When you see news about US torture, remember this

The Skwawkbox reveals that the US psychologists who devised the torture techniques used by the CIA on ‘enemy combatants’, also devised the subtle and not-so-subtle psychological techniques that the Nudge Unit has incorporated into the claims process, in order to harass and torment benefit claimants and deter them from making claims. Cameron’s government, astonishingly, wishes to extend this to working people claiming benefits because of low wages. This shows the absolute contempt and sheer hatred Cameron and his fellow toffs have for the truly poor, and gives the lie that theirs is the party for ‘hard-working people’. And with so many claimants reporting that they have been asked why they have not committed suicide, it also makes you wonder, as Mike over at Vox Political has asked, if the government is also incorporating these Nudge techniques into suggesting that claimants should commit suicide.


The news at the moment is full of the ‘revelation’ that the ‘enhanced (or coercive) interrogation’ techniques used by the CIA on so-called ‘enemy combatants’ amounted to torture.

These techniques, including waterboarding, extreme sleep-deprivation and forcing people into contorted ‘stress positions’ for hours on end, were devised by a US psychologist who has been called a ‘torture guru’.

When you see these reports, remember this: psychologically-coercive techniques devised by this same individual and his team have been forced upon British benefit claimants at the behest of David Cameron’s ‘Nudge Unit’, via a bogus ‘psychometric test’ that they had to take or else lose their benefits.

Remember this, too: the DWP’s abuse of claimants using this test was so unethical that the ‘torture guru’s organisation objected to its use – use that they had never authorised in the first place: the Nudge Unit had basically stolen parts of the material and…

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3 Responses to “When you see news about US torture, remember this”

  1. George Berger Says:

    Some history of the US torture programme is found in “A Question of Torture,” by the writer of this article: http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/32497 . Note the role of Donald Hebb, a deceased Canadian psychologist. If you read McCoy’s book you will find hints to Hebb and British authorities.

    • beastrabban Says:

      Thanks for that, George. That looks really interesting and most useful.

      • George Berger Says:

        You are welcome. If you have twitter you can follow @Jeff_kaye. He is the authority of psychology and torture. For information on complicity of the APA, see this http://www.ethicalpsychology.org/resources/coalition.php . This includes the link to the “torture guru” pdf. A very-ex friend from high school was involved in the APA debates yet abstained from every vote. He felt that “science must be objective.” He told me about the APA issue, Steve Walker mentioned Seligman, and I used that to find the Coalition document on Seligman. I sent it to Steve, and within one hour he wrote the “torture guru” post.

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