Rad Geek People's Daily

official state media for a secessionist republic of one

Psychiatric Torture

Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 18 years ago, in 2006, on the World Wide Web.

(Link via Le Revue Gauche 2006-10-14.)

But remember, it doesn’t really count as torture unless a government lawyer decides that it’s bad enough to count.

In a new court filing on behalf of alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla, his lawyers allege that government interrogators forced him to take LSD, Gerstein reported.

Additionally, Padilla was given drugs against his will, believed to be some form of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or phencyclidine (PCP), to act as a sort of truth serum during his interrogations, he quotes the filing.

— Justin Rood, TPMmuckraker (2006-10-12): Is U.S. Government Using LSD for Interrogations?

I have no way of knowing how credible Padilla’s specific claims are. But I do know this:

… in 2002, Justice Department lawyers carefully considered the issue and advised the White House that it was okay. In their view, it was acceptable to force detainees to ingest mind-altering substances, as long as it was not intended to cause months-long bouts of serious mental illness.

How do we know that? Because in August 2002, the Justice Department gave then-White House counsel Alberto Gonzales a 50-page document saying so. And a follow-up document in 2004 reaffirmed it.

The now-infamous 2002 Bybee Memo was leaked to the press in 2004, at which time the administration quickly disavowed it. (In December 2004, Justice released a new version of guidance for detainee treatment.)

For nearly two years, the Bybee Memo was the administration’s guiding document for how detainees were to be treated. The document which replaced it does not appear to substantively alter its conclusions on forced drug use by detainees.

In the 2002 Bybee Memo, then-Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee (now a federal appellate judge) concluded that giving detainees mind altering substances (that’s a commonly used synonym for drugs, he noted for the squares in the White House) was legal, as long as doing so did not cause prolonged mental harm by disrupt[ing] profoundly the senses or personality, and was not intended to do so.

Bybee wrote that conditions such as months-long bouts of post-traumatic stress disorder or even chronic depression could be considered prolonged mental harm. As for what constituted a profound disruption of senses or personality that would cause such long-term suffering, he included:

  • the inabliity to retain any new information or recall information about things previously of interest to the individual.

  • deterioration of language function, e.g., repeating sounds or words over and over again;

  • impaired ability to execute simple motor activities, e.g., inability to dress or wave goodbye;

  • inability to recognize and identify objects such as chairs or pencils despite normal visual functioning;

  • the onset of ‘brief psychotic disorder, in which a detainee suffers psychotic symptoms, including. . . delusions, hallucinations, or even a catatonic state [which] can last for one day or even one month;

and more. (These examples, of course, are in no way intended to be an exhaustive list, Bybee noted.)

Oh — and for this to constitute torture, the government handler who’s forcing drugs into the detainee has to specifically intend to cause prolonged mental harm, according to Bybee.

— Justin Rood, TPMmuckraker (2006-10-13): LSD Mystery: In 2002, Justice Dept. OK’d Dosing Detainees

Please bear in mind that this government has no particular qualms about forcing psychotropic drugs on prisoners against their will, if they find it useful to deliberately destroy the prisoner’s sense of reality in the course of an interrogation, just as long as the psychotic break that they force on you wasn’t specifically intended to be more prolonged than a government lawyer thinks it ought to be.

Welcome to life in Red State America.

Further reading:

Reply to Psychiatric Torture Use a feed to Follow replies to this article

Post a reply

Your e-mail address will not be published.
You can register for an account and sign in to verify your identity and avoid spam traps.

Use Markdown syntax for formatting. *emphasis* = emphasis, **strong** = strong, [link](http://xyz.com) = link,
> block quote to quote blocks of text.

This form is for public comments. Consult About: Comments for policies and copyright details.

Anticopyright. This was written in 2006 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.