Monday, September 25, 2006

Even Declassified 1960s CIA Docs Called it Torture

Front paged at Booman Tribune and ePluribus Media

For starters, I must give a hat tip to technopolitical over at Booman Tribune for leading me to this document. But it is simply amazing that, despite all of the talk about how much we can torture people before our "leaders" can't actually call it torture anymore, there is actually an old CIA document from the 1960s that defines tactics not nearly as horrific as those we have been hearing about as "torture and physical coercion and should never be considered otherwise".

Oh, yeah - I am serious (and please stop calling me "Shirley"....)

The originally classified and confidential Memorandum to J. Edgar Hoover from the CIA discusses brainwashing, mind control and interrogation - all from, as the report indicates, a "psychological viewpoint". Even more telling - especially in light of the time in history under which this document was prepared, is that the CIA view of "torture" is under the section dealing with Communist Control Techniques.

So can we compare the tactics approved of and pushed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, McCain, Rice, Hadley and any of the other war criminals who are responsible for dragging this country's name through the gutter?

I'll give you a few passages because frankly, it is quite shocking how this document is used to talk about how the "Communists" can use mind control techniques and as stated on the very first page of the document (even before the Table of Contents):

We know how that men can be made to do exactly anything.....It's all a question of finding the right means. If only we take enough trouble and go sufficiently slowly, we can make him kill his aged parents and eat them in a stew." (Jules Romains. VERDUN. A.A. Knopf, 1939, P. 156)

In discussing the "involuntary re-education" of an individual, where he or she can be taught to believe, well, pretty much anything with enough pressure and tactics, the document said the following:

It is not necessary to use direct physical means to reduce a person to a state where involuntary re-education can take place.

Interestingly, the document also talks about propaganda, brainwashing and false confessions as well as the issues that go along with it. In laying out reasons why it is important to understand the psychology of those who are brainwashed and how to deal with people who have become brainwashed, the document says the following:

The propaganda-value of false confessions and the public anxiety concerning brainwashing loom, however, as major preoccupations. Statements of brainwashed individuals have been a sharp-edged tool in the Communist propaganda kit.


Another and even more effective propaganda goal may be the creation of a state of fear within the populace [of western bloc nations].

There is a large amount of information relating to brainwashing and the "result of a false confession", including the arrest, the collection of "evidence" the detention (including isolation) and other "parts of the process". And when discussing the interrogation techniques of Communist interrogators, there is the following (and startling) passage (scroll down to page 25):

Two of the most effective of these [ways to apply pressure] are creating fatigue and preventing the prisoner adequate sleep.


Continued loss of sleep produced clouding of consciousness and a loss of alertness, both of which impair the victim's ability to sustain isolation.

Another simple and effective type of pressure is that of maintaining the temperature of the cell at a level which is either too hot or too cold for comfort.


Still another pressure is to reduce the food ration to the point to which the prisoner experiences constant hunger.


The effects of isolation, anxiety, fatigue, lack of sleep, uncomfortable temperatures, and chronic hunger produce disturbances of mood, attitudes, and behavior in nearly all prisoners. The living organism cannot entirely withstand such assaults.

The Communists do not look upon these assaults as "torture". Undoubtedly, they use the methods which they do in order to conform, in a typical legalistic manner, to Communist theory which demands that "no force or torture be used in extracting information from prisoners." But these methods do constitute torture and physical coercion and should never be considered otherwise.

Well, well, well. So when it is others that are using these tactics (and they aren't nearly as bad as what we have heard of in Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, other countries where to where many innocent people are "rendered", or in Guantanamo), then it is most certainly torture and should never be considered otherwise"

But when it is done and ordered by Rumsfeld, Bush or any others that represent the United States, then we have a stark similarity to that "communist assertion" that is noted above.

Kind of like this comment from our very own Senator Richard Grassley:

"We don't have to draw a line against torture because America doesn't torture prisoners," he said. "The courts have said what we've been doing is only unlawful because Congress hasn't given the president authority to do it."

Hell, even the CIA knew this was torture back in the 1960s.


Bill said...

If it's votes you're after then torture should not be mentioned. Of course humanitarian causes must debate torture.

It's impossible to convince enough voters we actually torture prisoners. It's a political trap set by the GOP.

Americans know that all our prisoners, Americans held by others are tortured. They don't understand why we don't respond in kind. It's too deep a thought process for them, the valid arguments why we should never torture of be accusable of it.

clammyc said...

Good points Bill.

I think that the truth is more important than selling out for votes....but that is just me.

I still think, maybe stupidly, that you can make a winning argument as well, although it is an uphill battle with the media and the ones who yell the loudest on the other side.

Why not reverse it - "why are you for torture?" or "what if your son/daughter was being tortured?"....

The bigger issue is that the dems just don't have the stomach for that kind of fight.