American Samizdat

Thursday, September 06, 2007. *
Psychological "torture bible" published in 1961 reappears online

If you were to begin researching interrogation, interviewing, and brainwashing techniques, you would eventually notice that one particular interesting-sounding volume appears over and over again in the relevant bibliographies: something called The Manipulation of Human Behavior, published in 1961 [by John Wiley & Sons].

Based on the compelling title and the fact that just about every publication in the subject area cites it, you would then probably try to seek it out for yourself--only to discover that it has never been reprinted.
Then you'd find out a bit more: the book is a compilation of seven research reports, and funded at least in large part by the United States government. You can even track down the table of contents online, and your jaw may drop when you read the chapter titles:

* The Physiological State of the Interrogation Subject as it Affects Brain Function
* The Effects of Reduced Environmental Stimulation on Human Behavior: A Review
* The Use of Drugs in Interrogation
* Physiological Responses as a Means of Evaluating Information
* The Potential Uses of Hypnosis in Interrogation
* The Experimental Investigation of Interpersonal Influence
* Countermanipulation through Malingering

These articles were written by the people who were paid by the US government, mostly in the 1950s, to research brainwashing and interrogation techniques by giving people drugs, placing them under sensory deprivation, hypnotizing them, etc. etc. Many of these experiments essentially involve torture and are likely to be widely regarded as highly unethical. This is fundamental research, and if there was any followup research done, it has not yet been published for public consumption.

This book is of enormous historical importance, and yet is largely unavailable. If you live in the United States, this is some of what your government was up to in the fifties. I doubt that their funding of these ideas stopped with the publication of this volume.

Also see, Biderman's Chart of Coercion.'

Air Force psychologist Alfred Biderman examined the US prisoners from the Korean War to see why so many had been complicit with their captors.

Biderman codified the 8 tactics used to defeat human will and this is called
'Biderman's Chart of Coercion.'

A study was conducted in the 1950s after the release of US prisoners of the Korean War to learn about their experiences and the behaviors of their captors. Biderman's Chart of Coercion was developed from that study and shows the methods used by captors to brainwash prisoners and force compliance. Several decades later, when more was known about family violence and abuse in relationships, it was recognized that for many people experience abuse the methods appeared to be the same.

This chart was adapted from Biderman's Chart of Coercion to reflect methods of brainwashing in an abusive relationship. The second column was taken directly from Biderman's Chart of Coercion, and the third column was adapted for abusive relationships. Parts of this chart may reflect your experience in your relationship.

Biderman's Chart of Coercion

Deprives victim of all social support for the ability to resist
Develops an intense concern with self
Makes victim dependent upon the interrogator

Monopolization of perception
Fixes attention upon immediate predicament; fosters introspection
Eliminates stimuli competing with those controlled by captor
Frustrates all actions not consistent with compliance

Induced physical and mental exhaustion
Weakens physical and mental ability to resist

Cultivates anxiety and despair

Occasional indulgences
Provides positive motivation for compliance
Hinders adjustment to deprivation

Demonstrating ‘omnipotence'

Suggests futility of resistance

Makes cost of resistance appear more damaging to self esteem than capitulation
Reduces prisoner to “animal level” concerns

Enforcing trivial demands
Develops habit compliance

A shorter version of Biderman's Chart of Coercion is DRTC.
(I remember this with a mnemonic device as "Dirt, see?")

Disorientation = inflict intense stimuli to disrupt autonomy

Regression = push into a submissive role of seeking relief

Transference = offer the source of relief

Compliance = obtain cooperation in exchange for relief

Recommended book- 'Coercion: Why We Listen to What 'They' Say' by Douglas Rushkoff.

He does a good job of showing the commonalities in CIA interrogation techniques and corporate sales scripts used by car dealers, retail, and even cults.

Torture For Fun and Profit

If torture doesn't work, as is demonstrated below, it must be done for reasons other than intellligence gathering. Those reasons may vary, though all of them must violate basic human dignity, not only for the victims, but for the perpetrators as well.

The CIA's Torture Teachers: Psychologists Helped the CIA Exploit a Secret Military Program to Develop Brutal Interrogation Tactics

Music by Frank Zappa: 'The Torture Never Stops'
WARNING: May be graphic and disturbing to some people.

Oh, just in case your not sick yet:

Torture school subjects children to lethal punishments in America no doubt...

Finally, Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault
posted by Uncle $cam at 7:27 AM
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