“Purely physical torture is losing importance,” observed the psychologist Gustav Keller in 1981. “Psychological and psychiatric findings and methods are taking its place, planned and sometimes administered by white-collar torturers.” This statement, though prescient, is debatable: plenty of purely physical torture has been reported by former prisoners of Guantánamo and Bagram. The implication, however, is one of progress: that torture has been civilized, professionalized, in some way stripped of its teeth. +
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