The Lives of Others


I’ve previously expressed some surprise that conservatives, who are strong believers in unrestrained state surveillance power here at home, seem to have greatly admired The Lives of Others, a film about the evils of unrestrained state surveillance in East Germany. What I’d forgotten until rewatching the film yesterday is that in the opening scene they show the Stasi using sleep deprivation and stress positions during an interrogation:

Admittedly, relative to Bush-era techniques this is pretty mild stuff. Being made to sit on your hands for an extended period of time would be uncomfortable and nobody would want to be subjected to continuous interrogation for this long. But compared to accomplishing this stuff by shackling people’s arms to the ceiling for days on end, the East Germans were being downright humane.