Extraordinary Renditions

(Illustration by Alex Fine)


I remember thinking shortly after the planes hit the World Trade Center that we really need to start making more friends in low places.

I was thinking along the lines of old-school shaken-not-stirred James Bond intrigue: an assassin’s blow dart, silent but deadly, hitting Mr. X in the neck from behind the cloakroom curtain. Maybe a tricked-out Jag that shoots out an oil slick on the treacherous mountain passes of Monaco, sending the terrorists giving chase to a fiery death below. Worst case, we storm Osama’s cave at Tora Bora, get medieval on his ass, keep our feelers out for the rest of his goons and get on with the frickin’ 21st century. Admittedly, I was a little naive.

Then came the Abu Ghraib torture pics, which looked like stills from some Aleister Crowley black magik ritual: hooded seminaked prisoners wearing electrodes and dancing on top of car batteries, gay sex pyramids, water torture, genital humiliation, anal rape threats, contusions and weeping and gnashing of teeth-and other scenarios too perverse to comprehend without extensive Googling of the occult and the darkest reaches of pornography.

Secret CIA dungeons around the globe. NSA spying on Americans. Pentagon spying on antiwar protesters. And here I thought the war on terror was about defending truth, justice and the American way.

Now comes news that we’re torturing hogtied terror suspects in Kabul and Gitmo with marathon lashings of Eminem and Dr. Dre at teeth-rattling volume.

This is from Human Rights Watch: “Benyam Mohammad, an Ethiopian-born Guantánamo detainee who grew up in Britain, said he was held at the ‘dark prison’ in 2004 and described his experience to his attorney in English: ‘It was pitch black, no lights on in the rooms for most of the time … They hung me up. I was allowed a few hours of sleep on the second day, then hung up again, this time for two days. My legs had swollen. My wrists and hands had gone numb … There was loud music, [Eminem’s] “Slim Shady” and Dr. Dre for 20 days … [Then] they changed the sounds to horrible ghost laughter and Halloween sounds. [At one point I was] chained to the rails for a fortnight … The CIA worked on people, including me, day and night … Plenty lost their minds. I could hear people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors, screaming their heads off.'”

Neither Em nor Dre has, to my knowledge, responded to the report, released a few days before Christmas. Both men apparently have more pressing matters to attend to: Em’s finally set a date to get remarried to his ex-wife, and Dre’s still gonna put a cap in Ja Rule’s bitch ass.

I checked some of the Dre and Em messageboards to see if the fans had any comment. Over at DaShadyBoard, Gayme_Over started a torture thread with: “Fans of Eminem and Dr. Dre would never tell you that they are tortured by listening to rap music for days at a time.” M.O.B Soldja countered with: “You are a fuckin idiot.” To which Gayme_Over replied: “Go suck a dick fagget … u a bitch nigga!” And from there it just turned into a heated debate about who exactly was gonna be whose bitch. End of discussion.

Folks, I can’t help but think a dark hood has been pulled over the head of America, and we’re too lost in the matrix of our own bullshit to even notice. We walk around like we’re Luke Skywalker when in fact we’ve become a nation of Darth Vaders. Or in the wise words of Obi-Wan Kenobi: only a master of evil. Stop the Death Star — I wanna get off.