If I ever have kids I’ll read them Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine at bedtime. I’ll use Klein’s words as proxy for my own in imparting the necessary cautions of governments and guns in our f*#ked up world.

(Hold up, there’s reason enough why not to have kids.)

Chapters two and three deal with the growth of Chicago School economics and its pernicious experiments and infiltration into the ‘Southern Cone’.

Throughout the 60s and 70s, the US & the CIA facilitated right-wing opposition movements, juntas, military coups and consequent torture programs in Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina.

During this time between 100,000 and 150,000 people were killed or ‘disappeared’. Estimates are wide and varied because the murders were out of control, accountability suspended and the terror doled out faster than it could be monitored.

During the Dirty War in Argentina, the terror of each night repeated the previous; a seven-year state-sanctioned massacre that bled into every neighbourhood under the cover of darkness.

The inhumanity is incomprehensible, but Klein attempts to describe the various methods used at times by different forces in each of the countries. Uruguay had a particular penchant for isolation;

Prisoners in Uruguay’s Libertad Prison were sent to la isla, the island: tiny windowless cells in which one bare light bulb was illuminated at all times. High value prisoners were kept in absolute isolation for more than a decade.

“We were beginning to think we were dead, that our cells weren’t cells but rather graves, that the outside world didn’t exist, that the sun was a myth,” one of these prisoners, Mauricio Rosencof, recalled. He saw the sun for a total of eight hours over eleven and a half years. So deprived were his senses during this time that he “forgot colors – there were no colors.”

(Page 93)

In a foot-note Klein remarks:
‘The prison administration at Libertad worked closely with behavioral psychologists to design torture techniques tailored to each individual’s psychological profile – a method now used at Guantanamo Bay.’

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