Guest Post: Guantanamo Show Trials Re-Started

Washington’s Blog

Obama is re-starting the trials of Guantanamo inmates, including the alleged mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

I have no idea whether or not Mr. Mohammed is a terrorist whose actions killed innocent Americans. If he is, I hope he is convicted and put to death. A decorated 20-year CIA veteran, who Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh called "perhaps the best on-the-ground field officer in the Middle East”, and whose astounding career formed the script for the Academy Award winning motion picture Syriana (Robert Baer) raised serious doubts in Time Magazine about Mohammed being the 9/11 mastermind. But his innocence or guilt is beyond the scope of this essay.

What I am against is convicting this guy without due process of law under the United States constitution.

Show Trials

The trials will be held in Guantanamo, which is a huge step backwards. Obama had agreed to try suspects in American courts, which would thus follow the Constitution and the rule of law.

Indeed, the town of Hardin, Montana requested that 100 Gitmo detainees be sent to its empty prison, and Congressman Jim Moran said that detainees could be tried in his Alexandria, Virginia district. So there was willingness by Americans to hold the Guantanamo inmate trials here.

Instead, we appear to be to Guantanamo "show trials".

Specifically, as of 2008, the former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo’s military commissions disclosed that the trials have been rigged to prevent the possibility of acquittal. Specifically, the head of the Guantanamo tribunal — who is actually in charge of both prosecuting and defending the suspects — told the former chief prosecutor:

Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.

In addition, three other Guantanamo prosecutors — Maj. Robert Preston, Capt. John Carr and Capt. Carrie Wolf — "asked to be relieved of duties after saying they were concerned that the process was rigged. One said he had been assured he didn’t need to worry about building a proper case; convictions were assured." The head of the tribunal also said that — even if the defendants are somehow acquitted — they may not be released from Guantanamo. And MSNBC speculated that the U.S. put a "stun belt" on alleged terrorist Moussaoui during his trial to keep him in line: No wonder the American Bar Association, "which the Pentagon had said would help arrange such representation, has refused to participate because it objects to the trial procedures." And no wonder the defense attorneys who have agreed to represent the defendants say that the process is completely unfair. See also this interview. Torture

Former Congresswoman and prosecutor Liz Holtzman makes a good point:

The criminal justice system identified and convicted some of those involved in the 1993 World Trade Center attacks. By contrast, not one person has been prosecuted for the 9/11 attacks, although seven and a half years have gone by. Even Khalid Sheik Mohammed, one of the masterminds of 9/11, is unlikely ever to be convicted in US courts because he was repeatedly subjected to torture. Significantly, the cruel and torturous methods used on detainees never yielded enough information to capture Osama Bin Laden or his chief deputy. So much for the claims of torture’s efficacy.

Before you protest that we didn’t torture them, please note that the chief lawyer for Guantanamo litigation – Vijay Padmanabhan – said that torture was widespread. And Susan J. Crawford, the senior Pentagon official overseeing the military commissions at Guantánamo — the novel system of trials for terror suspects that was conceived in the wake of the 9/11 attacks — told Bob Woodward:

We tortured Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture.

In fact, the type of torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects is of a special type. Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used torture techniques aimed at extracting false confessions.

McClatchy fills in some of the details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there."

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder," he continued."Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under "pressure" to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

"While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq," Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. "The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results."

"I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq)," [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. "They made out links where they didn’t exist."

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage. See also this and this.

Paul Krugman eloquently summarized the truth about the type of torture used:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

There’s a word for this: it’s evil.

The Accused Made Up False Statements to Stop Torture

The Miami Herald ran a story entitled "Alleged 9/11 mastermind: `I make up stories’", noting:

Accused al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed complained that interrogators tortured lies out of him…

”I make up stories,” Mohammed said …

In broken English, he described an interrogation in which he was asked the location of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

”Where is he? I don’t know,” Mohammed said. ‘Then he torture me. Then I said, ‘Yes, he is in this area or this is al Qaeda which I don’t know him.’ I said no, they torture me.”

This is not new. It has already been documented that Mohammed confessed to crimes which he could not have committed, and that he said that he gave the interrogators a lot of false information – telling them what he thought they wanted to hear – in an attempt to stop the torture.

Indeed, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the Red Cross:

During the harshest period of my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear in order to make the ill-treatment stop. I later told the interrogators that their methods were stupid and counterproductive. I’m sure that the false information I was forced to invent in order to make the ill-treatment stop wasted a lot of their time and led to several false red-alerts being placed in the U.S.

And see this Washington Post report. The Telegraph also noted:

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of 9/11, was waterboarded 183 times in one month, and “confessed” to murdering the journalist Daniel Pearl, which he did not. There could hardly be more compelling evidence that such techniques are neither swift, nor efficient, nor reliable

Dick Cheney claimed that waterboarding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed stopped a terror attack on L.A., but as the Chicago Tribune notes:

The Bush administration claimed that the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed helped foil a planned 2002 attack on Los Angeles — forgetting that he wasn’t captured until 2003.

(see this confirmation from the BBC: "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed … was captured in Pakistan in 2003"). The Other Witness Against Khalid Sheik Mohammed But a second witness – Abu Zubaida – fingered Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the 9/11 mastermind (Zubaida was subsequently severely tortured for many months. But he initially identified KSM even before being tortured).

So we have independent confirmation that KSM was the chief architect of 9/11, right?

Well, the New Yorker notes week:

The F.B.I.’s point man on the Abu Zubaydah interrogation, Daniel Coleman, had read Zubaydah’s diaries and concluded that he “had a schizophrenic personality.”

Indeed, the Washington Post noted in 2007:

Retired FBI agent Daniel Coleman, who led an examination of documents after Abu Zubaida’s capture in early 2002 and worked on the case, said the CIA’s harsh tactics cast doubt on the credibility of Abu Zubaida’s information.

"I don’t have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted," Coleman said, referring to the harsh measures. "He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn’t believe him. The problem is they didn’t realize he didn’t know all that much."


Abu Zubaida … was a "safehouse keeper" with mental problems who claimed to know more about al-Qaeda and its inner workings than he really did. *** Looking at other evidence, including a serious head injury that Abu Zubaida had suffered years earlier, Coleman and others at the FBI believed that he had severe mental problems that called his credibility into question. "They all knew he was crazy, and they knew he was always on the damn phone," Coleman said, referring to al-Qaeda operatives. "You think they’re going to tell him anything?"

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind writes that Coleman advised a top FBI official at the time:

"This guy is insane, certifiable, split personality."

Note: Some reports state that at Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was killed years ago, and that the U.S. military is really holding someone else.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post on by .

About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. gil mendozza zuntzes

    hum… hum… We the Humble, Gullible, Stupid and Crazy Hard Working American forget all the bad stuff!… We should be up in arms… screaming and fighting… Barack never kept his word as a men of honor in closing Guantanamo,
    American’s do you remember our former Defence Secretary?..
    Donald H. Rumsfeld… Documents of WIKILEAKS show that He was One of those “American Hitler’s” that approved and ordered the Crimes and Abuses to ABU GHRAIB, this bastard and some of the others “American Hitler’s” like: Cheney, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and Bush should be before the ICC
    (International Criminal Court) for Crimes of War.

  2. KnotRP

    Obviously, if these guys are tried in a US court of law, someone powerful might get wrapped around the axle of justice. Can’t have that, can we?

  3. DownSouth

    Talking about show trials and how American and British criminal “justice” has become one of the most shameful displays of jurisprudence in the world, Adam Curtis includes a snapshot of our criminal “justice” in The Power of Nightmares that pulls no punches. It can be found here and begins at minute 23:55 and runs through about minute 42:00.

    The Power of Nightmares is an important documentary because it demonstrates how these show trials and other instances of flagrant official lying are woven into a larger fabric of ideological fantasy making that are part of a malign power grab.

    On another thread today, John Galt III furnished a link to an article that undoubtedly sheds some light on our collective delusion, or our vulnerability to delusion at the hands of sociopaths. The article, “Optical Illusions: autostereograms and sociopaths,” can be found here. Here’s the pertinent excerpt:

    The sociopath’s autostereogram

    Sociopaths train the unsuspecting to see differently. They train us to see the autostereogram image of their story.
    Of their lie.

    The mind muscle that controls mental focus is coaxed into relaxing. In the hands of an experienced sociopath, we do this unknowingly. Their goal is for us to transpose reality (the flat 2D nature of their shallow lives) for a mirage (their fictitious 3D image of accomplishment, success, bravery, generosity, integrity, etc.).

    We are taught to not only see their mirage, but transpose it for reality—and keep transposing it until we forget what the reality ever was. The more relaxed your focus, the more intense and real the mirage will become.

    Another helpful parallel is that once you’ve seen a particular autostereogram several times, it is much quicker to see that image than any new autostereogram. You’ve conditioned your mind to expect what it has already seen, and you will almost instantly bypass the 2D for the 3D.
    You now seek the lie. Over time, and without conscious effort, you will routinely forsake reality for a mirage.
    You can blink, or even close your eyes for several seconds, and not lose the mirage because…you’ve…retained…it…in…your…mind. Your focus has become so casually relaxed that you’ve lost focus altogether.


    At that point, you are fully operating within the sociopath’s construct, a dreamworld created solely for his enjoyment and benefit. He controls the rules and pace of the game, and thus the outcome.

    He takes. You give. He wins. You lose. That is the probable outcome, and you won’t figure out that you’ve even lost until long afterwards. It may take months or even years to fully realize the hugeness of the lie you lived in. Once you do, you will be ashamed at what you retrospectively see as your own foolish trust.

    How do I avoid the sociopath’s mirage?

    By knowing how it feels when your mind’s focus is being relaxed. It’s a brief odd sensation, like putting on somebody else’s glasses. If you comport yourself past that sensation, you will lose your own focus. Remember, “decoupling eye convergence from focusing operations” is the 3D trick.

    This odd sensation is your B.S. detector, especially when they are acting.

    The “Hey, wait a minute!” reaction is your subconscious trying to get your active attention that something is wrong, untruthful, contradictory, dangerous, or even evil. Whenever “something doesn’t add up”…trust it!
    Whenever you feel it, immediately stop listening to the speaker, mentally step back and regain perspective. Instantly challenge the prima facie untruthful and exaggerated. Don’t be shy—cry Bullsh*t! Seek independent corroboration. Consult with his/her former friends, lovers, business partners, etc. Sociopaths usually have extremely bad credit.

    Keep your eyes open. It is possible to spot them before they strike. Selective distrust is the parent of security.
    Once you’ve confidently identified a likely sociopath, coolly disengage ALL contact, and quietly warn others to beware.

    What if I’m already in the mirage? How do I get out?

    The sociopath’s 3D lie can only be seen from only one vantage point—the one you’ve been slyly placed at (through trust and gullibility) and subsequently anchored to (through familiarity and loyalty). If you shift (even slightly) your perspective…the image will vanish.

    Usually, somebody will say that one thing that finally jolts the return of your mental focus—if only momentarily. The mirage will then vanish, if only momentarily, and that is your chance to maintain your focus by piecing together the lies told to you.

    These mirages are fragile things. They require constant vigilance by the sociopath to maintain the viewer’s limited perspective and relaxed focus. (This is the purpose of frequent pity-ploys. It is emotionally impossible to simultaneously pity yet suspect deceit. Your mind can do only one or the other.)

    Escaping from the sociopath’s mirage and returning to reality is an uncomfortable process. It will take much time for your mind to reorient itself. This often engenders considerable confusion.

    Time away from the sociopath can allow your mind to regain its focus, but usually that isn’t enough. You will need the surrogate focus of your friends and family who haven’t been fooled by the mirage. Give what they say (no matter how painful or embarrassing) a chance, and hear them out.

    Contact others who have been conned by the same sociopath; you will validate each other and this is incredibly relieving and comforting. Soon, the mirage will no longer have any influence over you, and you’ll wonder how you ever believed it at all.

    My hunch is that one’s opportunity of seeing through a sociopath is most keen at the very beginning. Once you’ve let your mind go “cross-eyed” in order to “see”/believe the lie, it’s too late. You’ve already reprogrammed your vision by then to see differently, which makes seeing the truth very difficult. A good jolt is usually required to “snap out of it,” but by then the damage has already been done.

    When I look at the United States today, I cannot help but be reminded of this quote by Eric Hoffer:

    It colors my thinking and shapes my attitude toward events. I can never forget that one of the most gifted, best educated nations in the world, of its own free will, surrendered its fate into the hands of a maniac.

    1. Tertium Squid

      Oh come on –

      Our governing sociopaths aren’t mad scientists, evil geniuses that we don’t stand a chance against. This is what bothers me about fables like “The Adjustment Bureau” – armies of superefficient bureaucrats that are always one step ahead on everything. If they were so slick and clever they wouldn’t always be resorting to such rude, crude, stupid brutality.

      Their brand of hypnosis doesn’t rely on inattention or a lack of alertness, it relies on the weaknesses, foibles and neuroses of the target. The sociopath’s only advantage is that we WANT to believe in them.

      The power lies in us, not in them. Stop making them gods.

      1. Skippy

        TS in DS defense large vertical authoritarian structures can be easily seen as inverted sociopathic filters, to rise to the top requires an ability to either have, a high level of narcissism or low level empathy, theses traits whether genetic or acquired are seen as leadership qualitys…eh. The ability to bind others to your vision regardless of its side effects…cough…Obama, CEOS, POPE, Elite et al.

        Skippy…a world run largely by various levels of sociopaths…and the world has troubles…sigh. Personally methinks all highly placed individuals in position of power over others should be tested before trust is given to them.

      2. DownSouth

        Well yes and no.

        Here’s how the theologian Martin Luther King, Jr. put it:

        [T]here is a strange dichotomy of disturbing dualism within human nature. Many of the great philosophers and thinkers through the ages have seen this. It caused Ovid the Latin poet to say, “I see and approve the better things of life, but the evil things I do.” It caused even saint Augustine to say “Lord, make me pure, but not yet.” So that is in human nature. Plato, centuries ago said that the human personality is like a charioteer with two headstrong horses, each wanting to go in different directions, so that within our own individual lives we see this conflict and certainly when we come to the collective life of man, we see a strange badness. But in spite of this there is something in human nature that can respond to goodness. So that man is neither innately good nor is he innately bad; he has potentialities for both. So in this sense, Carlyle was right when he said that, “there are depths in man which go down to the lowest hell, and heights which reach the highest heaven, for are not both heaven and hell made out of him, ever-lasting miracle and mystery that he is?” Man has the capacity to be good, man has the capacity to be evil.

        And so the nonviolent resister never lets this idea go, that there is something within human nature that can respond to goodness. So that a Jesus of Nazareth or a Mohandas Gandhi, can appeal to human beings and appeal to that element of goodness within them, and a Hitler can appeal to the element of evil within them. But we must never forget that there is something within human nature that can respond to goodness, that man is not totally depraved; to put it in theological terms, the image of God is never totally gone.

        Here’s how another theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, put it:

        But there is a more fundamental error in the social philosophy of democratic civilization than the individualism of bourgeois democracy and the collectivism of Marxism. It is the confidence of both bourgeois and proletarian idealists in the possibility of achieving an easy resolution of the tension and conflict between self-interest and the general interest….

        Modern civilization did indeed seek to give the individual a greater freedom in the national community than the traditional feudal order had given him; and it did seek to free the nations of restraints placed upon their freedom by the international church. But it never cynically defied the general interest in the name of self-interest, either individual or collective… In the field of domestic politics the war of uncontrolled interests may have been the consequence, but it was certainly not the intention, of middle-class individualists…They did not make the mistake…of giving simple moral sanction to self-interest. They depended rather upon controls and restraints which proved to be inadequate.

        In illuminating this important distinction more fully, we may well designate the moral cynics, who know no law beyond their will and interest, with a scriptural designation of “children of this world” or “children of darkness.” Those who believe that self-interest should be brought under the discipline of a higher law could then be termed “the children of light.” This is no mere arbitrary device; for evil is always the assertion of some self-interest without regard to the whole, whether the whole be conceived as the immediate community, or the total community of mankind, or the total order of the world…

        Our democratic civilization has been built, not by children of darkness but by foolish children of light. It has been under attack by the children of darkness, by the moral cynics, who declare that a strong nation need acknowledge no law beyond its strength. It has come close to complete disaster under this attack, not because it accepted the same creed as the cynics, but because it underestimated the power of self-interest, both individual and collective, in modern society. The children of light have not been as wise as the children of darkness.

        The children of darkness are evil because they know no law beyond the self. They are wise, though evil, because they understand the power of self-interest. The children of light are virtuous because they have some conception of higher law than their own will. They are usually foolish because they do not know the power of self-will…

        It must be understood that the children of light are foolish not merely because they underestimate the power of self-interest among the children of darkness. They underestimate this power among themselves.

        And scientists are just now beginning to wake up to what King and Niebuhr observed decades ago—-that not everyone is a totally self-serving egotist. This recent paper, The Logic of Reciprocity: Trust, Collective Action,
        and Law
        , acknowledges the diversity to be found in humanity:

        [T]he conventional theory treats defection or freeriding as the dominant strategy for every individual. Accordingly, that theory predicts a single collective behavioral equilibrium: universal noncooperation. Under the reciprocity theory, in contrast, there is no “dominant” individual strategy. Individuals prefer to contribute if they believe others are inclined to contribute, but to free-ride if they believe that others are inclined to free-ride.

        Such interdependencies tend to generate patterns of collective behavior characterized by multiple equilibria punctuated by tipping points. If, for whatever reason, some individuals conclude that those around them are inclined to contribute, they’ll respond by contributing in
        kind, prompting still others to contribute, and so forth and so on until a highly cooperative state of affairs takes root. But if some individuals conclude that others are free-riding, then they will respond by free-riding, too, spurring others to do the same, and so forth and so on until a condition of mass noncooperation becomes the norm.


        [T]he conventional theory and the reciprocity theory differ on the variability of preferences across individuals. The conventional theory imagines that the disposition to free-ride in collective action settings is relatively uniform. In contrast, the evidence on which the reciprocity theory rests suggests that the disposition to cooperate varies. In public goods experiments that generate multiple equilibria, for example, neither universal cooperation nor universal defection is the final resting point. It makes more sense, then, to envision a distribution of cooperative dispositions across the population. Some, relatively small fraction of the population (consisting, perhaps, of those who’ve been trained in neo-classical economics) consists of committed free-riders, who shirk no matter what anyone else does, and another small fraction (maybe those who’ve read too much Kantian moral philosophy) of dedicated cooperators, who contribute no matter what. But most individuals are reciprocators, who cooperate conditionally on the willingness of others to contribute. Moreover, some reciprocators are relatively intolerant: they bolt as soon as they observe anyone else freeriding. Others are relatively tolerant, continuing to contribute even in the face of what they see as a relatively modest degree of defection. And a great many more — call them the neutral reciprocators — fall somewhere in between.

        Under these circumstances, individuals are unlikely fully to overcome collective action problems through reciprocity dynamics alone. No matter how cooperative the behavior of others, the committed free-riders will always free-ride if they can get away with it. Indeed, their shirking could easily provoke non-cooperative behavior by the less tolerant reciprocators, whose defection in turn risks inducing the neutral reciprocators to abandon ship, thereby prompting even the tolerant reciprocators to throw in the towel, and so forth and so on. If this unfortunate chain reaction takes place, a state of affairs once characterized by a reasonably high degree of cooperation could tip decisively toward a noncooperative equilibrium in which only the angelic, Kantian, unconditional cooperators are left contributing (probably futilely) to the relevant public good.

        Maximum cooperation, then, probably requires that reciprocity dynamics be supplemented with appropriately tailored incentives, most likely in the form of penalties aimed specifically at persistent free-riders. Although trust and reciprocity elicit cooperation from most players, some coercive mechanism remains necessary for the small population of dedicated free-riders, who continue to hold out in the face of widespread spontaneous cooperation, thereby depressing the contributions made by some, relatively unforgiving reciprocators. In the face of a credible penalty, however, the committed free-riders fall into line. The existence of such penalties in turn assures the less tole rant reciprocators that their cooperation won’t make them into chumps; they thus continue to cooperate, less out of material interest than out of positive reciprocal motivations. And because the less tolerant reciprocators contribute, so do the neutral
        and tolerant reciprocators, generating an equilibrium of near-universal cooperation.

        1. Skippy

          Acute observations coating a inner core of mysticism, loose their ring too tired ears, no matter how poignant.

      3. DownSouth

        The reference Parvaneh Ferhadi cited in his 5:03 a.m. comment also indicates you are only partially correct:

        The ultimate cause of evil lies in the interaction of two human factors: 1) normal human ignorance and weakness and 2) the existence and action of a statistically small (4-8% of the general population) but extremely active group of psychologically deviant individuals. The ignorance of the existence of such psychological differences is the first criterion of ponerogenesis. That is, such ignorance creates an opening whereby such individuals can act undetected.

        The presence of such “disease” on the individual level is described in the Almost Human section of this website. However, depending on the type of activity of psychopathic and characteropathic individuals, evil can manifest on any societal level. The greater the scope of the psychopath’s influence, the greater harm done. Thus any group of humans can be infected or “ponerized” by their influence. From families, clubs, churches, businesses, and corporations, to entire nations. The most extreme form of such macrosocial evil is called “pathocracy”.

    2. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      That would be in agreement with the following I stumbled upon some time ago.


      “Experience has taught the author that evil is similar to disease in nature, although possibly more complex and elusive to our understanding. Its genesis reveals many factors, pathological, especially psychopathological, in character, whose essence medicine and psychology have already studied… [A] comprehension of the essence and genesis of evil generally makes use of data from [biology, medicine, and psychology]. Philosophical reflection alone is insufficient.” (Lobaczewski, 98)

      Like a color blind man incapable of distinguishing red from green, a small minority of the human population cannot experience or fully comprehend the normal range of human emotions. And like those color blind who may conceal their condition by using the correct words while not understanding their meaning (e.g., the top traffic light is “red”, the bottom is “green”) – so does this minority conceal their condition by playacting an emotion’s exterior signs (facial expressions, exclamations, body language). However, they do not actually experience the emotion in question. Their deception is revealed in the laboratory, where they respond to words like DEATH, CANCER, DISEASE, as if they were DAY, CREAM, or PAPER. They lack the ability to comprehend the emotional “punch” that certain words contain. They use others’ emotional reactions as cues, and they adjust their behavior to portray the correct ‘emotional’ behavior. (Hare, 129-30)

      These individuals are known as psychopaths. Not only can they not feel the pain of others, they often seem to deliberately cause others pain. Lobaczewski refers to this disorder as an “essential psychopathy” to distinguish them from others with deficits in their genetic/instinctual endowment, essential psychopathy being the most severe and disturbing.

      Many so-called “antisocial individuals” acquire similar characteristics in their life-time, whether caused by brain damage to certain areas of the brain, or functionally, because of close contact with and influence by such individuals. Lobaczewski terms such individuals characteropaths. The vast majority of both these groups cannot change. The acts that we call evil (especially on a macrosocial level) can be traced back to this deviant minority of human beings and the effects of their actions on their family, friends, and society.»

      It’s the introduction from the Website for the book “Political Ponerology” at

        1. Parvaneh Ferhadi


          The first phase of macrosocial disease, i.e. social hysterization, is the opening through which pathocracy manifests. Such a period of societal spiritual crisis is associated with the exhausting of the ideational, moral, and religious values heretofore nourishing the society in question. Individuals and groups grow increasingly self-serving, and the links of moral duty and social networks loosen. People become concerned with trifling things, ignoring more important issues such as commitment to the future, or involvement in public matters.

          The most characteristic feature of such a period is widespread hysteria, like that of the quarter century in Europe preceding WWI. “Happy” times of peace are necessarily dependant on social injustice, and children of the privileged class learn early to repress ideas that they and their families are benefiting from the injustice of others. Such unconscious defense mechanisms cause these individuals to disparage the values of those whose work they exploit. These processes lead to an hysterical state of inhibited logic and reasoning. This rigidity of thought then gets passed on to the next generation to an even greater degree.

          The hysterical patterns finally get passed from the ruling class to the less privileged classes. This characteristic contempt for factual criticism, for normal thought patterns and nations, obviates the need for media censorship. A pathologically hypersensitive censor lives within each citizen. This has been repeatedly demonstrated by the American media in relation to the omissions and distortions of the Kean-Zelikow 911 Commission Report, the propaganda leading to the Iraq war, the death toll of Iraqi citizens, the reality in Palestine.

          “When three “egos” govern – egoism, egotism, and egocentrism – the feeling of social links and responsibility toward others disappear, and the society in question splinters into groups ever more hostile to each other. When a hysterical environment stops differentiating the opinions of limited, not-quite-normal people from those of normal, reasonable persons, this opens the door for activation of the pathological factors of a various nature to enter in.” (Lobaczewski, 177)
          This hysteroidal phase is often followed by a period of war, revolution, genocide, and the fall of empires: pathocracy.

  4. Psychoanalystus

    Okay, that’s all nice and dandy. But let us try to keep this on the topic of economics, shall we? This is an economics blog after all. As such, let us explore how can we get this stupid government to round up trash like Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and David Koch and ship them to Gitmo for waterboarding followed by speedy military trials for financial terrorism (as Michael Moore recently explained in Wisconsin). What those mentioned did, along with othes, is obviously terrorism.


    1. Tertium Squid

      Guns or butter? You’d better believe it matters. For long periods, the economy of Rome itself was based on bringing back spoils and tribute from endless wars. Now we have modern endless war, and I find the question of how they keep this ball rolling to be tremendously germane to the discussion.

      1. nonclassical


        they lie-their “followers” follow..

        from Gulliver-“Is not the purpose of communication to tell that which IS?..Telling that which is not, you leave them in a worse state than if you tell them nothing at all”?!? (logic of the “whinnies”)

    2. Paul Repstock

      Don’t cha see Psycho. There’s no need to waterboard them. There’s no need for false confessions, indeed they’ve rubbed our noses with their guilt, laughing at our impotence. And sure as heck, none of those standing in the wings want to create a deterant precedent till every one of them has had a turn at bat (or the trough) money filled, not water this time.

  5. juandos

    Quoting from Seymour Hersh automatically makes everything else in this posting questionable at best…

  6. Lynda Lovelace Pike

    “If he is, I hope he is convicted and put to death” I’m surprised no one called you on this, but what good would killing him do? Maybe this arabian boogeyman was on a mission to “convict and put to death” minus the plodding nature of traditional justice. Be careful about what you hope for.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Lynda; I fear they will convict him and kill him in that lonely place just to justify everything they’ve already done. The poor man nolonger has any value to them. In fact, he is a liability, They could hardly rewrite the story of his capture and torture if the man was still alive. Rght??

      1. Paul Repstock

        Our mission (if we choose to accept it) is to deny them access to historybook publishers.

        Remember, the victors write the history, and once written, it becomes fact. Do you want your grandkids to live their miserable lives in the shadow of a lie?

  7. Roland

    They can’t release any detainees, because they could not only tell of the horrors of their captivity, but because they could relate one of the less-known things about Gitmo: some of the prisoners were actually able to resist the best efforts of their torturers to break them down.

  8. nonclassical

    5-6 years ago I met James Yee. He quietly answered my question regarding actual “terrorists” in residence at Guantanamo-“maybe 5%”.

    It was difficult to process, till several Guantanamo prosecuters and insiders began to quit and tell the..ummmnn..truth.

    Let’s all remember Bushitters released as many “dangerous detainees” that couldn’t be tried in U.S. courts as possible
    prior to Obama handover.

    Wikileaks documents Obama deal with Bushitters to not prosecute Bush administration…Chris Hedges calls it “tag-team” political crime..

    General Karpinski is prime witness for international war crime case being considered in Germany. Bush administration
    will be rendered themselves, to ICC, if they travel outside

Comments are closed.