Previous month:
September 2010
Next month:
November 2010

October 2010

Report: Wolfowitz Directive Gave Legal Protection to "Physiological Warfare" Experiments

A special investigative report by Joshua Holland and psychologist Jeffrey Kaye looks at how Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz "quietly loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners."

This "legal cover" was provided by the Wolfowitz directive: Protection of Human Subjects and Adherence to Ethical Standards in DoDSupported Research released on March 25, 2002.

According to Leopold and Kaye,

One former Pentagon official, who worked closely with the agency's ex-general counsel William Haynes, said the Wolfowitz directive provided legal cover for a top-secret Special Access Program at the Guantanamo Bay prison, which experimented on ways to glean information from unwilling subjects and to achieve "deception detection."

"A dozen [high-value detainees] were subjected to interrogation methods in order to evaluate their reaction to those methods and the subsequent levels of stress that would result," said the official.

A July 16, 2004 Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) report obtained by Truthout shows that between April and July 2003, a "physiological warfare specialist" atached to the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) program was present at Guantanamo. The CID report says the instructor was assigned to a top-secret Special Access Program.

This is a long report but I recommend it for anyone who, like me, still feels a thorn of injustice under the fingernails whenever I think about torture policies still being sanctioned by the United States.

Also see ACLU's website for articles and videos on their committment to restore the rule of law "because accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative."

Freud coming into fashion in China

For the past two years, a small army of therapists in the United States has been getting up at ungodly hours and staying up late into the night to teach the fundamentals of Freud to counterparts on the other side of the world. Their efforts have raised the practice of psychoanalysis, a type of theory developed by Freud a century ago, to new heights in China, a country where mental health has long been an underdeveloped branch of medicine.

The success of their intensive two-year training program, called the China American Psychoanalytic Alliance (CAPA), has been the result of several overlapping factors: Chinese doctors - whose training has been limited to drug prescription - are hungry for new theories and techniques to treat patients. Meanwhile, Freudian psychoanalysts in the United States -- often seen as outdated, even irrelevant - are equally keen to gain new ground in China. Connecting the two sides is Skype - an Internet video conferencing technology that didn't even exist until seven years ago.


t r u t h o u t | When Generosity Hurts: Bill Gates, Public School Teachers and the Politics of Humiliation

Another great article from Henry Giroux on the educational system in the United States. Read the whole thing here.

When I refer to a culture of cruelty and a discourse of humiliation, I am talking about the institutionalization and widespread adoption of a set of values, policies and symbolic practices that legitimate forms of organized violence against human beings increasingly considered disposable, and which lead inexorably to unnecessary hardship, suffering and despair.