The “international community” these days seems to exist solely to enforce ritualized submission. There’s Greece, of course, targeted by the European Central Bank with what Ambrose Evans-Pritchard called a “nasty, bullying, insistence on ritual capitulation for the sake of it.” Puerto Rico is also many billions in debt to a rigged political economy. “Drop dead,” Washington told its neo-colony, much like it told New York back in the ’70s. The island is near a “death spiral,” says its governor. Then there’s Barack Obama’s unnecessary, vicious attack on his opponents over the horrible Trans-Pacific Partnership—people he knows are his allies and represent the best of this country’s political class. Obama got his fast track.
Captured in 1970 by Brazilian security forces, Rousseff, according to The New York Times, “spent three years behind bars, where interrogators repeatedly tortured her with electric shocks to her feet and ears, and forced her into the pau de arara, or parrot’s perch, in which victims are suspended upside down naked, from a stick, with bound wrists and ankles.” A recent Brazilian truth commission investigation found that over 300 Brazilian soldiers were trained by the United States in the “theory and practice of torture.”
“None of us can explain the lasting damages—we’ll just always be different,” Rousseff recently said of her experience. “I was held for three years. The stress was fierce…. I faced death and loneliness,” she said. “There is something to it that will mark us for life. The scars of torture are part of me.”
Richard Nixon and his National Security Advisor valued Brazil, deputizing its military government to help destabilize Salvador Allende’s government in Chile. “There were many things that Brazil as a South American country could do that the US could not,” Mr. Nixon told Brazil’s president, General Emilio Médici in 1971.
Washington was kept informed of the kind of things Brazil could do, including exactly what it was doing to Rousseff: A 1973 embassy cable to the Department of State reported that “suspected subversives” were “being subjected to an intensive psychophysical system of duress designed to extract information without doing visible, lasting harm to the body.” The embassy said that “older methods of physical violence” (that is, electric shock and stress hanging) were still being used (“which sometimes cause death”) but that Brazil’s torturers were also trying out “newer, more sophisticated and elaborate psychophysical duress system…to intimidate and terrify the suspect.” Through it all, Kissinger and others in Washington worked to keep the money flowing to Brasilia.