“The more completely the place of confinement eliminates sensory stimuli, the more deeply will the [subject] be affected. Results produced after weeks or months of imprisonment in an ordinary cell may be duplicated in hours or days… An early effect of such an environment is anxiety… [Captors] can benefit from the subject’s anxiety… The deprivation of stimuli induces regression by depriving the subject’s mind of contact with an outer world and thus forcing it in on itself… in /the simple torture situation/ the contest is one between the individual and /his tormentor/…”
–/The KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual/, from the Central Intelligence Agency
Dear Mental Health Therapist(?),
In early October, I sent you a kite communication with a lengthy “Open Letter” that was also posted at seanswain.org. I looked forward to your response but still haven’t received it. Also, since the open letter’s publication, you have stopped calling me out of the cell block to speak with me, and during rounds you say, “Mental health rounds, how are you doing?,” but by the time I respond, you are already down the range, out of earshot.
If I didn’t know better, I would almost think you are trying to avoid me.
Since our last communication, I have had time to think about this diagnosis, ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER. For everyone too lazy to click back to my last letter, I’ll reproduce the definition from the DSM V:
There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and the violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following: failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest; deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases or conning others for personal profit or pleasure; impulsivity or failure to plan ahead; irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations; lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another…
Now, before going any further, I think it important to point out that none of these criteria actually apply to me whatsoever, and provably so. In fact, I have devoted the vast majority of my life in defense of the rights of others, not their violation– though, of course, in defense of the rights of those that your employer seeks to exploit and subjugate, NOT the defense of the rights of the privileged few.
But that’s a whole other letter.
Looking at this definition of ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER, it occurs to me that officials who are in charge of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction are accurately described. (1) What I mean to say is, ODRC officials have engaged in a “pervasive pattern” of “disregard for and violation of the rights of others,” (2) as indicated by a “failure to conform to social norms,” “acts that are grounds for arrest,” and “aggressiveness,” along with “a lack of remorse” demonstrated by officials “being indifferent” or “rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another…”
I won’t even argue that the maintenance of the ODRC generally is mistreatment of more than 50,000 victims– although I could reasonably make that argument. Instead, I would like to specifically present that (1) torture constitutes a “violation” of the “rights of others”; (2) ODRC officials subjected me to torture; and (3) torturers, by virtue of torturing others (and thereby violating the rights of those they torture), have to meet the definition of ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER, if not more serious diagnoses, i.e., full-blown sociopathy.
My dictionary defines torture as, “infliction of severe pain as a means of punishment or coercion.” By this definition, it would seem pretty self-evident that someone inflicting “severe pain as a means of punishment or coercion” would be violating the rights of the subject that he or she is punishing or coercing. Whatever we conceive “rights” to be, torture necessarily violates them, and deliberately so.
But, in the U.S., the legal right that most closely corresponds to a right not to be tortured– the right to protection against “cruel and unusual punishment” –does not categorically denounce torture. (3) By rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court, a captive who has been tortured needs to demonstrate physical injury in order to prove a violation of rights and collect monetary damages. This means that U.S. courts only recognize a violation of rights where torture causes physical injury.
This extremely narrow understanding of only physically-injurious torture constituting a violation of rights is curious when we consider that the U.S. government has been perfecting psychological torture– termed “bloodless” torture –for several decades. The extremely narrow definition of rights violations essentially legalizes the bloodless torture that the United States government has scientifically perfected. Thus, the American legal system has normalized some forms of torture– bloodless, non-physically-injurious torture.
BLOODLESS TORTURE PERFECTED BY THE UNITED STATES
I don’t want to dwell on this point too long, as I have written about this in previous works (4) and the materials I reference are available in their entirety online. (5)
Some choice quotes from Central Intelligence Agency manuals demonstrate that the U.S. government has developed bloodless torture. Recall, torture is “infliction of severe pain as a means of punishment or coercion.” What C.I.A. manuals describe:
“The following are the principal coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis, and induced regression.” The objective is to produce “debility, dependence, and dread.”
Note that these are “coercive” techniques that induce “pain,” and yet all of these techniques are exclusively bloodless: arrest, detention, solitary confinement. These are the principle means to induce pain rather than techniques that create physical injury.
This coercive process of inflicting pain through detention and isolation serves to “obliterate the familiar” and “as the process continues, day after day, if necessary, the subject begins to try to make sense of the situation, which becomes mentally intolerable…” This “coercive” situation that inflicts “pain” is “mentally intolerable.” These words, “mentally intolerable,” are synonymous with “psychologically painful.”
Torture: “The infliction of severe pain as a means of punishment or coercion.”
This C.I.A. manual recommends inflicting “the maximum amount of discomfort,” which “is required for the dissolution of resistance and the inculcation of dependence…,” so that the subject’s “structured personality traits fall away…” In other words, psychological pain, bloodless torture, doesn’t physically disassemble a subject or even leave a mark; but it effectively disassembles the human personality.
This is, in the U.S. government’s own words, the “simple torture situation,” one between “an individual” and his or her “tormentor.” But, because this form of torture does not leave a mark, the U.S. courts do not view torture as a violation of rights. (6) The courts exempt the scientifically-perfected torture that U.S. torturers employ. (7)
I, personally, reject that narrow view. Torture is torture. “Pain” does not exclusively result in physical injury. Instead, I suggest that we defer to the international standard that recognizes “all acts of torture” are “an offense against human dignity.” This proposition is affirmed in “The Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture,” an international treaty that the U.S. has the distinction of opposing.
As torture constitutes a violation of rights, the question before us is whether prison officials– specifically, ODRC Director Gary Mohr, ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark, former MANCI Warden Terry Tibbals, and MANCI Investigator Angela Hunsinger –participated in a pattern of violating my rights, whether they tortured me. And if I demonstrate that Mohr, Clark, Tibbals, and Hunsinger did participate in my torture, does that prove they are diagnosable with ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER?
That is, after all, the principle question before us– whether prison officials are provable sociopaths. I contend that they are.
We turn, then, to the question of whether the (mis)treatment endured in the custody of Mohr & Company constitutes “torture,” which is “the infliction of severe pain as a means of punishment or coercion.” For that purpose, I direct you to my sworn statement, 36 pages, 160 enumerated paragraphs, notarized [the first exhibit in this PDF]. It’s attached as Exhibit A to the civil action that my attorney, Richard Kerger, filed on my behalf. That action is posted at seanswain.org. (8)
In regard to torture, I refer you first to paragraph 20 of my sworn statement where I recount how I was removed from population and held on “Torture Cell Row.” Please note that staff and prisoners both described the area with the word “torture.” On Torture Cell held in freezing conditions with no outside communication, no shower, no recreation, no bed. I was given starvation rations. I was subjected to sleep deprivation for a duration that left me hallucinating.
Now, a few points to make here about my placement on Torture Cell Row: first, it is inconceivable to me that ODRC Director Gary Mohr was not involved in the decision to have me tortured. I say that because I was removed from population and placed on Torture Cell Row, admittedly, for having written an article where I referred to Mohr as a “sock puppet” for corporate profiteers. (9) No one had more of an interest in torturing me into silence than Mohr, particularly since my article laid out a well-reasoned argument that Mohr had committed federal crimes. It is also inconceivable that this decision did not involve then-Warden Terry Tibbals, who also personally signed off on the illegal opening of my outgoing federal mail. The record shows a pattern of his hands-on involvement in the state terror regimen waged against me. The order to place me on Torture Cell Row came directly from Investigator Angela Hunsinger.
Admittedly, I do not yet have any evidence of ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark’s direct involvement in my placement on Torture Cell Row, but I did personally notify him of these events after their occurrence and I am aware of no action he undertook to report this criminal misconduct.
I was only removed from Torture Cell Row when a friend attempted to visit, learned of my situation, and created outside pressure to have me moved to segregation, where conditions changed over time to reflect the conditions on Torture Cell Row. (10) Less than 90 days after my transfer off of Torture Cell Row, 2 prisoners died there. I have no doubt that, if not for friends creating outside pressure, I would have likely remained on Torture Cell Row indefinitely until I too died.
I was tortured by Gary Mohr, Terry Tibbals and Angela Hunsinger, with an assist after-the-fact from counsel Trevor Clark. That torture involved freezing conditions, total isolation from the outside world, sleep deprivation, and many other components specifically itemized in the C.I.A. manuals describing the “simple torture situation.”
But that was not where the torture program ended. As I recount in my sworn statement, in segregation, my cellmate James Dzelajlija and I were subjected to slow starvation (paragraphs #135-136 of sworn statement), freezing conditions (#137), sleep deprivation (#138-39), denial of adequate laundry (#141), denial of recreation and sunlight (#142), denial of mail services (#144-49), denial of sensory and intellectual stimuli through withholding of reading material (#143), denial of commissary to include personal hygiene products and writing materials (#153), and other irregular tortures– to include being subjected to hours of dirty toilet water drenching us and everything we owned (#154), having our food slid under a dirty, rusty door (#155), and threats of staff placing their genitals in our food (#156). All of this, of course, can be found in the C.I.A. recipe for the “simple torture situation.” All of these components of the torture regimen continued while Investigator Angela Hunsinger and then-Warden Terry Tibbals maintained a “training program” (#133-34) that included my photo and references to writings at seanswain.org designed to indoctrinate staff into thinking of me as a terrorist, provoking them to hostility, leading to foreseeable, outrageous retaliation– like toilet water showers and testicles in the food.
It is again inconceivable that these conditions existed and continued for the entirety of a year, requiring the repeal of 14 policies that had been in place for decades, without the assent of Director Mohr, ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark, then-Warden Terry Tibbals, and Investigator Angela Hunsinger. With exception to Mohr, I personally notified these officials of torturous conditions. (11)
Two men died where I was initially subjected to torture. I entered segregation at 215 pounds and left at 165 pounds, passing out if I stood up too quickly. Dzelajlija and I were dying of malnutrition.
I assert these conditions constituted the “simple torture situation,” and that such a regimen of torture constitutes a “violation” of “rights” presented in the definition of ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER. So, I turn now to the question of whether Gary Mohr, Trevor Clark, Terry Tibbals, and Angela Hunsinger– the prison officials who tortured me (12) –are full-blown sociopaths.
Rather than asking whether Mohr, Clark, Tibbals and Hunsinger must be sociopaths in order to torture another human being for a year, let’s approach the question from the opposite direction: Is it possible for someone psychologically normal in every respect, someone mentally unremarkable in terms of dysfunction, to carry out a regimen of brutal torture, continuously, for a year? Is it possible for officials like Mohr, Clark, Tibbals, and Hunsinger to be normal psychological specimens and yet participate in crimes against humanity?
The implications of our answer to such a question are vast. Consider: if we conclude that the “tormentor” in the “simple torture situation” can be quote-unquote “normal,” then it is possible to accept that Nazi concentration camp guards, for example, involved in the mass killings of human beings on a daily basis may also be “normal.” Those who represent the most reprehensible deviance for human social order, then, would not be an abnormality.
To draw such a conclusion is to condemn the totality of the social sciences to complete irrelevancy. Anything asserting a mass-murderer is not seriously fucked up is, itself, seriously fucked up. (13)
So, it is in that context that I present that the torture regimen maintained with full knowledge and direct participation by Mohr, Clark, Tibbals, and Hunsinger meets the specific criteria of an ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER diagnosis. (14) They participated in a “pervasive pattern” of “disregard for” my rights, indicated by “failure to conform to social norms,” “deception,” “impulsivity,” “aggressiveness,” “lack of remorse,” and “being indifferent to or rationalizing having… mistreated… another…”
The case for Director Mohr, Counsel Clark, former Warden Tibbals, and Investigator Hunsinger being sociopaths is pretty conclusive.
UNCOMFORTABLE CONCLUSIONS THAT CONFRONT US
Let’s think about what this means.
We have a multi-billion-dollar government department under the control of people who are mentally disturbed, but not just disturbed in some benign, harmless way– we’re talking about people who are in the top 5% of the most insidiously-dangerous human beings to ever step foot on this planet. Sociopaths. They are in the same class with serial killers and power-mad dictators. The worst of the worst.
To put a sociopath in charge of “reforming” Ohio’s “offenders” is like hiring a known child-rapist to babysit your kids on bowling night… If you have fifty thousand kids… And if bowling night lasts several years. (15) In terms of public policy, this cannot be very effective.
In terms of human trauma, this has to be devastating to the social order. In a very real sense, we are allowing sociopaths to mangle a considerable population who then becomes the manglers of others.
But let’s also consider the implications for someone like you, an employee who works for sociopaths. Even assuming you to have the most benevolent motives, what are the chances that you can conceivably accomplish any kind of lasting, pro-social impact when your boss is a sociopath and this larger system is in the service of his vision, his agenda? I should think that the demands of a sociopathic agenda, even in the best of conditions, and with the best of intentions, sooner or later imposes its pathological demands upon you, forces you to participate in the digging of the proverbial “mass grave.” It would be a virtual inevitability.
I would suggest that no one can work for a sociopath and meet the demands imposed by a sociopath’s agenda without becoming a sociopath, any more than a butcher can go home at night without smelling of blood and death. The difference between a butcher and an employee of the ODRC, of course, is that an ODRC employee is maintaining a system that tortures and kills human beings. Need I remind you that your job requires making mental health rounds on death row, asking condemned prisoners whether they are okay, right up until the day that the State straps them down to a table and murders them (16).
I’m curious– when you worked for your social science degree, did you contemplate that you would serve sociopaths who torture and kill people? (17) I also wonder how security staff, who also serve sociopaths who torture and kill, consider their own positions as they meet the demands of this system under threat of sleeping in their cars with their children going hungry if they do not meet the system’s demands. I wonder if, during the course of their lives, they foresaw themselves employed on the side of “the tormentor” in the “simple torture situation.” (18)
That is, after all, the side they are on.
As are you.
I hope for your sake that you find the courage to leave this letter on your desk for co-workers to read, then walk calmly to the parking lot, start your car, drive away, and never look back. I hope other ODRC employees do the same before finding themselves “rationalizing” the “mistreatment” to which all of you are accomplices.
It is also my hope that this open letter will get posted and re-posted, becoming ubiquitous so that the families and friends and neighbors of torturers– ODRC Director Gary Mohr, ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark, former MANCI Warden Terry Tibbals, and MANCI Investigator Angela Hunsinger –will know the true, monstrous character of these people.
In 2010, during a Community Service art presentation, I met Terry Tibbals’ parents. They seemed like nice people who would be bewildered if they knew the atrocities their son committed. I think they ought to know. Likewise, according to his Fit Club profile (19), Trevor Clark hails from Moundsville, West Virginia and has children. I believe those children should know the kinds of horrors their father commits.
There are people out there who know the families and friends of these sociopaths. I hope this letter reaches them.
At any rate, if the speed with which you have run past my cell is any indication of what I can expect this week, I look forward to not talking to you during rounds.
(1) Consider, this would mean you are a mental health professional in the employ of a sociopath… Which is as ironic as, say, an exorcist employed by the devil… Or a shepherd employed by wolves…
(2) I am unable to establish whether prison officials have exhibited behaviors back to age 15. That would have to be established through mental health interviews. But, I bet you find that Director Gary Mohr, ODRC Counsel Trevor Clark, former MANCI Warden Terry Tibbals, and MANCI Investigator Angela Hunsinger not only meet the criteria for an ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER diagnosis, but that, at a young age, they also lit fires, killed small animals, and wet the bed– all indications that they are full-blown sociopaths.
Let me know what you find out.
(3) For case research into Cruel and Unusual Punishment, Shephardize FARMER V. BRENNAN, 511 U.S. 825, 114 SCT 1970 (1994).
(4) See specifically my declaration in SEAN PAUL SWAIN V. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Case No. P-688-10 in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Organization of American States, posted at seanswain.org. Also see, “Colonizer’s Corpse.”
(5) Specificaly search for: “The KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual,” and “Human Resources Exploitation Training Manual [that’s part 1, here’s a link to part 2,” both produced by the Central Intelligence Agency.
(6) Referring back to the ANTI-SOCIAL PERSONALITY DISORDER definition, note that “rationalizing” mistreatment of others, i.e., excusing or justifying torture, is an element of the diagnosis. Thus, the U.S. Supreme Court evidences sociopathic behavior. It would be interesting to learn how many sitting justices, as children, lit fires, killed small animals, and wet the bed, wouldn’t it?
(7) When considering the KUBARK manual, imagine the amount of funding spent in numerous “research” projects that perfected the science of torture, the number of victims subjected to both the U.S. government’s successes and failures, as well as the veritable army of social scientists who participated, year after year, decade after decade, mapping out the limits of human tolerance to psychological pain.
As reprehensible as your current employment is, you can say, “At least I don’t work for the C.I.A.”
(9) This was the initial, admitted reason for my removal from population, for my recommended placement at level 5, and for my eventual placement at level 4.
(10) James Dzelajlija was my cellmate for the duration of our time in MANCI’s Special Management Unit and was subject to the same general conditions.
(11) I also reported these conditions personally to Joanna E. Saul, Director of the Corrections Institution Inspection Committee, the oversight committee of the Ohio General Assembly. Saul said that if Trevor Clark was involved in the torture program, there was “nothing [she] could do.” After reporting these conditions, the torture regimen continued. Perhaps Joanna Saul lit fires, killed small animals, and wet the bed as a child?
(12) Since this action was filed on 17 September, none of the named defendants have yet to deny any of the facts I have sworn to. These facts are so far undisputed.
(13) One argument I do NOT make is that toture is inconsistent with being “civilized.” Others have made such an argument. See, e.g., the arguments of former SEAL, Jesse Ventura. Ventura also asserted that, if left alone with torture apologist Dick Cheney for just an hour, Ventura would have Cheney confessing to the Sharon Tate murders.
From my perspective, torture and civilization are synonymous, and that the development of “civilization” has always been accompanied by atrocities– from Columbus to Abu Ghraib.
(14) And yet, I’M the one with the diagnosis. Go figure.
(15) Or hiring a cannibal as a caterer… Or hiring John Wayne Gayce as a scoutmaster… You get the idea.
(16) Some of them are provably innocent and framed. Go to LucasvilleAmnesty.org for information about Lucasville Uprising Prisoners.
(17) All the more insidious when you consider the State has no legitimate, lawful authority, as I established in my last letter to you.
(18) Do any children raise their hands to share with their teachers their dream of growing up to be a Nazi prison camp guard digging mass graves?
(19) The first rule of Fit Club is, you do not talk about Fit Club. Anyone saturating Moundsville, West Virginia with details of Trevor Clark’s crimes against humanity is performing a public service in deterring future torture. Sociopaths hate public exposure.