Shane Bauer, the investigative journalist whose four month stint in a privately run Louisiana prison was one of 2016's most important pieces of journalism, has published a new piece in Mother Jones, this one detailing his time patrolling with the Three Percent United Patriots and other right-wing militias that are preparing for an epic civil war in which the US government will be overthrown and they will be the only citizens of a new country, with everyone else serving as "worker bees...down in the field growing food, gathering wood."
The militias patrol various southwestern borders, heavily armed and in camou, looking for "drug cartels" and palling around with the actual border patrol. Many of them are veterans, some obviously traumatized. Despite the official anti-racist position of the militia unit Bauer patrolled with, there are open neo-Nazis in their number, and a lot of use of the n-word, particularly in referring to Obama.
Bauer's report paints a picture of intense paranoia, fuelling violent fantasies, mixed up with a kind of camping-weekend camaraderie in which these hyper-macho guys kid themselves that every "Mexican male" they encounter is a secret undercover agent for the "cartels" making "soft contact." They joke about raping each other, and are especially hostile to the women in their number. They also deeply mistrust one another, worrying that rival factions will turn on them.
New initiates are enthusiastically tortured to teach them to "resist questioning" if they're ever captured by enemy troops, and the militiamen approach this task with sadistic, infantile relish.
Despite this, Bauer's portrait of the militia is pretty sympathetic, depicting them men as often traumatized, deeply worried and alienated.
The recruits are told to imagine they are out in Arizona and have been captured by a drug cartel. They're put in a stall in a horse barn and subjected to sleep deprivation. "We keep 'em up. Keep 'em hungry," Showtime says. The mock detainees are cuffed to a table sloped at an angle and asked questions like how many people are in their group and what radio frequency they use. Their task is to resist giving any information. "We got a stress box," Showtime says. "We put 'em in there. Stick a cattle prod through the holes. One guy, he tried to turn around and we got him right between his legs in the ball sack."
"Yeah, too much fun," Destroyer says.
"How long were they sitting there?" I ask, trying not to sound alarmed.
"Couple hours," Showtime says.
"We got a stress box," Showtime says. "We put 'em in there. Stick a cattle prod through the holes."
"I don't think we've kept anybody in the stress box that long," Captain Pain interjects.
"It gets cold, but they get warm right away if you put three of 'em in there," Showtime says.
Sometimes when Showtime interrogates people, he cuffs them to a metal chair. "I'll take battery charger cables and hook it up to the chair," he says. "The cord is broke, but they don't know that." Showtime will occasionally stand a habanero-covered dildo on the table in front of them and tell them to suck it. If they resist, he shoves it into their faces.
One time, he says, they tied a man upside-down on the tilt-table with his arms stretched over his head. Fifty Cal filled a syringe with hot sauce, dripped some hot sauce on the man's lips, and said, "This is going in your dick hole." Then Fifty Cal took a syringe full of water and dripped some on the man's penis. The man, thinking it was hot sauce, shouted, "I quit! I quit! I quit!"
Captain Pain stresses that the recruits can drop out anytime they want during the roughly 40-hour training, and many do. They're also recorded on camera consenting ahead of time.
Undercover With a Border Militia [Shane Bauer/Mother Jones]
(via The Gruqq)