I was a 16 year old pot head. I needed help and my parents decided I should be put in a program. When I mentioned this to a friend he said, “Don’t go Marcus, they’ll brainwash you in there!” I knew better though, there was no such thing as brainwashing. It only happened in cartoons, the cat would brainwash the mice, their eyes became turning spiral pinwheels and they held their little arms out in front of them like zombies. This was brainwashing, it was cartoon fiction and I wasn’t scared. I knew what would happen in there, I’d get help. I was going for therapy.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), all ethical therapy consists of proven, safe and effective practices that a client or client guardian has consented to. This is one reason that the practice of coercive persuasion and thought reform is officially non-therapeutic. The methods used have not been proven to be safe or effective, so why are they legal?
Verbal attack, isolation and forced exercise; food, water and sleep deprivations; communication and toilet restrictions; humiliation rituals, emotional abuse and manipulation are all practices currently employed on a daily basis, as “therapy” for troubled teens. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has acknowledged thousands of reported claims of abuse in today’s behavior modification programs, but no one has yet addressed the technology at work in these facilities. This technology is based on several forms of manipulation. These efforts to manipulate behavior through intentionally inducing stress, are inherently abusive, often violent and many teens have died while subjected to this type of “therapy.”
The APA does not officially acknowledge the existence of brainwashing. There are legal questions and implications that would be very difficult to address. There are also many crimes that could potentially be defended with a plea of “I’m innocent, I was brainwashed!” It’s a can of legal worms. But while focusing on brainwashing’s potential effects on the judicial system, the damaging effects of the process itself have been ignored. There is an overwhelming amount of personal testimony about the negative long-term side-effects that brainwashing can inflict. I personally believe there are also long-lasting physiological changes in the brain that occur when adolescents are subjected to thought reform and behavior modification in an institutional setting.
I believe that the underlying reason for the perpetual abuses in the troubled-teen industry is that the “theory of brainwashing” has not yet been officially “proven.” The technology cannot be banned until it is proven to exist. There is a system at work within the systematic abuses. Until the system itself is identified and dismantled, the tell-tale “symptoms” will persist.
Physical and psychological abuse is built into many of these programs by design. According to several different experts on the subject, the exhaustion and pressure that is induced by sleep deprivation, hunger, fatigue and emotional manipulation, “unfreezes” the psychological framework. Through this orchestrated crisis, a new identity is instilled by manipulating the environment and the emotions of the subject to an extreme degree until the “changed” mind of the subject has undergone “re-freezing.” This process requires varied amounts of time according to the individual character of each client, which is why there is no fixed length of time to “complete” this type of treatment.
Much of the power of this process relies on the secretiveness surrounding it. The methods work best if the intention behind them is not revealed to the subject. Understanding the principles and dynamics involved in this behavioral technology, reduces their effectiveness. Could you give an informed consent to treatment if it were described like this?… ” The process then is the abrupt dissolution of the structure of intentionality by an electrochemical discharge in the brain, leaving the brain in a state of malleability for the construction of a new belief structure by which to guide behavior.” (Walter J. Freeman, Chaotic State Transitions in Brains As a Basis For the Formation of Social Groups, 1995) While these underlying principles and dynamics are not revealed to the client or the legal guardian, a consent to treatment is impossible.
The effectiveness of coercive thought reform upon teens has not been proven and the ethical questions have been quietly ignored. The debate within the APA has centered around various legal implications but questions about the potential for harm have been avoided. By ignoring the unproven “theory of brainwashing,” the APA has been ignoring the damage done by the practice of brainwashing.
These practices have never been proven safe and as an unproven treatment, are technically experimental. Also, according to several prominent experts that I’ve spoken with, there has not been any research on the long-term side-effects of this type of treatment upon adolescents. Perhaps the most relevant research is a European study that was recently conducted, which showed that 80% of adult survivors of institutional child abuse in Ireland, still suffer from psychological damage.
Adolescents who have been subjected to “brainwashing” were often witness to a heartbreaking cruelty. These stories combined tell the larger story of an invisible monster, sold to parents and the public as therapeutic growth. “Brainwashing” is not therapy, it’s refined torture. Merely addressing the symptoms of the process has enabled the abuses to continue.
(please write and call the APA if you have any questions or if you would like to share your brainwashing experiences with them.)
For westerners, and particularly Americans who have watched Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad up fairly close as he delivers speeches in the US and elsewhere including during last year’s visit to Lebanon, his charisma and populist connection with the public are evident and often powerful.
And President Barack Obama is normally no slough either on the stump when he woes voters and inspires them to support his point of view. But last week’s UN appearance by the two leaders left a Matthew 13:24-30 type image of the wheat being separated from the chaff. Both countries are juxtaposed menacingly in the Middle East, one pressuring the region in an all-out sustained NATO utilized effort to maintain its hegemony and the other actively trying to lead the region in a very different direction. Consequently the public was presented with an interesting contrast in styles and substance.
The two appearances could be handicapped along the lines that Obama’s tough job was to try to shore up Israel whose days as a dominate force in the Levant rapidly grow fewer as history corrects the nearly incalculable injustice that resulted from the West’s implantation of the racist state and as history inexorably deconstructs the world’s last 19th Century colonial enterprise.
From the UN podium, Ahmadinejad knew in advance that approximately 15 minutes into his speech began AIPAC would signal the launch of its churlish and infantile 30 country walkout and most of the delegations in the audience knew that the White House had given its ok. The Iranian President also knew that there would be the pro-Zionist tabloid media blitz against him complete with the now expected degrading and offensive cartoons and the Persian visitor being labeled in the US media, what else, but an “anti-Semite”, “a clown”, “weirdo”, “crackpot”. “the new Hitler” and the usual moronic libels. It is hard to imagine that the New York Times editors actually read his speech since they not only failed it analyze it but simply dismissed it as a “tirade” the same description they applied last year.
But this year, the AIPAC/White House walk-out backfired and it was roundly condemned not only among the American public but among the publics of each of the countries that agreed to rudely interrupt the proceedings. The Zionist controlled US government failed to realize that the international public, like most Americans, by and large retain respect for the values of open dialogue, common hospitality and respect for leaders from other countries. Moreover, they understand that the raison d’etre of the United Nations is to provide its members with an open forum. This includes Iran and each of the 192 other UN Member States. When Obama spoke the Iranian delegation listened respectfully.
OBAMA the complete politician?
President Obama, embarrassingly for the American public proved once more his habit of assuming the role of the groveling US politician for the pariah Israeli UN Member. This latest speech was no exception and once more Obama made plain that he will support Israel’s continuing occupation of Palestine as a quid pro quo for the Israeli lobby funding and supporting his 2012 Presidential re-election bid.
Birzeit University Professor Hanan Ashrawi, spoke for many in the audience and across America after Obama finished: “I did not believe what I heard. It sounded as if the Palestinians were occupying Israel. There was no empathy for the Palestinians; he only spoke of the Israeli problems. He told us that it isn’t easy to achieve peace, thanks, we know this. He spoke about universal rights, Good; those same rights apply to Palestinians. The White House is applying enormous pressure on everybody at the UN and they are using threats and coercion. I wish they would invest the same energy in an attempt to promote peace, not threats.”
Has Iran produced a Statesman or a sycophant?
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is at his best when he is engaged in dialogue and debate according to people in Lebanon and Iran who know him well. But he gets to the point quickly and it sometimes catches his interlocutors off-guard if they aren’t prepared.
Devoutly religious, Iran’s President is unerringly polite and respectful, and never fails to mention the positive and the necessity of dialogue and seeking common ground.
But he speaks frankly and also noted that President Obama never made good on a pledge to try to improve US-Iranian relations and to open a dialogue with Iran, and said he still hopes for a face-to-face meeting. “I don’t believe that this is a chance that has been completely lost,” Ahmadinejad said.
He told Iran’s fellow UN Members “You all know that the nuclear issue has been turned and manipulated into a political issue,” and he added that Iran remains ready to negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, and repeated the country’s position that the program is for the peaceful production of energy
Following the 2009 disputed Iranian elections, he stated “We were very much in support of change. I sent a personal message to President Obama, but we never received a response.
His UN speech theme was that most nations of the world are unhappy with the current international circumstances. “And despite the general longing and aspiration to promote peace, progress, and fraternity, wars, mass-murder, widespread poverty, and socioeconomic and political crises continue to infringe upon the rights and sovereignty of nations, leaving behind irreparable damage worldwide.” He continued, “Approximately, three billion people of the world live on less than 2.5 dollars a day, and over a billion people live without having even one sufficient meal on a daily basis. Forty-percent of the poorest world populations only share five percent of the global income, while twenty percent of the richest people share seventy-five percent of the total global income. More than twenty thousand innocent and destitute children die every day in the world because of poverty.”
He challenged the United Nations to reform itself and he urged honest debate on the vital issues confronting the world community. He asked the UN to bear in mind who imposed colonialism for over four centuries, who occupied lands and massively plundered resources of other nations, destroyed talents, and alienated languages, cultures and identities of nations?
He asked the UN members to join in solutions to the World’s problems but asked that we not hide the facts of:
• Who triggered the first and second world wars, that left seventy millions killed and hundreds of millions injured or homeless. Who created the wars in Korean peninsula and in Vietnam?
• Who imposed through Zionism and over sixty years of war, homelessness, terror and mass murder on the Palestinian people and on countries of the region?
• Who imposed and supported for decades military dictatorship and totalitarian regimes on Asian, African, and Latin American nations?
• Who used nuclear bomb against defenseless people, and stockpiled thousands of warheads in their arsenals?
• Whose economies rely on waging wars and selling arms?
• Who provoked and encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade and impose an eight-year war on Iran, and who assisted and equipped him to deploy chemical weapons against our cities and our people?
• Who used the mysterious September 11 incident as a pretext to attack Afghanistan and Iraq, killing, injuring, and displacing millions in two countries with the ultimate goal of bringing into its domination the Middle East and its oil resources?
• Who nullified the Breton Woods system by printing trillions of dollars without the backing of gold reserves or equivalent currency? A move that triggered inflation worldwide and was intended to prey on the economic gains of other nations?
• Which country’s military spending exceeds annually a thousand billion dollars, more than the military budgets of all countries of the world combined?
• Who dominates the policy-making establishments of the world economy?
• Who are responsible for the world economic recession, and are imposing the consequences on America, Europe and the world in general?
• Who are the ones dominating the Security Council which is ostensibly responsible for safeguarding the international security?
This month’s Iran-U.S Presidential addresses at the United Nations have given its members a clear choice for the challenges quickly engulfing the Middle East. Ultimately, as the popular awakenings in this region teach us, it is the citizens of each country who have the power to decide how to deal with these crises.
Iran’s President demonstrated at Turtle Bay this month that he understands the problems, offers rational solutions and is ready for constructive dialogue. The next move is up to President Obama to extricate him and his country from the jaws of Zionism and to join with Iran and the community of nations with constructive proposals to help alleviate the challenges Iran’s President enumerated.