Law School Discussion

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - toofuckincold

Pages: [1]
Current Law Students / Re: Do you hate law?
« on: December 18, 2005, 05:48:50 PM »
Exactly! Lawyering in the real world out there is very different from law school.

Job Search / Re: Do Most 2Ls Work During School?
« on: December 18, 2005, 05:45:33 PM »
Some do, but those I know have jobs through the law school -- working in the library, for Lexis, or for a professor.  Not at firms.

that's not "work" that's being talked about here

Current Law Students / Subliminal CIA
« on: December 18, 2005, 05:34:34 PM »
by Jon Elliston

Forty years ago, the American public suddenly faced an unsettling question: could subliminal persuasion be used to influence the unsuspecting? The anecdotal evidence seemed to confirm the Big Brotherish power of undetected commands slipped "beneath the threshold of awareness." The Central Intelligence Agency, then in the midst of a multi-million dollar mind war research program, was intrigued by the potential power of subliminal messages. Classified documents released decades after these events reveal an obscure and intriguing chapter in the CIA's long involvement with techniques of mental manipulation.

As the CIA learned, the effectiveness of subliminal communication is very much open to question. Even today, the scientific community continues to debate whether subliminals, which are messages too brief to be noticed by the viewer or listener, have any impact at all. When the CIA peered into the power of subliminal persuasion, what did it find? The best available evidence is the surviving documentation on the CIA's research programs. These records have surfaced sporadically since the mid-1970s, when Congressional investigators and investigative reporters probed into some of the agency's notorious experiments in mind and behavior control.
A few years ago, the CIA began declassifying back copies of Studies in Intelligence, its internal journal on the history and methodology of the spy trade. At last the public can read what is probably the agency's first assessment of "The Operational Potential of Subliminal Perception." A report bearing this title appeared in the CIA journal's Spring 1958 issue. We don't know when -- if ever -- the CIA quit investigating subliminals, but thanks to this recently released document, we know what piqued their interest. The date of the report is significant; at that time, the United States was in the midst of the first great "subliminal scare" (see Dossier's documented feature on the evolution of this phenomenon).

It began in late 1957, when New Jersey marketing specialist James Vicary claimed to have increased concession sales by flashing too-brief-to-be-seen messages like "Hungry? Eat Popcorn" and "Drink Coke" in the midst of feature films. Vicary later downplayed the effectiveness of the technique, and admitted that his research data on subliminal projection was "too small to be meaningful." But the damage was done. Subliminal mania spread like wildfire across the national consciousness, as people began to wonder, "What do I see that I don't notice, and what can it do to me?"

The concern spread to Washington, D.C., where legislators led by Utah Representative William Dawson started a drive to ban subliminal broadcasting, which he called the "secret pitch." Dawson spoke of the "frightening aspects" of subliminals. "Put to political propaganda purposes," he warned, subliminal communication "would be made to order for the establishment and maintenance of a totalitarian government." Was Dawson right about the brainwashing potential of subliminals? Could propaganda be secretly delivered and imprinted on the psyche? Down the street from Capitol Hill, at CIA headquarters, some spy scientists were actively exploring such questions.

Martin A. Lee, co-author of Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD, revealed some of this research in an article called "The CIA's Subliminal Seduction," which appeared in the February 1980 issue of High Times magazine. Lee quoted an unnamed "former CIA operative" as saying that "some thought was given to whether or not we could affect political outcomes by using subliminal perception on things like radio and TV." One partially declassified CIA document cited by Lee contained the ominous observation that "it may be that subliminal projection can be utilized in such a way as to feature a visual suggestion such as 'Obey [deleted].'" The document, dated January 17, 1958, said that the subliminal method "has achieved some success in commercial advertising" and cited James Vicary's now-discredited movie experiments as proof. According to Lee, the CIA then staged in own tests in American movie theaters. "On one occasion, the agency admonished an audience in Alexandria, Virginia, to 'buy popcorn,' but instead, many of the viewers lined up at the drinking fountains because the suggestion made them thirsty," Lee reported.

The CIA's subliminal experiments on unwitting Americans, alarming as they may seem, were hardly an extreme example of the abuses that the agency's scientists committed. By 1958, the CIA had already spent at least five years testing ways to breach the mind's defenses. CIA Director Allen Dulles had in 1953 launched MKULTRA, a super-secret set of experiments on the science and techniques of mind and behavior control. The program examined everything from sensory deprivation to hypnosis to drugs like LSD. Amidst this adventurous era that was the dawn of the "Cold War on the mind," as author John Marks calls it, the declassified Studies in Intelligence report on subliminals seems tame and cautious. Richard Gafford, the author of the report, brought a skeptical approach to the subject, and he raised many hard questions for those who take for granted the power of subliminals.

The report directly criticizes Vicary's claims of subliminal success. "It is evident that there are several mighty leaps in logic in the advertising man's argument, and a great many places where his scheme can go astray," Gafford wrote. "He has taken several psychological phenomena which have been demonstrated to a limited degree in controlled laboratory experiments and strung them together into an appealing argument for a 'technique.'" Gafford did not reject the feasibility of subliminal communication outright. The CIA was rather open-minded when it came to unconventional psychology, after all. "Interest in the operational potential of subliminal perception has precedent in serious consideration of the techniques of hypnosis, extrasensory perception, and various forms of conditioning," he noted. "By each of these techniques, it has been demonstrated, certain individuals can at certain times and under certain circumstances be influenced to act abnormally without awareness of the influence or at least without antagonism."

Ultimately these methods -- "although they occasionally produced dramatic results" -- proved unreliable, the report says. The subliminal tactic was likewise fraught with difficulties. It was too hard to identify and test indicators of the effects of secret stimuli, and probably impossible to standardize a technique that would succeed with most people. The Studies in Intelligence report concluded with a dim view of the effectiveness of the projection technique that was still spooking the nation: "there are so many elusive variables and so many sources of irregularity in the device of directing subliminal messages to a target individual that its operational feasibility is exceedingly limited."

Did the story of the CIA and subliminals end with Richard Gafford's skeptical assessment? Absolutely not, according to other declassified evidence. Gafford may or may not have been aware of the MKULTRA project, knowledge of which was off limits for all but a handful of CIA officials. His report, therefore, is best viewed as one piece of multi-dimensional puzzle; it represents one CIA officer's take on subliminals, but tells us little about how far the agency's mind control investigators may have gone with the technique. One CIA memo written shortly after Gafford's report appeared in Studies in Intelligence shows that the agency wasn't done with subliminals. On April 18, 1958, Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the scientist who administered the various MKULTRA projects, summarized Subproject No. 83, which financed "technical surveys" of "controversial and misunderstood areas" such as ESP, hypnosis, truth drugs, and yes, "subliminal perception." (Click here to read the document.)

Whatever conclusions the CIA drew from the MKULTRA subliminal survey are not publicly known. Would the CIA have shied away from using subliminals on operational targets? The legacy of the MKULTRA experiments strongly suggests not. Time and time again, techniques developed under the auspices of the program were applied in Cold War covert operations. The presently available documentation does not say when (or if) the CIA quit investigating and/or using subliminals. However, Congressional investigations revealed that MKULTRA scientists tested several severe techniques on unwitting citizens that made subliminal manipulation seem like a walk in the park. So when it comes to the CIA and subliminals, we can be sure of one thing: the agency's mind molders would not have rejected subliminal persuasion operations on ethical grounds.

Current Law Students / Re: Talismans and Spells For Law Students
« on: December 18, 2005, 05:30:00 PM »
[...] The first rule of the New Age: When it doubt, it comes from the Vedas. Viewed by many as an extremely useful tool, organizations such as Scotland Yard and the French police currently use palmistry and the study of hands for detecting criminals. [...]

Intelligence agencies do a lot of this crazy stuff!

The rationale appears to be that fear is a weapon just a rifle or a tank is; if you frighten your enemy enough, you may defeat him without having to fight. In full-fledged wars and quiet covert operations around the world, U.S. military and intelligence specialists have long practiced intimidation through propaganda. Some of the most productive (and some of the most fanciful) psywar operations have sought to exploit ideas about the supernatural.

Many early U.S. psywar operations were conceived by a famous clandestine commander, Air Force Brigadier General Edward G. Lansdale (1909-1987). A firm believer in the efficacy of "psychological operations" (or PSYOP, for short -- the military's term for propaganda), Lansdale was a pioneering psywarrior. Lansdale believed that the key asset of the psychological combatant is a thorough understanding of the target audience's beliefs and values. The mores and myths that shape a society's culture, he argued, must be exploited if a psywar campaign is to be effective. Lansdale applied his strategy ruthlessly in the Philippines, where he served as the CIA's chief operative during the early 1950s counterinsurgency campaign against the country's Huk rebels.

"To the superstitious, the Huk battleground was a haunted place filled with ghosts and eerie creatures," Lansdale later wrote. One of his favorite psywar stunts "played upon the popular dread of asuang, or vampire" to drive the guerrillas from Huk-held territory. "A combat psywar squad was brought in. It planted stories among town residents of an asuang living on the hill where the Huks were based. Two nights later, after giving the stories time to make their way up to the hill camp, the psywar squad set up an ambush along the trail used by the Huks. When a Huk patrol came along the trail, the ambushers silently snatched the last man of the patrol, their move unseen in the dark night. They punctured his neck with two holes, vampire-fashion, held the body up by the heels, drained it of blood, and put the corpse back on the trail. When the Huks returned to look for the missing man and found their bloodless comrade, every member of the patrol believed that the asuang had got him and that one of them would be next if they remained on that hill. When daylight came, the whole Huk squadron moved out of the vicinity."

Another of Lansdale's spooky counterinsurgency tricks was what he called the "eye of God technique," wherein government troops, using information gathered from counterintelligence efforts, called out the names of Huk guerrillas over loudspeakers and threatened the rebels with death if they did not surrender. Lansdale devised a related scheme to intimidate civilians, using "all-seeing eye" graffiti to threaten constant surveillance. He later wrote: "[the method] was especially useful in towns where some of the inhabitants were known to be helping the Huks secretly. The army would warn these people that they were under suspicion. At night, when the town was asleep, a psywar team would creep into town and paint an eye on a wall facing the house of each suspect. The mysterious presence of these malevolent eyes the next morning had a sharply sobering effect."

After helping suppress rebellion in the Philippines, in 1954 Lansdale was sent to Vietnam, where he directed covert operations for the Saigon Military Mission (SMM), a small team of U.S. military and intelligence operatives. In 1955, the SMM hired North Vietnamese astrologers "to write predictions about coming disasters to certain Vietminh leaders and undertakings, and to predict unity in the south," according to Lansdale. This operation, he reported, was "based on our concept of the use of astrology for psywar in Southeast Asia." Because of his work in the Philippines and Vietnam, Lansdale was regarded as the government's chief expert on suppressing incipient revolutions. In 1962, President Kennedy tasked Lansdale with designing Operation Mongoose, a secret campaign to undermine Cuba's firmly established revolutionary government.

Lansdale made extensive provisions for anti-Castro propaganda in his Mongoose plans; his top secret planning documents, now declassified, detail the use of "all media" in the campaign. Many of Lansdale's propaganda initiatives relied on the tried-and-true techniques of clandestine radio warfare, but some of his more grandiose psywar schemes approached the surreal. For instance, he proposed a campaign to convince Cubans that Fidel Castro was in fact the anti-Christ, and to then spark a revolt by staging Jesus' return from the heavens. Lansdale's plan, which his colleagues dubbed "elimination by illumination," was to simulate the holy event by firing phosphorous shells into the sky above Havana. Though the anti-Castro/anti-Christ plan never came to fruition, the fact that it was considered at all by a U.S. military official is another indication of the important role supernatural themes can take in covert operations.

Another foreign hotspot that caught the attention of U.S. national security planners during the 1960s was the Republic of the Congo. The CIA and Defense Department deemed the country a test case for modern counterinsurgency methods, and financed numerous studies of Congolese society to probe the psychological strengths and weaknesses of the rebels. In 1964, the U.S. Army commissioned one of the most extraordinary strategy papers ever produced in the history of unconventional warfare. Titled "Witchcraft, Sorcery, Magic, and Other Psychological Phenomena, and Their Implications on Military and Paramilitary Operations in the Congo," the report is a treatise on paranormal combat, discussing "counter-magic" tactics to suppress rebels who are backed by witch-doctors, charms, and magic potions.

The supernatural warfare report was authored by James R. Price and Paul Jureidini, two analysts at the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) at American University in Washington, D.C. As a center for military-sponsored research on the human dimension of counterinsurgency, SORO cranked out reports profiling the politics and other social forces at play in countries that concerned the Pentagon. In 1964 SORO also designed the infamous Project Camelot, a planned effort to scientifically measure the social factors that work to stabilize and destabilize developing countries. When news about Project Camelot seeped into countries that were proposed as targets for study, international protests erupted and the project was shut down. Critics called Project Camelot an egregious case of "sociological snooping," and SORO's report on supernatural subversives in the Congo merits the same classification.

Current Law Students / Re: If you say Sweden, what do you think of?
« on: December 18, 2005, 05:05:15 PM »
Ace of Base

Going free to universities

Pages: [1]