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Voices In Your Head?

The Psychology of Torture

by Sam Vaknin

There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed - one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hence the all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of torture.

In a way, the torture victim's own body is rendered his worse enemy. It is corporeal agony that compels the sufferer to mutate, his identity to fragment, his ideals and principles to crumble. The body becomes an accomplice of the tormentor, an uninterruptible channel of communication, a treasonous, poisoned territory.

It fosters a humiliating dependency of the abused on the perpetrator. Bodily needs denied - sleep, toilet, food, water - are wrongly perceived by the victim as the direct causes of his degradation and dehumanization. As he sees it, he is rendered bestial not by the sadistic bullies around him but by his own flesh.

The concept of "body" can easily be extended to "family", or "home". Torture is often applied to kin and kith, compatriots, or colleagues. This intends to disrupt the continuity of "surroundings, habits, appearance, relations with others", as the CIA put it in one of its manuals. A sense of cohesive self-identity depends crucially on the familiar and the continuous. By attacking both one's biological body and one's "social body", the victim's psyche is strained to the point of dissociation.

Beatrice Patsalides describes this transmogrification thus in "Ethics of the unspeakable: Torture survivors in psychoanalytic treatment":

"As the gap between the 'I' and the 'me' deepens, dissociation and alienation increase. The subject that, under torture, was forced into the position of pure object has lost his or her sense of interiority, intimacy, and privacy. Time is experienced now, in the present only, and perspective - that which allows for a sense of relativity - is foreclosed. Thoughts and dreams attack the mind and invade the body as if the protective skin that normally contains our thoughts, gives us space to breathe in between the thought and the thing being thought about, and separates between inside and outside, past and present, me and you, was lost."

Torture robs the victim of the most basic modes of relating to reality and, thus, is the equivalent of cognitive death. Space and time are warped by sleep deprivation. The self ("I") is shattered. The tortured have nothing familiar to hold on to: family, home, personal belongings, loved ones, language, name. Gradually, they lose their mental resilience and sense of freedom. They feel alien - unable to communicate, relate, attach, or empathize with others.

Torture splinters early childhood grandiose narcissistic fantasies of uniqueness, omnipotence, invulnerability, and impenetrability. But it enhances the fantasy of merger with an idealized and omnipotent (though not benign) other - the inflicter of agony. The twin processes of individuation and separation are reversed.

Torture is the ultimate act of perverted intimacy. The torturer invades the victim's body, pervades his psyche, and possesses his mind. Deprived of contact with others and starved for human interactions, the prey bonds with the predator. "Traumatic bonding", akin to the Stockholm syndrome, is about hope and the search for meaning in the brutal and indifferent and nightmarish universe of the torture cell.

The abuser becomes the black hole at the center of the victim's surrealistic galaxy, sucking in the sufferer's universal need for solace. The victim tries to "control" his tormentor by becoming one with him (introjecting him) and by appealing to the monster's presumably dormant humanity and empathy.

This bonding is especially strong when the torturer and the tortured form a dyad and "collaborate" in the rituals and acts of torture (for instance, when the victim is coerced into selecting the torture implements and the types of torment to be inflicted, or to choose between two evils).

The psychologist Shirley Spitz offers this powerful overview of the contradictory nature of torture in a seminar titled "The Psychology of Torture" (1989):

"Torture is an obscenity in that it joins what is most private with what is most public. Torture entails all the isolation and extreme solitude of privacy with none of the usual security embodied therein ... Torture entails at the same time all the self exposure of the utterly public with none of its possibilities for camaraderie or shared experience. (The presence of an all powerful other with whom to merge, without the security of the other's benign intentions.)

A further obscenity of torture is the inversion it makes of intimate human relationships. The interrogation is a form of social encounter in which the normal rules of communicating, of relating, of intimacy are manipulated. Dependency needs are elicited by the interrogator, but not so they may be met as in close relationships, but to weaken and confuse. Independence that is offered in return for 'betrayal' is a lie. Silence is intentionally misinterpreted either as confirmation of information or as guilt for 'complicity'.

Torture combines complete humiliating exposure with utter devastating isolation. The final products and outcome of torture are a scarred and often shattered victim and an empty display of the fiction of power."

Obsessed by endless ruminations, demented by pain and a continuum of sleeplessness - the victim regresses, shedding all but the most primitive defense mechanisms: splitting, narcissism, dissociation, projective identification, introjection, and cognitive dissonance. The victim constructs an alternative world, often suffering from depersonalization and derealization, hallucinations, ideas of reference, delusions, and psychotic episodes.

Sometimes the victim comes to crave pain - very much as self-mutilators do - because it is a proof and a reminder of his individuated existence otherwise blurred by the incessant torture. Pain shields the sufferer from disintegration and capitulation. It preserves the veracity of his unthinkable and unspeakable experiences.

This dual process of the victim's alienation and addiction to anguish complements the perpetrator's view of his quarry as "inhuman", or "subhuman". The torturer assumes the position of the sole authority, the exclusive fount of meaning and interpretation, the source of both evil and good.

Torture is about reprogramming the victim to succumb to an alternative exegesis of the world, proffered by the abuser. It is an act of deep, indelible, traumatic indoctrination. The abused also swallows whole and assimilates the torturer's negative view of him and often, as a result, is rendered suicidal, self-destructive, or self-defeating.

Thus, torture has no cut-off date. The sounds, the voices, the smells, the sensations reverberate long after the episode has ended - both in nightmares and in waking moments. The victim's ability to trust other people - i.e., to assume that their motives are at least rational, if not necessarily benign - has been irrevocably undermined. Social institutions are perceived as precariously poised on the verge of an ominous, Kafkaesque mutation. Nothing is either safe, or credible anymore.

Victims typically react by undulating between emotional numbing and increased arousal: insomnia, irritability, restlessness, and attention deficits. Recollections of the traumatic events intrude in the form of dreams, night terrors, flashbacks, and distressing associations.

The tortured develop compulsive rituals to fend off obsessive thoughts. Other psychological sequelae reported include cognitive impairment, reduced capacity to learn, memory disorders, sexual dysfunction, social withdrawal, inability to maintain long-term relationships, or even mere intimacy, phobias, ideas of reference and superstitions, delusions, hallucinations, psychotic microepisodes, and emotional flatness.

Depression and anxiety are very common. These are forms and manifestations of self-directed aggression. The sufferer rages at his own victimhood and resulting multiple dysfunction. He feels shamed by his new disabilities and responsible, or even guilty, somehow, for his predicament and the dire consequences borne by his nearest and dearest. His sense of self-worth and self-esteem are crippled.

In a nutshell, torture victims suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Their strong feelings of anxiety, guilt, and shame are also typical of victims of childhood abuse, domestic violence, and rape. They feel anxious because the perpetrator's behavior is seemingly arbitrary and unpredictable - or mechanically and inhumanly regular.

They feel guilty and disgraced because, to restore a semblance of order to their shattered world and a modicum of dominion over their chaotic life, they need to transform themselves into the cause of their own degradation and the accomplices of their tormentors.

The CIA, in its "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual - 1983" (reprinted in the April 1997 issue of Harper's Magazine), summed up the theory of coercion thus:

"The purpose of all coercive techniques is to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist. Regression is basically a loss of autonomy, a reversion to an earlier behavioral level. As the subject regresses, his learned personality traits fall away in reverse chronological order. He begins to lose the capacity to carry out the highest creative activities, to deal with complex situations, or to cope with stressful interpersonal relationships or repeated frustrations."

Inevitably, in the aftermath of torture, its victims feel helpless and powerless. This loss of control over one's life and body is manifested physically in impotence, attention deficits, and insomnia. This is often exacerbated by the disbelief many torture victims encounter, especially if they are unable to produce scars, or other "objective" proof of their ordeal. Language cannot communicate such an intensely private experience as pain.

Spitz makes the following observation:

"Pain is also unsharable in that it is resistant to language ... All our interior states of consciousness: emotional, perceptual, cognitive and somatic can be described as having an object in the external world ... This affirms our capacity to move beyond the boundaries of our body into the external, sharable world. This is the space in which we interact and communicate with our environment. But when we explore the interior state of physical pain we find that there is no object 'out there' - no external, referential content. Pain is not of, or for, anything. Pain is. And it draws us away from the space of interaction, the sharable world, inwards. It draws us into the boundaries of our body."

Bystanders resent the tortured because they make them feel guilty and ashamed for having done nothing to prevent the atrocity. The victims threaten their sense of security and their much-needed belief in predictability, justice, and rule of law. The victims, on their part, do not believe that it is possible to effectively communicate to "outsiders" what they have been through. The torture chambers are "another galaxy". This is how Auschwitz was described by the author K. Zetnik in his testimony in the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961.

Kenneth Pope in "Torture", a chapter he wrote for the "Encyclopedia of Women and Gender: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender", quotes Harvard psychiatrist Judith Herman:

"It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear, and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement, and remembering."

But, more often, continued attempts to repress fearful memories result in psychosomatic illnesses (conversion). The victim wishes to forget the torture, to avoid re-experiencing the often life threatening abuse and to shield his human environment from the horrors. In conjunction with the victim's pervasive distrust, this is frequently interpreted as hypervigilance, or even paranoia. It seems that the victims can't win. Torture is forever.

About The Author

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a columnist for Central Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.

Visit Sam's Web site at

© 2006 - All Rights reserved Articles - Huge collection of free articles and free reports


Destroying Self esteem is one of the tactics of mind control

A person with low self-esteem will be more persuadable than a person with high self-esteem when the advocated message is weak. Notice the important qualifier: "...when the advocated message is weak." There's no simple linear relationship between self-esteem and persuasion (William McGuire1969). So it is a important countermeasure to keep or build your self esteem up. Here are a few links to help you.

First Cult Influence tactics

What is self esteem? and improving it

3 Faces of Low Self-Esteem

Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Three Steps to Better Self-Esteem

Further Resources for Change

Self-esteem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1 Measurement
2 Quality and level of self-esteem
3 Issues
4 Self-esteem, grades and relationships
5 Bullying, violence and murder
6 Self-esteem and economic motivation
7 See also
8 References
9 External links

Changing Your Self-Concept and Building Self-Esteem - Psychological Self-Help

Activities That Will Help You Feel Good About Yourself

Article: Building Self Esteem

Building Self-esteem A self-help guide

Building Self-esteem
A Self-Help Guide

Things You Can Do Right Away—Every Day—to Raise Your Self-esteem

Changing Negative Thoughts About Yourself to Positive Ones

Self Improvement and Building Self Confidence Information

What is self esteem and how can you improve it
Counseling To Enhance Self-Esteem
Self-Esteem and Narcissism: Implications for Practice
A Buddhist View on Lack of Self-confidence
Exploding the Self Esteem Myth - Scientific American
Articles, tips, and activities on how to build your confidence and self esteem in your work and personal relationships
Self-Esteem and emotional well-being articles for Teens
The costs and causes of low self-esteem
Thymos, Dignity & Self-esteem

Help For Homeless Targets

This is the easy way to make a tent. And the cheapest All you need is rope or cord. (About 10ft) A tarp or plastic. About 8-8 2 trees or stakes driven into the ground about 8 ft apart. And 4 stakes to hold the tarp in an A frame shape. One on each corner of the plastic. Good strong plastic can be found in furniture store dumpsters. Example

And for those who cant make it to the shower house you can get a camp shower for $10-$12 at k-mark Example

And for the stove all you need is a fire proof surface like a metal plate and a small bit of fire starter wood. A small peace like 1 inch long will heat up a cup of coffee or a bowl of soup. Example

First-Aid Guide Medical emergencies don't occur every day. But when they do, information can help you deal with these situations.

Spider bites: First aid

Fore those of you who like to help the homeless you can make tents for them. And/or print out the blue prints and give them out to churches to make. Or give them out at places homeless people hang out like the mission or Salvation Army.

P.S. If any of you are homeless let me know and ill do what I can to help you.

Your friend and c-worker
marks_mind_control_page at



Surveillance Links


Police Chief Wants Surveillance Cameras In Private Homes

George Orwell's 1984 has crossed the horizon and is now visible to our figurative naked eye. The idea is already being discussed. As we already have seen, ideas are the first steps toward realizing them.

This is a direct result of the apathy and ignorance of the American public that refuses to think for itself until it's too late.

Americans are foolishly defending fallible, corrupt human leaders rather than timeless, immutable principles.

Frank J. Gonzalez
Venture International Mortgage Inc.
Associate Mortgage Broker
2006 candidate for U.S. House vs. Lincoln Diaz-Balart cell: 786-287-7491

Houston Police Chief Wants Surveillance Cameras In Private Homes

Orwellian telescreens will monitor your behavior

Paul Joseph Watson/Prison | February 16 2006

The age of the telescreen is upon us as surveillance cameras that festoon our streets, shopping malls and airports are now moving into our private homes as the panopticon prison is erected.

The Associated Press reports,

"HOUSTON Houston's police chief is suggesting putting surveillance cameras in apartment complexes, downtown streets and even private homes."

"Chief Harold Hurtt today said it's another way of combatting crime amid a shortage of officers.

Scott Henson with the American Civil Liberties Union calls Hurtt's proposal to require surveillance cameras as part of some building permits -- "radical and extreme."

In the meantime, Homeland Security grants are being used to blanket major cities and even small sleepy communities with arsenals of spy cameras.

All over the United States, Canada and Britain, surveillance camera systems are being installed on street corners, in public bathrooms, in residential neighborhoods, and even in parks and forests. We are asked to trust the government underlings who control them that they are working for our best interests as said underlings are caught using the cameras to spy on naked women in their homes.

In the UK, government programs encourage citizens to spy on their neighbors and report suspicious activity as part of a CCTV channel subscriber package.

Homeland Security funding is being utilized to fund this mass expansion of the surveillance state in the US as city and state officials clamor at the teat of Big Brother to milk the cash cow of the police state and win the contracts for installing more and more sophisticated spy cameras.

The government demands to know everything about our private lives and catalogue, file and index every aspect of our existence, yet government itself becomes more and more secret with each passing day as it engages in escalating criminal activities.

The agenda behind surveillance cameras is not simply to track the movements of certain individuals. There are not enough watchers to catalogue all the information. The cameras are about behavior control and creating an omnipresent atmosphere whereby the citizen consciously regulates his own behavior so as not to seem suspicious. The surveillance cameras are there to make a statement. We are the prison guards, you are the prisoners.

As George Orwell described it in 1984,

"The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard."

"There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live -- did live, from habit that became instinct -- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

This is the prison without bars. This is the panopticon, a prison so constructed that the inspector can see each of the prisoners at all times, without being seen. This is a portrait of the accelerating movement by western governments to erect giant, powerful, all-pervading mass surveillance, tracking and control grids that will keep all populations firmly under the baleful and watchful gaze of Big Brother.


Chicago Mayor Daley Wants Surveillance Cameras at Bars

Just like in the movie, "V for Vendetta", it's "For Your Protection". In case you think this is just in the movies, here's a picture I captured while working and passing through the airport that says this, verbatim:

Frank J. Gonzalez
Venture International Mortgage Inc.
Associate Mortgage Broker

2006 candidate for U.S. House vs. Lincoln Diaz-Balart cell: 786-287-7491

"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

--founder of the Democratic Party, 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Posted 2/14/2006 11:30 PM
Updated 2/14/2006 11:34 PM

Daley wants security cameras at bars By Judy Keen, USA TODAY CHICAGO — Surveillance cameras — aimed at government buildings, train platforms and intersections here — might soon be required at corner taverns and swanky nightclubs. A police camera, mounted with a microphone, can detect the sound of gunshots within a two-block radius.

Mayor Richard Daley wants to require bars open until 4 a.m. to install security cameras that can identify people entering and leaving the building. Other businesses open longer than 12 hours a day, including convenience stores, eventually would have to do the same.

Daley's proposed city ordinance adds a dimension to security measures installed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The proliferation of security cameras — especially if the government requires them in private businesses — troubles some civil liberties advocates.

"There is no reason to mandate all of those cameras unless you one day see them being linked up to the city's 911 system," says Ed Yohnka of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union. "We have perhaps reached that moment of critical mass when people ... want to have a dialogue about how much of this is appropriate."

Milwaukee is considering requiring cameras at stores that have called police three or more times in a year. The Baltimore County Council in Maryland ordered large malls to put cameras in parking areas after a murder in one garage last year. The measure passed despite objections from business groups.

"We require shopping centers to put railings on stairs and install sprinkler systems for public safety. This is a proper next step," says Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who sponsored the ordinance.

Some cities aren't going along. Schenectady, N.Y., shelved a proposal that would have required cameras in convenience stores.

"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

Nick Novich, owner of three Chicago bars, worries about the cost. "Every added expense ... puts a small business in greater jeopardy of going out of business," he says. Daley says cameras will deter crime, but Novich says, "That's what we're paying taxes for."

Colleen McShane, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, says the proposal, which Daley announced last week, is an unfair burden on small businesses. "This is once again more government intrusion," she says.

Some business owners say cameras make patrons feel safer. Cameras are in all 30 Chicago bars, clubs and restaurants owned by Ala Carte Entertainment, spokeswoman Julia Shell says: "It's far more cost-effective for us to have them than not to have them."

By spring, 30 Chicago intersections will have cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. More than 2,000 cameras around the city are linked to an emergency command center, paid for in part by federal homeland security funds.

The newest "smart" cameras alert police when there's gunfire or when someone leaves a package or lingers outside public buildings. The system is based on the one in London that helped capture suspected terrorists after last summer's subway bombings.

Chicago is installing those sophisticated camera systems more aggressively than any other U.S. city, says Rajiv Shah, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago who studies the policy implications of surveillance technology. Recording what people do in public "is just getting easier and cheaper to do," he says. "Think of your camera cellphone."

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Official recognition of 'mind control' from India

India’s Dr. M. S. Rao, Chief Forensic Scientist, Ministry of Home Affairs, delivered a keynote address at 2006 Forensic Science Forum, 93rd Indian Science Congress on “preventive forensics” including electromagnetic mind control tools.

Indian scientist, speaking at the Forensic Science Forum as part of the 93rd Indian Science Congress held at the National Police Academy, actually openly acknowledges that EM weapons exist which can attack and control the mind.

From: eleanor@... Date: Tue Feb 21, 2006 3:07 pm Subject: Official recognition of 'mind control' from India - Cheryl Welsh ewraven1

Cheryl Welsh is a long time activist against the testing of so-called "non-lethal" weapons, among which are technologies which can attack and control the minds of targets. She has recently posted a page of news from India, at this link:

Indian target Suresh S. Kumar has provided Cheryl with some very interesting information from India, showing not only is the problem I often refer to as vigilante or group or gang stalking with electronic harassment has reached the level where posters are seen on Indian streets.

But most significantly, an Indian scientist, speaking at the Forensic Science Forum as part of the 93rd Indian Science Congress held at the National Police Academy, actually openly acknowledges that EM weapons exist which can attack and control the mind.

Here is an excerpt from Cheryl's page, from the Hyderabad edition of the daily newspaper Deccan Chronicle dated January 7, 2006:

"Scientists are planning to use Low Frequency portable electromagnetic radiation tools to immobilise the suicide bombers, said Dr M.S. Rao, chief forensic scientist and director of Forensic Science from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"Making a keynote address at the Forensic Science Forum as part of the 93rd Indian Science Congress held at the National Police Academy on Friday Mr. Rao said, "This technique of using electromagnetic radiation can control the mind of the suicide bomber and make him to leave his target place silently without making any effort to explode the bomb at the given area." Mr Rao added, "We don't have this technique available right now. We have to adopt the technology. It will show effect on the brain. Nowadays suicide attacks by terrorist outfits demand innovative planning and rethinking on forensic research. A suicide bomber has to be tackled properly by detecting explosives from safe stand off distances."

Also, here is Suresh Kumar's description of the posters he has seen in Delhi:

"Once I was in Delhi I saw a several posters pasted on the walls of a central market place in New Delhi. I had camera as I was on tour there, I took a snap of the poster. Unfortunately the email address on the poster did not come clearly. It was a "HELP" poster describing the problems of some victims of this technology, its heading was "secret mind reading system is being misused to torture people, stop them.

"The exact location is the roadside walls of central Delhi underground market at Canaughtplace, the Palika Bazaar. This I noticed while going to enter the Palika Bazaar. You can see ventilators of the market beside the poster."

Thanks to Cheryl for posting quality information on her site.

Eleanor White



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