17 August 2007

gitmo ≤ or ≥ Ministry of Love...

I was struck by reading an interview between Dr. Angela Hegarty, Amy Goodman, and Juan Gonzales over at Democracy Now! dealing with the Jose Padilla case. Dr. Hegarty is a forensic psychiatrist and professor at Columbia University. She spent 22 hours working with Padilla and came to the conclusion that "'What happened at the brig was essentially the destruction of a human being's mind,' said Dr. Hegarty. 'Padilla's personality was deconstructed and reformed.' She said the effects of the extreme isolation on Padilla are consistent with brain damage.

DR. ANGELA HEGARTY: Well, during my time with him, some of his reasoning seemed somewhat impaired, some of his thinking seemed impaired, his memory certainly, his ability to pay attention seemed very impaired. I developed a differential diagnosis from this: severe anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder can do that. But also, we know from really basic neuroscience studies that extreme isolation for prolonged periods of time -- and I’m talking, you know, the studies are on maybe days or weeks, and he had extreme isolation for years -- really do, in fact, impair higher brain function. And I recommended that we get some neuropsychological testing. And, unfortunately, he wasn't able to fully cooperate with that. However, the testing we did do was consistent with brain damage, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: Brain damage.


JUAN GONZALEZ: And have you dealt with someone who had been in isolation for such a long period of time before?

DR. ANGELA HEGARTY: No. This was the first time I ever met anybody who had been isolated for such an extraordinarily long period of time. I mean, the sensory deprivation studies, for example, tell us that without sleep, especially, people will develop psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, panic attacks, depression, suicidality within days. And here we had a man who had been in this situation, utterly dependent on his interrogators, who didn't treat him all that nicely, for years. And apart from -- the only people I ever met who had such a protracted experience were people who were in detention camps overseas, that would come close, but even then they weren't subjected to the sensory deprivation. So, yes, he was somewhat of a unique case in that regard.

In George Orwell's novel 1984, George Winston, the protagonist, is caught and sent to the Ministry of Love whose purpose is for rehabilitation of members of society who committed thoughtcrimes. The techniques used in the Ministry of Love included torture and brainwashing. The state knew what each person feared the most and used it as the means to rehabilitate citizens. In the end everyone became a good citizen with true loyalty to and love for Big Brother once they had been to the ministry.

Is Gitmo similar to the Ministry of Love?

just asking...

The USSR used a term called Sluggishly progressing schizophrenia in sending its citizens to gulags. Once there, they were rehabilitated, or not. Of course, just presence in the gulag was enough to initiate sluggishly progressing schizophrenia if they didn't have it before arriving.

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