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Offline migl22

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« on: February 15, 2005, 03:38:39 AM »
The Men Who Stare at Goats

http://xeon.stable-servers.net/~hayworth/Crazy.Rulers.of.The.World.-.The.Men.Who.Stare.At.Goats.1.of.3.VCD.mpg

The men who stare at goatsBuy the book: USA / UK
 
In 1979 a secret unit was established by the most gifted minds within the US Army. Defying all known accepted military practice - and indeed, the laws of physics - they believed that a soldier could adopt the cloak of invisibility, pass cleanly through walls and, perhaps most chillingly, kill goats just by staring at them. Entrusted with defending America from all known adversaries, they were the First Earth Battalion. And they really weren't joking. What's more, they're back and fighting the War on Terror. 'The men who stare at goats' reveals extraordinary - and very nutty - national secrets at the core of George W Bush's War on Terror.
 
With first-hand access to the leading players in the story, Ronson traces the evolution of these bizarre activities over the past three decades, and sees how it is alive today within US Homeland Security and post-war Iraq. Why are they blasting Iraqi prisoners-of-war with the theme tune to Barney the Purple Dinosaur? Why have 100 de-bleated goats been secretly placed inside the Special Forces command centre at Fort Bragg, North Carolina? How was the US Military associated with the mysterious mass-suicide of a strange cult from San Diego? 'The men who stare at goats' answers these, and many more, questions.

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The Men Who Stare At Goats By Jon Ronson

Jon Ronson knew from his investigation into US military intelligence that top brass had adopted some strange practices. Jamal al-Harith, the Briton released from Guantánamo in the spring, confirmed it: here, in our second extract from Ronson's revealing new book, he describes the discordant sounds and apparently random music played to him during all-day interrogation sessions, and four psychological warfare experts give their reaction.

By Guardian Newspapers, 11/5/2004
   
   
The more I've delved into the US military's psychological warfare, the more examples of New Age-style, First Earth Battalion tactics I've been noticing in the war on terror. I learned of one fact in particular that struck me as entirely incongruous, something at once banal and extraordinary. It happened to a Mancunian called Jamal al-Harith in a place called the Brown Block. Jamal doesn't know what to make of it either, so he mentioned it to me only as an afterthought when I met him in the coffee bar of the Malmaison Hotel, near Manchester Piccadilly station, one June morning this year.

Jamal is a website designer. He lives with his sisters in south Manchester. He is 37, divorced, with three children. He said he assumed MI5 had followed him here to the hotel, but he's stopped worrying about it. He said that he keeps seeing the same man watching him from across the street, leaning against a car, and that whenever the man thinks he's been spotted, he looks briefly panicked and immediately bends down to fiddle casually with his tyre.

Jamal laughed when he told me this. He was born Ronald Fiddler into a family of second-generation Jamaican immigrants. When he was 23, he learned about Islam and converted, changing his name to Jamal al-Harith: he liked the sound of it. He says al-Harith basically means "seed planter".

In October 2001, Jamal visited Pakistan as a tourist, he says. He was in Quetta on the Afghanistan border, four days into his trip, when the American bombing campaign began. He quickly decided to leave for Turkey and paid a local truck driver to take him there. The driver said the route would take them through Iran, but somehow they ended up in Afghanistan, where they were stopped by a gang of Taliban supporters. They asked to see Jamal's passport, and he was promptly arrested and thrown in jail on suspicion of being a British spy.

Afghanistan fell to the coalition. The Red Cross visited Jamal in prison. They suggested he cross the border into Pakistan and make his own way back home to Manchester, but Jamal had no money, so instead he asked to be put in contact with the British embassy in Kabul.

Nine days later - while he waited in Kandahar for the embassy to transport him home - the Americans picked him up.

"The Americans," Jamal said, "kidnapped me." When he said "kidnapped", he looked surprised at himself for using such a dramatic word.

The Americans in Kandahar told Jamal he needed to be sent to Cuba for two months for administrative processing, and so on, and the next thing he knew he was on a plane, shackled, his arms chained to his legs and then chained to a hook on the floor, his face covered in earmuffs and goggles and a surgical mask, bound for Guantánamo Bay.

In the weeks after Jamal's release, two years later, he gave a few interviews, during which he spoke of the shackles and the solitary confinement and the beatings - the things the outside world had already imagined about life inside that mysterious compound. He said they beat his feet with batons, pepper-sprayed him and kept him inside a cage that was open to the elements, with no privacy or protection from the rats and scorpions that crawled around the base. But these were not sensational revelations.

He spoke to ITV's Martin Bashir, who asked him (off-camera), "Did you see my Michael Jackson documentary?"

Jamal replied, "I've, uh, been in Guantánamo Bay for two years."

When I met Jamal, he began to tell me about the more bewildering abuses. Prostitutes were flown in from the US - he doesn't know whether they were there to smear their menstrual blood on the faces of the more devout detainees. Or perhaps they were brought in to have sex with the soldiers, and some psychological operations (PsyOps) boffin - a resident cultural analyst - devised this other job for them as an afterthought, exploiting the resources at the army's disposal.

"One or two of the British guys," Jamal told me, "said to the guards, 'Can we have the women?' But the guards said, 'No, no, no. The prostitutes are for the detainees who don't actually want them.' They explained it to us: 'If you want it, it's not going to work on you.' "

"So what were the prostitutes doing to the detainees?" I asked.

"Just messing about with their genitals," said Jamal. "Stripping off in front of them. Rubbing their breasts in their faces. Not all the guys would speak. They'd come back from the Brown Block [the interrogation block] and be quiet for days and cry to themselves, so you know something went on, but you don't know what. But for the guys who did speak, that's what we heard." I asked Jamal if he thought that the Americans at Guantánamo were dipping their toes into the waters of exotic interrogation techniques.

"They were doing a lot more than dipping," he replied. And that's when he told me about what happened to him inside the Brown Block.

Jamal said that, being new to torture, he didn't know whether the techniques tested on him were unique to Guantánamo, or as old as torture itself, but they seemed pretty weird to him. His description of life inside the Brown Block made Guantánamo Bay sound like an experimental interrogation lab, teeming not only with intelligence agents, but also with ideas. It was as if, for the first time in the soldiers' careers, they had prisoners and a ready-made facility at their disposal, and they couldn't resist putting all their concepts - which had until then languished, sometimes for decades, in the unsatisfactory realm of the theoretical - into practice.

First there were the noises.

"I would describe them as industrial noises," said Jamal. "Screeches and bangs. These would be played across the Brown Block into all the interrogation rooms. You can't describe it. Screeches, bangs, compressed gas. All sorts of things. Jumbled noises."

"Like a fax machine cranking up into use?" I asked.

"No," said Jamal. "Not computer-generated. Industrial. Strange noises. And mixed in with it would be something like an electronic piano. Not as in music, because there was no rhythm to it."

"Like a synthesiser?"

"Yes, a synthesiser mixed in with industrial noises. All a jumble and a mishmash."

"Did you ever ask them, 'Why are you blasting these strange noises at us?' " I said.

"In Cuba you learn to accept," said Jamal.

The industrial noises were blasted across the block. But the strangest thing of all happened inside Jamal's own interrogation room. The room was furnished with a CCTV camera and a two-way mirror. Jamal would be brought in for 15-hour sessions, during which time they got nothing out of him because, he said, there was nothing to get. He said his past was so clean - not even a parking ticket - that at one point someone wandered over to him and whispered, "Are you an MI5 asset?"


"An MI5 asset!" said Jamal. He whistled. "Asset!" he repeated. "That was the word he used!"

The interrogators were getting more and more cross with Jamal's apparent steely refusal to crack. Also, Jamal used his time inside the Brown Block to do stretching exercises, keeping himself sane. Jamal's exercise regime made the interrogators more angry, but instead of beating him, or threatening him, they did something very odd.

A military intelligence officer brought a ghetto blaster into his room. He put it on the floor in the corner. He said, "Here's a great girl band doing Fleetwood Mac songs."

He didn't blast the CD at Jamal. This wasn't sleep-deprivation, and it wasn't an attempt to induce the Bucha Effect1. Instead, the agent simply put it on at normal volume.

"He put it on," said Jamal, "and he left."

"An all-girl Fleetwood Mac covers band?" I said.

"Yeah," said Jamal.

This sounded to me like the tip of a very strange iceberg.

"And what happened next?" I asked.

"When the CD was finished, he came back into the room and said, 'You might like this.' And he put on Kris Kristofferson's greatest hits. Normal volume. And he left the room again. And then, when that was finished, he came back and said, 'Here's a Matchbox Twenty CD.' "

"Was he doing it for entertainment purposes?" I asked.

"It's interrogation," said Jamal. "I don't think they were trying to entertain me."

"Matchbox Twenty?" I said.

I didn't know much about Matchbox Twenty. My research reveals them to be a four-piece country rock band from Florida, who do not sound particularly abrasive (like Metallica and Burn Motherfucker Burn!) nor irritatingly repetitive (like Barney The Purple Dinosaur and Ya! Ya! Das Is A Mountain). They sound a bit like REM. The only other occasion when I had heard of Matchbox Twenty was when Adam Piore from Newsweek told me that they, too (like Metallica and Barney), had been blasted into the shipping containers where detainees were held at al-Qa'im in Iraq. I mentioned this to Jamal and he looked astonished.

"Matchbox Twenty?" he said.

"Their album More Than You Think You Are," I said.

There was a silence.

"I thought they were just playing me a CD," said Jamal. "Just playing me a CD. See if I like music or not. Now I've heard this, I'm thinking there must have been something else going on. Now I'm thinking, why did they play that same CD to me as well? They're playing this CD in Iraq and they're playing the same CD in Cuba. It means to me there is a programme. They're not playing music because they think people like or dislike Matchbox Twenty more than other music. Or Kris Kristofferson more than other music. There is a reason. There's something else going on. Obviously I don't know what it is. But there must be some other intent."

"There must be," I said.

Jamal paused for a moment and then he said, "You don't know how deep the rabbit hole goes, do you? But you know it is deep. You know it is deep."

Subsequently, I talked to Joseph Curtis (not his real name), who worked on the night shift at the Abu Ghraib prison, in charge of the computer network. I asked if he knew anything about the music. He said, sure, they blasted loud music at the detainees all the time.


"What about quieter music?" I said, and told him Jamal's story about the ghetto blaster and the Fleetwood Mac all-girl covers band and Matchbox Twenty.

Joseph laughed. He shook his head in wonderment. "They were probably fucking with his head," he said.

"You mean they did it just because it seemed so weird?" I asked. "The incongruity was the point of it?"

"Yeah," he said.

"But that doesn't make sense," I said. "I can imagine that might work on a devout Muslim from an Arab country, but Jamal is British. He was raised in Manchester. He knows all about ghetto blasters and Fleetwood Mac and country and western music."

"Hm," said Joseph.

"Do you think ...?" I said.

Joseph finished my sentence for me.

"Subliminal messages?" he said.

"Or something like that," I said. "Something underneath the music."

"You know," said Joseph, "on a surface level that would be ridiculous. But Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib were anything but surface."

Jamal seemed fine when I met him in Manchester. I asked if he felt at all unusual after listening to Matchbox Twenty and he said no. But one shouldn't read too much into this. There is a very strong chance, given the history of the goat staring and the wall walking and so on that US military intelligence honchos went in for, that they blasted Jamal with silent sounds and it just didn't work.

In late June 2004 I sent an email to Jim Channon and everyone else I'd met during my two-and-a-half-year journey who might have some inside knowledge about the current use of the kinds of psychological interrogation techniques that had first been suggested in Jim's First Earth Battalion manual. I wrote:

Dear ---

I hope you are well.

I was talking with one of the British Guantánamo detainees (innocent - he was released) and he told me a very strange story. He said at one point during the interrogations the MI [military intelligence] officers left him in a room - for hours and hours - with a ghetto blaster. They played him a series of CDs - Fleetwood Mac, Kris Kristofferson, etc. They didn't blast them at him. They just played them at normal volume. Now, as this man is western, I'm sure they weren't trying to freak him out by introducing him to western music. Which leads me to think ... Frequencies? Subliminal messages?

What's your view on this? Do you know any time when frequencies or subliminal sounds have been used by the US military for sure?

With best wishes,

Jon Ronson

I received four replies straight away.

Commander Sid Heal (the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department non-lethals expert who told me about the Bucha Effect): "Most interesting, but I haven't a clue. I know that subliminal messages can be incorporated and that they have a powerful influence. There are laws prohibiting it in the US, but I'm not aware of any uses like you describe. I would imagine, however, that it would be classified and no one without a 'need to know' would be aware anyway. If it were frequencies, it would probably need to be in the audible range or they wouldn't need to mask them with other sounds."

Skip Atwater (General Stubblebine's former psychic spying headhunter): "You can bet this activity was purposeful. If you can get anybody to talk to you about this, it would be interesting to know the 'success rate' of this technique."

Jim Channon: "Strikes me the story you tell is just plain kindness (which still exists)."

I couldn't decide if Jim was being delightfully naive, infuriatingly naive, or sophisticatedly evasive.

Then Colonel John Alexander responded to my email. He remains the US army's leading pioneer of non-lethal technologies, a role he created for himself in part inspired by Jim's First Earth Battalion manual.

Colonel Alexander: "Re your assertion he was innocent. If so, how did he get captured in Afghanistan? Don't think there were many British tourists who happened to be travelling there when our forces arrived. Or maybe he was a cultural anthropologist studying the progressive social order of the Taliban as part of his doctoral dissertation and was mistakenly detained from his education. Perhaps if you believe this man's story you'd also be interested in buying a bridge from me? As for the music, I have no idea what that might be about. Guess hard rockers might take that as cruel and unusual punishment and want to report it to Amnesty International as proof of torture."

Jokes about the use of music in interrogation didn't seem that funny any more - not to me, and I doubt they did to him, either. I emailed him back: "Is there anything you can tell me about the use of subliminal sounds and frequencies in the military's arsenal? If anyone alive today is equipped to answer that question, surely you are."

Colonel Alexander's response arrived instantly. He said my assertion that the US army would ever entertain the possibility of using subliminal sounds or frequencies "just doesn't make sense".

Which was strange. I dug out an interview I'd conducted with the colonel the previous summer. I hadn't been that interested in acoustic weapons at that point, but the conversation had, I now remembered, briefly touched on them.

"Has the army ever blasted anyone with subliminal sounds?" I had asked him.

"I have no idea," he said.

"What's a 'psycho-correction' device?" I asked him.

"I have no idea," he said. "It has no basis in reality."

"What are silent sounds?" I asked.

"I have no idea," he said. "It sounds like an oxymoron to me." The colonel gave me a hard look, which seemed to suggest that I was masquerading as a journalist and was, in fact, a dangerous and irrational conspiracy nut.

"I'm confused," I said. "I don't know much about this subject, but I'm sure I've seen your name linked with something called a 'psycho-correction device'."

Yes, he said, he had sat in on meetings where this sort of thing was discussed, but there was no evidence that machines like this would ever work. "How would you do that [blast someone with silent sounds] without it affecting us? Anybody who's out there would hear it."

How could you blast someone with silent sounds "without it affecting us"? This struck me at the time as an unassailable argument, one that cut through all the paranoid theories circulating on the internet about mind-control machines putting voices into people's heads. Of course it couldn't work.

The thing is, I now realised, if silent sounds had been used against Jamal inside an interrogation room at Guantánamo Bay, there was a clue in Jamal's account, a clue that suggested that military intelligence had craftily solved the vexing problem highlighted by Colonel Alexander.

"He put the CD in," Jamal had said, "and he left the room."

Next, I dug out the recently leaked military report entitled Non-Lethal Weapons: Terms And References. There were a total of 21 acoustic weapons listed, in various stages of development, including the Infrasound ("Very low-frequency sound which can travel long distances and easily penetrate most buildings and vehicles ... biophysical effects: nausea, loss of bowels, disorientation, vomiting, potential internal organ damage or death may occur. Superior to ultrasound ...").

And then, the last entry but one - the Psycho-Correction Device, which "involves influencing subjects visually or aurally with embedded subliminal messages".

I turned to the front page. And there it was. The co-author of this document was Colonel John Alexander.

1 In the 1950s, helicopters started falling out of the sky, crashing for no apparent reason, and the pilots who survived couldn't explain it. They had been flying as normal and then suddenly they felt nauseous, dizzy and debilitated; they lost control of their helicopters. A Dr Bucha was called in to solve the mystery. What he found was that the rotor blades were strobing the sunlight, and when it reached an approximation of human brainwave frequency, it interfered with the brain's ability to send correct information to the rest of the body.

© Jon Ronson, 2004.

This is an edited extract from The Men Who Stare At Goats, by Jon Ronson, published by Picador on November 19 at £16.99. To order a copy for £16.14, with free UK p&p, call 0870 836 0875. Jon Ronson's three-part television series, The Crazy Rulers Of The World, starts on Channel 4 tomorrow.

Jamal al-Harith is one of four Britons released from Guantánamo in March, after more than two years' imprisonment, who claim they were repeatedly tortured at the camp and, it was announced last week, are suing Donald Rumsfeld and other US military leaders for £6m compensation each.

© Guardian Newspapers Limited

Offline migl22

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Get this documentry brand new exposing bush was made dec 04
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2005, 12:20:55 AM »
any one saw the documentry yet let me know what you think.

Offline NOLAJBS

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Get this documentry brand new exposing bush was made dec 04
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2005, 03:44:57 AM »
I watched the first one ... very good !!

Crazy stuff !   :shock:
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