By Janet Phelan
Dr. Nils Melzer, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, recently published a call out for submissions on “Psychological Torture and Ill Treatment.” In the call out, he refers also to the phenomenon of “no touch torture,” which has been defined as including the use of electronic weapons, such as those which recently were reported as being used to attack diplomats in Cuba and elsewhere.
Dr. Melzer was interviewed multiple times recently concerning the plight of Julian Assange, who is being held in Belmarsh Prison and faces potential extradition to the US, where he is charged with such crimes against humanity as publishing documents indicating that the US has engaged in war crimes. In an article published on June 26, Melzer has stated that “What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.”
After visiting Assange in prison, the UN reported that
The Special Rapporteur and his medical team visited the imprisoned Wikileaks founder in May and reported that he showed “all the symptoms typical for prolonged exposure to psychological torture” and demanded immediate measures for the protection of his health and dignity.
Melzer’s subsequent request for submissions on Psychological Torture and Ill Treatment may very well reflect his growing knowledge that Assange is not alone in suffering state sponsored psychological abuse. Others have been forced to take refuge in foreign countries due to the targeting that has been inflicted upon them by the surveillance state. Edward Snowden, Suzie Dawson and other people whose names are not in the common vernacular have sought protection abroad due to the phenomenon of surveillance abuse and targeting.
And this is where things get muddy. In the Concept Notes attached to his call out, Melzer refers to “no touch torture” as an aspect of psychological abuse. In fact, no touch torture has been defined as including the use of unconventional weapons, such as electronics. In a 2015 article in Global Research, Dr. Robert Duncan discussed such torture to include simulated rape, sleep and food deprivation and maximum sensory pain techniques.
In recent correspondence with this reporter, Dr. Duncan amplified this list and chillingly stated:
….we do know how to create maximal long term suffering of an individual worse than physical torture or death with no evidence other than psychological scars. We can induce any mental illness in the DSM manual into a person. I remember reading how the words of torture under the Bush administration were twisted into “enhanced interrogation”. We can stop the breathing of the target without waterboarding. We can put them through pains that are just as real to the mind but no-touch and hence not physical. We can cause sleep deprivation and hundred of other effects all remotely by tuning into their cognitive model. The experiments often are deadly because there are things worse than death.
Dr. Robert Duncan holds multiple degrees from Harvard University and Dartmouth College in Applied Sciences and Business. He has worked on projects for the Department of Defense, CIA and Justice Department in his career. He is the author of Project Soul Catcher: Secrets of Cyber and Cybernetic Warfare Revealed, How to Tame a Demon and The Matrix Deciphered.
However, Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer seems not to have taken into account that “no touch torture” can have severe physical effects. He has posited a binary mind/body paradigm which crudely and inappropriately divides the mental from the physical. In fact, victims of no touch torture have provided evidence of intense and disfiguring burns from the remote application of electronics. Chemicals are increasingly in use in no touch torture and we now have victims producing medical evidence of kidney failure and metal poisoning consonant with their reports of sustained chemical attacks.
In an attempt to clarify Melzer’s request for submissions, this reporter sent multiple emails to Melzer. This follow up was sent to him on November 14. Melzer has not replied to this or to any of the prior communications.
….The call out for submissions, referenced below, is muddy and conflates “no touch torture,” with solely psychological abuse. In fact, “no touch torture” has been generally defined in the context of electronic weaponry. These weapons, as revealed in recent main stream media reports, have been used on diplomats in Cuba and elsewhere with devastating physical effects. Recent reports place the use of other unconventional weapons, including chemical weapons, in the ranks of “no touch torture.”
To blur the lines and confuse the use of covert weaponry with other unfortunate practices which involve solely psychological abuse is to completely misstate the prevalence and effects of covert weaponry.
I am therefore writing you again to request that you provide some input to us as to what you are actually seeking in your request for submissions.
Defining the use of covert weaponry on civilians as mere “psychological mistreatment” does not serve the facts here and leaves us bewildered as to what you are seeking in terms of our input.
Please confirm receipt of this correspondence.
The Church Committee hearings in the 1970s ostensibly terminated the use of non consensual subjects in human experimentation. We know now that the experimentation never stopped. At this point in time, the numbers of people put into experimental programs without their consent have ballooned astronomically. Grassroots groups such as People Against Covert Torture and Surveillance, International (http://www.pactsntl.org/), Citizens Against Harmful Technology (https://www.citizensaht.org/) and Targeted Justice now litter the virtual landscape as more and more victims flock together to try to find remedies and an escape from what is calculated and torturous weapons testing.
Dr. Duncan has stated that he believes that a full three percent of the world’s population is now in a testing program, up from 10,000 twenty years ago. He is also concerned as to the effects of the proliferation of electronic signals in the general population. Referencing the spike in autism, he stated that “The worldwide signal would affect the development of babies and children’s brains.”
And if psychological torture creates psychological scars, these scars also have physical ramifications. “Inducing mental illness in people decreases their lifetime by about 20 years,” said Duncan.
Special Rapporteur Melzer is to be congratulated for attempting to address the darkest corners of torture, where “plausible deniability” allows the perpetrators to inflict grave damage and then to claim that their hands are unsullied. We trust that the submissions to this effort will clarify that what happens to the mind will affect the body and that separating the mental from the physical does not serve to adequately delineate what has been and is being inflicted on no touch torture subjects
The Special Rapporteur on Torture’s “Request for Submissions on Psychological Torture and Ill Treatment” lists a cut off date of November 25 for submissions. Stakeholders such as NGOs, State parties and Academia are encouraged to respond. The call out appears to exclude individual victims as respondents.
Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist and author of the groundbreaking , EXILE. Her articles previously appeared in such mainstream venues as the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, Long Beach Press Telegram, etc. In 2004, Janet “jumped ship” and now exclusively writes for independent media. She is also the author of two collections of poetry—The Hitler Poems and Held Captive. She resides abroad. You can follow her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012703457651
Image caption and credit: Free Julian Assange … “Nine years have passed since acts of journalism for which the US government wants to put him on trial. Younger [people] may not remember the massive furore caused by the publication in 2010 of the Collateral Murder videos.” Image: change.org petition for Assange’s freedom
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