Textbook Repression:
US Training Manuals Declassified

[This is the kind of evil against which Hugo Chaves pitted himself]

by Lisa Haugaard, Covert Action Quarterly

LEFT: Peasant being tortured using techniques taught by the CIA in the KUBARK Manual. RIGHT: Instruments of torture used by CIA operative Dan Mitrione in Brazil and Uruguay. These instruments were brought into Uruguay via "diplomatic pouch" from the United States. [For information on Mitrione, please see our article, "U.S. Has a 45-Year History of Torture."]



We recently received the sad news that Hugo Chavez died (Tuesday, March 5, 2013); but, you should be clear here: he did not die a natural death; he was MURDERED by the CIA using a fast-acting cancer. [We URGE you to see our article on the use of fast-acting cancers by the CIA, "The Ghosts and Phantoms that Lurk behind the CIA."]

There is no way of overestimating the danger that Chavez posed insofar as American corporate interests in Latin America are concerned. Never before the election of Chavez to the presidency of Venezuela did the people of Latin America possess the possibility of victory against these corporate interests. [Please see our article, "Why Washington Hates Chavez;" please also see APPENDIX 1.]

After his election, things began to change for the better for the people of Latin America; but now he's dead - MURDERED by the CIA, which gives one some idea of just how evil and malignant those forces against which he battled were (are). SADLY, IT IS WITH THESE VILE FORCES THAT THE EVANGELICAL CHURCH HAS ALLIED ITSELF, a fact that cannot help but bring shame to the precious name of our Savior. (Romans 3:24) [Please see our article, "Bringing in the Kingdom of God through Terror, Torture and Death."]


American Christianity

Whether Christians in the United States want to believe it or not – and most do not because he did not bow down to the god of money or "buy into" the "Gospel of Prosperity" as American Christians do - Chavez was a Christian as evidenced not only by his personal testimony given publicly on numerous occasions in the US, but also by the way he led his life; however Chavez was no friend of the faux (fake) brand of American Christianity that today's evangelicals epitomize, and HE CONSTANTLY CALLED ON CHRIST TO HELP HIM BEAR WITNESS AGAINST IT – i.e., against the kind of phony Christianity to which evangelicals such as John Hagee, Bennie Hinn, etc. adhere. [Please see our article, "The God-Men of the American New World Order System."]

PICK UP WHERE CHAVEZ LEFT OFF AND PASS OUT OUR FLYER WHEREVER YOU CAN – in shopping malls, on posts and trees, on college campuses, in union halls – wherever.


-- Antipas

Make the effort that Sophie Scholl and the other members of the White Rose - all Christians - made in Germany against the Hitler regime. WE ASK YOU TO JOIN US IN THIS EFFORT - have the courage of Sophie Scholl: Pass out our flyer, leave it in libraries, affix it to trees and posts, put it on the wind-shields of cars, especially those in church parking lots.

Sophie Scholl

At the age of 21 Sophie was executed by guillotine after being convicted of high treason. Her crime was publishing some anti-war leaflets that were printed by the White Rose (a non-violent resistance group that encouraged people to passively resist the Nazis) in 1943 at Munich University. Eventually a copy of the leaflet made it out of Germany and millions of copies were made and then dropped by plane over parts of Germany. Its was re-entitled The Manifesto of Munich Students.

Do you possess the courage that Sophie possessed? ARE YOU WILLING TO DOWNLOAD OUR FLYER AND PASS IT OUT? [Please see our article, "We Are Your Conscience: The White Rose Society."]



By Lisa Haugaard

The SOA (School of the Americas) equals torture. The SOA is where these techniques were (are) taught.

Several recently declassified US military training manuals show how US agents taught repressive techniques and promoted the violation of human rights throughout Latin America and around the globe. The manuals provide the paper trail that proves how the US trained Latin American and other militaries to infiltrate and spy upon civilians and groups, including unions, political parties, and student and charitable organizations; to treat legal political opposition like armed insurgencies; and to circumvent laws on due process, arrest, and detention. In these how-to guides, the US advocates tactics such as executing guerrillas, blackmail, false imprisonment, physical abuse, using truth serum to obtain information, and paying bounties for enemy dead. Counterintelligence agents are advised that one of their functions is "recommending targets for neutralization," a euphemism for execution or destruction. [Again, please see our article, "Bringing in the Kingdom of God through Terror, Torture and Death;" please also see "The Horror Of John Dimitri Negroponte And Everything He Represents."]

A victim of the CIA's KUBARK Manuel

The manuals' discovery has helped reinvigorate grassroots, religious, and congressional efforts to close the US Army School of the Americas. It proves on paper what so many have said for so long-that US training contributed to the devastating human rights violations in the region. Although Latin American militaries were perfectly capable of violating human rights and democratic principles without US sponsorship, the anti-democratic training methods advocated by the US provided -at the very least-a green light for repression. And for decades, the traffic was heavy. Techniques of control contained in the manuals were actively adopted by Latin American militaries, particularly in the 1970s and 1980s;

In most cases, the militaries being trained not only suppressed armed rebellion but also repressed democratic, civic opposition. [Please see our articles on this subject, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order System" and "Inside the American New World Order System."]

Paper Trail

The paper trail begins with the mysterious "Project X."

Like the Army manuals, the Project X materials "suggested militaries infiltrate and suppress even democratic political dissident movements and hunt down opponents in every segment of society in the name of fighting Communism," according to the Washington Post.

At least some of these teaching materials were pulled from circulation by the Carter administration, which was concerned they would contribute to human rights abuses in Latin America. In 1982, the Reagan administration asked the SOA to rush out a new counterintelligence course for Latin American militaries. The instructor asked to develop the course, Capt. Vic Tise, turned to Project X materials, stored at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, and updated them into lesson plans.

In 1987, the 470th Military Intelligence Group took the SOA lesson plans and turned them into textbooks:

  1. Handling of Sources,
  1. Guerrillas and Communist Ideology,
  1. Counterintelligence,
  1. Revolutionary War,
  1. Terrorism and the Urban Guerrilla,
  1. Interrogation, Combat Intelligence, and
  1. Analysis 1.

NOTE: SR Shearer was assigned to the 525th Intelligence Group in Vietnam as a captain where the same techniques described in these manuals were to a large degree, actually developed). [Please see "About SR Shearer."]

These manuals were then used by US trainers in Latin America and distributed to Latin American intelligence schools in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Peru. They came full circle back to the SOA in 1989 when they were reintroduced as reading materials in military intelligence courses attended by students from -

The US government estimates that as many as 1,000 copies may have been distributed at the SOA and throughout Latin America.

From start to finish, six of the seven Army manuals are how-to-guides on repressive techniques. Throughout their 1,100 plus pages, there are few mentions of democracy, human rights, or the rule of law. Instead, there are detailed techniques for -

[Please see our article, "Chiapas: The Effect of the New World Order on the Poor."]

While the excerpts released by the Pentagon to the press are a useful and not misleading selection of the most egregious passages-the ones most clearly advocating torture, execution, and blackmail-they do not reveal the manuals' highly objectionable framework. In the name of defending democracy, the manuals advocate profoundly undemocratic methods. Just as objectionable as the methods they advocate is the fundamental disregard for the differences between armed insurgencies and lawful political and civic opposition-an attitude that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Latin American civilians.

Opposition = Revolution

The Counterintelligence Manual, for example, defines as potential counterintelligence targets -

NOTE: This pretty much includes any and all those organizations and people who in any way oppose the government.

The Phoenix

This text recommends that the army create a "BLACKLIST" of "persons whose capture and detention are of foremost importance to the armed forces." It should include not only "enemy agents" but also "subversive persons," "political leaders known or suspected as hostile toward the Armed Forces or the political interests of the National Government," and "collaborators and sympathizers of the enemy," known or suspect.

NOTE: These are the same techniques developed and used by the Phoenix Program in Vietnam to which Shearer was attached as an instructor at the Phoenix Training Center in Vung Tau, South Vietnam.

Throughout, the manuals highlight refugees and displaced persons as possible subversives to be monitored. They describe universities as breeding grounds for terrorists, and identify priests and nuns as terrorists. They advise militaries to infiltrate -

Infiltrate and surveil youth groups, student groups, labor unions, political parties, and community organizations.

Even electoral activity is suspect:

"The insurgents 'can resort to subverting the government by means of elections in which the insurgents cause the replacement of an unfriendly government official to one favorable to their cause'; 'insurgent activity' can include funding campaigns and participating in political races as candidates."

NOTE: These same techniques are being used today to subvert elections all over the world. [Please see our article, "The Truth about What Is Happening in the Ukraine: Managing Democracy."]

One of the most pernicious passages, in Combat Intelligence, lists ways to identify guerrilla presence. "Indicators of an imminent attack by guerrillas" include –

The presence of strangers

"Indicators of control by guerrillas" over a certain civilian population include the refusal to provide intelligence to government forces or the construction of new houses. Indications that insurgents are conducting psychological operations include –

A demonstration against government corruption and repression is an indication that the population has been infiltrated by insurgents.

A Purely Military Response

Civil society and government, too, are often viewed simply as impediments to military control. With no mention of the propriety of the practices, a number of the manuals advocate controlling information through censorship as well as by spying on and infiltrating civilian groups. In general, the population is a source of information at best, an enemy force at worst. The civilian government fares little better; it is one more entity to be reported on or pushed aside. Ways to impose --

Please see our article, "Is the CIA behind Mexico's Bloody Drug War?"

-- are presented without reference to laws or the role of the legislature. Indeed, there is little discussion of the proper relationship between a civilian government and military authorities.

Much more effort is put into the role of the army in quashing revolutionary tendencies. Several of the manuals teach militaries and intelligence services how insurgencies develop and how to control them. The description of the former is generally simplistic and dated, with few references to the role official repression plays in fueling insurrection.

The brief histories of El Salvador and Guatemala, for example, in Terrorism and the Urban Guerrilla skip over repression, human rights violations, or problems in democratic governance that contributed to the growth of revolutionary movements. Insurgents are reduced to manipulators of popular discontent, in thrall to communist ideology.

While Combat Intelligence offers a more sophisticated explanation of the underlying reasons for revolutionary movements-such as the strains created by rapid modernization, the existence of corrupt elites and government repression-neither this manual nor any other suggests steps a civilian government might take as a political response to popular discontent. There is no limitation on when to use military and counterintelligence methods. [Please see our articles, "The Bolivarian Revolution Reaches America's Southern Border," "Obrador's Parallel Leftist Government in Mexico City" and "What's up in Mexico."]

From Bad to Worse: The CIA Manuals

The two recently declassified CIA manuals make even more chilling reading.

The CIA had written KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation in 1963 for use by US agents against perceived Soviet subversion. (KUBARK was the CIA's code name for itself. ) While it was not intended to train foreign military services, its successor, Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual --- 1983, which drew heavily on material in KUBARK, was used in at least seven US training courses conducted in Latin American countries between 1982 and 1987, according to a June 1988 memo placed inside the manual. This 1983 manual originally surfaced in response to a June 1988 congressional hearing which was prompted by allegations by the New York Times that the US had taught Honduran military officers who used torture. The 1988 hearing was not the first time such manuals had surfaced. In 1984, a CIA manual for training the Nicaraguan Contras in psychological operations created a considerable scandal.

Stripping them naked

These two CIA textbooks deal exclusively with interrogation and devote an entire chapter each to "coercive techniques." Human Resource Exploitation recommends –

Suspects should be held incommunicado, it advises, and deprived of normal routines in eating and sleeping. Interrogation rooms should be windowless, sound proof, dark, and without toilets.

The manuals do admonish that torture techniques can backfire and that the threat of pain is often more effective than pain itself. However, they then go on to describe coercive techniques ''to induce psychological regression in the subject by bringing a superior outside force to bear on his will to resist.'' These techniques include –

[Please see our article, "Measuring the Depravity of the Elites: Pacifying the Poor through Drug Addiction" and "The History of CIA Involvement in Drugs."]

According to the Baltimore Sun, "the methods taught in the 1983 manual and those used by [the US-trained Honduran] Battalion 316 in the early 1980s show unmistakable similarities." The paper cites the case of Ines Murillo, a Honduran prisoner who claimed she was held in secret jails in 1983, given no food or water for days, and kept from sleeping by having water poured on her head every ten minutes. [We URGE you to see our article, "The Horror of John Dimitri Negroponte" for precise information on Battalion 315.

Dismissive of the rule of law, Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual-1983 states the importance of knowing local laws on detention, but then notes, "Illegal detention always requires prior [headquarters] approval.'' The manual also refers to one or two weeks of "practical work" with prisoners as part of the course, suggesting that US trainers may have worked with Latin American militaries in interrogating actual detainees. This reference gives new support to the claims by Latin Americans held as prisoners and by US nun Dianna Ortiz, tortured by the Guatemalan army in 1989, that US personnel were present in interrogation and torture rooms.

In 1985, in a superficial attempt to correct the worst of the 1983 manual, a page advising against using coercive techniques was inserted and handwritten changes were haphazardly introduced into the text. For example, "While we do not stress the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them and the proper way to use them," has been coyly altered to, "While we deplore the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them so that you may avoid them." But the entire chapter on coercive techniques is still included.

The second manual, KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation, is clearly the source of much of the 1983 manual; some passages are lifted verbatim. KUBARK has a similar section on coercive techniques, and includes some even more abhorrent elements, such as two references to the use of electric shock. For example, one passage requires US agents to obtain "prior Headquarters approval ... if bodily harm is to be inflicted," or if –

- are to be used.

[Please see our article, "Controlling the Population through Calming Agents."]


The slow, piecemeal surfacing of these manuals and the limited investigations at each point suggest that there may be many other inappropriate training materials still in circulation. Materials from the most intense days of the Cold War in the 1960s, which should never have been created in the first place, kept on being repackaged and reused despite a series of scandals and investigations that should have forced a full-scale review. These manuals confirm what many have long known about US support for repressive militaries in Latin America and elsewhere around the world. They prove that the United States not only provided the guns and the money for repression; the United States also supplied the textbooks.

These are the techniques John Dimitri Negroponte introduced into Iraq under Bush II and they are the same techniques being used today in those areas of the Middle East where the US continues to hold sway – in Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and those other areas in the Middle East the U.S. considers to be inviolable, and for which it would risk nuclear war to protect. [Please see our article, "And So It Begins."]

"Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you ..." (Matthew 24:9)


God bless you all.

SR Shearer


We have decided to "off-put" leaving the country in the hope that by staying (at least for a while longer) we can persuade Christians here to take the kind of stand that Sophie Scholl and the White Rose took in Germany against the Hitler regime. WE ASK YOU TO JOIN US IN THIS EFFORT - have the courage of Sophie Scholl: Pass out our flyer, leave it in libraries, affix it to trees and posts, put it on the wind-shields of cars, especially those in church parking lots.

Sophie Scholl

At the age of 21 Sophie was executed by guillotine after being convicted of high treason. Her crime was publishing some anti-war leaflets that were printed by the White Rose (a non-violent resistance group that encouraged people to passively resist the Nazis) in 1943 at Munich University. Eventually a copy of the leaflet made it out of Germany and millions of copies were made and then dropped by plane over parts of Germany. Its was re-entitled The Manifesto of Munich Students.

Do you possess the courage that Sophie possessed? ARE YOU WILLING TO DOWNLOAD OUR FLYER AND PASS IT OUT? [Please see our article, "We Are Your Conscience: The White Rose Society."]








Then make copies and take these copies out to the campuses where you live; pass them out; OR if that seems too "daring" for you right now, post them on telephone poles, the sides of buildings, on campus bulletin boards; post them in union halls, in the neighborhoods of the poor and downtrodden, near employment offices, wherever you can.

Once again, we URGE you to read (or re-read):



An Orgy of One-Sided Reporting;
Venezuela Hate-Fest


Last week there was a real media hate-fest for Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, with some of the more influential publications on both sides of the Atlantic really hating on the guy. Even by the hate-filled standards to which we have become accustomed, it was impressive.

It's interesting, since this is one of the only countries in the world where the reporting of the more liberal media – NPR or even the New Yorker – is hardly different from that of Fox News or other right-wing media.

The funniest episode came from El País, which on Thursday ran a front page picture of a man that they claimed was Chávez, lying on his back in a hospital bed, looking pretty messed-up with tubes in his mouth. The picture was soon revealed to be a complete fake. Oops! The paper, which is Spain's most influential publication (and with a lot of clout in Latin America, too), had to pull its newspapers from the stands and issue a public apology. Although, as the Venezuelans complained, there was no apology to Chávez or his family. Not surprisingly, since El País really hates Chávez.

The New York Times, for its part, ran yet another hate piece on its op-ed page. Dog bites man. Nothing new here, they have doing this for almost 14 years – most recently just three months ago. This one was remarkably unoriginal, comparing the Chávez government to a Latin American magical realist novel. It contained very little information – but being fact-free allowed the authors to claim that the country had "dwindling productivity" and "an enormous foreign debt load."

Productivity has not "dwindled" under Chávez; in fact -

  • real GDP per capita, which is mostly driven by productivity growth, expanded by 24 percent since 2004;
  • In the 20 years prior to Chávez, real GDP per person actually fell. As for the "enormous foreign debt load," Venezuela's foreign public debt is about 28 percent of GDP; and
  • the interest on it is about 2 percent of GDP.

If this is enormous – well, let's just say these people don't have a good sense of quantity.

The authors were probably just following a general rule, which is that you can say almost anything you want about Venezuela, so long as it is bad – and it usually goes unquestioned. Statistics and data count for very little when the media is presenting its ugly picture.

This is especially true for Jon Lee Anderson, writing in the January 28 issue of the New Yorker ("Slumlord: What has Hugo Chávez wrought in Venezuela?"). He mentions in passing that "the poorest Venezuelans are marginally better off these days." Marginally?

From 2004-2011 -

  • extreme poverty was reduced by about two-thirds;
  • poverty was reduced by about one-half, and this measures only cash income;
  • access to health for all Venezuelans
  • doubling of college enrollment – with free tuition for many.
  • access to public pensions tripled.
  • unemployment is half of what it was when Chávez took office.

I shouldn't have to emphasize that Venezuela's poverty reduction, real (inflation-adjusted) income growth, and other basic data in the Chávez era are not in dispute among experts, including international statistical agencies such as the World Bank or U.N. Even opposition economists use the same data in making their case against the government. It is only journalists like Anderson who avoid letting commonly agreed upon facts and numbers get in the way of their story.

Anderson devotes many thousands of words, in one of America's leading literary magazines, to portraying the dark underside of life in Venezuela — ex-cons and squatters, horrible prisons:

"A thick black line of human excrement ran down an exterior wall, and in the yard below was a sea of sludge and garbage several feet deep."

He draws on more than a decade of visits to Venezuela to shower the reader with his most foul memories of the society and the government. The article is accompanied by a series of grim, depressing black-and-white photos of unhappy-looking people in ugly surroundings. (I couldn't help thinking of all those international surveys that keep finding Venezuelans to be among the happiest people in Latin America and the world – did Anderson never meet even one of these Venezuelans?)

I am all in favor of journalism that exposes the worst aspects of any society. But what makes this piece just another cheap political hack job is the conclusions that the author draws from his narrow, intentionally chosen slice of Venezuelan reality. For example:

"They [Venezuelans] are the victims of their affection for a charismatic man . . . After nearly a generation, Chávez leaves his countrymen with many unanswered questions, but only one certainty: the revolution that he tried to bring about never really took place. It began with Chávez, and with him, most likely it will end."

Really? It sure doesn't look that way. Even Chávez's opponent in the October presidential election, Henrique Capriles, had to promise voters that he would preserve and actually expand the Chávez-era social programs that had increased Venezuelans' access to health care and education. And after Chávez beat him by a wide margin of 11 percentage points, Chávez's party increased its share of governorships from 15 to 20 of 23 states, in the December elections that followed. During nearly all of the campaign ahead of those elections, Chávez was not even in the country.

But it's the one-sidedness of the New Yorker's reporting that is most overwhelming. Imagine, for example, writing an article about the United States at the end of President Clinton's eight years – interviewing the homeless and the destitute, the people tortured in our prisons, the unemployed and the poor single mothers struggling to feed their children. Could you get away with pretending that this is all of "What Clinton has wrought in America?" Without mentioning that unemployment hit record lows not seen since the 1960s, that poverty was sharply reduced, that it was the longest-running business cycle expansion in U.S. history?

This is an imperfect analogy, since many people outside the U.S. know something about the country, and wouldn't buy such a one-sided story line. And also because the improvements of the Clinton years didn't last that long:

  • the stock market bubble burst and caused a recession in 2001;
  • the gains from the recovery that followed went mostly to the richest 1 percent of the population; and
  • the housing bubble burst, causing the worst recession since the Great Depression — from which we are still recovering.
  • Unemployment today is considerably above the level of Clinton's first year in office, and poverty has rebounded dramatically; and we could take another decade to get back to full employment.

Whereas in Venezuela, progress has not been reversed; there really is no going back, now that the majority of the country has gotten used to sharing in the country's oil wealth – not just through government programs but primarily through a higher level of employment and income in the private sector. Maybe that's not "revolutionary" enough for Anderson, but it's enough for Venezuelans to keep re-electing their president and his party.

As for the media, it is a remarkable phenomenon, this outpouring of animosity toward Chávez and his government, from across the Western media spectrum. How is it that this democratically elected president who hasn't killed anyone or invaded any countries gets more bad press than Saddam Hussein did (aside from the months immediately preceding invasions of Iraq)? Even when he is fighting for his own life?

The Western media reporting has been effective. It has convinced most people outside of Venezuela that the country is run by some kind of dictatorship that has ruined it. Fortunately for Venezuelans, they have access to more information about their country than the foreigners who are relying on one-sided and often inaccurate media. So they keep re-electing the president and the party that has improved their lives — much to the annoyance of the major media and its friends.

  • Mark Weisbrot is an economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. He is co-author, with Dean Baker, of Social Security: the Phony Crisis.