Psychological Torture: A CIA History

“Advances in the History of Psychology has alerted me to a gripping video lecture on the development of CIA psychological torture techniques from the Cold War to War on Terror. It was an invited lecture at the University of California by historian Prof Alfred McCoy who has long specialised in the history of the US secret services.He argues that the results of CIA research into psychological torture can be clearly seen in both the treatment of prisoners in Guantanamo bay and images of the Abu Ghraib scandal.

By contrast when I looked at those photos, I did not see snapshots of simple brutality or a breakdown in military discipline. For example, that most iconic photo of a hooded Iraqi with fake electrical wires hanging from his extended arms shows not the sadism of a few ‘creeps’, but instead, the two key trademarks of the CIA’s psychological torture: the hood was for sensory disorientation and the arms extended for self-inflicted pain.

McCoy discusses how these techniques were researched and developed by some of the most distinguished cognitive scientists of the time and were reflected in now uncovered CIA documents, including the 1961 ‘Manipulation of Human Behavior’ research summary, the 1963 KUBARK interrogation manual, and the 1983 ‘Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual’. He notes that these techniques have been developed and legitimised by a legal framework that was deliberately designed not to outlaw existing techniques, despite the fact there is no strong basis for their effectiveness and evidence suggests that psychological torture has a similar long-term impact to physical torture.”

(via Mind Hacks)

(video:”A Short History of Psychological Torture“)

Tracy Twyman: Mind-Controlled Sex Slaves update

Tracy Twyman provides several links and resources for more information on sexual mind control, from speed seduction to erotic mind control stories to conspiracy theories.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about mind-controlled sex slaves. An aborted podcast interview on the subject last night made me think about it again. I wrote the original article The Stepford Whores for Hustler in 2001, and put the unabridged version of the article, along with transcripts of the interviews (Cathy O’Brien, Mark Phillips, Noreen Gosch, Ted Gunderson, John DeCamp, Pamela Freyd) on the web a couple of years later. After all these years those articles continue to bring in hits every day. Many of these people are interested in reading about the conspiracy theories surrounding the alleged Project Monarch. But many of these hits are from people looking for instructions on creating mind-controlled sex slaves. I can tell by the search terms they use to find the website that this is what they are looking for. These are the creepy ones. In other words, the person who came to my website either already has someone in captivity, or is planning to kidnap them, then raping and torturing them until their personality fragments, and then using hypnosis to program said captive/s to be the perfect sex slave. Often these hits come from countries like Nigeria and Thailand with huge human trafficking industries. These are the really creepy ones.

Full Story: Tracy Twyman.

For other perspectives check out:

Reason’s interview about human trafficking skeptic Laura Maria Agustin.

Downfall of a Seducer, an article about the speed seduction industry.

Brain scans reveal that inflation gets you hot

From io9:

Inflated prices trigger the pleasure centers in your brain more than fair ones. Not only is the idea of buying something expensive more exciting than buying something on sale, but you’ll actually get more genuine pleasure out of something expensive — even if it’s not worth the cost. A group of social scientists at CalTech and Stanford discovered this not-entirely-unexpected fact when they stuck people into MRI brain scanners and gave them several glasses of wine, assigning each one a random price.

In point of fact, all the wines were exactly the same. But the results of the MRI scans showed greater neurological activity in people’s pleasure centers when they were told they were drinking expensive wine. The best (creepiest?) part of all this is that the authors of the study hope to use these findings to manipulate consumers. The authors write:

Our results show that increasing the price of a wine increases subjective reports of flavor pleasantness as well as blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks. The paper provides evidence for the ability of marketing actions to modulate neural correlates of experienced pleasantness and for the mechanisms through which the effect operates.

Yes, marketing can modulate your neurological system. You already knew that, but somehow finding out that there’s an objective truth to it in a brain scanner makes it feel more like Big Brother than Brooks Brothers.

Marketing actions can modulate neural representations of experienced pleasantness

‘The Origin of Emotions’

Mark Devon, the author:

I began thinking about emotions while studying evolutionary theory at Harvard University.

Learning that adaptations do not evolve unless they help survival, I reasoned that each emotion must have a purpose that helped survival. If I could identify an emotion’s trigger, I could also identify its purpose.

Applying that thought to each emotion, I wrote The Origin of Emotions. [Available as a free PDF download. Or you can purchase a hardcopy for ease of reading.]

The following are excerpts from the book:

‘Maternal love stops when a child is 33 months old. Mothers maximize their reproduction by focusing on the next child when the current child can feed itself. By 33 months, children can feed themselves if food is available. They can walk and their first set of teeth have completed eruption.’

‘Men only love a woman for 42 months, which covers 9 months of gestation and 33 months of post-natal care. Both sexes maximize reproduction by starting a new reproductive cycle with a new partner when a child can feed itself.’

‘Revenge encourages victims of rule breaking to always retaliate, whether it helps them or not. The more victims retaliate, the fewer rule breakers there are. The fewer rule breakers there are, the more efficient a group is.’

‘Pride is triggered by higher rank, not high rank. Rookies feel pride, but veteran all-stars do not. Recent nursing graduates feel pride, but doctors nearing retirement do not.’

‘Humiliation is triggered by lower rank, not low rank. The only criminals who feel humiliation are first-time offenders. Every CEO feels humiliation when they retire.’

‘You feel affection when you see or hear features that separate humans from other primates, such as the sight of white eyes or the sound of talking.’

‘When you maximize your happiness, you do what is best for the species.’

Harvard Neuroscientists Investigate ESP

This may come as a shock if you’re one of the fifty percent of Americans who believes in ESP, but it turns out that psychic powers don’t show up in fMRI brain scans. A group of Harvard researchers scanned the brains of people who were receiving mental imagery from their relatives in another room, and discovered that . . . well, nothing happened. The best part is how they tested “precognition.”

According to a release from Harvard:

To study whether or not ESP exists, Moulton and Kosslyn presented participants with two types of visual stimuli: ESP stimuli and non-ESP stimuli. [Samuel Moulton is a graduate student in the department of psychology at Harvard –ed.] These two types of stimuli were identical with one exception: ESP stimuli were not only presented visually, but also were presented telepathically, clairvoyantly, and precognitively to participants.

To present stimuli telepathically, the researchers showed the photographs to the participants’ identical twin, relative, romantic partner, or friend, who was seated in another room. To present stimuli clairvoyantly, the researchers displayed the photographs on a distant computer screen. And to present stimuli precognitively, the researchers showed participants the photographs again in the future.

Does this conclusively prove that ESP does not exist” “No,” says Moulton. “You cannot affirm the null hypothesis. But at the same time, some null results are stronger than others. This is the best evidence to date against the existence of ESP. Perhaps most important, this study offers scientists a new way to study ESP that avoids the pitfalls of past approaches.”

How do you show something to somebody “again in the future”? Even though the brain scans revealed that nothing happens when you do any of this stuff, the Harvard researchers still have hope. They say this doesn’t conclusively prove ESP does not exist.

Read the press release

via io9 ? la Medgadget

See More

mind control subject george bush

Hear Voices? It May Be an Ad

An A&E Billboard ‘Whispers’ a Spooky Message Audible Only in Your Head in Push to Promote Its New ‘Paranormal’ Program

New Yorker Alison Wilson was walking down Prince Street in SoHo last week when she heard a woman’s voice right in her ear asking, ‘Who’s there? Who’s there?’ She looked around to find no one in her immediate surroundings. Then the voice said, ‘It’s not your imagination.’

Indeed it isn’t. It’s an ad for ‘Paranormal State,’ a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E this week. The billboard uses technology manufactured by Holosonic that transmits an ‘audio spotlight’ from a rooftop speaker so that the sound is contained within your cranium. The technology, ideal for museums and libraries or environments that require a quiet atmosphere for isolated audio slideshows, has rarely been used on such a scale before. For random passersby and residents who have to walk unwittingly through the area where the voice will penetrate their inner peace, it’s another story.

Full Story: Commercial Alert.

Bad neuroscience coverage in newspapers criticized

On Wednesday, a second piece of spurious, brain-based punditry made its way into the opinion pages of a major newspaper. This time it’s an essay in the Los Angeles Times from psychiatrist and self-help guru Daniel G. Amen, a medical maverick who runs a chain of private brain-scanning facilities across the country. Amen doesn’t want to read the minds of swing voters; he wants to study the candidates themselves.


The proposal is doubly outlandish: first, for asserting that it’s possible to distinguish a tyrant from a peacemaker-or a philanderer from a loving spouse-on the basis of a few single photon emission computed tomography scans; and second, for suggesting that we might want to use this putative ability to make a priori judgments about anyone. (What if one of our presidential candidates turned out to have a Hitler brain-would we throw him in precautionary lockup?) Amen isn’t indulging in Swiftian irony, either. He truly believes that brain scans can predict behavior and that it’s a good idea to screen the general population for neuropathology: “I’m just always looking for the perfect brain,” he recently told the Sacramento Bee. “If I date someone long enough, they get scanned.”

Full Story: Slate.

Previous coverage on Slate.

(all via Hit and Run).

The Hypersonic Soundbeam

“After years of reading puff pieces about the coming of the “Hypersonic Soundbeam,” a device designed to send targeted blasts of sound waves that can be heard only be selected recipients in an audio environment, it has apparently made its debut in the public sphere, right here in New York. As part of a billboard marketing campaign for a television show. A&E has placed a billboard (on Prince St. between Mulberry and Mott) that shoots sound waves designed to resonate against your head, giving the passerby a distinct feeling that the advertisement is arising from within their skull. The television show is is about ghosts, so that means this is a witty kind of progressive marketing stunt and not just totally fucking creepy, right?Aminuts_3IRI Technologies, one of the many companies vending this device to the industry, highlights the invention’s utility like so: “The Hypersonic Sound Waves travel silently through space, up to 300 feet away, then convert into an instant sound source whatever surface [including your skull! -ed.] they impact. Amazingly, if you aim this magical device at a person, their head will become a speaker, and they will hear your message “inside” their head.”

The patent owner of this little baby is an American Solo Maverick Inventor in the old model – he cooked this idea up and built a prototype without the help of a corporate research team. Woody Norris is, as an interview posted to his website will have you know, “no techno nerd.” And he’s humble about the source of his inspirations, observing that, “I didn’t invent that [medical sonar imaging device]. It happens and I observed it. And so I claimed it. You know what inventing is — I heard this from somebody else — ‘It’s an accident observed.”

(via WFMU’s Beware of the Blog)

(WSJ Article on Woody Norris via Woody Norris’ blog)

What values can occultists call their own?

I’d love to get some feedback from Klint’s wonderful community and readership here, especially those who happen to have experience in design, marketing, and business. After some discussions with fellow designer, Coe, who himself has an esoteric streak, I’ve been considering some issues that might be keeping the contemporary spiritual movement that is the occult subculture (and its legion of niche cultures and interests) from reaching its potential in North America (and possibly Europe).

First to address is whether being different is something that the members of the occult community thrives on, in and of itself. Personally, I’ve noticed differences between the persons I know involved in the esoteric arts. I’ll call them the Few for brevity’s sake. There are the goth shops that stock the books on magic that I’ll visit if I’m too eager to wait for an Amazon shipment. While the books and knowledge are the factors that draw me to their locale, the people and artefacts that are sold there are of no interest to me and, in fact, sell a stereotype that I find repugnant. (Sadly, the books in my section are the cultural accessories to the majority of wares they huck: clothing, hair dye, witchcraft gobbledygook, incense, shoddy pewter jewellery, and punky goth paraphernalia.)

There’s also the New Age shops that huck their own brand, though with a more aligned focus to the ultimate goal of spiritual exploration: crystals, incense, oils, lame calendars with ooh-ahh paintings on them, CDs, cheesy T-shirts, et cetera.

So all this material would be the halo effect, as it’s referred to in marketing. Unfortunately, goth and witch cultures seem to have let the accessories take the focus away from the core cultural values that spawned them in the first place. Which leads me to wonder what state does the North American occult community find itself.

Now, keep in mind that I’ve worked in design for a number of years and now currently work as a brand consultant. What most people don’t understand about brands is that they are what the people say they are, not what the companies wish to define them as.

This is an interesting point to get across because persons that decide to hate a particular brand are projecting their own form of identity by hating on the brands that rub them the wrong way. The little mental boxes in your mind that you used to define that brand is neurologically linked to other elements that you associate with in your life that you use to define what you’re not. Sadly, by choosing one’s enemies, like I see in these books and posts about “occult warfare,” fans of this thinking do themselves the disservice of filling in all the boxes they dislike. The mental boxes (or mental white space) that remains moulds personal self-identification with the cultural or experiential leftovers that haven’t been already commandeered by others.

Rarely do I see popular subculture movements hijack and infiltrate the mainstream in order to spread their art among the masses. The Few that become self-inflicted prisoners, bound by the things they refuse, begin to wrap these leftover ideas into its own mishmash subculture. Then they get mad when the mainstream adopts and makes it their own. Think of punk culture adopting military garb as their own, or the Barbie girls out there that seem to be standardised with a back-ass tattoo and pierced bellybutton and tongue.

This brings up the universal archetype known as the Elixir. In Joseph Campbell’s monomyth one of the necessary traits of a Hero is to enter the underworld and return to the masses with a so-called Elixir. The Elixir is wisdom. And I define wisdom as knowledge + experience.

“It is important that art is produced, but it also has to be consumed. The dynamics of producers and consumers is the motor of art.” Turkish caricaturist Ercan Akyol said that, and it remains true in all elements of life (unless you’re pursuing a Zen-like knowledge of the self, in some cave somewhere, by choice.) But think of art in this case as a the Elixir of wisdom, this knowledge and experience that is being hoarded by one group or the next, but rarely shared across borders. Borders who’re really only being defined by these little, semantic boxes we build in our heads: aka brands.

One of my favourite things that Grant Morrison says during his well-known Disinfo talk has nothing to do with sigils or his writing. It’s that he’s wearing a Donna Karan suit. Then he spills his drink on it and cheerfully laughs, “Fuck it!” The suit is a beautiful piece, and it serves its purpose. It’s Morrison’s mask magic at work. He doesn’t avoid fashion as a vice of contemporary life, but embraces it and uses it as a magical tool in his everyday life-experiencing what a fine garment can elicit in others, and how that attention can be embraced.

Rollo May says, in Man’s Search for Himself, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice… it is conformity.” Whom among us have conformed to our particular set of friends? Their expectations of us, our subcultures’, or our families’? Why? Like Morrison, laugh out loud, “Fuck ’em!” I want everyone reading this right now to say to themselves, three times, Fuck occultism, fuck conspiracies, fuck the little boxes in my head that keep me from exploring the things I simply believe I hate.

And on that, as I digress from my initial hope to encourage some feedback to better a conversation I am having with Coe and sometimes with Rev Max, I leave you with two quotes to encourage some thought on this matter. But remember, they apply when you embrace the lifestyle of a Hero yourself. The archetypal Underworld in many a case might just be the very mainstream that so many so-called “occultists” tend to avoid and dismay. It is that very nightmare I encourage you to embrace! Learn to flirt, learn to dress up as much as you might desire to dress down, and truly put Robert Anton Wilson’s and Ramsey Duke’s ideas to work:

“It’s amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.”
-Thomas Sowell

“A few harmless flakes working together can unleash an avalanche of destruction.”

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