It just gets darker every day.
According to an article in the New Yorker (one of the only major publications
still gutsy enough to publish critical, investigative journalism), the ghosts
of Gottlieb, Cameron,
and the other architects of MKULTRA
and BLUEBIRD are
alive and well and continuing their devastating psychological abuse and experimentation.
A new generation of psychologists and physicians are turning the Hippocratic
Oath on its head in their attempts to shape and modify behavior -- much of it
under the guise of "extracting information" from "terrorists"
(some of whom are innocents caught up in the post-9/11 dragnet). It doesn't
take much reading between-the-lines to see what is actually happening behind
the scenes at Guantanamo -- and what is taking place is ugly and deeply disturbing,
and all too familiar to students of the more sinister threads of history.
Many of the revelations in the New Yorker article ("The Experiment,"
by Jane Mayer, July 11 & 18, 2005 -- not yet available online, but here's
interview with the author) are familiar, but there are hints of techniques
that mirror the most horrific (and mostly ignored) abuses at Abu Ghraib and
the historical accounts of government-sponsored mind control. Baher Azmy, a
professor at Seton Hall Law School who is representing one detainee states in
the article, "The whole place appears to be one giant human experiment."
The people behind these psychological abuses and experiments are known as Behavioral
Science Consultation Teams, or BSCTs (commonly called "biscuits").
Originally, BSCTs served as therapists and dispensed psychotropic drugs to soldiers,
and evaluated their combat readiness. Post 9/11, however, their mission was
altered -- instead of helping soldiers, their talents were turned to interrogation
and psychological torture under the umbrella of military intelligence.
Mayer also unearths the role of the military's highly classified "Survival,
Evasion, Resistance, and Escape" (SERE) program, originally developed
by the Air Force at the end of the Korean War (not coincidentally at the same
time as the birth of U.S. mind control programs in response to the return of
"brainwashed" POWs). The SERE program subjects soldiers to high-stress
simulations of stressful detention and torture, in order to prepare them for
the possibility of capture. In a familiar post-9/11, rabbit hole inversion,
however, SERE was "reverse-engineered" to facilitate the psychological
torture of GITMO prisoners. All of the data designed to aid U.S. soldiers was
turned on its head and put to use -- by scientists and medical professionals
-- to break open the minds of U.S. detainees. One classic example is the mistreatment
of holy books. Indeed, according to Mayer, the Koran desecration incidents are
a classic SERE tactic. Christian U.S. troops undergoing SERE training were forced
to witness the shredding of a Bible -- a tactic long before the Rovian disinfo
blitz that sent Newsweek cowering like a beaten dog for daring to comment
on the practice.
Yet that tactic pales when compared to some of the other, more suggestive,
techniques alleged in the article, such as:
A prisoner is shown a picture of a telephone. A psychologist asks him what
it is. When he answers that it's a telephone, the psychiatrist angrily responds:
"It's not a telephone -- it's a bomb!" What kind of exercise is this,
and what is the purpose of it? The prisoners lawyer claims it has only one goal:
to make the prisoner believe he is insane. (p. 63) Induction of cognitive dissonance
is a trademark technique of mind control.
Detainees are subjected to "noise stress," including tape loops of
babies crying, loud music, cats meowing, and even a Yoko Ono album. (p. 65)
One detainee was allegedly wrapped in an Israeli flag while subjected to loud
music and a strobe light. Add some psychotropic drugs into the mix (courtesy
of the BSCTs pharmaceutical arsenal) and you've created a masterful trip into
Clearly the purpose of these treatments is not to gain information. Most of
the detainees are low-level members or conscripts of Al Qaeda, and many are
innocents. The military has admitted that only a quarter of the detainees had
any valuable information. Is Guantanamo the 21st Century version of Allan
Memorial Hospital -- an experimental torture chamber for testing new mind-altering
and controlling technologies?
I commented in November, 2004 on some of the less-publicized, but deeply disturbing
about Abu Ghraib as reported in The Guardian. Please read this if you haven't,
as it adds chilling insight into the Mayer article. Some particular elements
"Yeah, the beast in man really came out at Abu Ghraib," he said.
"You mean in the photographs?" I asked.
"Everywhere," he said. "The senior leadership were screwing
around with the lower ranks ... "
I told Joseph I didn't understand what he meant.
He said, "The senior leaders were having sex with the lower ranks. The
detainees were raping each other."
An aide to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser, visited
the prison, to inform the interrogators sternly that they weren't getting useful
enough information from the detainees. "Then," Joseph said, "a
whole platoon of Guantánamo people arrived. The word got around. 'Oh
God, the Gitmo guys are here.' Bam! There they were. They took the place over."
Perhaps Guantánamo Bay was Experimental Lab Mark 1, and whatever esoteric
techniques worked there were exported to Abu Ghraib.
Esoteric, indeed. And then there was this
in the NY Post (no longer available on their site):
Iraq's feared Abu Ghraib jail was one big sex romp - sometimes by candlelight
with an audience watching, U.S. troops said yesterday....
"There were lots of affairs. There was all kinds of adultery and alcoholism
and all kinds of crap going on," said Dave Bischel, a National Guardsman
with the 870th Military Police unit, who returned home from Abu Ghraib last
"There was a bed found in one of the abandoned buildings. There was a
mattress on the ground. They had chairs all circled around it and candles all
over the place," said Bischel, adding the chairs were "obviously for
An audience of who, and for what purpose?
Mayer's New Yorker article contains another link to sexual practices:
...He was taken into an interrogation room whose door was open to an adjacent
room filled with computers. Military police shackled him to the floor, he said.
In the computer room, a naked man and woman were having sex on a table. Afterward,
he said, the man put on his clothes and started to question him, telling him
that if he cooperated, he, too, could have sex with his "girlfriend."
Just another humdrum day at Guantanamo Bay?
There is a well-documented, historical convergence of psychological torture
and sexual tactics by the CIA and other clandestine organizations -- classic
tactics of mind control, from the lowliest cult to the high-level, government
sanctioned creation of "Manchurian Candidates." But what is the aim
at Guantanamo? To extract information, as the Pentagon would have us believe?
Or is it to further refine methods for breaking down minds and creating dissociation
in order to craft more effective assassins? When these prisoners are released
-- as many of them ultimately will be -- will they be cutting edge tools of
their Spook masters, unleashed to create more programmed chaos and manufactured
"terrorism?" Will their names turn up as future hijackers, suicide
bombers, and political assassins?
A "giant human experiment" indeed.
One last note:
Again and again we see hints of ritual sexual practices in the most secretive
corners of Military Intelligence (as superbly chronicled by Jeff Wells on his
Rigorous Intuition blog).
I think this is the most important, and regularly overlooked, clue about what
really goes on behind the locked doors in the heart of Black Ops. Mayer is giving
us a vital clue when she places the sexual incident described above at the close
of her article. Pay close attention.