11 January 2006

Narcissism, the public, and the President

Stephen Soldz raises an important point in the article below: narcissism. In this case, he is looking at George W. Bush, although as Soldz suggests, Bush is not alone with these characteristics. That, of course, is the subject of ponerology, looking at the pathological characteristics of leaders everywhere and understanding how they get to power and how they stay in power through a ponerogenic network. We might also hope that an understanding of ponerology might one day help us to remove them from power and prevent them from even getting into power. One of the pernicious results of the arrival of a pathocracy is that the values of society become the values of the psychopath, the narcissist, and other pathological types. We see this also in Sodz's article when he says "A large fraction of the American public has been attracted to a leader who appeared to genuinely not care what others think. Who among us never wished we could say 'the others be damned' and do whatever we wanted? While most of us don't dare act on these wishes, a narcissistic leader can provide us with vicarious satisfaction." Because society's standards are set by the psychopath, we all are affected. We resonate with someone who doesn't care what others think. Now, within someone who has a conscience, not caring what people think may mean something completely different than when it occurs in a being devoid of conscience, devoid of empathy, and incapable of feeling another's pain. With a conscience, it can mean allowing your conscience to guide your decisions, rather than permitting one to be influenced by authority figures or fears of societal approval or disapproval. In the psychopath, it simply means not caring at all about anyone else without reference to conscience. In other words, self-interest taken to its extreme. So the same terms have different meanings, and, yet, as long as we do not admit the existence of pathological beings without conscience, beings of conscience will interpret the words of the psychopath as if they were saying the same thing. We project our own humanity, or conscience, onto the conscienceless -- to our detriment.
Narcissism, the public, and the President: by Stephen Soldz January 10, 2006 http://www.opednews.com President Bush spoke last week to wounded soldiers at Brooke Army Medical Center and uttered these immortal words indicating a lack of true appreciation for the suffering of the gravely wounded, often permanently disabled soldiers he was speaking to:
'As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself -- not here at the hospital, but in combat with a Cedar. I eventually won. The Cedar gave me a little scratch. As a matter of fact, the Colonel asked if I needed first aid when she first saw me. I was able to avoid any major surgical operations here, but thanks for your compassion, Colonel.'
At a time when the number of severely wounded soldiers is rising, this lack of appreciation is disturbing and portends badly for adequate resources being made available to care for damaged soldiers and veterans over the coming months, years, and decades.
This episode was far from the first time Bush uttered bizarre sounding comments in response to the injuries of others. Who can forget his remarkable message to the hundreds of thousands of people, many poor and black, whose lives were devastated by Hurricane Katrina:
'Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch.'
While Bush's comments to wounded GIs were uttered together with the usual platitudes expected on such occasions, these quotes illustrate Bush's greatest strength and also his greatest weakness, his narcissism. Narcissism At an observable level, narcissism involves a self-centeredness that makes one oblivious to the emotional existence of others. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (IVth edition: DSM-IV) defines its pathological extreme (narcissistic personality disorder) as:
'A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy.'
In the odd DSM manner, this condition is diagnosed by having a threshold number of the following symptoms (5 out of 9), regardless of which five symptoms they are. (To be diagnostic of a clinical condition each symptom should be possessed to the extent that it interferes with functioning or causes distress):
'Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements) 'Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love 'Believes that he or she is ''special'' and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) 'Requires excessive admiration 'Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations 'Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends 'Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others 'Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her 'Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes'
I am very leery of making diagnoses via long-distance of people I have never met. Additionally, I am well aware that one must be skeptical of much 'information' publicly available about major political leaders as this information is carefully filtered through the lens of PR manipulation designed to create desired images among the public. Furthermore, one must remember that a large degree of narcissism is common, perhaps even necessary in leaders who rise to presidential level. It is certainly hard for someone who is not convinced of their special qualities to have the drive, determination, and desire to undergo all that is required to get the position. Despite these caveats, it is striking to compare what we apparently know about President Bush's character with these criteria. This exercise is not undertaken to assign a clinical diagnosis to the President or to assign labels as a sophisticated form of character assassination. Rather, it can be used as an indicator of his personality, of long-standing tendencies to think, feel, and behave in characteristic ways, regardless of whether such a personality is a clinical problem. And President Bush's personality, because of its potential effects on many Americans and much of humankind, is an important object of study. Without denying the importance of national and class interests in the formulation of policy or endorsing the great man theory of history, understanding George W. Bush's personality may shine light on certain aspects of his administration's actions and on his appeal to the American public at this moment in history. Whatever material and strategic goals undergird this administration's foreign policies, it seems incontestable that these goals have been pursued in a manner that prevented their realization, indeed, in a manner that, as predicted by many mainstream commentators and former policy-makers sharing similar goals, had catastrophic results. When a former National Security Agency director describes the Iraq war as the greatest strategic blunder in American history, consideration of psychological factors contributing to the blunder hardly seems out of place. And when much of the public follows the blundering leader over the precipice, it seems appropriate to examine the attractions of that leader. Given President Bush's quite modest prior achievements, including his numerous failures at business opportunities that were handed to him on a silver plate, there is little to suggest that he is outstanding in any characteristic other than ability to get elected. He certainly lacks much knowledge of international relations that would seem to be an essential perquisite for taking risky major decisions that modify long-standing American and international policies and alliances. Yet he appears to view himself as a Commander-In Chief for the ages. Given the private nature of the fantasies described in the second criterion, it is hard to know if he is 'preoccupied' with these grandiose fantasies. Yet, his apparent messianic mission to bring 'democracy' to the Middle East, an area where wiser heads, however imperial their desires, have feared to tread, along with his reported comments suggesting that God speaks to him directly, suggest that Bush does indeed harbor grandiose fantasies of virtually unlimited success. One also might wonder about Bush's repeated admiration for the ease of dictatorship, expressed, according to Wikiquote, on at least three occasions [July 1998, December 18, 2000, and July 26, 2001] years apart. A typical quote is this one from December 18, 2000: 'If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier... just so long as I'm the dictator.' One certainly could infer a wish for the unlimited power of the dictator. Of course this was said in jest, but humor oft repeated often provides illumination into the character and desires of the teller. Bush's behavior has often suggested that he has a sense of entitlement and feels that he is special and that he should be treated special. He got out of exposure to combat in Vietnam by having his family pull strings -- something about which he even boasted -- while steadfastly supporting the war in which tens of thousands of other less privileged Americans and countless Vietnamese died. He apparently sees himself as uniquely endowed to make decisions of life and death, of which laws he will obey and which he will ignore, of which congressional representatives or journalists he will deign to acknowledge and which he will ignore. The extraordinary lack of accountability of his administration is due, in part, to Bush's sense that he is accountable to no one. The Presidential attitude toward torture, of publicly proclaiming his right to order it whenever he feels like it (as opposed to authorizing it in shameful secrecy like past presidents) also suggests a sense of divine destiny of proportions extreme even for presidents. The recent NSA eavesdropping scandal also, unusually, involves a deliberate public boasting of his right to break laws (over 30 times) with a sense of total impunity. The extent to which his administration has gone to protect the President from any exposure, however fleeting, to protesters and dissidents suggests a Presidential antipathy to any challenge to his authority. As for his need for excessive admiration, his surrounding himself with sycophants like Harriet Miers, who evidently once claimed that Bush was 'was the most brilliant man she had ever met.' and Condoleezza Rice, who is known for never challenging Bush, is certainly suggestive evidence. In considering empathy, or its lack, Bush's career is full of illustrations, like the comments above to wounded vets, or his complete uninterest in the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina until it became a potential political liability. And who can forget his mocking of Karla Faye Tucker's plea for Bush to commute her death sentence: 'Please,' Bush whimpered, his lips pursed in mock desperation, 'please, don't kill me.' Envy is the one symptom for which I am aware of no obvious evidence. When it comes to arrogance, I don't need to even mention the evidence, though those horrid sneers he routinely exhibits in public cannot go unnoted. We thus have extensive evidence of narcissistic tendencies in the President. [I want to state again that I am not assigning a diagnosis to him, but am claiming he exhibits certain personality characteristics.] To a degree, much of what is said of this president could be said about many others, and other top leaders as well. Grandiosity, arrogance, and, to a degree, a sense of entitlement, seem to pretty much go with the territory. Evident to an unusual degree for a top American leader, however, is Bush's lack of empathy. He seems, to an extreme degree, to genuinely not have a clue what other people, especially those less fortunate in life, are experiencing, nor does he have any interest. There is no evidence that the potential inappropriateness of his joking about his scratches to severely injured veterans might be insensitive, just as there is no evidence that he has ever cared about the tens of thousands of those wounded as a result of his commands. No one has ever claimed that Bush called in Secretary Rumsfeld and said 'What are you doing to reduce the casualties. Where the hell is that armor?' [I concentrate on President Bush's obliviousness to American casualties not because I don't value equally the tens to hundreds of thousands of dead and injured Iraqis, but because it is a sad fact of statecraft that 'enemy' casualties seldom weigh on any leader in wartime. But many wartime leaders do feel the weight of casualties on their own side.] Similarly, there is no evidence that Bush weighed his role or gave even a moment's thought as Karla Faye Tucker awaited execution. He made not even a pretense of wrestling with the decision, perhaps because he could not imagine that others might expect him to exhibit an awareness of the magnitude of this life-and-death decision, regardless of whether he ultimately went ahead with the execution. Bush's Narcissism and the Public For President Bush, his narcissism has been a source of political strength. A large fraction of the American public has been attracted to a leader who appeared to genuinely not care what others think. Who among us never wished we could say 'the others be damned' and do whatever we wanted? While most of us don't dare act on these wishes, a narcissistic leader can provide us with vicarious satisfaction. As a nation, we won't let others impede us, not the weak untrustworthy French nor the United Nations that always wants to negotiate and compromise rather than just act. People perceive Bush's narcissism as a source of strength when strength is conceived as the ability to impose his/our will on others. This dynamic is in addition to, in fact may even be in conflict with, the oft commented upon sense of safety provided by a strong leader. For, at least one version of a strong leader is modeled on the caring father who will do anything that needs to be done to protect the family/nation. The narcissistic leader, however, does not care about the needs or desires of others, of the nation's public, but only of his own. Just as with an abusive self-absorbed parent, citizens can defensively delude themselves into believing that a narcissistic leader cares about them. The defensive nature of this belief lends it a fragility and hence a rigidity requiring active defense from potential criticism. At the same time, the potential for conflict between identification with the narcissistic leader and wish for a strong caring leader can pose a danger for such a leader as it may provide an opening for recognition of the self-serving nature of the leader's' actions. Recent polls showing a decline in Bush's rating on items like 'the President cares about people like me' may indicate such a process is underway. Once this process starts, it can be hard to reverse. Bush, for example, as he runs around the country trying to restore public support, continually puts foot in mouth as he cannot view the world from the perspective of others. He doesn't pander, not only because of his arrogance, leading to a sense that he must be right, that he is incapable of making mistakes, but also because he is to a large degree incapable of pandering; it appears that, to a great extent, he simply cannot imagine what others think or want when it differs from his own thoughts and wishes, so he cannot promise to give people what they want when they fail to identify with his desires. To complement the descriptive features of narcissism involved in the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria, psychoanalysts have learned that narcissism is intimately connected with fear of one's weakness and vulnerability, and with aggression toward the other whose individuality is obliterated by the narcissism. As the weakness and vulnerability needs to be kept out of awareness, narcissism contributes to another process that poses dangers for narcissistic leaders like President Bush in that their narcissism contributes to an ignoring of reality, of possibility of error or other indicators of potential weakness. Bush doesn't appear to seriously consider that what he thinks may not accurately represent reality. Iraq will welcome his legions with flowers so there is no need for contingency planning just in case that assumption is wrong. Iraqis are valiantly struggling for pro-American 'democracy' [whatever that means to him], so there is no need to consider that, just possibly, rival Iran is the big winner from Bush's Iraqi intervention. Harriet Miers is a convenient choice for Bush so there is no need to consider what others may think of her appointment. And Bush, like other tragic leaders throughout history, may actually believe the incredibly dangerous notion that there is no alternative to victory in an Iraqi conflict which, in all likelihood, has already been lost. Bush's narcissism, thus, has provided the backbone of certainty which makes him appear as a strong leader to those so predisposed. But it also contributes to those character flaws that may ultimately lead to his undoing. http://soldzresearch.com/stephensoldz Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Institute for the Study of Violence of the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is a member of Roslindale Neighbors for Peace and Justice and founder of Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice. He maintains the Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report web page and the Psyche, Science, and Society blog."
(Via OpEdNews.)

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Information Substitution and Selection in Ponerological Processes

One of the more fascinating aspects of Andrew A. Lobaczewski's work is his recounting of the mechanisms by which the pathocracy is able to maintain its influence and control over the public. We all suffer from certain forms of neurosis. The pathocrat is able to hook into our own neuroses and use them to their advantage. One consequence is that we project onto the psychopath or other figure our own inner life, and assume that his or her internal structure is the same as our own. We suffer from certain neuroses, so we assume that manifestations of these in them is evidence of the same dynamic. Another consequence is that we refuse to see reality objectively, preferring subjective deformations that leave us open to manipulation by beings that are not influenced by the chemicals of the emotions, or whose palette of emotions is so restricted that it comes down to one overriding factor: they must win at all costs. Here is one example. Information selection and substitution: The existence of psychological phenomena known a long time ago to pre-Freudian philosophical students of the subconscious bears repeating.

Unconscious psychological processes outstrip conscious reasoning, both in time and in scope, which makes many psychological phenomena possible: including those generally described as conversive, such as subconscious blocking out of conclusions, the selection, and, also, substitution of seemingly uncomfortable premises. We speak of blocking out conclusions if the inferential process was proper in principle and has almost arrived at a conclusion and final comprehension within the act of internal projection, but becomes stymied by a preceding directive from the subconscious, which considered it inexpedient or disturbing. This is primitive prevention of personality disintegration, which may seem advantageous; however, it also prevents all the advantages which could be derived from consciously elaborated conclusion and reintegration. A conclusion thus rejected remains in our subconscious and in a more unconscious way causes the next blocking and selection of this kind. This can be totally harmful, progressively enslaving a person to his own subconscious, and is often accompanied by a feeling of tension and bitterness. We speak of selection of premises whenever the feedback goes deeper into the resulting reasoning and from its database thus deletes and represses into the subconscious just that piece of information which was responsible for arriving at the uncomfortable conclusion. Our subconscious then permits further logical reasoning, except that the outcome will be erroneous in direct proportion to the actual significance of the repressed data. An ever-greater number of such repressed information is collected in our subconscious memory. Finally, a kind of habit seems to take over: similar material is treated the same way even if reasoning would have reached an outcome quite advantageous to the person. The most complex process of this type is substitution of premises thus eliminated by other data, ensuring an ostensibly more comfortable conclusion. Our associative ability rapidly elaborates a new item to replace the removed one, but it is one leading to a comfortable conclusion. This operation takes the most time, and it is unlikely to be exclusively subconscious. Such substitutions are often effected collectively, in certain groups of people, through the use of verbal communication. That is why they best qualify for the moralizing epithet “hypocrisy” than either of the above-mentioned processes. The above examples of conversive phenomena do not exhaust a problem richly illustrated in psychoanalytical works. Our subconscious may carry the roots of human genius within, but its operation is not perfect; sometimes it is reminiscent of a blind computer, especially whenever we allow it to be cluttered with anxiously rejected material. This explains why conscious monitoring, even at the price of courageously accepting disintegrative states, is likewise necessary to our nature, not to mention our individual and social good. There is no such thing as a person whose perfect self-knowledge allows him to eliminate all tendencies toward conversive thinking, but some people are relatively close to this state, while others remain slaves to these processes. Those people who use conversive operations too often for the purpose of finding convenient conclusions, or constructing some cunning para-logistic or para-moralistic statements, in time undertake such behavior for ever more trivial reasons, losing the capacity for conscious control over their thought process. This necessarily leads to behavior errors which must be paid for by others as well as themselves. People who have lost their psychological hygiene and capacity of proper thought along this road also lose their natural critical faculties with regard to the statements and behavior of individuals whose abnormal thought processes were formed on a substratum of pathological anomalies, whether inherited or acquired. Hypocrites stop differentiating between pathological and normal individuals, thus opening an “infection entry” for the ponerologic role of pathological factors. After all, each community contains people in whom similar methods of thinking were developed on a large scale, with their various deviations as a backdrop. We find this both in characteropathic and psychopathic personalities. Some have been even influenced by others to grow accustomed to such “reasoning”, since conversion thinking is highly contagious and can spread throughout an entire society. In “happy times” especially, the tendency for conversion thinking generally intensifies. It appears accompanied as well by a rising wave of hysteria in said society. Those who try to maintain common sense and proper reasoning finally wind up in the minority, feeling wronged because their human right to maintain psychological hygiene is violated by pressure from all sides. This means that unhappy times are not far away. We should point out that the erroneous thought processes described herein also, as a rule, violate the laws of logic with characteristic treachery. Educating people in the art of proper reasoning thus obviously counteracts such tendencies; it has a hallowed age-old tradition which seems to have been insufficiently effective for centuries. As an example: according to the laws of logic, a question containing an erroneous or unconfirmed suggestion has no answer. Nevertheless, not only does operating with such questions become epidemic among people with a tendency to conversion thinking, and a source of terror when used by psychopathical individuals; it also occurs among people who think normally, or even those who have studied logic. This decreasing tendency in a society’s capacity for proper thought should be counteracted, since it also lowers its immunity to ponerogenic processes. An effective measure would be teaching both proper thought and skillful detection of errors in thought. The front of such education should be expanded, including psychology, psychopathology, and the science described herein, for the purpose of raising people who can easily detect any para-logism.

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Reversive blockade: Ponerological Definition and as used by Psychopaths

Reversive blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth, this blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the “golden mean” between the truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this was precisely the intent of the person who subjected them to this method. If such a statement is the opposite of a moral truth, at the same time, it simultaneously represents an extreme paramoralism, and bears its peculiar suggestiveness. We rarely see this method being used by normal people; even if raised by the people who abused it; they usually only indicate its results [on their thinking] in the shape of characteristic difficulties in apprehending reality properly. Use of this method can be included within the above-mentioned psychological knowledge developed by psychopaths concerning the weaknesses of human nature and the art of leading others into error. Where they are in rule, this method is used with virtuosity, and to an extent conterminous with their power.

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Paramoralisms: Ponerological Definition

Since I have mentioned the term "paramoralism" on a number of occasions recently in my writings elsewhere, I thought that now would be a good time to publish a good description of the term as it is used in Ponerology.

If you search for the term on google, you will not find a definition. Not a surprise. Lobaczewski was obliged to create words to describe aspects of Evil that, with which, up to then, our natuaral language could not deal adequately. He writes in his book Political Ponerology:

Para-moralisms: The conviction that moral values exist and that some actions violate moral rules is so common and ancient a phenomenon that it seems to have some substratum at man’s instinctive endowment level (although it is certainly not totally adequate for moral truth), and that it does not only represent centuries’ worth of experience, culture, religion, and socialization. Thus, any insinuation closed in moral slogans is always suggestive, even if the “moral” criteria used are just an “ad hoc” invention. Any act can thus be proved to be immoral or morally proper by means of such para-moralisms through active suggestion, and people whose minds will succumb to such reasoning can always be found. In searching for an example of an evil act whose negative value would not elicit doubt in any social situation, ethics scholars frequently mention child abuse. However, psychologists often meet with para-moral affirmations of such behavior in their practice, such as in the above-mentioned family with the prefrontal field damage in the eldest sister. Her younger brothers emphatically insisted that their sister’s sadistic treatment of her son was due to her exceptionally high moral qualifications, and they believed this by auto-suggestion. Para-moralism somehow cunningly evades the control of our common sense, sometimes leading to an affirmation of behavior whose character is openly pathological. Para-moralistic statements and suggestions so often accompany various kinds of evil that they seem quite irreplaceable. Unfortunately, it has become a frequent phenomenon for individuals, oppressive groups, or patho-political systems to invent ever-new moral criteria for someone’s convenience. Such suggestions often partially deprive people of their moral reasoning and deform its development in youngsters. Para-moralism factories have been founded worldwide, and a ponerologist finds it hard to believe that they are managed by psychologically normal people. The conversive features in the genesis of para-moralisms seem to prove they are derived from mostly subconscious rejection (and repression from the field of consciousness) of something completely different, which we call the voice of conscience. A ponerologist can nevertheless indicate many observations supporting the opinion that the various pathological factors participate in the tendency to use para-moralisms. This was the case in the above-mentioned family. As occurs with a moralizing interpretation, this tendency intensifies in egotists and hysterics, and its causes are similar. Like all conversive phenomena, the tendency to use para-moralisms is psychologically contagious. That explains why we observe it among people raised by individuals in whom it was developed alongside pathological factors. This may be a good place to reflect that true moral law is born and exists independently of our judgments in this regard, and even of our ability to recognize it. Thus, the attitude required for such understanding is scientific, not creative: we must humbly subordinate our mind to the apprehended reality. That is when we discover the truth about man, both his weaknesses and values, which shows us what is decent and proper with respect to other people and other societies.
Gurdjieff speaks of a certain example of "paramoralism" in the following extract from In Search of The Miraculous, by P.D. Ouspensky:
"As I have already said, people very often think that if they begin to struggle with considering within themselves it will make them 'insincere' and they are afraid of this because they think that in this event they will be losing something, losing a part of themselves. In this case the same thing takes place as in attempts to struggle against the outward expression of unpleasant emotions. The sole difference is that in one case a man struggles with the outward expression of emotions and in the other case with an inner manifestation of perhaps the same emotions. "This fear of losing sincerity is of course self-deception, one of those formulas of lying upon which human weaknesses are based. Man cannot help identifying and considering inwardly and he cannot help expressing his unpleasant emotions, simply because he is weak. Identifying, considering, the expressing of unpleasant emotions, are manifestations of his weakness, his impotence, his inability to control himself. But not wishing to acknowledge this weakness to himself, he calls it 'sincerity' or 'honesty' and he tells himself that he does not want to struggle against sincerity, whereas in fact he is unable to struggle against his weaknesses. "Sincerity and honesty are in reality something quite different. What a man calls 'sincerity' in this case is in reality simply being unwilling to restrain himself. And deep down inside him a man is aware of this. But he lies to himself when he says that he does not want to lose sincerity."
Lobaczewski relates certain other psychological deficits to paramoralism:
Reversive blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. In accordance with the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the “golden mean” between the truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit. People who think like this do not realize that this was precisely the intent of the person who subjected them to this method. If such a statement is the opposite of a moral truth, at the same time, it simultaneously represents an extreme para-moralism, and bears its peculiar suggestiveness. We rarely see this method being used by normal people; even if raised by the people who abused it, they usually only indicate its results in the shape of characteristic difficulties in apprehending reality properly. Use of this method can be included within the above-mentioned psychological knowledge developed by psychopaths concerning the weaknesses of human nature and the art of leading others into error. Where they are in rule, this method is used with virtuosity, and to an extent conterminous with their power.

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10 January 2006

Like Clockwork

The Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick published information on Sunday confirming Swiss government knowledge of US secret prisons in Europe. The reaction of the Swiss government was predictable, as well as giving us another example of the pathocracy at work. Rather than condemning US secret prisons, the Swiss promise to plug the leak! Said Hans Hoffman, the head of the parliamentary sub-committee investigating the leak: "This document was clearly not intended to be made public".
Xinhua - English: Switzerland to probe information leak over secret CIA prisons www.chinaview.cn 2006-01-10 19:23:29 GENEVA, Jan. 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Switzerland will launch a parliamentary probe into the leak of secret information giving details of alleged clandestine CIA prisons in Europe, Swiss Radio International (SRI) reported online on Tuesday. Hans Hofmann, who is heading the parliamentary sub-committee investigating how the SonntagsBlick newspaper got hold of the classified documents, said he is determined to plug the leak. SonntagsBlick claimed last Sunday to have received a copy of a fax sent by Egypt's foreign ministry to the Egyptian embassy in London confirming the existence of secret prisons in Europe. The fax was intercepted by the Swiss intelligence service in Nov. 2005. 'This document was clearly not intended to be made public,' SRI quoted Hofmann as saying, 'We will conduct a very thorough inquiry to determine the source of this leak and will try to make sure that it does not happen again.' The story is embarrassing for the Swiss government, as it has consistently denied possessing any evidence of U.S. jails for suspected terrorists in Europe. Government ministers distanced themselves from the report which said evidence has been available since Nov. 10 last year. Defense Minister Samuel Schmid, who was Swiss president last year, told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that he might consider legal action against the SonntagsBlick.

(Via Xinhua .)

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