On March 22, Truthout published an article about the CIA torture program. The article was based on a set of documents written by Bruce Jessen, a man who the CIA hired to help create the Bush torture program. These documents were part of a military training program called SERE. The military used this program to train soldiers on how to survive while living in detention. According to the documents, in any coercive detention, the detainer has four goals: control, dependency, compliance, and cooperation.
The detainer will try to control you. He will try to control your sleeping patterns, the food you eat, and the interaction you have with others. His goal is to make you feel that everything is dependent on him. His goal is to convince you that you must comply with his requests. Otherwise, he will make you uncomfortable and he will refuse to release you. Ultimately, the detainer wants to gain your cooperation.
In order to convince you to cooperate, the detainer will continually make you feel stress. He will try to make you feel fear. He will try to take away your control. He will try to dehumanize you. He will isolate you. He may make you feel boredom or depression. He may threaten to kill you. He may torture you. You may become debilitated if he provides you with a faulty diet and faulty sanitary facilities. He may isolate you in an attempt to reduce your mental health. He may deprive you of sleep. He may attack your standards of honor, your faith in yourself, and your faith in your family. He will try to create a conflict between your survival and your ability to act in an honorable manner.
By increasing your stress level, the detainer hopes to make you lose your composure. He cannot, however, push you too far. If he does, you will not be able to cooperate with him. For example, if your detainer increased your stress level as much as he could, you would lose consciousness. Obviously, under those circumstances, you could not cooperate with him at all. And if the world discovered that he had made you lose consciousness, he could be in a lot of trouble. If your detainer imposed a very large degree of stress upon you but stopped short of making you lose consciousness, you would lose your grip on reality. Again, you would be unable to cooperate with your detainer in a way that he desires.
Your detainer wants you to lose your composure. When you experience moderate amounts of stress over a prolonged period of time, your ability to function degrades and you can lose your composure. You detainer can exploit you while you are in this state. While in this state, you may make mistakes, become emotional, act impulsively, or feel discouraged. But your behavior will appear uncoerced to outsiders.
You may be losing your composure if you feel anger, resentment, depression, fear, anxiety, suspicion, or guilt. You may have lost your composure if you engage in arrogant or impulsive behavior, if you talk too much or too fast or too loud, if you have unrealistic expectations of yourself or others, if your attention span has been reduced, if you are having a hard time making a decision, or if your behavior is regressing, meaning that you are using less effective behaviors that you learned earlier in your life.
Over the past few years, my life has been almost a carbon copy of the life described by these documents. I have often felt anger, depression, fear, anxiety, guilt, and suspicion.
I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in years. I wake up several times every night. I don’t get enough sleep. I often get stuck on a schedule where I wake up at night and go to sleep in the morning. Presumably, my government has been making me get up by having my neighbors make nose. Incidentally, while living in San Moritz, my government tried to convince me that my neighbors will make noise whenever I write something they don’t approve of.
I often have a hard time making decisions. It is hard to make a decision when you can’t think and you can’t recall information. I have often felt debilitated. Since the summer of 2010, my ability to exercise has gone down significantly. I often need to lie down because I am tired.
My government has often used fear against me. Since moving to Las Vegas, I have had to deal with insects at every single place I have lived in. When I have a soar throat, my government will put the words “throat cancer” into my mind. When I go out, I check underneath my car for bombs because my government has made me believe that someone will blow up my car. I usually keep my apartment curtains drawn because I fear a sniper might shoot me if they could see me. Once, while I was living in San Moritz, my car broke down. For several weeks, I walked to the grocery store. Whenever I did this, someone appeared to be following me.
When I see an article my government does not want me to read, or when I think a thought my government does not want me to think, I often get a headache. I feel nauseous. I begin to dry heave. Sometimes, I get diarrhea.
My government has convinced me to isolate myself. I decided against moving back to California because I feared earthquakes. I feared that my allergies would return if I moved there. I decided against living with my family because I worried that my family would suffer the same things I have been suffering through if I moved in with them.
My government has managed my diet. In 2011, I began consuming caffeine in an effort to combat my fatigue. But whenever I ingested caffeine, I began to feel nauseous and so for a while I stopped ingesting caffeine. Eventually, I started consuming caffeine again because I decided I would rather be nauseous than tired.
While living in Las Vegas, I have had problems with my sanitary facilities. The shower water has been sticky. For a while, this led to a regression in my behavior. I stopped taking showers. In addition, I cut down on my use of the air conditioner because my government convinced me that they were using that device to circulate drugs in the air. I stopped using the heater for the same reason. So in the summer, I often walk around my apartment naked while in the winter I often wear several layers of clothes.
All this has impaired my writing ability. Some of the things I have written have been emotional and impulsive. Occasionally, my faith in myself has been reduced. I have been unable to convince people that what I am saying is true. My faith in my family has been called into question. I stopped seeing them for several years. And now that I have started to see them again, I can’t convince them that what I am saying is true. And I appear uncoerced to family. I am even having a hard time convincing them to read what I write.
Living under these circumstances hasn’t been easy. I have often used humor to cope with the situation (humor is one of the coping mechanisms mentioned by Jessen in his documents).
For my government, their desired end result of all of this has been getting me to write what they want and to publish it online. I don’t know how closely my writing matches what they want. But I am convinced that what I am doing is not having the effect that they intended.