Jean Améry, on the experience of having been tortured by the Nazis in the late 1930s, from At the Mind's Limits (1964):Not much is said when someone who has never been beaten makes the ethical and pathetic statement that upon the first blow the prisoner loses his human dignity. I must confess that I don't know exactly what that is: human dignity....I don't know if the person who is beaten by the police loses human dignity. Yet I am certain that with the very first blow that descends on him he loses something we will perhaps temporarily call 'trust in the world.'...
The expectation of help, the certainty of help, is indeed one of the fundamental experiences of human beings, and probably also of animals.... The expectation of help is as much a constitutional psychic element as is the struggle for existence. Just a moment, the mother says to her child who is moaning with pain, a hot-water bottle, a cup of tea is coming right away, we won't let you suffer so! I'll prescribe you a medicine, the doctor assures, it will help you. Even on the battlefield, the Red Cross ambulances find their way to the wounded man. In almost all situations in life where there is bodily injury there is also the expectation of help; the former is compensated by the latter. But with the first blow from a policeman's fist, against which there can be no defense and which no helping hand will ward off, a part of our life ends and it can never again be revived.
From the formal Declaration of U.S. Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States of America; January 2003:DIA is aware that Padilla has had extensive experience in the United States criminal justice system and had access to counsel when he was being held as a material witness. These experiences have likely heightened his expectations that counsel will assist him in the interrogation process. Only after such as Padilla has perceived that help is not on the way can the United States reasonably expect to obtain all possible intelligence information from Padilla. . . . Because Padilla is likely more attuned to the possibility of counsel intervention than most detainees, I believe that any potential sign of counsel involvement would disrupt our ability to gather intelligence from Padilla. Padilla has been detained without access to counsel for seven months -- since the [Department of Defense] took control of him on 9 June 2002. Providing him access to counsel now would create expectations by Padilla that his ultimate release may be obtained through an adversarial civil litigation process. This would break -- probably irreparably -- the sense of dependency and trust that the interrogators are attempting to create.
I am increasingly frightened by what we are becoming as a nation.