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They’re 'Slow-Torturing' Bradley Manning Right Under Our Noses

The fact Manning's jailers are compelled to allow people like House into the prison to talk with Manning makes "slow torture" that much more difficult, since absolute control and the exclusion of human contact are the keys to effective slow torture. Strong advocacy and loud public support can be life-savers.

Matt Southworth, an Iraq vet with the identical intelligence MOS as Manning, speaks in support of ManningMatt Southworth, an Iraq vet with the identical intelligence MOS as Manning, speaks in support of Manning

During the mid-2000s, in the case of American citizen Jose Padilla, an entire wing of the South Carolina military brig he was imprisoned in was expensively re-designed for the special requirements ("theater") of his incarceration/interrogation. From the moment of his arrest for planning a "dirty bomb" attack Padilla was a pariah. He reportedly went three years with absolutely no contact from family, friends or lawyers. His only human contact was his interrogators. By the time of his trial for charges unrelated to those he was arrested for he was a walking zombie.

Here's how Alfred McCoy describes the process:

"(S)ensory deprivation has evolved into a total assault on all sense and sensibilities - auditory, visual, tactile, temporal, temperature, survival, sexual, and cultural. Refined through years of practice, the method relies on simple, even banal procedures -- isolation, standing, heat and cold, light and dark, noise and silence -- for a systematic attack on all human senses."

Over decades, CIA research delved into the ways these techniques create "a synergy of physical and psychological trauma whose sum is a hammer-blow to the fundamentals of personal identity."

McCoy quotes Otto Doerr-Zegers, a psychologist who treated torture victims of the regime of Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, where victims suffered "a loss of interest that greatly surpasses anything observed in anxiety disorders." The subject, Doerr-Zegers reported, "does not only react to torture with a tiredness of days, weeks or months, but remains a tired human being, relatively uninterested and unable to concentrate." Doerr-Zegers discovered that "the psychological component of torture becomes a kind of total theater, a constructed unreality of lies and inversion, in a plot that ends inexorably with the victim's self-betrayal and destruction."

Over decades, with their secret, black budget tax resources, the CIA contracted university professors and psychology departments in the US and Canada to analyze and break down the sensory deprivation process. The goal for the CIA was to achieve the psychic destruction Doerr-Zeger spoke about without resorting to the crude and atavistic methods of physical torture. They discovered that parrot’s perches and thumb screws were not needed. The goal was a form of "no touch" psychological ju-jitsu in which the victim's own internal make-up could be manipulated and leveraged so that over time the victim effectively destroyed himself or herself.

story | by Dr. Radut