Trumpists Claim Dictator Who Sexually Tortured Women With Live Rats 'Did Nothing Wrong'
See that picture above? That is a picture of Ms. Kellyanne Conway, Senior Counselor to the President, with a big smile on her face. She is standing next to a Proud Boy named Tyler Ziolkowski. Ziolkowski is sporting Dwayne Wayne glasses and a T-shirt reading "Pinochet did nothing wrong."
It's under a jacket, sure, but given that it is a very popular slogan on the alt-right these days, only two things are possible here: Either Conway knew exactly what it said and posed for the gleeful picture anyway, or she is both entirely oblivious and bad at her job.
It is also possible (and quite likely) that all three of these things are true.
The Proud Boys were just one of the radical contingents present at Donald Trump's big Orlando campaign kickoff Tuesday night — the 3 Percenters militia group was also there, as were several believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory. They marched in the streets chanting that very same slogan, along with "Pinochet was right" and "Roger Stone did nothing wrong."
Nice, innocent "Western Chauvinist" fraternal drinking club you've got there, fellas!
For the last three years at least, the brutal Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet has captured the hearts and minds of Trump supporters across the country, largely due to his love of Chicago-style economics and his habit of murdering people who disagreed with him by throwing them from helicopters, a thing they think is a really good and normal idea.
But Pinochet didn't just have the people who disagreed with him murdered or disappeared. During his reign, Chile had a total of 17 torture centers. Prisoners at these centers were electrocuted, often with the electrodes attached to their genitals. They were dropped in giant containers of shit and often forced to literally eat that shit. They were run over with cars, having all of their bones broken. They were beaten about the head until they were deaf. For funsies.
They also enjoyed a peculiar form of waterboarding, as one former prisoner testified:
They put cotton on both eyes, then taped them and tightened a hood around my neck. They tied my hands and legs, submerged me in a 250-liter tank that had ammonia, urine, excrement, and seawater. They submerged me until I could not breathe anymore. They repeated it over and over, while beating me and asking me questions. That is what they called the submarine.
Also, women who disagreed with Pinochet were jailed, repeatedly raped by guards, forced to have sex with their family members and with dogs, and sexually assaulted with spiders and live rats.
For women, it was an especially violent experience. The commission reports that nearly every female prisoner was the victim of repeated rape. The perpetration of this crime took many forms, from military men raping women themselves to the use of foreign objects on victims. Numerous women (and men) report spiders or live rats being implanted into their orifices. One woman wrote, "I was raped and sexually assaulted with trained dogs and with live rats. They forced me to have sex with my father and brother who were also detained. I also had to listen to my father and brother being tortured." Her experiences were mirrored by those of many other women who told their stories to the commission.
Of course, they didn't just torture prisoners. Sometimes they practiced the torture they were going to inflict on prisoners on random 16-year-old girls:
The first time Lelia Pérez felt the sear of a cattle prod it was at the hands of a Chilean soldier. She was a 16 year old high school student, used as a guinea pig to help Pinochet's security services hone their skills in torture. They didn't even bother to ask any questions.
"They would teach them how to interrogate, how to apply the electricity, where and for how long. When they were torturing me, I went into my own world - it was as if I was looking down on myself - like it wasn't happening to me. It was brutal," she said.
It is fair to assume that these Proud Boys and other Trump-supporting fans of Pinochet also think this was a fantastic idea, and that they look forward to someday having the opportunity to sexually assault women with live rats at the behest of a brutal dictator. They are, after all, stating very, very clearly that Pinochet did nothing wrong. So it must include this, right?
I don't know if Kellyanne Conway feels that way, but someone ought to ask her, just to be sure. If both she and Donald Trump also feel that Augusto Pinochet did nothing wrong, the people certainly have a right to know.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse