Under Stalin, to wind up in a special psychiatric hospital was
an unattainable dream.

—Vladimir Gusarov, Soviet dissident committed to Kazan
Psychiatric Prison Hospital, 1953–541


19
Drugs and Doctors

In this chapter, I describe the place of drugs and doctors in torture. First, I describe the use of drugs to extort confessions and gather information from prisoners in the early twentieth century. I consider ordinary police usage and then CIA use of these scientific tortures. Next, I survey what is known about the use, spread, and incidence of pharmacological torture during the Cold War, focusing in particular on pharmacological torture in the Soviet Union. In the 1970s, pharmacological torture spread rapidly among countries and then declined everywhere in the 1980s except in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries. These authoritarian states replied to international and domestic critics by justifying painful pharmacological treatments of dissidents as legitimate medical intervention in psychiatric cases. Monitoring then played an important role in driving pharmacological torture in the context of Communist psychoprisons.

The Communist exception offers once again an opportunity to explore the role of ideology in the choice of torture techniques (the ideology hypothesis). Pharmacological torture happened within the context of psychiatric prisons, and so I consider the development of psychiatric prisons in Communist countries more generally. As Gusarov says, Stalin had little interest in psychoprisons when he could send people to labor camps and prisons for torture.2 But after Stalin's death, remanding dissidents to psychoprisons became more common, and this process intensified in particular during the period of detente in the 1970s. Around this time, psychoprisons appeared in Romania, Cuba, and China. If these changes coincided with a change in ideology, this does not appear in the historical record. It seems more likely that other Commun-

-385-

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Torture and Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Torture and Democracy xxv
  • Introduction 1
  • I - Torture and Democracy 33
  • 1: Modern Torture and Its Observers 35
  • 2: Torture and Democracy 45
  • II - Remembering Stalinism and Nazism 65
  • 3: Lights, Heat, and Sweat 69
  • 4: Whips and Water 91
  • 5: Bathtubs 108
  • III - A History of Electric Stealth 121
  • 6: Shock 123
  • 7: Magnetos 144
  • 8: Currents 167
  • 9: Singing the World Electric 190
  • 10: Prods, Tasers, and Stun Guns 225
  • 11: Stun City 239
  • IV - Other Stealth Traditions 259
  • 12: Sticks and Bones 269
  • 13: Water, Sleep, and Spice 279
  • 14: Stress and Duress 294
  • 15: Forced Standing and Other Positions 316
  • 16: Fists and Exercises 334
  • 17: Old and New Restraints 347
  • 18: Noise 360
  • 19: Drugs and Doctors 385
  • V - Politics and Memory 403
  • 20: Supply and Demand for Clean Torture 405
  • 21: Does Torture Work? 446
  • 22: What the Apologists Say 480
  • 23: Why Governments Don't Learn 519
  • 24: The Great Age of Torture in Modern Memory 537
  • A - A List of Clean Tortures 553
  • B - Issues of Method 557
  • C - Organization and Explanations 566
  • D - A Note on Sources for American Torture During the Vietnam War 581
  • Notes 593
  • Selected Bibliography 781
  • Index 819
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