When Bush the Younger got his pass to the White House in 2001, one of the first items on his agenda was to legitimize torture. You might think this was a strange agenda for lots of reasons. For one thing, what a tough sell! Outlawing torture has been a proud point in the advance of civilization over the centuries, and the US has been a champion of the cause, at least publicly, since the inception of the country. Writing a blanket proscription against torture prominently into our Constitution was a defining gesture for our Founding Fathers in 1789.
Amendment VIIIBush could hardly have expected that torture would be an easy sell, or that it would elevate his standing in the public eye, or enhance his reputation as a "Compassionate Conservative ".
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. (from the Bill of Rights
Even more puzzling, the US government had been quietly using torture behind the scenes, with plausible deniability, for as long as anyone could remember. Why the need now to go public?
Nevertheless, Bush and Cheney (who had no "compassionate" image to uphold) set about gradually to legitimize what was the most heinous, disturbing, and indefensible practice, and they did it expertly and consistently over a period of many years, ultimately bringing an acceptance of torture into the mainstream of American culture, and gradually inuring the public to the horrors of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, and the shocking treatment of the American hero and martyr, Chelsea Manning . Their campaign started even before 9/11 with a planted editorial by the nation's most famous law prof, Alan Dershowitz ; the result was the triumphalist advocacy of Dick Cheney , and the pusillanimous accession of Barack Obama . Note that Obama says, "Wetortured some folks," not "they", going beyond his former policy of "look forward not backward" to forgive the criminal horrors of the Bush Administration, and now identifying himself, and by extension all of us, with their behavior. "We" indeed!
Method in their Madness
If this was no accident, no Freudian slip, but a deliberate and concerted PR campaign, we might suspect that torture is in some way central to their agenda.
This is a big topic, to which I am just opening my eyes. I would like to introduce you to the research of Fred Burks, who has laid bare a trove of government secrets at his web site, WantToKnow.info. Burks retired from a career as a language interpreter in the White House for Clinton and Bush, and started a series of web sites to tell what he knows. The information he presents not only defies belief, but, even if we try to believe him, it is so deeply disorienting that most of us will just walk away. "I wouldn't believe that even if it were true." Burks is sophisticated in the ways of disinformation, and wise to our human need to acquire shocking new information gradually, with support and cause for hope all along the way. The Inspiration tab is a central piece of Burks's program to help maintain our sanity and our sense of hope and empowerment as we assimilate the truth.
Burks is, himself, an unabashed optimist about our future. He sees this oppressive system that bears on us all in its last, desperate gasp, and looks forward to a humane, democratic and prosperous world, where human needs can be met without supporting overlords and without trashing the biosphere.
Tell all the truth but tell it slant --Burks's web site is thoroughly documented, with links to government reports, FOIA releases, and mainstream news articles.
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth's superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind --
-- Emily Dickinson
Mind Control - a Well-Developed Science
Here is Burks's web page on the history of mind control, and the role it has played in the ascendence of the criminals who have eclipsed US democracy. It is to be read in small doses, as you feel ready for it. I recommend you read it aloud in groups with frequent breaks for hugs and laughter. I summarize briefly:
After World War II, the CIA was chartered, and one of its missions was to learn from and replicate mind control programs from China, Korea and the Soviet Union. Project Bluebird in 1950 became MKUltra in 1953.
CIA Director Richard Helms destroyed much of the documentary paper trail for MKUltra, in advance of a Senate investigation in 1976. Sen Frank Church of the Senate Intelligence Committee characterized the CIA as a "rogue elephant operating above the law". Some of the activities were made public at that time.
Young victims were chosen for suggestibility. Torture, drugs, sleep deprivation, and isolation were used to obliterate their personalities, and experiments were performed with post-hypnotic suggestion. The CIA reports speak explicitly of the ability to turn living humans into zombie assassins and murderers.
The assassination of Robert Kennedy by Sirhan Sirhan appears to be a classic example of mind control techniques. The murder of John Lennon by Mark David Chapman also has the hallmarks of mind control.
By the 1920's clinical hypnotists learned to split certain individuals into multiple personalities like Jeckyl-Hydes. During WWII, I worked this technique with a Marine lieutenant I'll call Jones. I split his personality into Jones A and Jones B. Jones A, once a 'normal' Marine, became entirely different. He talked communist doctrine and meant it. He was welcomed enthusiastically by communist cells, and was deliberately given a dishonorable discharge. Jones B was the deeper personality, knew all the thoughts of Jones A, and was 'imprinted' to say nothing during conscious phases. All I had to do was hypnotize him, get in touch with Jones B, and I had a pipeline straight into the Communist camp. -- G.H. Estabrooks, writing in Science Digest, 1971
"Army doctors were involved in LSD testing at least until the late 1970's. Subjects of LSD experiments included children as young as five years old, and brain electrodes were implanted in children as young as 11 years of age."