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‘Learned helplessness’

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Of all the harrowing accounts and chilling examples in the U.S. Senate report on CIA interrogation practices, among the most striking was that of Abu Zubaydah. One of the first detainees in the war on terror, he was also one of the most vital. Lying in a bed in Thailand, he told FBI interrogators all about Khalid Sheik Mohammed — the mastermind of the Sept. 11th attacks.

But then the CIA showed up. Its team was accompanied by a psychologist. And he wanted to conduct a test that would get “Zubaydah to reveal everything by severing his sense of personality and scaring him almost to death,” reported Vanity Fair in 2007 in a groundbreaking story. So interrogators built a coffin and stuffed him inside it, the Senate report said, for 300 hours. He was waterboarded 83 times in 17 days. He was absolutely broken by the procedures — but not one significant plot was foiled as a result of his confessions.

Despite the failure of the interrogation methods, the psychological concept guiding them — called “learned helplessness” — lived on. With the guidance of two psychologists on contract to the CIA for $1,800 per day, the technique of stripping someone of their will would be applied to numerous additional prisoners in the coming years. Media reports have named the two psychologists: Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who in all earned $81 million in payment. They derived their approach from a well-known 1967 research paper by University of Pennsylvania psychologists.

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Patient Zero

Pretty sick stuff.

On one hand, he's the enemy.

His information could have (though didn't) saved the lives of many people.

On the other hand, does being the enemy justify the dehumanization of another human being?

i would say no but then i remind myself that the enemy has no qualms about doing similar to us.

i'll stop there, i'm getting sea sick from going back and forth.

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Grandpa Greenman

The has really upset and angered me. Torture has been used through history, people will tell you what they think you want to know whether it is true or not. All you have to do is look a the history of witch trials to know that. I have really come to hate and distrust my government.

Witch persecutions were not a pretty thing. Similar to your average 16th century execution methods, the witches were handled cruelly and harshly, and were typically put under some kind of awful torture to gain a confession of their craft and other witches in the village. 'Thumb screws' and 'leg irons' seem to be the most common forms of torture used on the witches, and they usually resulted in a confession - This, of course, would have been taken as proof that witchcraft really did exist in England, because a woman being tortured would confess it! Whether it was said out of pain and agony or not, it certainly gave witch-hunters cause to continue looking and persecuting... and it only increased the fear of evil and the devil!

http://thetudorenthusiast.weebly.com/my-tudor-blog/witchcraft-in-16th-17th-century-england

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Empty Garden

Distrust of government is a logical conclusion and a rational act, given what we see today. A sad situation, but about the only choice the thinking man has.

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jmccr8

All gov'ts throughout history have employed torture as a means of gathering intelligence and instilling fear in the masses,some of the techniques used by the Romans against Christians would likely scare the crap out of men today compared to waterboarding.

jmccr8

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Empty Garden

All gov'ts throughout history have employed torture as a means of gathering intelligence and instilling fear in the masses,some of the techniques used by the Romans against Christians would likely scare the crap out of men today compared to waterboarding.

jmccr8

Well not all governments in all times. I doubt very much that the US government was torturing people in 1825.

We are helpless when we think the government can save us from anything.

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Leonardo

When Ben Franklin said "those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety", wasn't he referring not only to the citizens but also to the govt of those citizens?

Just swap the word "safety" for "National Security".

Edited by Leonardo
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pallidin

If and when terrorists engage America or other Western interests, "no-holds-barred" in my opinion.

I feel zero sympathy for them. Else they will continue their brutal campaign.

Truly very simple.

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jmccr8

Hi Empty Garden,

I don't discuss my views on the gov't for the same reasons that I don't buy clothes that are too small,because it serves no purpose.

jmccr8

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