Mount 51...). Now they're practically non-existant.

The last deployment I did, in 2001, we were due to cross the equator on 12 September. I had been aggravated that us shellbacks had not been consulted at all, but it would only be a quick ceremony where people would get their card and a handshake. In a twisted sort of way, I still think 9/11 was Davey Jones' way of showing his disapproval.

12:20 AM  
Blogger Freedomnow said...

I have the right to torture Islamists by blaring rap music really loud. Its my freedom of expression.

....I gots my phat ride bumped up to da max, G. Let me take a terrorist for a ride....

3:17 PM  
Blogger Robosquirrel said...

Ah, fellow shellback!
I went through for the first time in 1997, and it was a kinder, gentler Navy then. I've since been involved as a trusty shellback a couple of times, but I didn't care for the last ship's handling of the festivities and just took the deck for the evolution. The first time on the last ship, the wogs revolted and attempted to zip-tie me to a chair to do something crazy to me. I broke out of the zip-ties (amazing feats of strength, thanks be to King Neptune!) when they decided it was no longer good-natured fun and time for injury and evil. I still have the scar.

3:49 PM  

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