Amnesty International's Torture Porn Video

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Just in time for Veterans Day, last week Amnesty International U.K. released a two-minute video, "Waiting For The Guard." The clip shows the recreation of interrogation techniques apparently permitted by the CIA. It's quite dramatic—but to what effect?

The video promotes Amnesty's Unsubscribe campaign—they want online signatures of folks who wish to "unsubscribe" from the interrogation techniques used by their governments in the "war on terror." Currently, they've collected over 65,000 names.

The torture interrogation techniques dramatized are "Stress Position" and "Belly Slap." How it works is, if the prisoner relaxes or falls from his position on the rickety cardboard boxes, he gets beaten. Detainees released from Guantanamo have reported use of that the technique—and that the beatings were more severe than open-handed strikes to the abdomen.

Anyway, the detainee actor was convincing wasn't he? However, the "Can you go to the window and blow Daddy a kiss?" line by the interrogator was just plain ridiculous. For me, that turned the (admittedly well-produced) video into something more like a goofy movie trailer.

The video was done by London ad agency Drugstore. When opportunities like this one come up, ad agencies worldwide eagerly elbow each other out of the way for the chance to produce some sexy pro bono work. It allows them to "do some good" for a change— it also adds some luster to their T.V. reels full of the usual fast food and soft drink commercials.

But what positive effects, if any, do such beautifully-produced public service ads have on the public? Awareness? Entertainment? Are you now going to go "unsubscribe" from your government? Or are you going to develop a fondness for German S&M videos?