The most effective propaganda themes are based on existing paradigms in the target population. The belief that the United States is a singularly unique democracy is such a paradigm. Thus the most brutal imperialistic foreign policy can be carried out under the propaganda cover of spreading American democracy. The effectiveness of this propaganda theme is such that the resistance to US imperialism can be dismissed as the work of die-hard fanatics and terrorists.

annals of democracy

December 9, 2005

he differences between the 1933-45 German dictatorship and the US it-can't-happen-here democracy slowly slip away. Here's a comparison of two specific cases of the handling of prisoners considered by the authorities to be a threat to security.

National entity: Germany, Third Reich (1933-45)

National entity: United States of America

National flag:

National flag:

Self-proclaimed form of government: Personal dictatorship

Self-proclaimed form of government: Democracy

Officially perceived threat: Communism

Officially perceived threat: Terrorism

Responsible government agency: Gestapo (Geheime Staats Polizei, State Secret Police)

Responsible government agency: Central Intelligence Agency

Willi Gleitze [1904-1994]

Source: Topography of Terror
By Reinhard Rürup
Willmuth Arenhövel, Berlin (Publisher)

Willi Gleitze was a member of the Social Democratic Party [of Germany, SPD] since 1921 and from 1930-1933 he was the Youth Secretary of the Socialist Workers Youth [SAJ] in Leipzig. He participated prominently in illegal activities carried out by the SPD and the SAJ.

On December 27, 1933, the Gestapo arrested him and took him to the Gestapo prison at 8 Prinz Albrecht Street [in Berlin]. After the interrogations were over — in the course of which he was systematically beaten — he was transferred on the same day to the concentration camp Columbiahaus. He was tried in August 1934 at the Berlin Superior Court of Justice and acquitted.

This is his statement:

After I was taken to the Gestapo building on Prinz Albrecht Street I was interrogated by a Gestapo official named Müller. He told me to talk about all my activities since the dissolution of the SAJ in Leipzig and subsequently here in Berlin…

Our talk proceeded along these lines for quite some time. Suddenly six youngish men showed up in the room (which was pretty large). They positioned themselves in a circle and at their respective places picked up equipment for beating people that had been put there beforehand. There were rubber truncheons, cowhide whips, riding whips, and clubs. Very soon Müller rose from his seat whereupon everybody pounced upon me and started to beat me indiscriminately.

I tried to protect myself as far as possible. I slid into the open space beneath the office desk, but was pulled out. Then I sought refuge on top of a pile of books, succeeded in shielding myself there fairly well for some time, but then was dragged down and continued to be beaten until Müller ordered them to stop.

The interrogation proceeded but remained inconclusive as far as Müller was concerned. I stuck to my earlier statements. After a considerable period of time another gang of thugs showed up and again took their places by the equipment for beating people. Shortly thereafter Müller got up again, and the same abuse as before was resumed. I had to endure all this for two hours. Müller always stopped the beatings whenever he thought that he would reach his objective through interrogation. During these two hours, five different gangs of thugs took turns beating me.

At one point, one of the thugs placed a chair in the middle of the room. He ordered me to raise my right arm and give the Hitler salute. I refused. Thereupon everybody who stood around beat me again. I remained stubborn and the beatings continued. Finally I realized that I would have to give in. After I had rendered the Hitler salute, the same thug (who had given the original order) said, "This fellow has the cheek to salute us with 'Heil Hitler'." I was beaten again until Müller put a stop to it.

Willi Gleitze

Khaled El Masri

By Dana Priest
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 4, 2005

…On the 23rd day of his motel captivity, the police videotaped Masri, then bundled him, handcuffed and blindfolded, into a van and drove to a closed-off building at the airport, Masri said. There, in silence, someone cut off his clothes. As they changed his blindfold, "I saw seven or eight men with black clothing and wearing masks," he later said in an interview. He said he was drugged to sleep for a long plane ride [to Afghanistan].

Masri said his cell in Afghanistan was cold, dirty and in a cellar, with no light and one dirty cover for warmth. The first night he said he was kicked and beaten and warned by an interrogator: "You are here in a country where no one knows about you, in a country where there is no law. If you die, we will bury you, and no one will know."

Masri was guarded during the day by Afghans, he said. At night, men who sounded as if they spoke American-accented English showed up for the interrogation. Sometimes a man he believed was a doctor in a mask came to take photos, draw blood and collect a urine sample.

Back at the CTC [CIA Counterterrorism Center in Langley, Virginia], Masri's passport was given to the Office of Technical Services to analyze. By March, OTS had concluded the passport was genuine. The CIA had imprisoned the wrong man.