I will return to the subject of my last couple of posts very soon - I have certainly been thinking much about them - but now I would like to talk about something that has been troubling me vaguely for about a month. It was then i received a message on my facebook page concerning a crime that had horrified the British nation some years ago. In February 1993 a toddler called James Bulger was abducted, tortured and murdered by two ten-year-old children. The message that had ben forwarded to me was a hoax, asking me to sign a petition to prevent the release of the perpetrators - who had been, in fact, released several years before. There are many such hoaxes about and many people who unwittingly forward them. What disturbed me, however, was the covering message which asserted that if I ignored it I was "seriously fucked in the head".
This angered me. For one thing, I knew that the perpetrators had already been released but more importantly it revealed, as far as I could see, a terrifying blindness to reality. What happened to this child was horrifying and I would make no attempts to minimise it. But the perpetrators were themselves also children - both aged 10 - below the age of criminal responsibility in many jurisdictions. That means something - they are not expected to realise the full implications of their actions. They were tried and convicted, however, and were taken into custody and eventually deemed to be no longer a threat. Being unacquainted with the full details of their cases I cannot possibly comment on the virtues of their release and subsequent reintroduction into society. I do know, however, that the tabloid press went to town on it.
The crime was horrifying. I do not know what went through the minds of those who committed it nor how they have come to terms with it now they are adults. I hope that they have, however, and that their life is full and rewarding. James Bulger cannot be brought back to life.
The tabloid press, however, so vigilant in its demand for justice to be served on children is strangely silent on other issues. For a large part of the 1950s and 60s the CIA funded an eminent psychiatrist in Canada, Ewen Cameron, in his research on how to delete the human personality. As his subjects this man of science used patients who were experiencing such things as post-partum depression. This scientific moron believed that if he could eradicate all past experience he could rebuild a healthy human being. To this end he used sensory deprivation, extreme disorientation, all manner of drugs, electric shocks and other methods. His funders, however, were not so naive, they did not expect any therapeutic results - their interest was simply in how to disintegrate the human personality. The results of this research, although long practised covertly, were legitimised in the Bush regime and have still not been renounced by Obama, who seems unlikely to pursue the torturers and prosecute those who gave the green light to them.
I am not surprised and expected nothing less. Whatever virtues Obama may have, and they may indeed be many, he is in the service of a nation and a system which has prospered through the use of torture. Which has prospered through deliberate mass murder. Those who own the tabloid press - the Murdochs of this world - have fostered this ideology of theft, greed, murder, rape and torture. They have feted the ideologues who gave an intellectual gloss to naked and unabashed greed - in particular Milton Friedman and his disciples. These, oh-so-dainty and respectable academic apologists for cruelty and greed are still presiding over the deliberations of the politicians whose souls they have bought - including the current incumbents of both Downing Street and the White House. And the latest G20 farce in London.
And nobody seems to care. They are too busy telling me that I am "seriously fucked in the head" if I do not join the lynch mob baying for the blood of a couple of ten-year-olds.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe: part four
8 hours ago