Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Spanish Inquisition

The Spanish Inquisition was an historical institution founded under Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile in 1478 to suppress heresies within the Catholic Church. The Inquisition was primarily under the control of the Spanish monarch, with only the Inquisitor General appointed by the Holy See.

In the history of the Catholic Inquisition, the Spanish Inquisition is especially well-known, particularly in the nature of the auto de fe, or trials, of supposedly converted Muslims, Jews, and Illuminists. This Inquisition also gave rise to the Peruvian Inquisition and the Mexican Inquisition, which continued until those countries split off from Spain.

Torquemada documented some of the torture techniques. A favorite was tortura del'agua (water torture), in which the victim was strapped to a rack, his mouth forced open with a rag, and water was then forced down the throat so that the victim felt he was drowning. In another technique, the garrucha, the victim's hands were tied behind his back at the wrists; the victim was then lifted off the ground by the wrists. The 'Spanish chair', a device used to hold the victim while the soles of their feet were roasted, was certainly in existence in Spain during the period of the Inquisition. It is uncertain, however, whether it was actually used by the Inquisition.

I guess some guys really paid attention during history class.

L' Histoire se rep├Ęte once again and now "The war on terror" doctrine is misused as a safe-conduct to violate human rights, invade foreign countries, kidnap, torture and execute human beings in concentration camps in a battle for oil.


Tina said...

They did certainly pay attention, but unfortunately they decided to skip over the history lessons that dealt with the Geneva Conventions.
I actually used an image of Att General "Abu Ghraib" Gonzales dressed as Torquemada recently... and in his bloodied hand was the Constitution-- that useless scrap of paper.

Blogger formerly known as JBlue said...

Tina, sorry I missed that image. Hilarious.

DA, the new inquisition = hideous.

Lisa said...

Dimitri, I am so embarrassed by the actions of my country's administration. Their techniques are spilling over into the U.S. now--so far in the form of secret wire-tapping of our citizens and in disregarding the Court's orders in an effort to nail Moussawi to the wall. I just hope that people overseas know that the Administration's actions do not represent the wishes of the American people. GWB's approval rating is an an all-time low and almost everyone here knows how foolish and evil he is. Hopefully, we will have a chance to show this to the world by delivering the party that promoted him, and which continues to tolerate him, serious losses in this year's mid-term races and in the presidential election in 2 years.

Lisa said...

P.S. I forgot to add that another fascist technique being used by the Bush administration is the TSA's (Trasportation Security Administration) strip searching of anyone in an airport whom they decide they dislike. I'll be writing about this on my own blog soon, as I was a recent victim.

Kathleen Callon said...

This modern inquisition shames and angers me. I may be against it, but my tax dollars are paying for it.

Worried said...

Lisa! STRIP SEARCHING?? Good heavens! And I became indignant and irate when they hassled me about the underwiring in my bra!!

Dimitri, you do not want me to comment about the war or the torture. I confine my posts on those subjects primarily to urls to articles and maybe a few sentences. If I ever lose my restraint and voice what I really think and feel, post or comment would equal or surpass War and Peace in length. And the destruction of my country...

Worried said...

Re: the Inquisition.I recently read a denial of that evil practise, that it was all lies to defame the Catholic Church. I suppose those relics were some sort of medical/surgical instruments? Perhaps the rack was used as therapy for back trouble?
The evidence of extreme heat on some of the metal equipment was from sterilizing them, I suppose.

Progressive Traditionalist said...

I agree that the American policy is basically a new modified form of Inquisition. But it began as a domestic policy. It's just that the foreign policy makes the news more often.

Prosecutorial excess has been a problem in America for a long time. The Texas Bar Association held a conference about this back in the early 90's. Texas was also one of the first to give prisoners the status of "non-persons" to deny them the rights guaranteed to "all persons," and nobody made a fuss because it was just prisoners.

Then immigrants.

And next, who?

Prosecution is big business, with well-paid expert witnesses that do little else other than expertly witness, to privately-owned detention facilities being paid per prisoner housed, to federal funds going to county officials per prisoner, and on and on.

What you see is a logical progression of the domestic policy. They slid it under the rug by calling it "law and order" and keeping people terrified of their neighbors.

And, same old story, no one cared until it came their turn.

I feel rather heartless toward the American people, by and large, because I see them as dominated by idiocy. The current administration is only symptomatic.

Worried said...

Yes, PT, and I am embarrassed to say that my own home state is guilty. There are certain cities and counties where you had better not fall afoul of the law, and god help you if you were a suspect in Pharr county or some of the other south Texas areas. When doing volunteer work with rehab of addicts, I encountered a few young men who had been captured near the TexMex border as they were conducting nefarious transactions; they avowed they had been subjected to the old electric shock to the genitals routine as authorities attempted to extract information re: drug traffickers.
One of those private detention facilities near the coast had a scandal a few years back about setting dogs on supine, helpless prisoners. Beatings, rape, humiliation, many other abuses in the system are common. Usually officially denied until the scandal gets too loud, then an investigation is made and nominal punishmentd meted out. The horrors of the present government practises are nothing new, just on a broader scale.
But, they're just criminals, aren't they? And flip the TV channel to the latest episode of whatever. The majority of the public is more or less apathetic to the domestic outrages and to the foreign scandals.

Because torture and the war are two of my hot-buttton items, I have been accused of being "too involved", "emotional", "obsessed", "soft on or coddling criminals", etc. Dammit. Because I believe in humanitarian principles?

Gadfly, another nightowl, is here visiting, surfing the blogs with me and peeking over my shoulder. She tells me to shut up and get off my soapbox before I erupt into a full fledged rant. OK. But I'm still enraged.

Gadfly said...

Hi Guys. Gadfly here. I usually don't comment, just lurk, but I want to say something about Marie. She's gone to make coffee so I can grab the keyboard.
You people just know her from the blog world. I've known her in person for years. I really admire and respect her and I hate to see her getting so old. She's done so much good in her life.
She's right about what people say to her about her passionate concern for humanitarian rights. And worse, in person and in email traffic. She was raised as a lady and isusually very prim and proper, quiet spoken and modest, although she has her hi-jinks side too. But punch her buttons, what she calls her hotbutton issues, and she morphs into a rival for the fire and brimstone old fashioned Baptist Bible thumping preachers, only she isn't preaching gospel. She is a passionate defender of human rights and yeah, she does get on her soapbox. She loves too much, cares too much, is too compassionate, feels too deep, and it tears her up to see human beings suffering, so she goes off on the subject.Kablooey!
Maybe some people don't want to hear it but I just wish there were more people like her. Whups! I hear dishes rattling, she's making the tray so will be back in a minute. I've gotta find the blog she was on before I came back here. But don't none of you ever criticize her or you'll hear from me in spades. AQnd I aint as nice as she is.

Mother Damnable said...

It's hard to think that the US has taken the world back 600 years to the dark ages.

I wonder how this has happened? Were tortures going on all the time in secret?

Is the US government so sure that it's corruptness and violence will not be challenged by the American people?

What happened to decency? Honesty? Treating my brother as I would like to be treated?

I don't want to be hard on US citizens but it seems to me that the majority MUST agree with Bush, the war and torture of people or why is is STILL going on?

Or is Democracy and the "will of the people" just another lie?

Granny said...

I'm missing coffee with WA and gadfly? Darn.

Progressive Traditionalist said...

To Mother Damnable: I believe the majority of Americans share in Thrasymachos' summation in Book I of The Republic, that "injustice is not reviled because men fear to do it, but because men fear to suffer it."

It seems that most, sadly, are fully content with idiocy. They have no sense of doing right for the sake of doing right. That's why it's easy for me to scorn them.

My countrymen are not "my people." They are an aberration, a horror.

DA said...

Benito Mussolini liked to say, “Everything in the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state.”

He would have loved to live today..

I call this unspeakable evil and monstrous crimes pure FASCISM.

It is so hard to understand why happy villagers are gladly waving the flags, wage the wars for oil, sponsor the bank syndicates and tolerate the new world order emerging.

This is not just an American issue. It is a global economy, a global doctrine of war on terror.

Democracy is a hoax.

Kathleen Callon said...

Democracy today is a hoax, and even if it's a world issue, the US is leading the way. It's worse than disgusting.

Mother Damnable said...

Oh my gosh, I was hoping that you'd say I was wrong, that Democracy is not a hoax and someone can see a future for us all that does not involve crimes commited in our name that we cannot live with.

I am so sad, it seems that our beautiful world has been turned into hell.

Am I alone in thinking that the green house effect has gone so far as to mean catastrophic effects for all of us and that is why our "leaders" have no regard for human life, or any future, or even what may be written about them in the history books.

Seems like, not so long ago, there was more to life than money.

Mother Damnable said...

Progressive Traditionalist, I can see your point, though I don't agree entirely :>)

It does puzzle me however that people seem so prepared to act in brutal and wicked ways.

Time after time I wonder "what about their immortal souls" or Karma, It's difficult for me to understand how people don't think of the indelible effect their behaviour will have on their own psyches.

Lesley said...

I find the fact that people in this country up until a short while ago overwhemlingly supported this agenda embarrassing to say the least. Now they are coming around, but it seems too late. I do not only blame those in power, but those who supported them. They may have supported them out of fear, but they are still equally to blame in the damage it has done.

Gary said...

Good post Dimitri. It's provocative and we need that.

The 'war on terrorism' is not a war at all, yet the US has framed it that way and now it's considered a fact. If instead, there had been a concerted multi-national effort to deal with all murderers on all fronts (political, cultural, economic and as needed - by force) - we wouldn't be quite the mudhole we're all in. An opportunity lost...

My wish is for the Democrat Party in the US to get their heads out of the sand (or the darker place that they sit on), find their spines and begin to fight the Bush administration with a united front. Hey, maybe democracy can turn this around! (How's that for a novel idea?)

JEFM said...

Dimitri, the Inquisicion was far less evil than commonly is known.

Horrible things happened there, but the numbers and accounts are grossly,GROSSLY exagerated.


PS I'll write interesting stuff about this subject on my blog.

Haider Droubi said...

those pics left me speechless...shocked that the images that scared me in freeman's movie (seven),can come true one of the buildings that stands for what has been called (freedom and democracy)….no wonder the family members of those people shall lose their minds when seeing their children tortured in such a way. then we will be blaming them for not acting wisely and in a ‘civilized way’.
Thanks for the people who published those pics…I wonder if there are any other hidden tragedies in this world.