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Fri

28

Aug

2009

Weaponizing Psychology - Treating People Like Dogs
Friday, 28 August 2009 06:03
by Peter Chamberlin

Nearly all of the Pentagon’s counter-insurgency warfare doctrine has been based on distortions of the pirated theories of former president of the American Psychological Association, Prof. Martin Seligman. Now we learn that post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) treatments for war veterans have been developed from his work as well.

The US military has totally embraced Seligman’s controversial theories, twisting them to suit their deadly purposes, basing their computer-modeled psyops plans, plans for homeland security, even their recruitment strategies, upon his theories of “learned helplessness,” looking for ways to bring-about its most debilitating form, learned hopelessness. Every one of these programs is geared towards finding and exploiting the human breaking point.

Seligman’s core observation is that people and animals tend to basically just give-up, when besieged by inescapable pain and cruel, relentless uncertainty—to quote another controversial work, “Silent Weapons for a Quiet War,” they reached a point of “capitulation.” (for those who categorically dismiss this “conspiracy theory” document, because of its iffy history, it nevertheless remains the defining explanation of the theory of econometric warfare and the accompanying psychological concept of “capitulation.”)

Investigative journalist Jane Mayer (author of The Dark Side) has revealed that Seligman’s work also inspired the CIA’s controversial torture/interrogation program. Mayer has traced the lineage of the ideas behind the “water-boarding” mentality (specifically, the electro-shocking of prisoners and treating them like dogs), proving that they were reverse-engineered from Seligman’s work.

In Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side, Scott Horton’s interview with Jane Mayer:

“You have patiently traced the torture techniques used by the CIA back to two psychologists, James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen—you describe them as ”good looking, clean-cut, polite Mormons”—who reverse-engineered their techniques out of the SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) program used to train U.S. pilots in self-defense. In Dark Side, you identify an approach called “Learned Helplessness” as the model they used, and you note that its author, Prof. Martin Seligman, made a visit to the SERE school…

Seligman and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania pioneered work on a theory he called “Learned Helplessness.” He did experiments with dogs in which he used electric shocks to destroy their will to escape…

He and colleagues conducted experiments on caged dogs, in which they used electric charges to shock them randomly. He discovered that the random mistreatment destroyed the dogs emotionally to the point where they no longer had the will to escape, even when offered a way out.

Seligman’s theories were cited admiringly soon after by James Mitchell, the psychologist whom the CIA put on contract to advise on its secret interrogation protocol. Eyewitnesses describe Mitchell as quoting Seligman’s theories of “Learned Helplessness” as useful in showing how to break the resistance of detainees’ to interrogation. One source recounts Mitchell specifically touting the experiments done on dogs in the context of how to treat detainees…the detainees have described other ways in which they were treated like dogs—the use of dog cages and of a collar and leash.”

Now the Army has begun a traumatic shock and stress-related treatment program for all servicemen, based on Seligman’s treatment for “learned helplessness,” which basically amounts to a system for teaching auto-suggestion to the troops. It is teaching the opposite of helplessness, teaching the troops and their families to unlearn human nature and the exhaustion brought-on by the siege.


The wise men sitting safely on the Potomac think that real “men” and real “patriots” can just get over the trauma that they have witnessed or inflicted upon others, through a contrived simplistic form of auto-hypnosis. This is the same macho thinking common to all American military leaders and the entire population in general, during World War II and Korea, which led directly to the use of torture methods that were copied from the Nazis to treat ptsd and to break the wills of “inadequate” soldiers.”

Once the Real Warriors Campaign is fully operational, it is hoped, the stigma will have been removed from seeking psyche care and both the unstable as well as the unmanly soldiers who have been traumatized by the shock of modern warfare (organized slaughter) will learn to become “resilient” soldiers and veterans, always able to “suck it up” for God and country. Maybe then, the stain left by weak-willed returning veterans committing suicide and others going on shooting sprees will have been removed from the US Army’s image. Otherwise, our all-volunteer force will find it impossible to meet recruiting the goals required to expand the terror war.

The Pentagon has not had much success with their adaptations of Seligman’s work so far, there is no reason to think that the “resiliency” therapy is any more sound. The torture/interrogation regimen developed by CIA geniuses has produced no revelations or star witnesses to the 911 attacks, just as a large percentage of rehabilitated inmates from Guantanamo have again taken-up arms against US forces.

The bastardization of Prof. Seligman’s work has given military planners either a faulty understanding of the concept of “learned helplessness,” or mistaken notions of turning a form of temporary insanity into a useable weapon. Bringing together two virtual reality engineers from India, Dr. Alok R. Chaturvedi (an early developer of the sims program) and Shailendra Raj Mehta, with an Israeli psychologist Daniel Kahneman, an expert in behavioral economics, to adapt computer-modeling to the weaponized theories of Seligman, the result was SEAS, (synthetic environment for anlaysis and simulation).

The SEAS program is a hopelessness predictor. Running scenarios for the military, determining probabilities, it theorizes the outcomes of psychological warfare operations, predicting when people would be ready to break-down emotionally and when they were just borderline unstable.

The Sentient World Simulation (SWS) is a “synthetic mirror of the real world with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information.” The SWS computer simulation allows military leaders to:

“develop and test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners. By applying theories of economics and human psychology, its developers believe they can predict how individuals and mobs will respond to various stressors.”

Homeland Security and the Defense Department are already using it to simulate crises. They try to anticipate how stressed-out populations can be manipulated by increasing the fear and anxiety-induced helplessness, through the introduction of panic-causing events, like earthquakes, tsunamis and terrorist attacks. Sound familiar, to anyone? Sounds like the fear-mongering basis of the whole “war on terror,” doesn’t it?

“The intent is to ‘…test multiple courses of action to anticipate and shape behaviors of adversaries, neutrals, and partners. By applying theories of economics and human psychology, its developers believe they can predict how individuals and mobs will respond to various stressors…” They try to anticipate how stressed-out populations can be manipulated by increasing the fear and anxiety-induced helplessness, through the introduction of panic-causing events.

The Pentagon gamers have replicated the entire city of Baghdad in their simulated world. (See: Baghdad reduced to bytes) This program is the centerpiece of the new counter-insurgency program administered by Special Forces Gen. McChrystal is being used to anticipate sniper points and blind spots, as well as for predicting the breaking points of local Afghans and Pakistanis. By deftly predicting and avoiding terminal hopelessness in the locals, as well as predicting beforehand change points, when peaceful-seeming actions can be taken that might win over the locals and take advantage of the opposite breaking points by motivating “moderate” Taliban to give-up on the other end of the equation.

American planners would be well advised to take all of these psychological warfare programs that are based on exploiting and avoiding hopelessness a little less seriously. Perhaps they should further consult even more Israeli computer-modeling specialists and psychologists, to see how the computer-based psy-war programs of the IDF have worked-out so far. Both the 2006 invasion of Lebanon and last year’s destruction of Gaza were based on projections made by these experts. Israel failed to decisively win either war and emerged from each of them with their world image darkly stained, the only attainments being a temporary weakening of their adversaries.

Psychological warfare has replaced the need for real total war in the geostrategic calculations. The Silent Weapons technology which has been developed, has been employed as an economic weapon and a psychological weapon of terror, to herd the nations of the earth in America’s direction. A nation that would develop such technology with a malicious intent to use it upon the rest of humanity is capable of unspeakable evil.

This moves us beyond the realm of conspiracy theories into historical reporting of actual unfolding events, documenting crimes against humanity as they are, in fact, taking place. The fact that the beast which gave birth to this abomination allows word of it to circulate in the world airways is stark testimony that the adversary of humanity has grown bold, smelling the blood in the water of our anticipated capitulation.

Either the elite planners of mankind’s future have grown so confident in their coming victory that they have grown sloppy, or the inevitable free-flow of information that the Internet has made possible has become a torrent that they can no longer fully control. If this is the case, then they are running scared, fearful that all that they have invested in controlling the minds of Americans and the world have been wasted. Either truth means that they have become even more dangerous.always intended to create a state of learned helplessness, to be followed quickly by a state of mass hopelessness, the capitulation stage.

The more that we learn about the weapons that have been deployed against us the greater our odds become of defeating those weapons and destroying those who would dare to wage silent war upon us.

Fight the capitulation!

peterchamberlin@naharnet.com
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