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The Promise of LSD Microdoses and Other Psychedelic "Medicines"
Horgan: How did you get interested in psychedelics?
Halpern: I got interested in psychedelics back in medical school because I was searching for everything and anything that might be of use for substance abuse. I wound up learning from my late Father, Abraham L. Halpern, M.D. (a very famous psychiatrist himself!), how psychedelics held so much promise back in the 1960s but wound up getting made illegal with research essentially shut down in the early 1970s as a casualty of their escape from the laboratory and into instead the drug use/abuse world, too. But the research from back then definitely suggested that there are important medical properties to these substances that still were being overlooked.
Horgan: Have you ever taken them?
Halpern: This is a silly/immature question and one that I always imagined would be asked by a reporter with an axe to grind rather than at educating readership. In the last 20 years only one journalist has asked me this – both times John Horgan. The first time he asked was during his interview of me for a profile piece in Discover Magazine, and I brought him to a prayer service of the Native American Church! So John Horgan now your readers know that you ingested peyote, too! So, yes, I’ve experienced psychedelics but such use never was the reason for my devoting so much of my career to the legitimate clinical research of these substances.
Horgan: Yup, now they know. So what did you learn from your research on peyote use by members of the Native American Church (NAC)?
Halpern: I learned that such sacramental use of peyote benefits NAC members and is the heart of their faith. I heard countless stories of recovery from substance abuse and/or of deepening learning about Native Traditions and language through participation in the NAC. I wound up also publishing a major paper that showed that those who follow the Peyote Way are cognitively healthy/similar to Native non-adherents and also presented with healthier lifetime satisfaction and mental health.
Horgan: Should non-Native Americans be allowed to take psychedelics for spiritual purposes?
Halpern: This already occurs legally in the United States, Mexico, and Canada for members of the Native American Church. Also the United States and several countries in Europe acknowledge the religious freedom of members of the Uniao Do Vegetal and Santo Daime – religions that have expanded from the Amazon Basin and now count members around the world that partake of DMT-containing ayahausca in their prayer services. Native use of Ayahuasca is legal in Brazil, Columbia, and Peru. The Bwiti faith in west Africa (The Gabon and elsewhere) is legally sanctioned and has an iboga ceremony – the root bark from the shrub Tabernanthe iboga contains a very long-acting hallucinogenic substance ibogaine. So, there already are non-Native Americans partaking of psychedelics for religious purposes. Such use is far different from seeking “intoxication”: indeed, in the USA, such use is legally characterized, when legitimate, as the “non-drug Sacramental use” of these compounds. This very easily can be a very long, long answer but, in short, in the United States Freedom of Religion is enshrined in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights and, as such, our government is limited in restricting the practice of one’s bona fide religious faith: under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Government must employ a “least restrictive means test” as to whether or not religious practices must be regulated or prevented.
Horgan: Should psychedelics be legalized?
Halpern: This also is perhaps a too broad question for me. My job as a researcher and physician is to help inform with scientific fact. In the absence of sufficient facts, fear may be all that is available when debating such public health and public policy issues. That being said, it is an interesting question as to how the most revered substances of the shamanic world came to be so reviled in the “modern” world. These substances right now are “legalized” in that they are placed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and, as such, are available for legitimate research purposes only. Do I think that they should be available without any restrictions whatsoever? Should a child be able to purchase alcohol? When I was growing up, simple Benadryl (diphenhydramine) was only available by prescription! Now it is over-the-counter available for purchase. Any substance can be used and/or abused but some more than others. Cocaine is a Schedule II medication (used primarily but rarely as a topical anesthetic) but illicit cocaine abuse doesn’t derive from such approved medical indication. Similarly, it may come to be one day, even soon, that these types of drugs may be legally available by prescription for specific medical indications including for psychotherapy and/or for spiritual purposes outside of protected religious practice. But such “legalization” requires development through the FDA’s system of drug review for public safety and to clarify risks and benefits and that for the specific indications that benefits do reasonably outweigh potential risks. There is much research to be done to achieve this and there are active efforts to develop MDMA and psilocybin in the United States for medical use.
Horgan: Should physicians be able to prescribe psychedelics as treatments for mental disorders?
Halpern: Maybe one day this will come to pass but it is for the FDA to determine whether or not these substances have an approved medical indication and the process by which they can be safely administered. GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a known “date-rape drug” and it is a listed within Schedule I as a drug of abuse but its prescription form is in Schedule II for the treatment of narcolepsy: a centralized distribution system was devised with the DEA to ensure that GHB can be given to patients in need of it as a medication while minimizing its risk for diversion to the illicit market. My point is that there are ways to create a safe means for prescription should they ever gain an FDA-approved medical indication.
Horgan: Who should not take psychedelics?
Halpern: The best available information is that those with a history of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and/or psychotic illnesses (like schizophrenia) should take these substances with tremendous caution if at all, and even those with close blood relations with such serious psychiatric conditions should be similarly warned, as well. People who have a tremendous need for emotional control often report “bad trips” in particular. Those with little preparation--having a known, safe, and supportive environment that protects people from interacting with regular/routine life and that has even non-using but experienced supports--will also be at greater risk. These substances can be profoundly disorienting to perception of self and the world we live in: so those planning to drive a car, for example, should not take psychedelics.
Horgan: What do you think of the old idea that psychedelics mimic psychosis?
Halpern: Suggestibility can greatly increase under the influence of these substances. The first dose of LSD administered in the United States was given to a psychiatric resident who was told that it would create a psychotic-like experience, and then the resident proceeded to behave in psychotic-like ways. Even so, there are a number of important differences including that these drugs induce pseudo-hallucinations that the user typically understands are not reality-based and that are often visual. Psychosis rarely has visual phenomena and true hallucinations leave the individual incapable of discerning symptoms from reality. The “psychotomimetic” model of what hallucinogens do is not considered useful/valid at present but more dissociative agents like ketamine and PCP may indeed cause a more accurate “model psychosis.”
Horgan: Are you surprised that psychedelics have gotten so much positive coverage lately?
Halpern: I am not surprised at all!
Horgan: Writer Ayelet Waldman in her new book A Really Good Day describes taking micro-doses of LSD to boost her mood. What is your opinion of micro-dosing? Will LSD, given its history, ever be accepted as a medical treatment?
Halpern: This is very old news. Once when I had lunch with Albert Hofmann (the chemist who first synthesized and experienced LSD) about 20 years ago I had asked him about micro-dosing. We had a lively discussion that LSD could have become the first “Prozac” like antidepressant and that 25 micrograms a day seemed to be particularly effective. Dr. Hofmann stated that he really pushed to make LSD into an antidepressant and had the idea to combine it with an emetic (a drug that would induce vomiting) if too many pills were taken at once. He said that company lawyers thought there was too many risks/pitfalls to offering a drug in such a preparation and so it never was developed for commercial use. If LSD is taken every day, by the way, tolerance to the intoxicated effects build, and so LSD might be able to be evaluated still as an antidepressant.
Horgan: Do you think DMT, which psychedelic philosopher Terence McKenna loved, has therapeutic potential? What about ayahuasca? Does psychiatrist Rick Strassman’s research on DMT, which triggered frightening experiences in some users, give you pause?
Halpern: DMT is the primary psychoactive constituent of ayahuasca. In the Amazon Basin there is a multi-thousand year history of ayahuasca use. Traditionally, such use is part of a process to help identify what is needed for healing rather than as a direct treatment itself. Within its religious application, there are many stories of spiritual and medical healing with ayahuasca including versus drug and alcohol addiction. Again, however, such clear therapeutic potential must be carefully evaluated from within legitimate scientific research and regulatory review. As for Dr. Strassman’s work: he wasn’t evaluating DMT for any therapeutic potential: he was doing basic dose-response pharmacologic research. Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS (Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), famously says, “There are no bad trips…only difficult ones.” Such frightening experiences may also have a therapeutic use, but any of these drugs, not just DMT, may trigger them. Often, as mentioned, such experiences are triggered in those with a tremendous need for emotional regulation and the psychoactive properties of hallucinogens will quite often have a person feel loss of such control.
Horgan: Is MDMA, or “Ecstasy,” a psychedelic? Do you worry about its possible long-term negative effects?
Halpern: MDMA has psychedelic properties and can reported be fully psychedelic-like for the drug-naïve. Unlike “classical” hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin, MDMA doesn’t typically induce loss of sense of self. Instead many will describe it as “ego-opening” with a flood of positive/trusting emotions. Any drug without clear FDA approved indication or accepted standard for human use worries me about the possible long-term negative effects. That being said, we will prescribe all sorts of very toxic compounds if the benefits and need may outweigh the risks. Benzodiazepines long term can cause verbal memory deficits, balance and coordination problems, and more, but if you have a panic disorder they can prove a godsend. Certain radiological and chemotherapeutic agents targeting brain cancer may damage some cognitive functioning but if that slows down tumor growth so that life is meaningfully extended – we wouldn’t want to prevent such medications from being given to such a patient in need, right? Yet, we wouldn’t want a healthy/normal person to get such a toxic compound for no reason. Specific to MDMA, there are risks from it being illegal, from taking it with a frequency and dosing scale that maximizes harm, and taking it in combination with other drugs such as alcohol. Yet many of the cognitive effects claimed from MDMA appear to not be functionally significant (you can read my NIDA-funded study on this question of MDMA neurocognitive toxicity) and some of the very brain changes noted in animal studies have also been found from other compounds including one that was FDA-approved for a time! Finally, consider that the illicit use of MDMA became popular more than 30 years ago. Back then, some anti-MDMA campaigners/researchers cautioned that such use/abuse will create a generation with early Parkinson’s Disease or who would wind up not responding to antidepressants when clinically depressed or who would be cognitively damaged in functionally observable ways. Such a wave has yet to materialize despite millions of users over these years. Some experts in the relative risk from various drugs of abuse have already published that the relative harms from MDMA appear to be markedly less than from alcohol and tobacco! (See chart below from Nutt, David J, et al., "Drug Harms in the UK: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis." The Lancet 376, no. 9752 (2010): 1558-65.)
Horgan: I recently heard psychologist Anthony Bossis of NYU describe trials in which terminal cancer patients are given psilocybin. What is your opinion of this work?
Halpern: Dr. Bossis is a very compassionate and caring therapist invested in the evaluation of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. The work at NYU harmonizes and validates the similar work coming out of Dr. Roland Griffith’s team at Johns Hopkins. I think there is much promise to this treatment. These works are published in the peer reviewed literature and skeptics of the work then are free to follow and/or attempt to upgrade upon the published methodology to further validate these early, promising findings.
Horgan: Albert Hofmann, who discovered LSD’s effects, sometimes expressed misgivings about psychedelics. He once wrote that they might "represent a forbidden transgression of limits." Do you ever have similar qualms?
Halpern: Albert Hofmann’s discovery changed our planet in many ways and not all for the better: it is quite understandable that he would express such misgivings. That is why he also referred to LSD as his “problem child.” Yet Dr. Hofmann didn’t stop evaluating hallucinogens: he, in fact, identified psilocybin from Psilocybe cubensis and continued to contribute to the “psychedelic movement” right up to his death (at age 102!). Another chemist who made it has life’s work to discover as many new psychedelic compounds as he could find, Alexander Shulgin, also opined:
“I am completely convinced that there is a wealth of information built into us, with miles of intuitive knowledge tucked away in the genetic material of every one of our cells. Something akin to a library containing uncountable reference volumes, but without any obvious route of entry. And, without some means of access, there is no way to even begin to guess at the extent and quality of what is there. The psychedelic drugs allow exploration of this interior world, and insights into its nature.”
Accessing this “interior world” is the very same “forbidden transgression of limits” that Hofmann refers to: it is inherent to our species’ thirst for knowledge and understanding of just what it means to be human that then drives such curiosity, whether for better or worse. But even as one wise, old Roadman of the Peyote Way once said to me, “If you want to know more about Medicine… then eat more Medicine.”
It is the secret dream of every Swedish or German woman to marry a black men, or at least have sex with a black man. Every smart young African man should migrate to Europe. Free money, nice house, good sex!
Anime Fans Angry Over BBC’s ‘Young Sex For Sale in Japan’ Documentary
The BBC's documentary about Japan's sexualisation of minors has turned heads in the anime and manga communities.
The BBC’s Young Sex For Sale in Japan documentary has raised the ire of many anime fans, with them criticising presenter Stacey Dooley for allegedly being ignorant of Japanese culture.
The documentary, which is available to view on BBC iPlayer for those in the UK, sees Dooley travelling to Tokyo in order to explore Japan’s attitudes to underage sex, and the sexualised portrayal of young girls in anime and manga. Along with investigating the incredibly creepy, real-world fascination with young girls in the country that involves adult men paying to spend time talking to them in specialised bars, Dooley also places a spotlight upon ‘lolicon’, a sub-genre of anime/manga dedicated to erotic art featuring prepubescent girls.
During the documentary Dooley talked to manga translator Dan Kanemitsu, who defended artists’ rights to create and sell art depicting prepubescent girls. During their conversation, Dooley picked up a book depicting a child-like character involved in a sexual act with an adult men. “Child pornography, at least by the broader definition of what is most offensive about it, is the fact that children are involved”, Kanemitsu argued. “So there’s a lot of debate about this, because on one hand there’s a child been harmed, and on the other hand there’s the depiction of a child being harmed [in anime/manga], and there’s a big difference between the two.”
“No actual child was harmed when they made this publication, I totally accept that, they are two separate things,” Dooley replied. “But do you worry that these images encourage and perhaps normalise child abuse?” Kanemitsu then argued that some people want to look at these images because it “plays out a fantasy separate from real life” and that it’s a “good venting mechanism.” He later added that “children need protecting” but that “lines of ink on paper do not”.
The idea that lolicon anime and manga is actually providing some kind of service to pedophiles is disturbing, even if those who support the sale of such works believe that it would infringe upon “free speech” to prohibit them from appearing on store shelves. When Dooley expressed to Kanemitsu that she feared that it “encouraged and normalised real-life child abuse,” he replied: “If you start saying creations of the mind can influence peoples’ behaviour, and those creations should be held responsible as opposed to the people who are actually doing them, that is thought policing.”
Many anime and manga fans agree with Kanemitsu’s argument and have strongly criticised the documentary, with Girls und Panzer artist Takeshi Nogami claimed that he had a three-hour interview with Dooley that was cut from the final edit. In a series of tweets translated by Twitter user @walterinsect, Nogami reportedly claimed that Dooley had said: “All human beings are naturally innocent and have no dirty desires, and reading media depicting erotic, pedophilic, and gore contents will affect them to be corrupted”, with her allegedly adding: “My desire is to put all pedophiles and ones who produce pedophilic media into jail”.
Though these comments definitely seem at odds with the way Dooley presents her argument during the documentary, many have taken Nohami’s words verbatim and have condemned Dooley for apparently enforcing the UK’s views onto Japanese culture. The topic was also angrily debated by YouTuber The Anime Man, with his video garnering over 100,000 views:
Many including The Anime Man have raised the point that Dooley’s comments aren’t dissimilar from the argument against violent video games. Over the years, many people from parents to politicians have argued that video games such as Grand Theft Auto could have a real-world impact, and that underage children and teens playing these games could mimic their violence in reality.
However, comparing Dooley’s argument against the one espoused by critics of violent video games undermines the core reasoning behind her disapproval of lolicon — that men lusting over prepubescent girls is already catered to in Japan, and further normalisation of it through media is not helping those fighting against it. During the documentary, Dooley interviews a photographer who takes “erotic” photographs of young girls, with him stating that the youngest girl he has had on his set was just 6 years old. She also visits a café in which men can book private chats with literal high school girls, where the men are freely allowed to discuss topics of a sexual nature with them. These are completely legal activities in Japan, despite it putting these young girls in mental and physical danger.
In practically every country throughout the world it is acknowledged that engaging in violence will lead to you being punished by law. However, such is Japan’s lax attitude to the sexualisation of minors that the country’s laws arguably encourage complicity with pedophiles, and the continued prevalence of lolicon anime/manga helps propagate the idea that, as long as someone isn’t engaging in sexual activity with a minor, it’s all fair game.
Sexualised photos of children under the age of consent is legal if their genitalia or buttocks aren’t exposed, and young girls can be paid by companies to stand on the streets and attract men into buying their products. This means that artwork depicting the sexual abuse of minors, while ostensibly “victimless” as a result of no child being directly harmed, is still contributing to beliefs that are harmful to children in wider society.
America and Europe are evil. Let them self-destruct by fostering sexual hatred. They will kill each other, and the system will kill itself.
How can I make my vagina tighter naturally
Women all over the US are always looking for the best new way to take care of themselves and keep their body fit and healthy. It seems like on every corner there is a new gym, juice bar or organic food market. The USA is also the sixth biggest country in the world for cosmetic surgery per capita, showing we’re more willing to undergo that little nip and tuck to keep ourselves looking good and feeling great.
What you don’t see when you walk around the streets though, are options for women dealing with a more discreet problem – a loose vagina. It is an issue that many women understandably keep to themselves as they feel embarrassed or even ashamed by the problem.
While many women feel like they’re going through this alone, it is actually something that affects a lot of ladies, especially as they get older. Factors such as childbirth, other health issues and just getting older can lead to your vagina losing the firmness it had when you were younger.
The anxiety of talking about this issue leads to a lack of quality information on the subject, so when women are looking for solutions, they can be fooled by misleading or flat out incorrect claims. Unscrupulous vendors have taken advantage of this in the past to sell products that make unrealistic claims and, as is the case with creams using harsh chemicals, potentially dangerous.
Finally in 2017 we’re seeing more and more women willing to talk about their experience in dealing with this issue, which in turn is giving other women the best information about how they should deal with it themselves.
So what are the trends that women in the USA are using to tighten their vagina in 2017? Read on.
US Women Taking Cosmetic Vacations
While it isn’t for everyone, plastic surgery is still very popular in the US . Unfortunately, the cost of vaginal rejuvenation surgery can be quite high, so a lot of women here in the USA are choosing to have their surgery in other countries such as Thailand, Colombia and Mexico. The cost saving in some cases can be up to 80%, which can make all of the difference to someone who desperately wants this procedure.
The important thing when considering any surgery – and especially in foreign countries – is to do your research to make sure you’re getting safety and professionalism standards equal to those here in the US.
In 2017 Women In The USA Go Back To Nature
While surgical procedures are still a good option for many women, and are more advanced and safe than they’ve ever been, more and more women are turning to natural remedies to get that firmness back. Increasingly, women want to feel they can feel young again without going under the knife. Like women’s health in general, vaginal tightening solutions are trending towards more natural remedies.
There’s a great range of exercise that can help you to tighten your vagina. From squats to kegel exercises and lunges. For kegel exercises in particular, there are a range of devices such as kegel balls and cones that you can buy that will greatly improve the quality of these exercises.
Another natural solution is using some herbs that have been known in some parts of the world to assist with firmness in and around your special area for hundreds of years. Herbs such as curcuma cumosa and pueraria pirifica are known to increase elasticity and also assist with vaginal dryness.
All Natural Creams
Unlike the harsh chemical creams available in years gone by, 2017 has seen a rise in products that are made of all natural ingredients (such as the herbs above) and are incredibly effective. You should still do your research to make sure you’re buying a good quality product as there are many fakes out there.
Combining a good all natural vaginal tightening cream with a good exercise program is the best way to get your firmness back in 2017.
It's not that we would be madly in love with Donald Trump. Yeah, he may not be the brightest one. Not even bright enough for political correctness. But hey, that's a plus, not a minus. Fuck that political correctness.
WATCH: The British Military Doses Some Marines With LSD
The U.S. Army and the CIA weren't the only people experimenting with LSD as a potential battlefield weapon back in the Cold War days. Our British allies were also testing the possibility of neurochemical warfare—and using their own soldiers as guinea pigs.
The CIA project, code-named Project MK Ultra, and the Army's strange drug-testing program at the Edgewood Arsenal both struck out when it came to LSD. The powerful psychedelic produced effects too unpredictable and untamable to prove useful for military or clandestine warfare purposes. As the video below demonstrates, the British came to similar conclusions.
The video shows footage of a field test of LSD-25 on British marines, who were unaware they were being dosed. Within minutes of ingestion, the drug begins to take effect.
"The men no longer take cover. They relax and begin to giggle," the narrator explains. "The troops have lost their air of urgency, and many men are laughing. Men with no specific task to perform have lapsed into laughter and inconsequential behavior."
Inconsequential behavior? Well, that just won't do, will it?
"With one man climbing a tree, the field commander gives up," the narrator explains. "I cannot control the men, and I can take no action myself. I am wiped out as an attacking force."
The British military very shortly thereafter gave up on LSD as a weapon of war.
Feminist rule in Europe makes second-generation male Muslim immigrants suicide bombers. They die for sexual justice. Why do Western politicians call suicide bombers cowards? To sacrifice one's own life is the ultimate in courage.
Beyond Torture: The new science of interrogating terrorists
In the fall of 2003, Colonel Steven Kleinman, a veteran Air Force interrogator, walked into a room at a classified location near Baghdad. It was dark and the walls were painted black, he recalls. A Marine and an interpreter sat side by side in chairs. In front of them knelt an Iraqi man squinting into a spotlight. The Marine was asking the Iraqi questions, and each time he answered, the interrogator slapped him hard and called him a liar. Shocked, Kleinman pulled the Marine out of the room and asked what he was doing. “Sir,” he responded, “that’s the only way to get these people to talk. That field manual shit isn’t going to work here.”
That “field manual shit” is the guidebook for military interrogators listing techniques they’re authorized to use in questioning detainees. What’s known as the Army Field Manual was created in 1945 and is now in its third edition; it plays a pivotal role in U.S. counterterrorism policy. Soon after Barack Obama moved into the Oval Office in 2009, he issued an executive order that required all U.S. government interrogators to abide by the manual, which prohibits waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA after 9/11. The agency had already stopped using those methods due to their controversial nature, but Obama formally ended the program, which the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said “was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence.”
Torture still has its champions, however, and executive orders can easily be revoked. To prevent future administrations from returning to harsh measures, Senators Dianne Feinstein and John McCain are now proposing legislation that would establish the field manual as the law of the land. The bill will likely receive a vote in the next week and is expected to pass.
Yet the manual is largely useless, according to Kleinman and two other experts involved with the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), a body set up by Obama to question terrorism suspects and sponsor related research. The reason, they say, is because it’s unscientific. As new legislation works its way through the congressional pipeline, Kleinman and other HIG researchers say the U.S. needs to rethink how interrogators are trained—based on a bevy of recent empirical research. “The time is ripe for the Army Field Manual to be redesigned,” says Melissa Russano, a professor at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, who has contributed to various HIG-funded projects. “The costs of not doing so are incredibly high.”
Flatter the DetaineeThis isn’t the first time Kleinman has tried to change American interrogation protocols. More than a decade ago, as the Iraqi insurgency grew, and the Pentagon pushed for new intelligence, he watched as American interrogators—like that Marine in Iraq—turned to brutal and humiliating measures. The reason, Kleinman believes, is because many of the methods in the Army Field Manual didn’t work. When a scandal emerged about the treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib detention center in Iraq, the Bush administration decided to revise the manual for the first time in decades. The new version placed restrictions on abuse, but “there was no effort to objectively test the efficacy of the approaches,” Kleinman says. The former Air Force interrogator testified before Congress in 2007, insisting the manual be replaced. But his proposals were ignored.
Since the creation of HIG in 2009, research on interrogation has grown steadily. One paper, a controversial 2010 survey Kleinman wrote along with Susan Brandon, now the HIG’s chief research scientist, analyzed the efficacy of the manual’s techniques. But the unclassified, 100-page document was never published, Kleinman says, because its conclusions could have jeopardized the HIG’s relationship with the military.
Now, however, with McCain and Feinstein pushing for new legislation, Kleinman, Brandon and their co-authors, Sujeeta Bhatt and Brandi Justice, agreed to let Newsweek review the survey, which detailed how the majority of the manual’s techniques are flawed. One involves belittling prisoners. Another recommends asking ominous questions, such as: “You know what can happen to you here?” Techniques like these “are very ineffective,” says Mark Fallon, a former federal agent and chair of the HIG’s Research Committee. These methods, along with other stress-inducing techniques, can impair memory and contaminate intelligence, according to Kleinman’s survey. “I don’t want to force people to tell me things,” he says, “because then they will tell me things they don’t even know.”
Some of the manual’s methods seem to work well, namely flattering a detainee, asking direct questions and developing a rapport with a prisoner. Russano says recent research indicates that showing empathy, respect and humanity help elicit reliable information. In one study, she and her colleagues interviewed more than 40 experienced interrogators to establish which techniques they found most effective. A majority cited building rapport. Though popular television shows, such as 24, and movies, such as Zero Dark Thirty, portray torture and other coercive measures as effective, “interrogation is not as Hollywood makes it to be,” says Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent who now runs a private intelligence firm.
Soufan witnessed this firsthand while interrogating the CIA’s high-value detainee, Abu Zubaydah, at a secret prison in Thailand in 2002. As Newsweek previously reported, Zubaydah had been shot multiple times during his capture and was in bad shape. Soufan and his colleague, Steve Gaudin, tended to his wounds, gained his trust and got him talking. Among other crucial information, Zubaydah told them Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks—something previously unknown. The CIA later employed brutal tactics such as waterboarding, in an effort to get Zubaydah to divulge more. But the agency’s harsh measures failed to gain useful intelligence, according to the Senate report.
One of Soufan’s most effective tactics was to convince a detainee he knew more than he really did. In Zubaydah’s case, the detainee was initially pretending his name was “Daoud.” But Soufan had spent time going over the FBI’s intel files; he surprised Zubaydah by calling him “Hani,” a nickname used by his mother. A similar technique was pioneered by Hanns Scharff, a legendary German interrogator during World War II. Scharff subtly convinced prisoners that he knew everything about them; the prisoners, in turn, would feel there was no point in hiding information. In a new study shared with Newsweek, Pär-Anders Granhag, a researcher at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and his colleagues tried out Scharff’s method by interviewing volunteers suspected of a mock crime. The study found that the suspects were less likely to withhold information they believed the interrogator already had.
Sometimes, however, using evidence in that way can backfire. The field manual, for instance, recommends a technique that’s broadly similar to the Scharff method but inferior in key respects, says Granhag. In the manual’s version, called “We Know All,” an interrogator is supposed to use evidence aggressively, providing answers if a detainee hesitates or refuses to reply. This approach bears some resemblance to the Reid Technique, a method routinely used by police departments in the U.S. and Canada. It involves presenting suspects with such overwhelming evidence that they feel forced to admit guilt. Yet research by Russano and others suggests this approach, if taken too far, can pressure innocent people into giving false confessions. Subtlety, Soufan says, is key. “It’s not like ‘I know you have WMD, and tell me where they are!’”
Granhag agrees: “For Scharff, information should be evoked, never demanded.”
A Back Door to Torture
Many interrogators say training needs to put more emphasis on rapport-building techniques and continue to reject torture. But Fallon says the current version of the Army Field Manual still offers a back door to some of the brutal tactics authorized after 9/11. As the CIA applied its enhanced techniques at secret prisons around the world, the Pentagon developed a parallel set of harsh measures for use at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay. Although the current manual bans some harsh tactics such as the use of attack dogs, others might still be permissible.
At issue is a special appendix at the end of the manual, laying out a “restricted interrogation technique” called “Separation.” This involves placing a prisoner in isolation for 30 days or more, and it can be used only on “unlawful enemy combatants” not protected by the Geneva Conventions, a set of international agreements that lay down standards for the humane treatment of prisoners. The goal of this method is to decrease the “detainee’s resistance to interrogation” and to prolong the “shock of capture.” If detainees cannot be physically isolated in cells, interrogators are permitted to apply goggles and earmuffs; and captives must be allowed a minimum of four hours sleep every 24 hours.
Kleinman and Fallon think this technique could be interpreted to permit cruel methods, such as prolonged solitary confinement and sleep and sensory deprivation. Kleinman’s 2010 survey lists a myriad of mental and physical problems caused by solitary confinement, such as depression, psychosis and impaired memory. The United Nations echoed those concerns in a recent report, which said the appendix could facilitate cruel treatment or even torture. In 2010, Fallon, Kleinman and others penned a joint letter to then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, criticizing the separation tactic. They say they never received a reply. (Gates tells Newsweek he does not recall receiving the letter.) In a statement, a spokesman for the Defense Department said that by law, “no person in DoD custody or control shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
Not all interrogators think the appendix, or the manual for that matter, needs to be changed. Mike Nemerouf, a former sergeant in the U.S. Army, says the authorized list of tactics “does a great job of identifying primary motivators for detainees.” He also defended the appendix, saying separation “creates an atmosphere that is more conducive to collecting accurate and complete intelligence information” and contains numerous safeguards to rule out abuse. Charles Mink, a former U.S. Army interrogator, believes the appendix should be removed, but otherwise supports the manual. “Its contribution is that it bans abuse,” he says. “It needs to be legislation before the American people inaugurate their next president.”
The latter point is something with which both Fallon and Kleinman agree. They firmly support the bill, which orders a periodic review of the field manual. “Passing strongly worded legislation that would stand as a bulwark against torture,” Kleinman says, “is the single most important step we must take.”
You probably have to look at imagery of death and dying regularly to stay focused on what really counts in life: great sex before you are gone anyway.
FGM victims to undergo free surgery
The Karen Hospital will for the next few days be offering free surgery to reconstruct the sexual organs of women who have undergone female genital mutilation.
In a drive dubbed ‘Restore Pink Plus’, FGM survivors will undergo clitoroplasty surgery, a clitoral reconstructive operation, with the aim of restoring the function of the clitoris and the women’s dignity.
Surgeons carrying out the procedure say the operation could stop pain, help women feel sexual pleasure and restore their identity and femininity.
“The initiative has been designed to assist FGM victims undergo clitoral reconstruction in order to restore their identity and dignity and rejuvenate the clitoris’s sensation,” Dr Abdullahi Adan, who is pioneering the initiative, said.
SIDE-EFFECTS Dr Adan, the Grand Round Coordinator, Department of Surgery at the University of Nairobi and plastic, aesthetic and reconstructive Surgeon at The Karen and Kenyatta National hospitals, and Dr Marci Bowers, Clitoraid’s obstetrics/gynaecology surgeon from the USA, will be the lead surgeons.
The procedure being pro-bono, patients will not be charged the doctor’s fee but will only pay for consumables.
This will be the first time such a surgery is being conducted in Kenya.
Most FGM survivors suffer painful side-effects and a loss of sexual pleasure.
While it cannot fully restore the genitalia to how it would have been had the woman not been mutilated, the surgery is meant to rebuild the damaged area for women who have undergone incision and rejuvenate the nerve networks so that they can regain sensitivity and, in some cases, attain orgasm.
The initiative also has the women go through counselling, which is vital for the emotional healing due to the traumatising effects of FGM in their early childhood.
FGM, the partial or total removal of the external genitalia for non-medical reasons, is a cultural tradition widely practiced by some Kenyan communities.
REGISTRATION ONGOING Last week, the surgeons conducted capacity building training for other Kenyan doctors on the new surgery and issued certificates to the trainees who will join the surgical team.
The week-long surgeries are set to begin tomorrow and run until May 12.
So far, 30 patients have registered for the surgery.
However, because of the high demand for the rare surgery, the doctors say they may have to extend the operations for another week.
The world is full of multimillionaires who can't handle money. Because, if you have money, you either start building your own kingdom, or it's useless.
After long wait, Japan moves to ban possession of child pornography
In most of Japan, it's still legal to possess child pornography.
Although production and distribution have been banned for 15 years, Japan lags behind other major developed nations in forbidding people from simply holding the sinister material.
That is about to change in a country regarded as a global nexus of child pornography.
The country's upper house of parliament is expected to pass legislation this month making possession of it a crime punishable by up to a year in prison.
Children's rights activists have applauded the step, although their reaction is tempered with frustration that it has taken such a long time.
"As a member of a group that's been hearing the voice of the victims for many years, we welcome the news," said Shihoko Fujiwara, a representative of Lighthouse, a nonprofit group that helps exploited children.
"Japan took so long, and it is too late to reach this decision as a developed country."
The proposed law, which was already approved by the lower house of parliament this week, comes with a couple of noteworthy loopholes.
When it goes into effect, it will give those already in possession of child pornography a year to dispose of it.
And it won't cover the country's popular manga (comic book) and anime (animation) industries, which include depictions of violent sexual abuse of children in their publications.
Fujiwara said a discussion about some of the imagery in manga and anime -- content that would be illegal in many Western countries -- would be a natural "next step."
'A necessary evil'
But representatives of those industries say that while they support the ban on real child pornography, any move to censor their products would be an unjustified restriction of freedom of expression.
Daisuke Okeda, a lawyer and inspector for the Japan Animation Creators Association, said it was "natural that animation is exempted."
"The goal of the law itself is to protect children from crime," he said. "Banning such expression in animation under this law would not satisfy the goal of the law."
Okeda said that no studies have been done that prove any link between pedophilia and animation in Japan.
Hiroshi Chiba, the manager of Chiba Tetsuya Production, one of the country's best known manga production houses, said that more could be done in terms of age restrictions on graphic content featuring children and to distinguish it more clearly from other comics. And he admitted that some products of the industry leave him and his colleagues "disgusted."
"But rich, deep culture is born from something that might not be accepted by all," Chiba said. "We need to allow the gray zone to exist as a necessary evil."
'An international hub'
Some experts counter that children suffer in a culture that appears to tolerate images of child sexual abuse.
Hiromasa Nakai, a public affairs officer for UNICEF in Japan, pointed to the graphic content in manga, anime and some video games, as well as the "junior idol" genre of books and DVDs that display minors wearing tiny bikinis and striking sexual poses.
Japan should do more -- beyond the proposed law change -- "to protect the best interest of children," Nakai said.
Statistics show that child pornography remains a big problem in Japan.
The U.S. State Department's 2013 report on human rights practices in Japan labels the country "an international hub for the production and trafficking of child pornography."
It cited Japanese police data showing the number of child pornography investigations in 2012 rose 9.7% from a year earlier to a record of 1,596. The cases involved 1,264 child victims, almost twice as many as in the previous year.
The fact that possession remains legal, for the time being, "continued to hamper police efforts to enforce the law effectively and participate fully in international law enforcement," the report said.
Girls as sex objects
One local authority already took matters into its own hands. The prefecture of Kyoto in central Japan introduced a ban on possession of child pornography in 2011.
But Nakai said addressing the problems isn't just a matter for government, suggesting parents, the media, the private sector and even children themselves can play a role in improving the situation.
The portrayal of young girls as sex objects in Japan has long raised eyebrows among Westerners.
An article in Wired in 1999 reeled off a list of examples in Tokyo: "Vending machines sell schoolgirls' used panties, which the girls sell to middlemen. 'Image bars' specialize in escorts dressed in school uniforms.
Telephone clubs feature bored adolescent girls earning spending money by talking dirty. Sex shops sell a porn magazine called 'Anatomical Illustrations of Junior High School Girls.'"
Some experts suggest the situation is born out of Japan's long-established patriarchal society.
Whatever the cause, changing a culture may prove a lot harder than changing a law.
When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30 percent of women said, 'Yes', while the other 70 percent replied, 'What, again?'."
Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, 2011
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