Torture, murder and lies
© 1999 WorldNetDaily.com
Last Thursday in Vladivostok, after watching Russian war exercises in the Sea of Japan, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, "The (Russian) government has undertaken to rebuild and strengthen the military might of the state in response to both external and internal threats."
For the last two months the Kremlin has been mobilizing soldiers and distributing 21st century weapons to its military. This buildup includes the transfer of 500 AS-15 Kent cruise missiles from Ukraine to Russia along with 11 strategic bombers. It includes the coming unification of Russia with Belarus. In recent months Russia has conducted an unprecedented series of missile tests and all-arms military exercises. But aside from these war preparations, Prime Minister Putin also mentioned an "internal threat."
What internal threat does he mean?
Because of the bombings in Moscow, and last summer's Islamic incursion into Dagestan, Russia has been mobilizing troops and personnel of the Interior Ministry and the secret police. In other words, the events of last summer have presented the Kremlin with a chance to reinforce an existing police state with fresh reserves of strength.
Are you surprised to hear "democratic Russia" referred to as a police state?
Michael Slackman, the Moscow correspondent for Newsday, recently wrote a story about the police in Yeltsin's Russia. According to Slackman's Oct. 27 Newsday article, "Each year, about one of every six Russians are detained in a system where police rely on torture as their primary investigative tool."
In other words, during the last 12 months 25 million Russians have been detained by a police state that tortures innocent people. Slackman's article quotes a Moscow federal judge who says that torture is commonplace in Russia. Slackman also quotes detective Igor Ogorodnikov, who says, "I don't think there is a single (Russian) detective who hasn't used torture."
What do you call a country where the police routinely use torture to solve crimes? There are a number of words that could be used, but "totalitarian" comes quickly into mind.
"If you want a picture of the future," wrote George Orwell in 1984, "imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- forever." That was Orwell's characterization of the totalitarian state. In fact, Marxism has produced a number of regimes of this type -- from Cuba in the West to North Korea in the East. And for all of these regimes Russia is the mother country, the totalitarian original.
The Russian state is not civilized. If we want to be accurate, Russia is a missile-ready barbarism looking ahead to a future conflict with the civilized world. In fact, Russia's leaders are thugs and criminals. Russia's citizens have no rights. Every truth in Russia is twisted; every official statement is deceptive. Militarism and hate are the foundations of the Russian system. Communism is its secret ideology.
I asked the highest-ranking defector from the Russian General Staff, Col. Stanislav Lunev, if there were any decent people at the top of Russia's surviving Communist structures. He answered, "These are not human beings. These are crazy persons." I got a similar answer from the Chinese dissident, Harry Wu, when I asked about the Chinese Communists. Harry Wu said, "They are butchers."
But there is worse than butchery.
Imagine being thrown into a small cell the thickness of one brick. The door is slammed behind you. Your forehead is pressed against the brick wall. You are left in darkness for 48 hours. After a few minutes you feel panic. You cannot sit and you cannot turn around. You are quickly overcome by feelings of claustrophobia. The hours drag on as your limbs ache and your back is filled with pain.
Russian journalist Yevgenia Albats, in her book, "The State Within a State," writes about similar tortures endured by innocent Russian prisoners who are forced to stand perfectly still for many hours. No movement is allowed. Movement is punished by severe beating. After standing still for a long time the victim's legs become inflamed with pain. Eventually the sensation becomes so unbearable that the prisoner loses consciousness.
Another method used by the Russian police is called "crucifixion." It involves handcuffing a suspect to a metal bed frame and zapping the frame with electricity. The prisoner suffers a series of traumatic physical jolts. These occur at irregular intervals, which is said to have a profound "neurological" effect. Another favorite is called the "little elephant." In this form of torture a Russian police interrogator fits the prisoner with a gas mask. The mask is then pumped full of insecticide.
In Yeltsin's Russia torture is also used to coerce the testimony of witnesses. Under this system a suspect cannot escape conviction. The law, in fact, has no meaning in Russia. The police can destroy any person they choose. The only workable defense for a Russian citizen is the good offices of a friendly apparatchik. As with all totalitarian states, anyone outside the power structure is at risk.
The human rights problem in Russia can be cross-checked by anyone who cares to do a little homework. According to the U.S. State Department's March 1996 Human Rights Report on Russia, "The human rights record of the (Russian) government is entirely without parallel, with reverses and deterioration in some areas. ..."
According to Avraham Shifrin, author of "The First Guidebook to Prisons and Concentration Camps of the Soviet Union," the Gulag system has been expanded under Boris Yeltsin. In mid 1997 Shifrin's correspondence with Christopher Story was excerpted in the May 1997 issue of Soviet Analyst. Shifrin is quoted as saying, "Basically the situation in the camps of Russia, the Ukraine (as well as other parts of the USSR with the exception of the Baltic States) has not changed."
The infamous Gulag labor camps of Stalin continue to operate. We have shamefully forgotten the millions who suffer hunger and persecution under one of the world's worst criminal regimes. It is sad to say, but the West has foolishly accepted the Kremlin "reforms" as genuine.
Of course, many Americans will refuse to believe the truth. Many will shake their heads and deny the reports of police repression in Russia. But those who imagine that the Soviet camps are closed, that the Gulag is a thing of the past, need to be splashed with a bucket of cold water.
Several months ago I spoke with a former member of British parliament who served on the human rights committee of the North Atlantic Assembly. He was part of a delegation sent to witness the closing of the "last" Soviet labor camp. He said that his delegation was given nothing but a pack of excuses. They never saw any political prisoners being released. They could not visit the camps. The Russians complained of "administrative failures." The Western delegation couldn't wait forever. Eventually the delegates went home. The closing of the Gulag never happened. But the Western press had already reported the event. That's all the Kremlin wanted. Once the story appeared on the front pages of the Western press, the matter would be dead forever. The torture, the murder and the lies could continue without consequence. There would be no economic sanctions, no embargoes, no difficulties in acquiring new technology or industrial equipment from America.
Most Americans have not read the literature of Russia's prison system. Most Americans know little about Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's three-volume work, "The Gulag Archipelago." They do not know that Russian inmates -- called "zeks" -- were crammed body-to-body into freezing cattle cars transported thousands of miles, forced to soil themselves because there were no toilets and few stops along the way. American readers cannot imagine the taste of nettle leaf soup, or grass porridge, or the nearly indigestible corn meal that is given to prisoners. Americans don't know that the floors of some KGB dungeons are slippery with excrement, that prisoners often sleep with bed bugs on straw sacks. Americans know nothing whatsoever of the freezing cold, the lice, the kicks and punches of sadistic guards.
The Chinese system is equally brutal. Not as well known as the Russian Gulag, the Chinese prison system is called "Laogai" -- which translates as "Reform Through Labor." Even as I write these words, 20 million Chinese prisoners are suffering under unspeakable conditions while Western businessmen make deals with the Beijing butchers.
The literature of the East is rich with the stories of survivors -- Chinese and Russian. Harry Wu, the most outspoken of the Chinese dissidents, spent nearly 20 years in the Chinese Laogai. His books include "Bitter Winds" and "Troublemaker." The Russian poetess, Irina Ratushinskaya, sentenced to seven years hard labor in 1983, wrote a book entitled "Grey is the Color of Hope." It is an emotionally gripping book, filled with beauty and pain.
On my desk I have an old copy of Michael Solomon's memoir, "Magadan." He was sentenced to 25 years hard labor in the Russian Gulag. His book should be required reading for all American school children. Why should it be required? Because the barbarism inflicted on Solomon could be unleashed on America. In fact, we have allowed totalitarians to sneak into our universities, to penetrate our government and insinuate their prejudices into our media. Our people need to be told the truth. They need to see the danger before it engulfs them. Once totalitarianism takes hold there is no cure. It is a disease that corrupts its victims so that no turning back is possible.
America needs to be educated. It needs to understand the planet we are living on. We need to stop listening to senior idiots from the Carnegie Endowment for National Suicide, and from the Clinton administration, who keep telling us that Russia is a struggling democracy. If we permit these lies and distortions to continue, then our future might be, as George Orwell predicted, "a boot stamping on a human face -- forever."
J.R. Nyquist is a WorldNetDaily contributing editor and author of 'Origins of the Fourth World War.'
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