Monday, March 21, 2011

Do No Harm??

The book, A Question of Torture talks about the psychiatric assistance with torturing "terrorists". This is from the book Kind and Usual Punishment by Jessica Mitford about the aid of psychiatrists in the prison industry:
(quoting Edgar H. Schein"s article entitled "Man against man: Brainwashing" in the Corrective Psychiatry and Journal of Social Change, Vol 8, No 2)

My basic argument is this: in order to produce masked change of behavior and/or attitude, it is necessary to weaken, undermine or remove the supports to the old patterns of behavior ... either by removing the individual physically and preventing any communication with those whom he cares about, or by proving to him that those he respects are not worthy of it and should be actively mistrusted. Korean brainwashing techniques in service of different goals my be quite acceptable to us...I would like you to think of brainwashing not in terms of politics, ethics and morals but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior and attitudes by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captive population lives. Techniques such as social disorganization and the creation of mutual mistrust by spying on the men and reporting back private material; tricking men into written statements to convince men they can trust no one, undermining ties to home by the systematic withholding of mail. If one wants to produce behavior inconsistent with the person's standards of conduct, first disorganize the group which supports those standards, then undermine his other emotional supports, then put him into a new and ambiguous situation for which the standards are unclear, and then put pressure on him.