Open Letter to Congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, and to Sen. Jim Webb On Inhuman CIA Torture/Interrogation

[A copy of this letter is being sent to the Congressmen named. Readers who want to support this effort should consider contacting ANY Congressional or other government representatives, including these men, to encourage them to make the “right” choices in response to this urgent issue.]

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Open Letter to Congressmen Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, and to Sen. Jim Webb

On Inhuman CIA Torture/Interrogation

The Honorable Ron Paul,

Congressman Paul, we are writing you concerning the investigation into the abusive inhuman torture tactics used for interrogation by the US Army, under the direction of the CIA.   Widespread public outrage over the official “unofficial” hypocrisy of fighting a “war on terror,” driven on torture-based intelligence, demands that these investigations are both legitimate and transparent, and not just another cover-up or whitewash, like the 911 “investigation.”

The ensuing investigations of the agency’s tactics, which are derived from the “learned helplessness” theories of Prof. Martin Seligman, must explore his theories, which served as the central core of the entire counter-insurgency strategy being followed by US and NATO forces in Asia, as well as torture guidelines.  (“Weaponizing Psychology”).

This “helplessness” strategy is terror-based psychological warfare focused on the entire population of both Afghanistan and Iraq (this includes Pakistan), as well.  The intent of this psywar is to shock, bomb and deprive these people of their basic humanity, until they respond like Pavlov’s dogs and just lay-down (as if to die) on command.  (Seligman’s Puppies). To wage war upon an entire population, not just the “enemy combatants,” even if it’s just “limited warfare,” is a war crime.  (The ten points of the Nuremberg Code)

The Army is using its own Gerry-rigged adaptations of Seligman’s theories for “resilience” training to treat ptsd in returning troops and those who cannot stand battlefield stress.  The program is advertised as a means to remove the stigma within the military of seeking psychological counseling for stress-related problems, but it is no more than a cosmetic approach to a very serious problem of GI suicides and crime, intended only to improve the military’s image.

In actuality, the Army’s reverse Seligman program is but their latest attempt to “butch-up” troops who don’t measure up to their macho standards, or otherwise don’t have the ability on their own to just “suck it up,” when they really want to lie down and die.  This is just another attempt to indoctrinate soldiers into allowing the military to replace their own thoughts with new ones that the Army implants within them.

In the past the military has used all known brainwashing techniques (including electroshock therapy) to recondition the minds of stressed-out and “inadequate soldiers,” especially since World War II.  The fact that now electroshock is mostly only used for actual torture and not for therapy is a small improvement.

Please do your utmost from your good office to investigate and correct the conditions and policies which have stained the image of the United States in such a despicable manner throughout the world.

Most Respectfully,

Peter Chamberlin, Internet Writer/Researcher

Dr. Dan E. Dunlap, Clinical Psychologist, retired

Fallout over Kazakhstan: 60 years of suffering

Fallout over Kazakhstan: 60 years of suffering

( Kazakhstan , August 27, 2009-issue 579)

By Jack Losh
TCA correspondent

ASTANA (TCA) — This Saturday sees the 60th anniversary of the former USSR’s first nuclear bomb test at Semipalatinsk, north-east Kazakhstan. Carried out deep in the vast, desolate steppes of Soviet Central Asia, as it then was, the detonation at 7am, August 29th 1949 ushered in a new and terrifying era.

The figures are incredible. Over the next forty years, the 18,000 sq km site would be home to practically 75% of all Soviet nuclear tests: 456 in total, both below and above ground, unleashing energy equivalent to 2,500 Hiroshima bombs.

Thanks to the powerful, grassroots anti-nuclear movement, ‘Nevada-Semipalatinsk’, nuclear explosions here are a thing of the past, but although the testing of nuclear weapons may have ceased, the fallout’s devastating legacy endures. Tests inside the ‘Polygon’, as the site was known, have affected peripheral land over 16 times its size (approximately 304,000 sq km) and account for an unprecedented amount of health problems in the region.

“The UN and I encouraged the Government of Kazakhstan to take its case to the UN General Assembly,” said Herbert Behrstock, who served as Resident Coordinator of the UN in Kazakhstan from 1996-1999. “Three successive years in the late 1990s, the UN/GA adopted resolutions unanimously acknowledging Kazakhstan’s virtually unique position in the world, the suffering and the tests’ serious consequences.”

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev himself has described it as “the drama of the Kazakh land”. For years, the Soviets endeavoured to keep their experiment’s after-effects under wraps. Even today, the Russian government is still withholding information, thwarting attempts at making the conclusive link between population’s high levels of cancer and radiation exposure.

“Officially, national and regional authorities acknowledged that much of the information about nuclear tests, contamination, et cetera was retained in Soviet military archives and was not likely to become available to the Government of Kazakhstan,” Mr. Behrstock added. “It is significant to note that none of the three resolutions introduced by the Kazakh Government specifically mentioned the USSR or Russia – seeking neither an apology nor special consideration for assistance.”

The population of and around Semipalatinsk (or Semey, as it is now known) is prone to abnormal levels of illness. Cancers run at five times the national average, birth defects three times. Psychological disorders are widespread, especially amongst young men, and the suicide rate noticeably exceeds that outside the Polygon. Increased rates of heart and thyroid disease, digestive system complaints and fertility problems plague the area.

“I don’t think there is any doubt that there were individuals who suffered from the testing program, especially in the early years and the atmospheric tests,” said Professor Weinberg of the Baylor College of Medicine, who helped establish a healthcare partnership in the medical services in the region during the 1990s. “The problem is that the exposure data and medical data from that time period are not easy to evaluate.”

The region’s struggling local economy, inadequate diet and poor sanitation does not help matters: “During the early visits my impression was of the general harshness of life due to both the climate and the decline of the Soviet structure,” said Randall Wright, who was responsible for introducing healthcare management principles to the region in the late 1990s, a time when newly-independent Kazakhstan was struggling to find its feet. “The healthcare system was a paradox.  There was a generally well-educated team of medical professionals but a significant scarcity of basic resources.”

For Dr Larry Laufman (who from 1995-2000 conducted master classes at the Semipalatinsk Medical School on new methods of teaching and student evaluation), the local doctors he worked with were extraordinarily committed professionals: “In those days, we were told that physicians were earning about $100 a month and many had not been paid for 3 months, yet they continued to go to work.

“Here, even during the Soviet era, the standard operating procedure was to sterilize and re-use needles and other items that would simply be disposables in the West.”

The Polygon was selected in 1947 by Lavrentiy Beria, political head of the Soviet atomic bomb project and chief of Stalin’s notorious NKVD (secret police). With 3,000 people spread across the territory in remote villages, 150,000 in the city of Semipalatinsk itself (150km from the Polygon) and 20,000 in Kurchatov (just a few km away), assurances that the region was uninhabited were bogus.

The authorities’ total indifference to the wellbeing of the local Kazakh population was complemented by their morbid fascination in the side-effects of the explosions’ residual radioactivity. A battalion of scientists was stationed at the Polygon to record the after-effects that the nuclear blasts would wreak upon the people, animals and surrounding land. Tests would even be determined by weather conditions, the days with wind blowing in the direction of residential areas being the most favored. It was not until 1953 that locals were given (an hour’s) prior warning of the next explosion.

Evacuation procedures were eventually introduced. Residents would be moved to safe zones during tests, returning to their farms nine days later. However, with radiation levels as high as 250 roentgens per hour after detonation in this nuclear no-man’s-land (a dose of about 500 R in 5 hours is lethal for humans), this was hardly a humanitarian gesture.

“Certainly some would probably like an apology,” said Professor Weinberg who was also instrumental, along with his colleague Sara Rozin, in coordinating large shipments of medical supplies to the region. “However, most people that we worked with would probably benefit more from […] transparency and education. This would help them manage any remaining health consequences from the testing program and build a quality healthcare system for the future.”

In a bitter twist, the rural populace remains inexorably bound to the testing range, using the poisoned land for pasture and cultivation: “Governmental officials indicated they could not prevent local populations from straying into potentially contaminated areas, even if warning signs were posted,” said Mr. Behrstock, the former UN representative. “Livestock were known to graze in some of the areas near ‘ground zero’ and drink from surface water, including one infamous water source that was protected by barbed wire.”

An army of volunteers, recruited from both national and international groups, has been involved in a mass clean-up of the Semipalatinsk test site. The first phase of the clean-up was completed at the end of 2000 in a joint Kazakh-Russian operation, although experts estimate that total decontamination of the site would require a minimum of $43 million.  The Institute for Radiation Safety and Ecology at Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Center claims that up to 80% of the land is salvageable, and a 1998 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that “there is now little or no residual radioactivity over most of the test site”.

However, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to the UN, Yerzhan Kazykhanov, has criticized the U.N.’s efforts as inadequate, calling on the donor community to provide financial and technical assistance for the region’s long-term regeneration and development: “The rehabilitation of disaster areas, especially those affected by radioactive contamination, should continue to be a top priority for the international community.”

And yet this abominable cloud has had a silver lining, for Kazakhstan has emerged today as one of the world’s strongest advocates against nuclear weapons. As the old USSR collapsed around it, this Central Asian State was left with a substantial nuclear inheritance – nuclear weapons facilities, components for a strategic anti-missile defence system, and 1,410 strategic nuclear warheads, not to mention one of the world’s largest nuclear testing sites at Semipalatinsk.

Yet the country used its new-found independence to close the Polygon and relinquish its nuclear arsenal, fourth largest in the world. It joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear state in 1993, and in September 2006 (the 15th anniversary of the test site’s closing), Semipalatinsk hosted the signing of an agreement among Central Asian states to set up a nuclear-free zone.

“President Nazarbayev deserves admiration and respect for his leadership, wisdom and perseverance – at least beginning in the 1980s when Kazakhstan was part of the USSR – to advocate the cessation of nuclear testing,” said Mr. Behrstock.

“In my personal view, Semipalatinsk is symbolic of the worst and the best of the history of nuclear weapons,” he added.  “If the worst is the initial nuclear explosion 60 years ago and the development and testing of some of the most destructive weapons in the history of humankind, the best is how the Government and leadership of Kazakhstan opened an enlightened, admirable chapter that should be widely applauded.”

Zionists Win Again

US Drops Demand for Israel Building Freeze in Occupied E. J’lem

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27/08/2009 The Obama administration has agreed to Israel’s request to remove occupied East Jerusalem from negotiations on the impending settlement freeze. According to both Israeli officials and Western diplomats, U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell has recognized the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot announce a settlement freeze in occupied East Jerusalem. The officials said the U.S. will not endorse new construction there, but would not demand Tel Aviv publicly announce a freeze.

Netanyahu presented a proposal on Wednesday for resolving the ongoing Israeli-American dispute over construction in the settlements. In a meeting with Mitchell, Netanyahu suggested a temporary freeze, reportedly for nine months, on construction in the West Bank, a government source said.

Netanyahu also said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ reported willingness to meet with him was “a positive first step.”

The Americans are slated to respond to Netanyahu’s proposal at a meeting in Washington next week between Mitchell and two Israeli officials: Netanyahu’s envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Mike Herzog.

Mitchell himself will return to Tel Aviv in the second week of September with the goal of finalizing an agreement.

The new Israeli proposal will exclude some 2,500 housing units on which construction has already started.

Additionally, in special cases where it is necessary to keep “normal life,” Netanyahu wants to be able to erect public buildings in the settlements – mainly kindergartens and schools.

Finally, Israel wants the freeze to have a clear “exit plan.” In Israel’s view, the freeze is a confidence-building measure that must be matched by reciprocal steps from the PA and Arab states. If these fail to materialize, Israel wants an American guarantee that it will not oppose renewed building.

Following their meeting, Mitchell and Netanyahu issued a brief joint statement saying that “good progress” had been made, and the talks would continue.

However, the statement also included that the two “agreed on the importance of restarting meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians and working toward a comprehensive peace, and that all sides need to take concrete steps toward peace.”

At his press conference, Netanyahu reiterated that good progress had been made at the meeting, but said some issues remained unresolved. The goal, he said, is “to strike a balance” that would meet the settlers’ basic needs while also enabling peace talks to resume.

Responding to Palestinian reports that Abbas had expressed willingness to meet with him at next month’s UN General Assembly session in New York, Netanyahu said that if Abbas “is behind this declaration, that would be progress. This is a positive thing, a positive first step.”

Until now, Abbas has refused to meet with him unless he first imposes a total freeze on settlement construction.

Netanyahu said he is willing to discuss all the well-known final-status issues, such as occupied Jerusalem, borders and the refugees, but also intends to raise issues of his own – primarily the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and that any agreement explicitly declare the conflict over and bar any further claims. “We also have core issues, and the issue of recognition is core, in my view,” he said. “If we insist on the recognition, there will be a peace agreement.”

LIKUD MK HOLDS ANTI-NETANYAHU CONFERENCE
Meanwhile, Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) held a conference in the Knesset Wednesday for the heads of Judea and Samaria settlers, in order to create a united front against Netanyahu’s plan to freeze construction in settlements.

Officials said the freeze may create problems for the Israeli prime minister with rightists in the coalition. However a refusal to halt construction may harm relations with the Labor Party.

The gathering was attended by 20 leaders of settlements in the occupied West Bank. They agreed that over the next month more pressure should be placed on Netanyahu to renege on the decision to freeze.

Noam Arnon, of the leaders of the Israeli settlement in al-Khalil, said the settlers must limit Netanyahu as his government could not legitimately halt construction. “We can’t have a government that behaves worse than that of Olmert,” one speaker said. “We won’t allow a construction freeze; we won’t allow him to break left.”

Some said the Israeli prime minister was deviating from the policy that had won him his position. “People need to be faithful to what they promised during the elections,” the speaker said.

The anti-Netanyahu sentiment demonstrates a departure from the settlers’ policy of attacking Defense Minister Ehud Barak for their grievances. “Barak is no longer the only address. We need to put pressure on the prime minister,” the Yesha Council stated.

Overcome Fascist Thinking With Technological Progress

[Mrs. LaRouche has some good points, but colonizing the moon and Mars might be getting ahead of ourselves a bit, at least until the ravages of the never-ending war are repaired and ways are found to end hunger and extend basic human rights to every person.  LaRouche is trying to ride the wave of American discontent to power (as always), to implant his new super-capitalism, if he (or she) ever succeeds.  My impression of the man has always been that he is just another tool, one to hype the fear and claim credit for every arousal of American righteous indignation.]

Overcome Fascist Thinking With Technological Progress

[PDF version of this article]

Aug. 24—In her Aug. 21 webcast, German Chancellor candidate Helga Zepp-LaRouche exposed the fascist thinking behind the health-care policy of the Obama Administration, and contrasted it with the perspective of development through technological progress. In this, her second webcast of the Chancellor campaign, which concludes with national elections on Sept. 27, Zepp-LaRouche provided an inspiring point of optimism, especially with her concluding call for the urgent adoption of a Moon-Mars Project, as a mission for international cooperation to bring mankind into a new era of prosperity.

Since she is a long-time political figure in German politics, as well as a spokesperson for her husband Lyndon LaRouche’s political movement internationally through the Schiller Institute, Zepp-LaRouche’s policy intervention can be expected to have strong reverberations, throughout Europe and Eurasia. As the economic breakdown crisis picks up speed, the impact of her electoral campaign, which is supported by candidacies of members of her Civil Rights Solidarity Movement (BüSo) in seven Federal states, will be one of the poles of sanity for all of Europe.

Zepp-LaRouche organized her presentation, which was entitled “Will the Threat of Ungovernability in the U.S. Spread to Germany?”, around two major themes. The first was the nature of the civilizational breakdown crisis, in which the financial oligarchy, once again, is threatening to impose fascist mass murder on the world, and against which the United States population has risen up in a mass strike revolt against the Obama Administration. The second was the alternative, presented with many colorful graphics, and a film clip on the Moon-Mars project, of the program for worldwide reconstruction that must be adopted immediately.

The Crisis We Face

After being introduced by Karsten Werner, head of the Saxony branch of the BüSo, Zepp-LaRouche began with Lyndon LaRouche’s forecast of the meltdown of the world financial system, which will occur, at the latest, in mid-October, barring changes in policy. There are a few people who take pleasure in the impending collapse of the United States, she said, but we should be clear: “A collapse of the United States would not leave any country unscathed; worldwide chaos would result.”

Nor should anyone take the fall in prices as a positive sign, she added. This reflects the collapse of the real economy, and is proceeding simultaneously with the threat of a hyperinflationary explosion. The cause of this explosion is, not least, the gargantuan rescue packages for the U.S. banks’ toxic waste. “The U.S.A. has a budget deficit of $13 trillion, but altogether, an indebtedness of $56 trillion.”

Even the Bundesbank president, Axel Weber, has warned about a “second round” of the financial crisis, she said.

The Revolt of the U.S. Population

But there’s been a dramatic change in the strategic situation, Zepp-LaRouche said, with the revolt in the United States. And this revolt is totally different than what you hear about in the media. The U.S. population has realized that what President Obama says, and what he means to do to the citizens, are two entirely different things. Obama says he wants to provide health insurance for 50 million uninsured Americans. “But what does that mean, when at the same time, health-care costs are supposed to be cut by 30%?”

Americans have begun to realize that such a “reform” is a threat to their very existence, and they are confronting their Congressmen and Senators with rage, at one town meeting after another, during the August recess.

There is a fundamental difference between this American unrest, and what we have seen over the past months in Europe—for example, in Greece or the Baltics. “The difference lies in the fact that the United States had a successful revolution, in which the population won a Constitution which guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And this idea, which is expressed in the Declaration of the Independence, as well as in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution, is effectively the thread running through American history.” The fate of Germany and Europe depend upon the outcome of this confrontation in the United States.

Zepp-LaRouche then elaborated on the actual nature of the Obama Administration’s health program. The Obama “reform” is a copy of the rationing system in Great Britian, she said, where a board of experts decides who get treated, and who does not. And “that is exactly the same thing which was agreed on, in Hitler’s Tiergarten-4 policy of the National Socialists in 1939, namely that there was ‘life unworthy of life,’ and which established that the denial of medical care for the old and handicapped would be legitimate.”

To dramatize this point, Zepp-LaRouche showed a video of a father in Romulus, Mich., who pushed his son, who has cerebral palsy, in his wheelchair, up to the podium, in the town meeting being held by Rep. John Dingell (D), demanding to know what would happen to his son under Obama’s cost-cutting health “reform.”

In Europe, there’s a campaign of lies about the nature of the mass revolt against the Obama’s health program, she said. They say it is being organized by the Republican Party and by the right wing, and paid for by the pharmaceutical industry. “The truth is that all parts of the population have broken with the Administration, but especially pensioners and seniors.”

Ezekiel Emanuel, the Face of Fascism

Zepp-LaRouche then focussed on the person of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health-care advisor to the Office of Management and Budget in the United States, as providing the key to understanding the Obama Administration’s health-care policy. She reviewed a number of his articles, beginning with that in the Huffington Post of October 2008, where he wrote that economic depression and bank bailouts might now make it possible to panic Americans into permitting his Nazi-style in health-care “reform.”

“The dean of health-care economists [and co-author, with Emanuel—ed.] Victor Fuchs of Stanford, has long maintained that we will get health-care reform only when there is a war, a depression or some other major civil unrest,” Emanuel wrote. “It’s beginning to look like we might just have all three.” “The huge increase in the federal debt that these bailouts will entail intensifies the pressure to rein in health-care costs,” he added.

Zepp-LaRouche reviewed a number of articles which Emanuel, a so-called bio-ethicist, has co-authored, on the explicit subject of saving money through limiting health care for the old, including through euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide.

From this, she continued, it’s easy to see the parallel to the euthanasia program of the Nazis. At first, the American public was shocked when LaRouche in April asserted the Nazi model for the Obama health program, but now, increasing numbers of people see that the comparison was absolutely correct. She then recalled for her audience the warnings of Dr. Leo Alexander, a U.S. medical advisor at the Nuremberg Doctors’ trials after World War II, who pointed to the utilitarianism of Hegel and Jeremy Bentham as the source of the corruption which led to sections of the population being treated like cattle, because they were consuming “too many resources,” or were, for other reasons, unwanted.

This is exactly the reasoning which is being used in the United States today.

Nor is Germany exempt, Zepp-LaRouche went on. Over the last 16 years, the German health-care system has been gradually destroyed, with 100,000 health-care jobs eliminated, and more and more dominance of a policy of triage. Zepp-LaRouche said:

The reason I’ve dealt with this so extensively, is that this man, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, is the idea-man for this health-care reform. And one would think that in Germany, where this same policy occasioned such a huge catastrophe, this theme would be taken up. But in no single article or report up until now [in Germany], has the name Ezekiel Emanuel even been mentioned, although in America it is a matter of the hottest debate, which is occurring at the town meetings, that he is the author of the reform. If I’ve ever seen an example of media control—and I have seen many—this is really it.

The Alternative: Worldwide Reconstruction

Zepp-LaRouche then picked up her second major theme, the program for overcoming the crisis. The basis for ideas such as those of Ezekiel Emanuel is false, she argued. People have accepted the idea of an entropic world view, which says there are “limited resources,” “limited space [Lebensraum],” “overpopulation,” and the need for rationing of health care. “All of this is the essence of fascist ideology,” she said. “The real laws of the universe are anti-entropic.”

We are holding an election amidst the greatest economic breakdown in the history of mankind, she said, and with a revolt in the United States of which my husband, Lyndon LaRouche, is the intellectual leader. Europeans must realize that there are two diametrically opposed traditions in America: one of the Anglo-American special relationship, as expressed by the cooperation between Britain’s Tony Blair and George W. Bush on the Iraq War; and the other, the revolutionary tradition against the British Empire. It is this second tradition which is coming to the fore, and which gives us a chance to get out of this crisis, she said.

Zepp-LaRouche then outlined LaRouche’s proposals for a four-power agreement among the United States, Russia, China, and India, to put together a new world credit system, on the American constitutional model. She used many graphics to illustrate the great infrastructure projects which such a new system would fund—including the Eurasian Land-Bridge, maglev train technologies, a worldwide transportation network, and more. Such a program could bring 10 million new productive jobs to Germany in the short term.

She devoted special attention to the situation in Africa, which she characterized as the test of morality for Europe. If we can’t overturn the injustice of 100 years of the slave trade and colonialism, to develop Africa, then our moral indifference means we can do nothing.

The ‘Extraterrestrial Imperative’

The radical change in thinking required today, Zepp-LaRouche continued, is expressed in the vision of the great German scientist Krafft Ehricke (1917-1984), who developed what he called the “extraterrestrial imperative.” For Ehricke, she said, the “extraterrestrial imperative” was a natural expansion of the evolutionary process of the Biosphere itself, in which existing physical limits are overcome, and also the so-called limited resources, and scarcities.

If we want to bring mankind out of his linear and monetarist thinking, there is no better way than manned space flight, because it inspires the spirit and the imagination. This program would have gone forward if President Kennedy had not been assassinated, and the world today would have been a totally different place, if we were advancing on this program. We would have long ago solved all the problems of this Earth, because the spinoffs of this fundamental research would be enormous. Thus it was that for every penny invested in the U.S. space program, 14 cents was gained in the civilian economy. It was therefore not the case that it was an extravagance, but, to the contrary, through the stimulation of these new revolutionary technologies, productivity in all sectors would increase enormously.

Zepp-LaRouche then presented Ehricke’s plan for the construction of a city on the Moon, which would become a launching pad and resource base for the exploration of Mars and beyond. To accomplish this, however, we have to develop nuclear-powered transport, so that the journey to Mars takes not 200 days, as it would with present technologies, but only four or five. This means developing nuclear fusion, and the isotope economy—which naturally goes against the idea of limited resources and scarcity that are traded on the financial markets.

“This extraterrestrial imperative is the essential next step in the coming-of-age of mankind,” she said. “Of that I am absolutely convinced. And as Krafft Ehricke told me, shortly before his death: ‘The problem is not the technology. The problem is, that man has not adequately developed.’ ” Ehricke himself had outlined three fundamental laws of aeronautics, which apply to man’s nature as a whole:

1. Nobody and nothing under the natural laws of this universe imposes any limitations on man, except man himself.

2. Not only the Earth, but the entire Solar System, and as much of the universe as he can reach under the laws of nature, are man’s rightful domain of activity.

3. By expanding throughout the universe, man fulfills his destiny as an element of life, endowed with the power of reason and the wisdom of the moral law within himself.

Zepp-LaRouche concluded her presentation thus:

Therefore, in this, the greatest crisis in the history of mankind, I think that we cannot come out of the crisis with some kind of pragmatic short-term solutions, but that we must—and that is in the tradition of Nicolas of Cusa, Kepler, Leibniz, and other great humanists of European intellectual history: We must bestir ourselves with the highest ideals. And only thus can we gain the strength, to be ready to deal with the current situation, and to usher in a positive era in history.

The Next Step

Zepp-LaRouche’s presentation was followed by almost two hours of discussion, much of it about the economic crisis and her proposed solutions.

She will give her final webcast for the election season on Sept. 22, five days before the election.

The archive video recording of the Aug. 21 webcast, in German and in English simultaneous translation, can be found here, and on the BüSo website, http://.bueso.de.

Six degrees of separation from torture

Six degrees of separation from torture

Gordon Giesbrecht, an expert on cold-water survival, says his experiments show that many people can withstand the excruciating discomfort of 12-degree water for hours, and yet, a drop of just a few degrees beyond that can kill a healthy human. Dan Winters for The Globe and Mail Gordon Giesbrecht, an expert on cold-water survival, says his experiments show that many people can withstand the excruciating discomfort of 12-degree water for hours, and yet, a drop of just a few degrees beyond that can kill a healthy human.

Cold was a weapon in the wider war on terrorism. And Canadian expertise was consulted.

Documents reveal that U.S. operatives cast their eyes north after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, as spies struggled to develop “water-dousing” interrogation techniques.

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency wanted to use cold water to soften up al-Qaeda suspects, so it read tracts by Canadian experts.

The research – with titles like Immersion into Cold Water and Survival in Cold Waters – was written with the intent of improving the odds for sailors and fishermen lost at sea. The CIA accessed it to determine how far its agents could go with “high-value detainees” in secret prisons.

“Oh dear. I’ve helped the CIA, have I?” Chris Brooks of Kanata, Ont., said when told that an 85-page document he wrote years ago for Transport Canada was footnoted in the CIA’s so-called “torture memos.”

“I’m absolutely flabbergasted,” he said.

Read Dr. Chris Brooks’ full Transport Canada study on Cold Water Survival:

Download this file (.pdf)

The University of Manitoba’s Gordon Giesbrecht was also taken aback that the CIA cited his research. The leading expert on cold-water survival researches the precise points at which frigid waters become lethal.

“I’ve made hundreds of people hypothermic over the last 20 years or so,” he said, adding that he has subjected himself to his own water-immersion experiments.

Stressing that his research was always ethically conducted, he added that “we’ve often jokingly referred to this as ‘torture’ – it was just brutal.”

Although given unprecedented latitude by the Bush administration, the CIA still needed to reassure queasy bureaucrats and lawyers that it knew what it was doing as it pioneered interrogation practices on alleged terrorists.

Newly disclosed materials on water dousing and other techniques can be found within a sheaf of previously top secret CIA memos released by court order to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read a once ‘Top Secret’ CIA memo on the medical rationale behind its interrogation tactics (which includes a reference to a Transport Canada study):

Download this file (.pdf)

These disclosures led the Obama administration this week to appoint a special investigator to probe past counterterrorism practices.

“Water dousing” is not to be confused with the more notorious “waterboarding,” an interrogation technique that amounts to controlled drowning. But the Red Cross has documented several CIA detainees complaining that they were drenched daily with buckets or hoses while held in the cold rooms in secret prisons.

Read a Red Cross study on al-Qaeda suspects’ first hand accounts of CIA interrogation practises:

Download this file (.pdf)

Some even complained they were put in an “immersion bath.” Guards made them lie on plastic sheeting with the edges raised and poured in bucket after bucket of cold water for up to a half hour at a time.

“Water dousing is intended to weaken the detainee’s overall resistance posture and persuade him to co-operate with interrogators,” reads one of the CIA memos justifying the practice. It adds that detainees were to be restrained, possibly naked, and could withstand dousing for up to an hour in the right conditions.

This technique is held as the 15th most “intense” on the CIA’s internal list, starting with “shaving” (No. 1) and ending with “waterboarding” (No. 20). Dousing was seen as a step harsher than sleep deprivation, but a notch less punishing than being forced into “stress positions.”

A 2005 fax sent from the CIA to the U.S. Department of Justice includes an appendix called Medical Rationales for Limitations on Physical Pressures.

“Death can result from prolonged (i.e. 6 hour) exposure to 15 C water, 2 hrs at 10 C, 1 hour at 5 C,” the table reads. “Hypothermia can be induced in 30 minutes with 5 C … Immersion at temperatures below 25 C/ 77 F will eventually be fatal over time.”

The CIA urged agents to have doctors handy and cease dousing “upon evidence of hypothermia.” The table refers readers to Transport Canada’s Survival in Cold Waters – written by Dr. Brooks – or a chapter in a book called Wilderness Medicine titled Immersion into Cold Water.

“That was my chapter,” Dr. Giesbrecht said yesterday.

Although he denounced dousing interrogations as unethical, he said the CIA’s guidance actually errs on the side of caution.

“These estimates are really overestimating how quickly one would die,” he said.

PROFESSOR POPSICLE: EXPLORING THE SCIENCE OF WARM BODIES IN COLD WATER

The man they call “Professor Popsicle” is no stranger to frigid waters, but says he has had enough. “I don’t suspect I’ll get in cold water any more,” he said yesterday.

Gordon Giesbrecht, a Manitoba scientist in his 50s, explained that he has rendered himself hypothermic more than 40 times in the course of his career.

“And I tell you,” he said, “if you had to do that every day, you wouldn’t be happy.”

Dr. Giesbrecht’s experiments have piqued the curiosity of many. David Letterman invited him on his show in 2004. The operators of CIA secret prisons referred to his research as they doused top al-Qaeda suspects.

Scientists are still struggling to figure out how the human body responds to the shocking, numbing and drowning effects of cold water. Dr. Giesbrecht said his experiments show many people can easily withstand the “excruciating” discomfort of 12-degree water for hours, and yet a drop of just a few degrees beyond that can kill a healthy human.

Every person has a breaking point, he said, adding that the longest he’s been submerged in cold water is for about five hours. He recalled extreme pain, numbness, and uncontrollable shivering of most major muscle groups.

Although the experience bordered on “torture,” he said, the conditions were such that he and other research subjects could have endured the water much longer without lasting damage.

“We had a limit, essentially, based on compassion,” he said. Colin Freeze

NAZI ATROCITIES

The world is aghast today at reports of CIA interrogation tactics, but Nazi experiments remain the nadir of unethical research.

During the Second World War, the Third Reich was losing thousands of soldiers to frigid North Sea waters. That led German scientists to study hypothermia by reaching into the Dachau concentration camp for detainees.

Once plunged into tanks of icy water, the prisoners’ vital signs were monitored, whether they died or survived. Some were even reimmersed into boiling water.

The Nazi regime crumbled but the data survived – prompting debates to this day about whether scientists should mine atrocities for information. Colin Freeze

Nato attack on Afghanistan clinic

Map

US and Afghan forces attacked a clinic in eastern Afghanistan where a Taliban leader was being treated for injuries he sustained last week, Nato has said.

They were fired upon when they neared the clinic in the Sar Hawza district of Paktika province, and responded by ordering helicopter strikes.

The troops first made sure there were no civilians inside, Nato added.

Nato said one soldier was killed and seven gunmen were arrested, but local officials said 12 militants had died.

Hamidullah Zhwak, a spokesman for Paktika’s governor, said the Taliban commander had been wounded in clashes last Thursday, when Afghans voted in presidential and provincial elections.

He and three other wounded Taliban had been brought to the clinic at noon on Wednesday, shortly after which the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) was tipped off, he said.

Mr Zhwak said militants in a tower near the clinic had opened fired as the troops approached and that the gun battle had lasted five hours.

“After ensuring the clinic was cleared of civilians, an AH64 Apache helicopter fired rounds at the building, ending the direct threat and injuring the targeted insurgent in the building,” Nato said on Thursday, adding that there were no civilian casualties.

A blast in Kandahar on Wednesday night which set a wood shop on fire caused no casualties, the AP news agency reported.

The explosion came one day after a massive explosion in Kandahar killed 43 people in Afghanistan’s deadliest bombing for a year.

Aftermath of Kandahar blast – 26 Aug 09

AlJazeeraEnglishAugust 26, 2009No-one has yet claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, which is a stronghold of the Taliban. The Taliban has comdemned the bombing and denied involvem…No-one has yet claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, which is a stronghold of the Taliban.The Taliban has comdemned the bombing and denied involvement in the attack that left at least 43 people dead.The blast, which wounded at least 65 other people, took place outside a wedding hall in the southern city shortly after people were breaking their Ramadan fast.The Afghan government now says it is sending the army in to take control of security in the city.Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports.

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Doctors Helped Find Sick Ways to Fine-Tune the Torture

“The interrogators’ objective,” the background paper says, “is to transition the HVD to a point where he is participating in a predictable, reliable and sustainable manner.” The policy was to use the “least coercive measure” to achieve the goal. The harsh treatment began with the “attention slap,” and for three prisoners of the nearly 100 who passed through the program, the endpoint was waterboarding.

Waterboarding might be an excruciating procedure with deep roots in the history of torture, but for the C.I.A.’s Office of Medical Services, recordkeeping for each session of near-drowning was critical. “In order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations, it is important that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented,” said medical guidelines prepared for the interrogators in December 2004.

The required records, the medical supervisors said, included “how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso- or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”

When the doctors gauged what a drenching in a cold cell might do to a prisoner, they did their research, consulting a textbook entitled “Wilderness Medicine,” in particular Chapter 6 on “accidental hypothermia,” as well as a Canadian government pamphlet, “Survival in Cold Waters,” according to footnotes.

Lawyers at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, likewise, were immersed in the details of investigations.

A week before he completed the first major legal opinion that authorized the use of physical pressure, John C. Yoo, the national security specialist in the counsel’s office, was faxed a six-page C.I.A. “psychological assessment” of the first man the brutal methods would be used on, Abu Zubaydah. “Subject is a highly self-directed individual who prizes his independence,” the assessment said.

In 2004, when Daniel B. Levin, then the acting assistant attorney general in the counsel’s office, sent a letter to the C.I.A. reauthorizing waterboarding, he dictated the terms: no more than two sessions of two hours each, per day, with both a doctor and a psychologist in attendance. In 2007, Steven G. Bradbury, then in charge of the office, wrote a two-page letter simply to extend the authorization for use of a particular technique — its name is redacted — for an extra day, until “1700 E.S.T., November 8, 2007.”

Report Shows Tight C.I.A. Control on Interrogations

Published: August 25, 2009

WASHINGTON — Two 17-watt fluorescent-tube bulbs — no more, no less — illuminated each cell, 24 hours a day. White noise played constantly but was never to exceed 79 decibels. A prisoner could be doused with 41-degree water but for only 20 minutes at a stretch.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s secret interrogation program operated under strict rules, and the rules were dictated from Washington with the painstaking, eye-glazing detail beloved by any bureaucracy.

The first news reports this week about hundreds of pages of newly released documents on the C.I.A. program focused on aberrations in the field: threats of execution by handgun or assault by power drill; a prisoner lifted off the ground by his arms, which were tied behind his back; another detainee repeatedly knocked out with pressure applied to the carotid artery.

But the strong impression that emerges from the documents, many with long passages blacked out for secrecy, is by no means one of gung-ho operatives running wild. It is a portrait of overwhelming control exercised from C.I.A. headquarters and the Department of Justice — control Bush administration officials say was intended to ensure that the program was safe and legal.

Managers, doctors and lawyers not only set the program’s parameters but dictated every facet of a detainee’s daily routine, monitoring interrogations on an hour-by-hour basis. From their Washington offices, they obsessed over the smallest details: the number of calories a prisoner consumed daily (1,500); the number of hours he could be kept in a box (eight hours for the large box, two hours for the small one); the proper time when his enforced nudity should be ended and his clothes returned.

The detainee “finds himself in the complete control of Americans; the procedures he is subjected to are precise, quiet and almost clinical, ” noted one document.

The records suggest one quandary prosecutors face as they begin a review of the C.I.A. program, part of the larger inquiry into abuse cases ordered Monday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Any prosecution that focuses narrowly on low-level interrogators who on a few occasions broke the rules may appear unfair, since most of the brutal treatment was authorized from the White House on down.

“The documents underscore how closely supervised the program was by officials in Washington,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union, whose Freedom of Information Act lawsuit forced disclosure of the records. “Any investigation that began and ended with the so-called rogue interrogators would be completely inadequate.”

A 2004 background paper the C.I.A. sent to the Justice Department gives the fullest account to date of the oversight of every step that followed the capture of a man suspected of being a top member of Al Qaeda — an HVD, in agency parlance, for high-value detainee.

Brought to the “black site” in diapers, the paper says, the prisoner’s head and face were shaved, he was stripped and photographed and sleep deprivation and a diet limited to Ensure Plus, a dietary drink, began.

“The interrogators’ objective,” the background paper says, “is to transition the HVD to a point where he is participating in a predictable, reliable and sustainable manner.” The policy was to use the “least coercive measure” to achieve the goal. The harsh treatment began with the “attention slap,” and for three prisoners of the nearly 100 who passed through the program, the endpoint was waterboarding.

Waterboarding might be an excruciating procedure with deep roots in the history of torture, but for the C.I.A.’s Office of Medical Services, recordkeeping for each session of near-drowning was critical. “In order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations, it is important that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented,” said medical guidelines prepared for the interrogators in December 2004.

The required records, the medical supervisors said, included “how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso- or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”

When the doctors gauged what a drenching in a cold cell might do to a prisoner, they did their research, consulting a textbook entitled “Wilderness Medicine,” in particular Chapter 6 on “accidental hypothermia,” as well as a Canadian government pamphlet, “Survival in Cold Waters,” according to footnotes.

Lawyers at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, likewise, were immersed in the details of investigations.

A week before he completed the first major legal opinion that authorized the use of physical pressure, John C. Yoo, the national security specialist in the counsel’s office, was faxed a six-page C.I.A. “psychological assessment” of the first man the brutal methods would be used on, Abu Zubaydah. “Subject is a highly self-directed individual who prizes his independence,” the assessment said.

In 2004, when Daniel B. Levin, then the acting assistant attorney general in the counsel’s office, sent a letter to the C.I.A. reauthorizing waterboarding, he dictated the terms: no more than two sessions of two hours each, per day, with both a doctor and a psychologist in attendance. In 2007, Steven G. Bradbury, then in charge of the office, wrote a two-page letter simply to extend the authorization for use of a particular technique — its name is redacted — for an extra day, until “1700 E.S.T., November 8, 2007.”

Tom Parker, policy director for counterterrorism and human rights at Amnesty International USA, said the documents were “chilling.”

“They show how deeply rooted this new culture of mistreatment became,” he said.

But defenders of the program say the tight rules show the government’s attempt to keep the program within the law. “Elaborate care went into figuring out the precise gradations of coercion,” said David B. Rivkin Jr., a lawyer who served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. “Yes, it’s jarring. But it shows how both the lawyers and the nonlawyers tried to do the right thing.”

As leaks about the program led to public accusations of torture, court rulings and Congressional action, the paperwork flowing between nervous C.I.A. and Justice officials steadily grew.

In June 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners who were members of Al Qaeda were entitled to the Geneva Conventions’ protections against humiliating and degrading treatment, and “outrages on personal dignity.” John A. Rizzo, the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, asked the Justice Department whether treatment at the agency’s secret prisons passed that test.

Mr. Bradbury of the Office of Legal Counsel wrote a 14-page response, assuring the agency that none of the conditions — the blindfolding and shackling, the involuntary shaving and the white noise — violated the Geneva Conventions’ standards.

“These are not conditions that humans strive for,” Mr. Bradbury wrote. “But they do reflect the realities of detention, realities that the Geneva Conventions accommodate, where persons will have to sacrifice some measure of privacy and liberty while under detention.”

Soon the assurances were no longer necessary. Worries about the legality of the C.I.A. program had reached the highest levels of the Bush administration. Two weeks after Mr. Bradbury sent his letter, President George W. Bush emptied the prisons, ordering the C.I.A.’s remaining 14 prisoners transferred to the American military’s detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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Seligman’s Puppies

Seligman’s Puppies

Here are the gory details of Seligman’s so-called “learned helplessness” experiments, in his own words.  These were not “experiments” at all, but torture of helpless little puppies in the name of “science,” unless your idea of legitimate experiments included the methods used by Nazi scientists.  Seligman applied 500 v.a.c., at 4.5-6 milliamps, for as much as 30 seconds at a time, to the tender pads of the dogs’ feet, until the torturers convinced them that they were dead, or nearly so.  It is little wonder that the designers of the torture/interrogation used at Abu Gharib and elsewhere fell in love with Seligman’s sick methodology.  The idea that soldiers might simply reverse the torture process in their so-called “resilience training,” to undo the damage done to soldiers and thereby improve the Army’s image is ludicrous.

Journal of Experimental Psychology

… FAILURE TO ESCAPE TRAUMATIC SHOCK 1 MARTIN E: P. SELIGMAN 2 AND STEVEN F. MAIER« University of Pennsylvania

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