Co-editors: Seán Mac Mathúna • John Heathcote
Consulting editor: Themistocles Hoetis
Field Correspondent: Allen Hougland


From Stanford to Guantanomo
John Heathcote

A Simulation Study of the Psychology of Imprisonment Conducted at Stanford University - Philip G. Zimbardo website

Enigma References in the Web

Israel: Sharon Investigation Urged by Human Rights Watch

The Complaint Against Ariel Sharon for his involvement in the massacres at Sabra and Shatila: From the website of the Mallat Law Offices in Beirut

The Man who would testify against Sharon is blown up

Israeli Peace groups:

Yesh Gvul ("There is a limit !")

Gush Shalom

The Website of the Israeli Reservists




Ariel Sharon and the Assassination of Palestine

Enron Enron

 2002: Here we go, on the Helter Skelter

. . . they hope to reverse the last eight years of social legislation, and at the same time discover some new - or old - enemies that they can set up to frighten the US citizenry. Fear is the greatest friend of reaction, and the enemy of progress. The Cold War allowed the siphoning of billions of dollars from the US Treasury. Unaccountable and untraceable due to the firewalls of secrecy, Clinton's ability to effect any meaningful redistribution of wealth was hampered by the repayment of this debt, through the taxes raised on working US citizens . . .

Inside the US itself, the suppression of dissent will be high on the Bush team's agenda. So if George W is given the crown later this year, watch the paranoia quotient rising. But not too closely. While the population watches the bogeyman, the rich rob the pockets of the poor. . . Flame Editorial before the Bush - Gore Presidential Campaign.

Last night George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address to the Representatives of American Government.

The speech announced the largest increase in defence spending in 20 years, by nearly $48bn (£33.9bn) to $379bn.The homeland Security budget, which covers intelligence, border patrols, police and emergency response teams, is to be doubled to $38bn. (Guardian 30/01/02)

The Pornography of War: US Military corrupting culture

Frightening in the banal simplicities of it's 'us and them' rhetoric, the posturings on freedom and morality, and its triumphant hubris in the victory 'won' by the world's foremost techno-military superpower against the poorest nation on earth. God help them indeed, if they hadn't 'won'. They were fighting an enemy with an air force comprising two working planes (one of the pilots defected, to make matters worse); and whose idea of mobile land forces was a fleet of second-hand Toyota pick-up trucks filled with over-zealous, gun-toting youth; many barely out of High School. It could have been some Texas backwater, but it seems to have encouraged the armchair strategists into thinking that the Afghanistan campaign can be used as a model of the successful application of American military power for any problem.

Western cinemas and TV is saturated with the violent pornography of countless Hollywierd movies; all the Chuck Norris and Black Hawk Down travesties. The latter glosses over the brutal truth of the US Somalia campaign, which cost the lives of at least 5000 civilians during the operation featured in the film. British-born director, Ridley Scott claimed his film was 'anti-war but pro-military'. What a hypocrite. . . if you make propaganda for the most destructive force on Earth, at least be proud of it or stay quiet. Also deserving of a future Oscar for deception and fraud is the future film reported to be issuing from the Dreamworks Corporation. showing the brave US commandos capturing the Greek island of Symi during the Second World War. Obviously cashing in on the (also historically inaccurate) 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin', the film will apparently ignore the reality that Symi was actually captured by British soldiers; and the Americans did not arrive until on Symi until 1946, by which time most history books record WWII as being over. The film follows in the footsteps of previous great Hollywood war epics; from last year's film U-Boat 571 which showed how American naval divers captured the Enigma Cypher machine from a Nazi submarine ( an operation in fact carried out wholly by the British Navy, with the codes being deciphered at Bletchley Park in England); to those 'classic' Westerns re-writing the history of the genocide of the Native American peoples.

These films don't just aim to produce a distorted, biased perception of history; resulting in an awe and fear of US Forces both at home and abroad, their technology, personnel and ethical values. This grand illusion is maintained by an umbilical link between Hollywood and the Pentagon. For the domestic (US) audience, it helps to justify the billions of dollars poured into destructive and surveillance technology; from the wage packets of ordinary US citizens straight into the pockets of a few political fixers and faceless corporate sharks.

The trouble is primarily that the US Government seems so convinced by its own propaganda, that it is now looking around for another war to fight. Despite the great cinema, it has never been proved that the US is capable of winning a war on its own. Even the War of Independence was won with the help of the French. If the US itself were attacked - and not just in an isolated incident like 911, then no doubt its enemy would have a real fight on its hands. People are far more determined defending their homeland and families than any attacker can ever be. After all, there is nowhere else to run.

For us, the peoples of the Rest of the World (as well as many concerned US citizens) the danger in the near future is that the US Government will pick an enemy that it cannot beat - could be any developed nation with a post-medieval infra-structure (not Afghanistan or Somalia)- and in frustration, start to use not just disproportionate, but irreversible destructive force for the purpose of claiming 'victory'. Now with George W's simplistic rhetoric describing an 'evil' axis, and his schoolyard politics of 'If you're not for us, you're against us'; it feels like the term Rogue Nation can only be applied to one contender; and we can only hope we are not all bystanders at our own funeral. Sure as hell, we're all paying for it so I'm sure we'll all be invited.

Adventures in the Orient; Jungle Training in the Phillipinnes

The Phillipines is slowly being drawn into the web of US military operations. Andrew Murray (author of Flashpoint; World War III, pub.Pluto), writing in The Guardian (30/01/02) noted that this is the beginning of a strategy laid out in the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defence Review which was published at the end of 2001. North-East Asia and the East Asian littoral were described as the "critical areas" for American influence in the forthcoming decade. Murray points out that the Abu Sayyaf 'guerilla' group numbers no more than 500 badly trained fighters; against the 600 US Special Forces and British 'advisers'.

They pose no real or substantial threat to either the Phillipine Government, or international order. However, this latest deployment should be seen in the light of the 40,000 US troops in South Korea, the 40,000 in Japan; the bases in Hawaii and it's client state of Taiwan; along with the post 9.11 bases that have emerged in the Cental Asian post-Soviet States. An opportunity for some jungle training perhaps, before the main show begins. As Russia pulls back its forces from Cuba to North Vietnam (recently vacating their naval base at Cam Ranh Bay), the US military -industrial establishment is preparing for the emergence of a competitor it cannot ignore. As Murray points out in his article, the Central Asian oil reserves are not the only prize to be won.

Fortune magazine published for the first time a ranking of China's 100 biggest corporations . . . Most of the biggest Chinese companies on the Fortune list are in the same energy and petrochemical sectors that appear to drive the Bush administration's international agenda . . .

(Surprising omissions; No mention in George W's speech of Enron , his father or Guatanomo Bay. No mention either, amongst all the other victims of recent tragedy, of US journalist Daniel Pearl recently taken hostage in Pakistan. He wouldn't want the gloss wearing off the New World Order.)

Guantanomo Bay; Public Face of a Brutal Nation

Much wry amusement has been had in Britain at the revelation that three of the five British citizens being held in the cages of Guantonomo Bay are residents of the insignificant Midlands suburb of Tipton. Not traditionally included in the usual list of'recruiting centres' for international terrorism; the obvious conclusion is that the US, at the very least is holding a number of very young men who, however misguided, are hardly the Goldfingers or Bin-Ladens of any group,let alone the nebulous Al-Quaida. They are being held in dehumanising and many would say, barbaric conditions.

If the US airmen captured by China last year had been treated in such a way, there is no doubt that the majority of US citizens would have been horrified. The sad truth is that it will only be when US forces or citizens experience captivity themselves, with no fallback on the Geneva Convention Protocols on the treatment of Prisoners of War, that their people may start to be less complacent about the human rights of non-US citizens.

Three Strikes Supermax: The US domestic prison business

In a country which has 2 million of its citizens in gaol, that is a quarter of the World's prison population, often in the most clinically brutal conditions, the detainees might indeed be thankful that they are not incarcerated in a Supermax gaol, specialising in bright-light solitary confinement over periods leading to psychological fragmentation; or a regular US high security establishment, where male rape and race gangs are used as a way of controlling the prisoners. If any of them end up there, with the murderers and kidnappers,gangsters and psychopaths, they can expect to meet a fair number of inmates doing life terms for non-violent petty crime under the notorious 'three strikes' rule.

Of the 6,700 prisoners incarcerated for 25 year minimum terms in California, over half have no record of violent offences. People will not see their families until they are old, and their children have grown up without a parent - no doubt providing future secure income for the Prison Corporations -for such crimes as possession of $10 of heroin (Chano Orozco) or stealing a transistor radio from an unoccupied house (Derek Lawson). (Information from FACTS - Families to Amend California's Three Strikes).

It is interesting to note the astonishment shown by member's of the Bush Regime - notably former Nixon aide Donald ( Duck! - here come the Daisycutters) Rumsfeld - at the horror shown by representatives of Human Rights organisations and national governments, including the British Parliament, at the treatment of prisoners being held at Guantanomo Bay.

Geneva Convention and Human Rights

The US Government has decided to unilaterally exempt itself from the Geneva Convention concerning the rights of prisoners of war. This follows the Bush Regime's decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Treaty on the Environment, the SALT 2 Treaty, the Geneva Convention on Biological Weapons, the UN Conference on Racism, and various near unanimous resolutions at the UN concerning the State of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. Leaving aside all moral issues (I think that those arguments have no effect on such people) it is perhaps more obvious to the Europeans, who had far longer experience of Empire and Decline than the USA, that how you treat people on the way up comes back to haunt you on the way down. In fact; it has an immediate affect on how your enemies percieve you; and what they, as fellow human-beings, feel capable of inflicting on you. This has been proved with immediate effect by the kidnapping of a US journalist in Pakistan, who - despite the threat of imminent execution by his captors - did not seem to deserve a mention in the pResident's Address.

It is perhaps not surprising that someone who so deftly sidestepped military service in Vietnam thanks to family connections, and whose international travels were four jaunts to Mexico in the last ten years previous to the 'election', should have little concern for the future treatment of captured US service personnel or citizens abroad. Colin Powell, as an ex-soldier, raised his head above the parapet, perhaps more conscious of the justified fears of servicemen. But sadly, the majority of US media and citizen feedback seems to show very little interest in what is seen in the rest of the world as blatantly inhuman and illegal treatment of human beings. Two points; Prisoners taken in war should be treated as prisoners of war under the terms of the Geneva Convention until a properly constituted court decides otherwise. At this point, they can become subject to the common law of the State which holds them, with the due protection that it offers to its own citizens.

This applies everywhere, in all cases; not 'just to everyone but the victors'. It is a safeguard that protects not just the captives from torture and inhumane treatment, but the captors from becoming barbaric themselves. Secondly, human rights are for human beings; not just for those that a particular regime (in this case the Bush Govt.) decide should be granted them. Oh, and one more point. Rumsfeld seemed to find the journalists' use of the word "cages" for the prisoners' pens in Cuba offensive. Here is a definition of the word from the dictionary, followed by a newspaper description of the horror of Guantanomo Bay from a British tabloid (which despite being fairly right-wing have nearly all expressed horror with the conditions in Camp X-Ray).

Cage n.,& v.t. 1. n. Fixed or portable prison, of wire or barred, esp. for birds or animals or prisoners of war
p.128 The Concise Oxford Dictionary

The Stanford Prison Experiment and Guantanomo Bay

The Stanford Prison Experiment was run by psychologist Phillip Zimbardo in 1971. A group of volunteers were divided into prisoners and warders. Using classic prison ploys aimed at dehumanising the prisoners, the experiment soon degenerated to the extent that it had to be abandoned.

"It wasn't until much later that I realised how far in to my prison role I was" Zimbardo observed in retrospect,"that I was thinking like a prison superintendent rather than a research psychologist.

[For example] less than 36 hours into the experiment. Prisoner no. 8612 began suffering from acute emotional disturbance, disorganised thinking, uncontrollable cryring, and rage. In spite of all of this, we had already come to think so much like prison authorities that we thought he was trying to con us -to fool us into releasing him.".....

Furthermore, the Zimbardo "guards" were escalating their abuse of prisoners in the middle of the night wben they thought no researchers were watching and the experiment was off " said Zimbardo. "Their boredom had driven them to ever more pornographic and degrading abuse of the prisoners. This included middle-of-the-night strip searches, making the prisoners clean the toilets with their hands. and tripping them when they walked past. It demoralised the volunteers so thoroughly that they lost all sense of the artificiality of the project." Extracts from The Guardian 16th October 2001.

The article above described how the BBC were planning to re-run the SPE as a Big Brother type game show called The Experiment. The article continued:

None of this could possibly happen in The Experiment, insist its organisers. "Zimbardo set up his experiment rather naively," says Holmes. "He didn't understand what he was getting into. Some of the worst excesses happened because there was inadequate supervision of what was going on inside. We have been able to reap the benefit of what he did, to design something that's a little more stable, a little safer. We're certain it will be more controlled and therefore more productive in terms of the science."- So strip scarches have been ruled out ? " There are limits to what we can do in terms of physical intrusions, yes. But creating the psychological impression that they have no privacy is important to us."

It was announced in the final week of January 2002 that The Experiment had been called off, due to the same reasons that had affected the original Stanford trial.

To conclude . . . LATE NEWS, On Sunday 3rd February 2002, British TV's Channel 4 News shows footage from Camp X-Ray of 'detainees' being transported around the Camp on trolley stretchers. Camp Commandant Oberstumbanfuhrer . . . sorry, wrong war . . . a senior US Army officer from the camp, interviewed on the Channel 4 News report accompanying the footage, denied that any mistreatment of the captives was taking place. He admitted that all detainees, injured or otherwise, were being transported to their 'interrogation' sessions on trolley stretchers for their own convenience, as well as the security of his troops.

Aside from the obvious suspicion, voiced by a British official of Amnesty International on the same report, that the men might well have been drugged or sedated before their interrogation, is the possibility that the cages are so small, and the scope for movement in their manacled shuffles to the shower so limited, that many of them are suffering muscle wastage, as well as the quite probable psychological breakdown that those conditions will inevitably result from such conditions. You don't need the moral high ground to say that this treatment is inhuman; or the gift of prophecy to say that it will come back to haunt those who enforce it.

Ariel Sharon and the Assassination of Palestine

Conscripts' Petition against the Occupation

'We will not take part in the war for the peace of the settlements We will not fight beyond the Green Line [Israel's 1967 border with the West Bank] in order to rule, expel, destroy, blockade, assassinate, starve and humiliate an entire people'.

A petition issued by officers of the Israeli forces calling on soldiers and reservists to refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories, originally published in the Israeli press on January 25.

For those who bear the instruments of war - and we are among them, Some in practice, Some by a hug of approval - Are sucked, mumbling "necessity" and "vengeance", Into the domain of war crimes. Nathan Alterman, 1948

Unlike previous protests at the policies of the Sharon regime from within Israel's Jewish population, this one has struck at the core of his support; and suggests that public opinion is becoming weary of the spiralling descent into total violence. The first woman suicide bomber from the Occupied Territories is a sign that the desperation of the Palestinian people has reached a stage where mutual annihilation seems like the only possibility. Sharon meanwhile, claims that he is fighting terrorism even as he reveals the true face of terror; his wish that the political rapprochment of the last twenty years had never happened, claiming in a recent interview that he would have killed Arafat twenty years ago if he had known what he does now.

With the Bush regime replacing their silent support of Sharon's aggression with more vocal condemnations of Arafat, the destruction of the Palestinian Authority and its relacement with Bantustan homelands controlled by Israeli-sponsored gangsters or religious fanatics is now more than a gleam in Sharons eye.

However, as the brave fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto proved, as long as people have the strength to fight, they will resist the oppression that treats them as sub-humans and threatens the life of their children. Ironically, an Israeli army officer said that when it came to putting down the Palestinian Intifada they should learn from how the Nazi's crushed the resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto. The following comes from a Gush Shalom ad published in Ha'aretz, February 1st, 2001:


The following lines appeared last Friday, Hanuary 25, 2002, in Haaretz, in an article by the respected military correspondent Amir Oren:

"In order to prepare properly for the next campaign, one of the Israeli officers in the (occupied) territories said not long ago, it's justified and in fact essential to learn from every possible source. If the mission will be to seize a densely populated refugee camp, or take over the casbah in Nablus, and if the commander's obligation is to try to execute the mission without casualties on either side, then we must first analyze and internalize the lessons of earlier battles - even, however shocking it may sound, even how the German army fought in the Warsaw ghetto."

If this officer believes that the casbah of Nablus resembles the Warsaw ghetto, who, in his mind, resemble the officers of the Israeli army ?

Sharon used fear to reach his present heigh of political success; but it seems that the mood in Israel may be changing. The intifada, or war, is affecting everyday life for normal Israeli citizens that must make them wonder what exactly is all the death and violence achieving. Public opinion polls show that his support has slipped from 57% to 48% since December. The poll was done by the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv in January 2002.

However, the greatest threat to his determination to destroy the idea of a Palestinian State in their homeland, and to turn their territories into large impoverished concentration camps comes from within the Israeli military itself. A petition, first published last week in the Israeli press on January 25th,2001, by combat reservists in the Israeli armed forces is attracting growing support. An article in a British newspaper by Graharn Usher, their reporter in Jerusalem wrote;

This is incitement to rebellion," the army's chief of staff, Shaul Mofaz, said yesterday. Four petitioners have been suspended from officer duties; the others are to face disciplinary measures, the army said. The punishments follow prison terms imposed on 49 reservists for refusing to serve in the Occupied Territories since the intifada erupted 16 months ago.

Even the former head of the Shin Bet intelligence service. Arm Ayalon, told Israeli television that he felt "a lot of empathy for the reserve officers" when they were asked to execute "blatantly illegal" orders. "As far I'm concerned, too few soldiers are refusing such orders.'To shoot an unarmed youth is a blatantIv illegal order. I am very worried by the number of Palestinian children shot in the last year."

. . . 50 more combat reservist officers added their names to a petition calling on soldiers to refuse to serve in the occupied territories. There are now 101 signatories to the petition, which is the most serious domestic challenge to his policies on the Palestinians since he came to power. . .The difference with the latest protest is its public character, and the sympathetic hearing it has received.

Even the former head of the Shin Bet intelligence service. Arm Ayalon, told Israeli television that he felt "a lot of empathy for the reserve officers" when they were asked to execute "blatantly illegal" orders. "As far I'm concerned, too few soldiers are refusing such orders.'To shoot an unarmed youth is a blatantIv illegal order. I am very worried by the number of Palestinian children shot in the last year."

The protest also resonates with the predominant public mood of despair in Israel at the continuing violent confrontation with the Palestinians. The Guardian (02/02/2002).

The article concluded with a quote reminiscent of the last great misadventure that Sharon dragged the State of Israel into - the invasion of Lebanon. Avraham Burg, the Labour Speaker of the Israeli parliament,who is due to speak to the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah in the next few days said "The occupation corrupts, or, more accurately, the occupation has already corrupted."

Sabra-Chatila Witnesses assassinated

An interesting footnote to Sharons infamous career in Lebanon was the assassination in the Lebanon of the man who could have provided damning evidence against the Israeli PM had he lived. Elie Hobeika, a man whose shifting allegiances had reflected the tragic history of his country's recent past, was assassinated along with three of his bodyguards in a massive car bomb blast on January 24th 2002. Although he had become an unwelome reminder of times most Lebanese would prefer to forget; and had made countless enemies during the civil war, it was his recent agreement to be a witness in any forthcoming trial which concerns the massacre at Sabre- Chatila refugee camps in 1982. Although primarily carried out by Phalangist forces, the crimes occured within the Israeli Zone of Control. A Belgian Court is currently deciding whether there is enough evidence to mount a successful Human Rights prosecution of Israel's then Defence Minister, Ariel Sharon.

His involvement in both the planning and execution of the massacres has been alleged for years; and inreasing amounts of evidence now seem to show that Israeli intelligence and armed forces even used the terror amongst the survivors to seperate remaining men from women, and take them away to be interrogated (in many cases, 'disappeared')

Hobeika was a warlord whose forces were indisputably involved in the massacres, and who had recently said that he was working under the orders of Mossad at the time; and was prepared to give evidence in any forthcoming trial. The bomb, apparently "the work of professional assassins" according to the Lebanese police, also killed a bystander and injured five others. Later reports claimed that the car, although professionally cleaned of any identification numbers was eventually traced, with the help of its German manafacturers to a Lebanese enclave known to still be a "hot-bed" of Israeli intelligence activity.

Another car crash killing a vital witness to the massacre has raised the suspicion in The Lebanon of possible Israeli cover-up, and thus involvement in these two deaths. On 1st January 2002, just four days before the death of Hobeika, Jean Ghanem died in a "mysterious car crash" (Independent, 1/02/02). Ghanem, a medical doctor who became a Phalangist party official and served under Hobeika's ruthless command, was rumoured to hold documents that his former boss intended to present to Belgian lawyers in their attempt to indict Sharon for his involvement in the massacre at Sabra and Chatila. However, on New Years Day, Ghanem, who had no history of heart problems, drove his car into a tree in a suburb of Hazimeh - only a few hundred metres from the Hobeika was killed in a massive car bomb four days later. Ghanem died two weeks later after lying in a coma. His wife remains badly injured by the attack. Hospital officials said he had a heart attack, but now Lebanese authorities wish to exhume the body for a second autopsy. Nabih Berri, the Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament - who was also in command of Hobeika's Al Waad Party - said the death may be linked to Hobeika's murder.

A third fromer militiaman with links to the massacrewas shot dead in São Paulo, Brazil in March 2002. Michael Nasser, who was a former associate of Elie Hobeika was killed by a man firing a pistol equipped with a silencer. His young wife, Marie, was shot down beside him. Nasser, a nephew of the former general Antione Lahd, grew wealthy from the Lebanese civil war and sold weapons that formally belonged to Phalangists to Croatian militias during the Balkans conflict. One of his ships carrying arms was detained by the Yugoslav navy - which sent Nasser a warehouse bill after the weapons were impounded. He fled The Lebanon in 1997 after a court demanded he explain his wealth, put at £70m.

The reports came amid claims that "dozens" of Palestinians who survived the massacre were subsequently executed at a former barracks near Jounieh, north of the capital. The prisoners


As the unlucky executive at Enron discovered, it doesn't pay to stick your head over the parapet, for abstract concepts like the truth. But more of that later. That's a story that will run and run; and Flame eagerly awaits the next collapse of the capitalist castle; one built on air and puffed up on the dreams of greedy men.