Dear Survivors, HEALers, (& Friends):
The following is a quote taken from The COINTELPRO Papers by Churchill and Vander Wall. The entire book is a look at egregious abuses of the federal government using federal documents obtained through FOIA requests to evidence the statements made in the book. I have to read this book for the Junior Seminar class at the Univ. of WA that I told you about. It is assigned reading for a college course. It is not some wing-nut conspiracy theory. Okay!? Okay...
Now, for you survivors, you will recognize the methods described in the "experimental prisons" as the same used on us in behavior modification programs.
"In some ways more to the point of what is occurring is the nature of the prison facilities the federal system has begun to spawn. Based generally on the "Stammhein Model" perfected by West Germany during the early 1970's, these include the Marion "super-max" prison for men in southern Illinois, and the Marianna prison's high security unit (HSU) for women in northern Florida. The Marianna facility was piloted at the federal women's prison at Lexington, Kentucky during the 1980's. Its purpose was unabashedly political as is demonstrated in the U.S. Bureau of Prison's official criteria for incarceration:
[A] prisoner's past or present affiliation, association or membership in an organization which has been demonstrated as being involved in acts of violence, attempts to disrupt or overthrow the government of the U.S. or whose published ideology include advocating law violations in order to "free" prisoners. (cited as citation 92 in the book, buy it now)
Constructed some thirty feet underground in total isolation from the outside world, painted entirely white to induce sensory deprivation, with naked flourescent lights burning 24 hours per day and featuring rules severely restricting diet, correspondence, reading material, and visits, the HSU was deliberately designed to psychologically debilitate those imprisoned there. This was coupled to a program of intentional degradation in which the incarcerated women were strip searched, often by male guards, and observed by male guards while showering and using the toilets. Perhaps worst of all, the Bureau of Prisons (BoP) refused to set any formal criteria by which the women might work their way back out of the HSU once they were confined there. The objective was to invoke in them a sense of being totally at the mercy of and dependent upon their keepers. (cited as citation 93 in the book) In the polite language of the John Howard Association:
Through a year or more of sensory and psychological deprivation, prisoners are stripped of their individual identities in order that compliant behavior patterns can be implanted, a process of mortification and depersonalization.
The techniques involved have been described by Amnesty International in the accompanying chart (not added into this message, buy or borrow the book). As early as 1962, Dr. Edgar Schein described the methodology at issue rather more straightforwardly in an address to all federal maximum security prison wardens in Washington, D.C.:
In order to produce marked changes in behavior, it is necessary to weaken, undermine, or remove supports for old attitudes. I would like you to think of brainwashing not in terms of... ethics and morals, but in terms of the deliberate changing of human behavior by a group of men who have relatively complete control over the environment in which the captives live...[These changes can be induced by] isolation, sensory deprivation, segregation of leaders, spying, tricking men into signing written statements which are then shown to others, placing individuals whose will power has been severely weakened into a living situation with others more advanced in thought reform, character invalidation, humiliations,sleeplessness, rewarding subservience, and fear. (citation 95)
Dr. Richard Korn, in a 1987 report on Lexington commissioned by the ACLU, framed the matter even more clearly. In Korn's estimation, the purpose of an HSU-framed the matter even more clearly. In Korn's estimation, the purpose of an HSU-style facility is to:
...reduce prisoners to a state of submission essential for their ideological conversion. That failing, the next objective is to reduce them to a state of psychological incompetenece sufficient to neutralize them as efficient, self-directing antagonists. That failing, the only alternative is to destroy them, preferably by making them desperate enough to destroy themselves." (Churchill, pp. 321-322)
Now that we should all be in agreement that the government is actively using brainwashing techniques on the most vulnerable in our society, those adults imprisoned (many falsely) and those children in private prisons as paid for by our tax dollars as well as parent's pocketbooks and insurance companies, we should all be in agreement that this is the most important issue needing solving in our society today. The intentional stripping away of someone's identity is the most grievous and egregious act and, at least in my opinion, is worse than death. This is happening in prisons nationwide and will continue to happen as prisons are privatized and this method is adopted and advanced. This is happening in "private boarding schools" claiming to "help troubled teens" and instead are, in fact, brainwashing (or attempting to brainwash) teens who have done nothing but question authority in an attempt to establish independent identity, something that is normal when reaching adolescence and that is a healthy part of maturity, growth, and evolution.
Please do not just block this information out of denial and fear. If you believe in your right to be who you are, then you must defend it now. As you know, the online petition that was gaining a nice bit of public attention was hacked and destroyed. Survivors are often too afraid of being put back into the "care" of these psychotic brainwashing fools who don't consider ethics or morals in their world that often we don't speak out, the fear being too great. It is up to all of us to put aside our fears and demand justice and our constitutional and human rights. As the saying goes, "use it or lose it." Use your voices, use your time and the freedoms you do have or lose all of them. That is the choice we are faced with here, and it is a choice you need to seriously consider when deciding where your volunteer energy, extra time, or passions are spent. I'm ready and set, when you join in, we can all go!
I look forward to hearing from you. Please think of ways to get this resolved within the system if possible. Do we need to have a million teen march on the capitol? Do we need to lobby government officials? Can we trust them since they aren't protecting us now? Should we start with local levies or state propositions/initiatives demanding third-party human rights regulators (even through Amnesty or the ACLU) chosen or approved by the public, with no financial or social investments in the private corporation/prison/school that they are investigating/regulating, regulate all prisons, psychiatric facilities, rehabilitative programs, behavior modification programs, and private schools (for children under 18) to insure that federal and international human rights laws are being completely obeyed?
The problem right now is that activism is scattered and that human rights violations or abuses in the prison system are seen as individual cases and not systemic ills. They are systemic ills. In order to cure them, we need to fix the system. In order to fix a problem, you must find out the cause or the root and root it out. I believe the grave abuses of stripping human beings of their identities and instilling new personalities that are easy to control is the underlying desire of the corrupt leaders of our society in both government and corporate circles. I believe we must vote out those we know to be corrupt and must diligently fight for our rights by all means necessary. It is my greatest hope that we can do this through legal channels and that is where I place my energies. You and I have the power to change this. We can do it if we work together and hold on tenaciously to our goals. Again, I look forward to hearing from you.
HEAL Coordinator (and PCS Survivor)