When you see news about US torture, remember this

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 cobbled it together in a completely untested, unethical way that had the British Psychological Society (BPS) up in arms and formally investigating the psychologist responsible.

What’s even worse is that this abuse has not stopped. Quite the contrary, in fact.

As this blog by refuted.org.uk shows, the government is planning to extend the reach of the Nudge Unit even further – as part of a package of abusive measures that will allow the DWP to abuse working claimants in exactly the same way as jobseekers:

Under the pilot scheme created by these Regulations the suspension will be lifted for claimants chosen at random. The claimant will then become subject to the same obligations…as claimants who are not in work

In other words, you can be working hard but if your employer is greedy and pays you so poorly that you need to claim top-up benefits, the government can randomly choose to subject you to punitive measures, including immediate benefit ‘sanctions’, if they don’t fit the same job-search activities as an unemployed person into your already-working schedule.

(Please read the article in full to get a grasp of how hideous – and yes, even evil – these latest moves are. And if you want to read more about the fake ‘test’ and the government lies and squirming that followed its exposure, please search ‘psychometric’ on this blog.)

Subjecting anyone to this kind of treatment – not just the psychological abuse but the immediate destitution that benefit sanctions routinely represent – is criminal. To subject working people to them is even more unconscionable.

But then, it’s the kind of behaviour you’d expect from a government that even a ‘torture guru’ finds beyond the pale.


  1. Reblogged this on Lindas Blog and commented:
    Anyone who is on low pay and or part time hours will become completely controlled by the DWP. When you consider the introduction of GPs working alongside Job Centre Coaches, and dishing out Computer Generated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with possible sanctions, then this is no longer a free democratic society, at least not for the working classes… George Orwell 1984

  2. Not workers any more, slaves. When a zero hours contract is counted as employment and there aren’t full time living wage jobs available, all “working” people are going to end up slaves of the state. Expect a huge increase in crime and the further criminalisation of homelessness – I bet we will follow the American model of destitute and petty criminals rounded up into prison and forced to work full time for pennies, while making huge profits for “private” prisons.

    1. Josiah Stamp, the head of the Bank Of England prior to the 1929 Crash said this after it:

      “Banking was conceived in iniquity and was born in sin.
      The Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them,
      but leave them the power to create deposits,
      and with the flick of the pen they will
      create enough deposits to buy it back again.
      However, take it away from them, and
      all the great fortunes like mine
      will disappear and they ought to disappear, for
      this would be a happier and better world to live in.
      But, if you wish to remain the slaves of Bankers
      and pay the cost of your own slavery,
      let them continue to create deposits.”

      This child of twelve explains in 6 minutes what it appears to take a life time for adults to grasp.


      In short, we have infinite supplies of money to pay for our public services, the governments though use it to support the corrupt banking system not the people that elected them.

      Politicians are lying to you when they say we have a deficit problem, we have had cuts to our public services now, year on year for the past forty years, (Neo-Liberal Agenda) to transfer public services to the private sector, Ed Miliband is a Neo-Liberal.

      We have the money, the public needs to vote for it.

  3. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    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.

  4. Disgusting indeed. However, I’m still not sure what the moral difference is between A: Kidnapping people, flying them of to be tortured in secret sites and then repeatedly lying about it and B. Selecting people on the basis that they fit secret ‘signatures’ that define them as militants and then simply blowing them to smithereens with ludicrously expensive, high-tech flying robots. If anything the former could be described as being better targeted.

    I do hope that IDS and the DWP don’t learn the same lessons that Obama seems to have done from the US torture regime.

  5. Here is the homepage of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology. There is a lot on the torture issue here. Steve Walker linked to their first publication on Martin Seligman as ‘torture guru.’ http://ethicalpsychology.org/

  6. Reblogged this on amnesiaclinic and commented:
    Very timely reminder – the Nudge Unit is torture by any other name in what they do in harassment, trauma and anxiety.
    Time to put a stop to all of it and we need some arrests and long prison sentences.

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