Bill Cosby Says He Became Andrea Constand’s Mentor Because He Wanted to Have Romantic Relationship with Her, Bill Cosby Finally Being Prosecuted, Timeline Bill Cosby: A 50-year chronicle of accusations and accomplishments
May 27, 2016 Comments Off on Bill Cosby Says He Became Andrea Constand’s Mentor Because He Wanted to Have Romantic Relationship with Her, Bill Cosby Finally Being Prosecuted, Timeline Bill Cosby: A 50-year chronicle of accusations and accomplishments
Bill Cosby Says He Became Andrea Constand’s Mentor Because He Wanted to Have Romantic Relationship with Her: Deposition
By Nicole Weisensee Egan 05/26/2016
From the moment entertainer Bill Cosby laid eyes on Andrea Constand in November 2002, he had “a romantic interest” in her, he said in his deposition for her long-settled lawsuit, which was obtained by PEOPLE.
A mutual friend introduced them at Temple University’s Liacouris Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Cosby said, but he kept his romantic interest quiet because “I don’t know her. She doesn’t know me,” he said.
His plan was to “meet her” and then “perhaps to have some moments with her that would have to do with some sort of friendship,” he said.
He never told Constand, then 29 and the director of operations for Temple University’s women’s basketball team, of his feelings for her and she never indicated she had any romantic feelings toward him, he said.
Instead, for the next 14 months, he nurtured their relationship by “inviting her to my house, talking to her about personal situations dealing with her life, growth, education, access and thoughts to how to acquire a more aggressive attitude, protecting oneself in business,” he said.
The nature of the relationship between Cosby and Constand is relevant in what happened at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania mansion in January 2004, which is now the subject of sexual assault charges against Cosby. She says he drugged and sexually assaulted her; he says what happened between them was consensual. (He denies similar allegations by more than 50 women).
She viewed him as a “mentor” and said they had a “sincere friendship,” but that she had “no interest whatsoever” in a romantic relationship with him, she told investigators….
In January 2004, Cosby invited her to his home to discuss her career plans, they both agree. He says he gave her some Benadryl to help her relax (she says he told her it was herbal medication). He says that what happened between them sexually that evening was consensual.
She says whatever he gave her left her so incapacitated she couldn’t speak or move while Cosby was “fondling her breasts, put his hand in her pants… penetrated her vagina with his fingers” and “took her right hand and placed it on his penis.”
One year later, Constand went to authorities about what happened that night. More than a decade later, on Dec. 30, 2015, Cosby was arrested….
The Sad Irony of Bill Cosby Finally Being Prosecuted
What’s harder to believe: that it took a year for Andrea Constand to accuse the star of sexual assault, or that it’s taken 11 years and dozens more women coming forward for those accusations to be heard in court?
Spencer Kornhaber May 25, 2016
….To date, more than 50 women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual misconduct. Constand was the first. In January of 2005 she told police that a year earlier, Cosby had touched and penetrated her after drugging her. A prosecutor decided against proceeding with the case, and Constand followed up with a civil suit that resulted in a 2006 settlement. After that came an accelerating drip of women making allegations about incidents spanning a wide swath of Cosby’s career, from Kristina Ruehli (1965) to Chloe Goins (2008).
….The question of why many sexual-assault victims often delay in making allegations, especially against public figures, has been answered time and again. Justified fears of reprisal and disparagement have to be put into the cost/benefit calculation—and if anything, the Cosby situation has highlighted the costs. “People often these days say, ‘Well, why didn’t you take it to the police?’” another accuser, Tamara Green, told New York Magazine last year. “Andrea Constand went to the police in 2005—how’d it work out for her? Not at all. In 2005, Bill Cosby still had control of the media. In 2015, we have social media. We can’t be disappeared.”
Timeline Bill Cosby: A 50-year chronicle of accusations and accomplishments
By Kyle Kim, Christina Littlefield and Mark Olsen April 26, 2016
Child and Ritual Abuse Research https://ritualabuse.us
Annual report shows continued toll of clergy sex abuse crisis, Jeffrey Franklin’s dark writings foreshadowed his deadly attack on his family
May 26, 2016 Comments Off on Annual report shows continued toll of clergy sex abuse crisis, Jeffrey Franklin’s dark writings foreshadowed his deadly attack on his family
Annual report shows continued toll of clergy sex abuse crisis
By Matt Rocheleau Globe Staff May 20, 2016
The Catholic church paid $153 million in the United States last year to settle lawsuits, and fielded hundreds of new accusations, as fallout continued from the clergy sex abuse scandal exposed in the early 2000s, a new report from church leaders says.
The annual report from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, which covers July 2014 to June 2015, said 384 victims came forward with allegations the church deemed credible.
The figure, while somewhat higher than the 330 allegations deemed credible in the prior year, generally fit into a trend in which the number of such allegations has declined in recent years….
Between 1950 and June 2015, more than 17,600 people made clergy abuse allegations that US Catholic officials have deemed credible….
More than 6,500 clerics were accused of abuse nationwide between 1950 and June 2015, church data show.
Many of the cases deemed credible by the church were alleged to have occurred from the 1960s to the 1980s. Clergy preyed upon boys in the vast majority of reported cases. The alleged abuse most often began when victims were between 10 and 14.
Between 1950 and the end of June 2015, about $3.5 billion was spent on settlement-related costs by US church officials, according to the church….
Jeffrey Franklin’s dark writings foreshadowed his deadly attack on his family
May 25, 2016, by Brian Lawson
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Even 18 years after high school student Jeffrey Franklin murdered his parents and attacked three of his siblings with a hatchet, his writings – collected by investigators after his arrest – still have the power to shock.
Madison County District Attorney Rob Broussard – then an assistant DA – prosecuted Franklin. It was a death penalty case, but it never went to trial, as Franklin entered a guilty plea on the eve of the trial. The murders took place at the family’s home on Camelot Drive in south Huntsville on March 10, 1998.
“If we didn’t have this material in front of us, I think we’d just have to speculate,” Broussard said. “But really when you absorb this material, you’re left with the feeling that there is evil present, and he is evil….
The Franklin case has drawn renewed attention because he is eligible for parole beginning in June.
Franklin, who was 17 at the time of the murders, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder. He received five life sentences.
No hearing date has been set, according to state records, but under Alabama law a person serving a life term is parole eligible after serving 15 years in prison….
Broussard described the writings as “the contents” of Franklin’s head in the run-up to the murders that took place at a home on Camelot Drive.
“In this material, there’s meticulous planning, about how he’s going to kill his parents, even, even tactically,” Broussard said, “‘I know Dad will be home at this time and I’m going to be, I’ll wait by the front door, behind the little hutch, and I’ll hit him with a hammer. Mom will be out on a walk, when she comes back I’ll have the radio playing loudly, I’ll call Mom in the room and ask her what’s on the agenda for today, then I’ll kill her, and what about the brothers and sisters. Well, I’ll take them, I’ll strangle my little brother in this room and I’ll lure my other little brother into this room and strangle him. Then my sister I will rape her then I will finish her off.’
“And, it’s pretty chilling. All the way down to, ‘Even if they do catch me, I will plead insanity, and fool those stupid judges and prosecutors.’”
The writings are also marked by an apparent fascination with the occult.
“Devil worship-based,” Broussard said. “Very violent. Overtones of a sexual nature throughout the material. There are religious themes, sort of anti-God, kind of theme that runs through it.
“I mean, the predominance, the predominant theme here, really is, that of Satanic worship, as you read through this material. And, very violent.”…
Along with drug abuse, Franklin’s writings point to a darker side. McCutcheon described as Satanism.
“He just felt like that he was doing what Satan, who at that particular time, based on his writings, was his god,” McCutcheon said. “He was doing what Satan wanted him to do.”
But Tuten said he doesn’t believe the writings prove that.
“I did not think he was actually devil-worshipping,” Tuten said. “His family was very staunch Catholics, and I think he was doing that out of rebellion, in an effort to make his parents mad. And I don’t there was anything else to it, other than that.”
Broussard said the writings contain a Satanic and anti-God themes, along with descriptions and drawings of sexual violence….
Bill Cosby to stand trial for assault charges, Bill Cosby Admitted to Sex with Teens, Satanic Ritual Abuse
May 25, 2016 Comments Off on Bill Cosby to stand trial for assault charges, Bill Cosby Admitted to Sex with Teens, Satanic Ritual Abuse
– Bill Cosby to stand trial for assault charges, judge rules
– Bill Cosby Accuser Jennifer Thompson: One of the Teens He Had Sex With was Me
– Judge Says Sexual Assault Case Against Bill Cosby Can Go To Trial
– Bill Cosby Admitted to Sex with Teens, Said Agency Sent Five or Six Models to His Studio Each Week
– UK Column Live – Satanic Ritual Abuse
– North Carolina ‘Satanist’ And ‘Cannibal’ Arrested For Murder, Bodies Found In Shallow Graves In Backyard
– Feces-strewn floors, pentagrams on every wall and graves in the garden: Inside the North Carolina ‘Satanist killer’s’ house of horrors
– Tennessee Satanist Gregory Scott Hale Arrested for Murder and Cannibalism
describes graphic crimes
Bill Cosby to stand trial for assault charges, judge rules
By Brian Vitagliano, Holly Yan and Kristina Sgueglia, CNN
Tue May 24, 2016
Norristown, Pennsylvania (CNN)More than a decade after he was first accused of sexual misconduct, Bill Cosby will go to trial. A Pennsylvania judge found enough evidence during a hearing Tuesday to proceed with a criminal trial. It’s not clear when his trial will start. Cosby faces three counts of felony aggravated indecent assault from a 2004 case involving Andrea Constand, an employee at his alma mater, Temple University. She was the first of more than 50 women who have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct….
In the statement, Constand said Cosby invited her to his home in 2004 and told her to wear comfortable clothes. Constand said she had been grappling with issues in her life, and that Cosby gave her a few pills to “take the edge off.” Afterward, Constand’s statement said, Cosby sexually assaulted her. Constand was not in court for the hearing Tuesday, a fact that Cosby’s defense team tried to capitalize on. “After hearing the weak, inconsistent and incredible evidence presented, it is clear why the prosecution did not allow its witness to speak and be confronted by the person she has accused,” McMonagle said….
Cosby has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 50 women. But he will never stand trial in the vast majority of cases because the statutes of limitations have passed…. Cosby has denied he sexually assaulted any women.
Bill Cosby Accuser Jennifer Thompson: One of the Teens He Had Sex With was Me
Two days before Bill Cosby was ordered to trial on allegations he drugged and sexually assaulted a woman in 2004, a document re-surfaced in which he admitted having sexual contact with teens sent to him by a modeling agency.
Jennifer “Kaya” Thompson, who spoke with PEOPLE exclusively in 2005, confirms she was one of those teens.
The document, which was re-released Sunday by the Associated Press includes portions of Cosby’s depositions from 2005 and 2006 in a long-settled civil suit.
During those depositions, Cosby was asked about an unnamed aspiring actress and model he met when she was 17, and he acknowledged that an agency would send “five or six” models each week to the studio where he filmed The Cosby Show. His contact with the young woman – which Thompson says is her – continued as she became 18 or 19….
Judge Says Sexual Assault Case Against Bill Cosby Can Go To Trial
May 24, 2016 Dana Farrington
A judge in Pennsylvania ruled Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence for a sexual assault case against comedian Bill Cosby to move to trial….
Cosby, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual assault, has been charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault in the case, which involves a former Temple University employee who says Cosby assaulted her in his home in 2004. Each count carries five to 10 years in prison….
The statement “said that Constand felt dizzy, had blurred vision … after Cosby allegedly gave her pills she thought were herbal medicine,” Allyn reports. Cosby says the pills were Benadryl and the sexual contact was consensual….
Bill Cosby Admitted to Sex with Teens, Said Agency Sent Five or Six Models to His Studio Each Week
Bill Cosby Admitted to Sex With Teens in Newly Released Deposition
By Nicole Weisensee Egan 5/23/2016
Entertainer Bill Cosby admitted to having sex with at least two teen-aged girls and said an agency would send “five or six” models to his studio each week while he was filming one of his sitcoms, according to portions of Cosby’s deposition in a long-settled civil released by the Associated Press on the eve of a preliminary hearing on the lone criminal case against Cosby.
Cosby said he would give the struggling, young actresses a “very, very good meal” and described a sexual encounter he had with one of them in 2000, according to the transcripts from the depositions Cosby gave in 2005 and 2006 for Andrea Constand’s civil suit against him. She was 17 years old at the time….
UK Column Live – Satanic Ritual Abuse
Special studio guest: child protection campaigner of 22 years’ standing Wilfred Wong, originally trained as a barrister and with expertise in Satanic ritual abuse.
North Carolina ‘Satanist’ And ‘Cannibal’ Arrested For Murder, Bodies Found In Shallow Graves In Backyard
A “Satanist killer’s” home in North Carolina has been described as a house of horrors by law enforcement officers. Pazuzu Illah Algarad, 35, was arrested after the remains of two individuals were found behind his home in Clemmons, in a shallow grave.
The North Carolina Satanist shared the home with Amber Nicole Burch, 24, who claimed to be his wife. Cynthia Lawson, Pazuzu Illah Algarad’s mother, also lived at the same address. The bodies found in a shallow grave in North Carolina have been identified as Tommy Welch and Joshua Wetzler. Both men were in their 30s.
Amber Nicole Birch was also charged in the murders. Krystal Nicole Matlock, 28, has been charged as an accessory to murder. Clemmons police officers believe that the bodies of the two men were buried in 2009, with Algarad and Burch each committing one of the murders.
Police video taken inside the home where satanic worship allegedly occurred is said to be “stomach-turning.” The walls were reportedly covered in pentagrams, depictions of the Devil, animal feces, and other putrid substances covering the floor and a “sea of trash” scattered about the North Carolina home.
A friend of Pazuzu Illah Algarad claims that the alleged satanic worshipper “told everyone” about the bodies buried in shallow graves in the backyard – but no one believe him. Algarad also allegedly told his friend how Joshua Fredrick Wetzler and Tommy Dean Welch were killed in great detail. After killing the two men, the Satanist allegedly ate part of their bodies and burned the rest in a fire pit.
Algarad’s neighbors told local authorities that he routinely performed both satanic rituals and animal sacrifices in his back yard as well. North Carolina law enforcement officers report that animal bones have been found on the property, and that more arrests are possible as the investigation moves along….
Feces-strewn floors, pentagrams on every wall and graves in the garden: Inside the North Carolina ‘Satanist killer’s’ house of horrors
Pazuzu Illah Algarad, 35, was arrested October 5 after the remains of two people were found in a shallow grave behind the Clemmons home
Algarad’s professed wife Amber Nicole Burch, 24, was also charged following the discovery of the bodies of Joshua Wetzler and Tommy Welch
The couple lived in the filthy home with Algarad’s satanist mother Cynthia Lawson
Krystal Nicole Matlock, 28, has been charged as an accessory to murder
Police believe the victims were buried in 2009 and that Algarad killed one while Burch killed the other
By Wills Robinson and Josh Gardner for MailOnline
6 November 2014
Police have released stomach-turning video taken from inside the disgusting home of accused North Carolina ‘Satanist killer’ Pazuza Algarad.
Inside the Clemmons house, behind which police uncovered two long-dead bodies from a shallow grave last month, is a virtual sea of trash, animal feces and other putrescence within walls utterly covered in pentagrams and depictions of the Devil.
The squalid scene lay behind a door covered in skulls and arcane symbols. Otherwise, the ranch-style brick home suggests none of the horrors police say took place inside and which date back as far as 2009.
Early this past October, police dug two bodies out from the yard behind the home 35-year-old Algarad shared with his Satanist mother Cynthia Lawson and his self-proclaimed wife Amber Burch, 24.
The first victim has been identified as 37-year-old Joshua Fredrick Wetzler while the second victim has been named as Tommy Dean Welch, 36.
Police say they wound up dead and buried in the yard in 2009.
Algarad was arrested and charged with murder October 5 after the two bodies were discovered at the house in Clemmons where neighbors say he has performed animal sacrifices and satanic rituals.
A friend claims that he had ‘told everyone’ about the bodies, but nobody believed him, and he described how he killed them, ate part of them and then burned the rest in a fire pit.
Burch was also charged with murder, while 28-year-old Krystal Nicole Matlock has been charged as an accessory with police alleging that she helped bury the bodies.
Police have said they also found animal bones in the property and that more arrests as part of the investigation are possible….
Tennessee Satanist Gregory Scott Hale Arrested for Murder and Cannibalism
By Kabita Maharana June 11, 2014
A Satanist who murdered and dismembered a woman before eating parts of her body, has been arrested in Manchester, Tennessee, according to reports.
Gregory Scott Hale, 37, was arrested at his home in Coffee County and has been charged with first degree murder after he admitted to the murder of 36-year-old Lisa Hyder of Dekalb County, and performing the grisly ritual that followed.
Devil worshipper Hale was reportedly seeking help from his neighbours to dispose of Hyder’s remains, when they became suspicious and contacted the police….
In the arrest affidavit, Hale said he cut off Hyder’s head, her hands and her feet before burying her torso outside his south-central Tennessee home.
Hale also admitted eating portions of her corpse during a ritual. He claims to have never met the woman he killed.
The deranged man was known to have performed satanic rituals using animal body parts, which he acquired from the slaughterhouse where he worked.
Further evidence of his preoccupation with bloody ritual and death can be found on Hale’s Facebook page.
Police expect 30,000 new child abuse reports from Goddard inquiry, Cult leader’s extradition from Brazil to Minn. to face rape charges suddenly called off
May 20, 2016 Comments Off on Police expect 30,000 new child abuse reports from Goddard inquiry, Cult leader’s extradition from Brazil to Minn. to face rape charges suddenly called off
Police expect 30,000 new child abuse reports from Goddard inquiry
Exclusive: Extent of child sexual abuse in England and Wales begins to become clear as inquiry passes on 100 cases a month
Sandra Laville Thursday 19 May 2016
The scale of child sexual abuse in England and Wales is being exposed by evidence from thousands of victims, with cases being passed to police at a rate of 100 a month by the public inquiry set up following the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Simon Bailey, head of the national coordinating unit Operation Hydrant, said his team was expecting to be given 30,000 reports of new child sexual offences by the end of the Goddard inquiry, and predicted the rate of referrals of allegations of abuse would increase.
Reports of child abuse to forces across the country are continuing to rise, said Bailey, who is the chief constable of Norfolk. He calculated that the continuing increase would mean that by 2020 police across the country would be investigating 200,000 cases of child sexual abuse.
Bailey added:….”We are seeing a significant rise in the number of referrals each month from the Goddard inquiry, and these allegations relate to abuse in a range of institutions from the church, to schools, the scouts and hospitals.”
Justice Lowell Goddard is running 13 investigations into institutional abuse, which include inquiries concerning Westminster, the Catholic Church, Church of England, and Lambeth borough, and concerning grooming and sexual exploitation in Rochdale, Devon, Cornwall, Oxford and Rotherham, and at the Medomsley detention centre in Durham….
Cult leader’s extradition from Brazil to Minn. to face rape charges suddenly called off
Dispute between Brazil and U.S. over sentencing is behind the delay.
By Paul Walsh Star Tribune
May 19, 2016
Minnesota cult leader Victor Barnard was arrested in February 2015 while on the run in Brazil, where he remains imprisoned.
Cult leader Victor Barnard was supposed to have been put on a flight from Brazil under guard of federal agents Thursday and returned to Minnesota to face charges that he raped young followers in his congregation, but an unexpected delay has popped up, a defense attorney said. The extradition is now on an indefinite hold.
Barnard faces 59 counts of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly molesting young girls he called “maidens” in his Pine County congregation.
He fled to Brazil, was captured in February 2015 and has been imprisoned there ever since. Even though that nation’s Supreme Court has approved Barnard’s extradition back to Minnesota, a dispute between Brazilian and U.S. authorities over any potential sentence is delaying his return.
….one condition of the Brazilian court is that any potential sentence for Barnard in the United States not exceed 30 years, which is the maximum he would receive if prosecuted and convicted in that South American country….
May 19, 2016 Comments Off on Ottawa diocese repeatedly warned about local clergy’s most notorious abuser
Ottawa diocese repeatedly warned about local clergy’s most notorious abuser
Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen
May 18, 2016
The Archdiocese of Ottawa continues to pay for the many sins of Rev. Dale Crampton.
Court documents reveal that the diocese has paid $741,783.44 in compensation to 10 of Crampton’s victims, who were sexually abused by the Catholic priest between 1963 and 1982.
More lawsuits are before the courts. The victims in those cases are seeking $3.7 million.
In total, the diocese now knows of at least 17 people who say they were victimized by the priest as children.
Through interviews and court documents, the Citizen has learned that members of the Ottawa clergy were warned at least seven times about Crampton’s sexual misconduct, beginning in 1965….
Crampton is the most notorious perpetrator in Ottawa’s clergy sexual abuse scandal, a pedophile and alcoholic who has cost the diocese and its insurance companies more money than any other priest….
At least four priests were told about Crampton’s abuse. What’s more, two complainants said they approached senior diocesan officials with allegations of abuse between 1980 and 1986….
“The archdiocese knew. They knew in the ’60s,” charged C.B., a retired educator. “A lot of other people could have been saved, and not subjected to abuse as I was, and more serious kinds of abuse … He was just getting started with me.”….
The diocese has publicly apologized to Crampton’s victims, but it has never admitted mistakes in how it dealt with the priest.
It has, however, changed the way it manages allegations of sexual abuse against Ottawa clergy.
In 2011, the Archdiocese of Ottawa issued a protocol that requires all clergy members and church employees to report any allegation of child sexual abuse to the Office of the Archbishop and to the Children’s Aid Society….
Lawyer Robert Talach, who has represented 10 of Crampton’s victims in lawsuits against the diocese, said that attitude is at the heart of the clergy sex abuse scandal.
The church, he said, operated behind “an institutional veil of secrecy” designed to protect its reputation, even at the expense of children’s safety.
It is why, Talach said, that he’s not surprised the Archdiocese of Ottawa was warned seven times about Crampton.
“It’s not unusual because what usually triggers more action is some kind of spectre of public knowledge,” he said.
More lawsuits are pending against Crampton and the diocese….
In 1974, he became one of the first two priests ever elected to the Ottawa Catholic School Board. Crampton collected more votes than any other trustee in that election.
The other priest elected that year was Rev. Kenneth Keeler, who would later plead guilty to sexually abusing three boys in the 1970s and 1980s.
Both Crampton and Keeler were re-elected as trustees in 1976….
May 18, 2016 Comments Off on Former leader of cult-like Ontario church pleads guilty to assault
Former leader of cult-like Ontario church pleads guilty to assault
Fred King admitted to spitting on people, kicking, punching or slapping church members and making some of them strip in front of the congregation.
By The Canadian Press Tues., May 10, 2016
OWEN SOUND, ONT.—The former leader of a southwestern Ontario church that police have described as cult-like pleaded guilty Tuesday in an Owen Sound, Ont., court to nine counts of assault.
Fred King, 57, of Chatsworth Township, Ont., is to be sentenced on Sept. 14.
In an agreed statement of facts read in court by Crown Attorney Michael Martin, King admits to spitting on people, kicking, punching or slapping church members and making some of them strip in front of the rest of the congregation.
While King pleaded guilty to the assault charges, 16 other charges — including sexual assault, sexual interference, and uttering death threats — were withdrawn by the Crown.
Known as “The Prophet” at the Church of Jesus Christ Restored in Chatsworth, Ont., King’s charges relate to his time as leader of the Church from 1978 to 2008…. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/05/10/former-leader-of-cult-like-ontario-church-pleads-guilty-to-assault.html
May 13, 2016 Comments Off on Judge Allows A CIA Torture Lawsuit To Move Forward For The First Time
“The CIA program violated not only international and U.S. prohibitions on torture — it also violated the well-established ban on non-consensual human experimentation.”
Judge Allows A CIA Torture Lawsuit To Move Forward For The First Time
The three men at the heart of the case were beaten, held in coffin-sized boxes, and hung from metal rods.
04/22/2016 Jessica Schulberg Foreign Affairs Reporter, The Huffington Post
SPOKANE, Wash. — A federal judge indicated Friday he will deny a request from two CIA-contracted psychologists to throw out a lawsuit filed on behalf of three victims of the agency’s now-defunct enhanced interrogation program.
“I don’t think I have any other choice,” said Senior Judge Justin L. Quackenbush of the Eastern District of Washington, indicating that he would allow the case to move forward despite objections from the psychologists’ lawyers, who claimed their clients are immune from civil liability.
The decision was a landmark victory for the American Civil Liberties Union, the group representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, as well as the family of Gul Rahman, who died in CIA custody in 2002. The ACLU is seeking damages for their clients from the two psychologists, who they allege in their complaint “designed, implemented, and personally administered an experimental torture program for the [CIA].”
“This has never happened before,” Hina Shamsi, an ACLU lawyer on the case, told reporters outside the courtroom after the hearing. She and her team didn’t expect the judge to make a decision on whether to scrap the case so quickly and appeared genuinely surprised that he ruled in their favor.
“There have been so many cases brought by torture victims … and not one of them has been able to go forward, for shameful reasons,” Shamsi said. “This is a very big deal for our clients.”
The three men represented by the ACLU were identified in the Senate’s 500-page executive summary of a 6,000-page report on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program” as being exposed to brutal interrogation methods that constitute torture. They were waterboarded, beaten, hung from metal rods, held in coffin-sized boxes, and deprived of light, food, and sleep….
The Senate report refers to psychologists James Elmer Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen using pseudonyms, and describes their integral role in creating and executing an interrogation program that taught prisoners “learned helplessness” by exposing them to uncontrollable pain. The duo’s company received $81 million from the CIA for the work on the interrogation program.
Spokane….it’s where Mitchell and Jessen, who both taught U.S. soldiers survival, evasion, resistance and escape techniques at the nearby Fairchild Air Force Base, set up shop when they contracted with the intelligence agency….
Although President Barack Obama outlawed the use of torture early in his administration, he has declined to prosecute individuals responsible for creating and implementing the torture program operated by the CIA between 2002 and 2007, setting a precedent of immunity for those involved.
The U.S. government has blocked past efforts by the ACLU to sue individuals and entities for actions related to CIA torture by arguing that the lawsuits risked exposing state secrets. Judges dismissed those prior cases, ruling in a way that Ladin described Friday as “overly deferential” to the government….
Out of the Darkness
How two psychologists teamed up with the CIA to devise a torture program and experiment on human beings.
….For more than a month, Suleiman endured an incessant barrage of torture techniques designed to psychologically destroy him. His torturers repeatedly doused him with ice-cold water. They beat him and slammed him into walls. They hung him from a metal rod, his toes barely touching the floor. They chained him in other painful stress positions for days at a time. They starved him, deprived him of sleep, and stuffed him inside small boxes. With the torture came terrifying interrogation sessions in which he was grilled about what he was doing in Somalia and the names of people, all but one of whom he’d never heard of.
After four or five weeks of this relentless pain and suffering, Suleiman’s torturers assessed him as psychologically broken and incapable of resisting them. Suleiman could take no more. He decided to end his life by consuming painkillers he had stockpiled. But as he began to take the pills, guards stormed into his cell to stop him. He was then shackled, hooded, and driven a short distance to another CIA prison close by — a prison Suleiman came to know as the “Salt Pit.” Although Suleiman’s torture would continue for many years more, the very worst of it was over.
Anatomy of an Abduction
A year and two months later, the CIA handed Suleiman over to the U.S. military, which imprisoned him at Bagram, also in Afghanistan. Finally, in 2008, after more than five years in U.S. custody, with no charges ever leveled against him, he was sent home with a document confirming he posed no threat to the United States. His family had heard nothing of him since his disappearance, and they had presumed him dead.
But even once home in his native Zanzibar, Suleiman felt far from free. Constant flashbacks transported him back to his torture at the hands of his CIA captors. After years of near-starvation he was unable to eat normally. He suffered splitting headaches and pain throughout his body from the torture. Prolonged isolation left him unaccustomed to human interaction. Despite repeated attempts, he couldn’t find Magida. Unable to sleep due to the torment of his memories and the physical pain, he found limited solace playing with his family’s rabbits in the middle of the night….
Suleiman’s trauma is not just a consequence of his ordeal in American prisons. It was the CIA’s goal, through a program designed and executed by two psychologists the agency contracted to run its torture operations, to break his mind. Integral to the program was the idea that once a detainee had been psychologically destroyed through torture, he would become compliant and cooperate with interrogators’ demands. The theory behind the goal had never been scientifically tested because such trials would violate human experimentation bans established after Nazi experiments and atrocities during World War II. Yet that theory would drive an experiment in some of the worst systematic brutality ever inflicted on detainees in modern American history. Today, three of the many victims and survivors of that experiment are seeking justice through a lawsuit against the men who designed and implemented that program for the CIA.
Mitchell and Jessen were two former U.S. military psychologists contracted by the CIA to design, develop, and run the agency’s detention, rendition, and interrogation operations. As psychologists in the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program, the two men had devoted their careers to training U.S. troops to resist abusive treatment in case of capture by governments that violate the Geneva Conventions. SERE teaches resistance by subjecting students to carefully controlled versions of harsh techniques used by China, North Korea, and the former Soviet Union, often to extract false confessions from captives for propaganda purposes. During training, psychologists like Mitchell and Jessen are on hand to monitor trainees’ psychological well-being and to ensure that SERE instructors don’t go too far.
But Mitchell and Jessen intensified and manipulated SERE techniques so they bore little relation to those used on SERE recruits. Whereas SERE training was intended to help strengthen the resolve of American recruits, Mitchell and Jessen’s techniques were designed to achieve the exact opposite result: to break detainees and turn their minds into putty in interrogators’ hands….
Mitchell and Jessen were interested in applying the psychological concept of “learned helplessness” to interrogation. Psychologist Martin Seligman pioneered studies on the phenomenon in experiments he conducted on dogs in the 1960s. Seligman used the term “learned helplessness” to describe the state of utter passivity prompted by a series of negative events that leads subjects to believe there is nothing they can do to escape their suffering. Seligman conducted his experiments by administering electric shocks to different groups of dogs. When given the chance to avoid their pain, the dogs in his experiment that had been able to escape the shocks did so quickly. Those that couldn’t stop the pain didn’t even try to avoid it, even when given the opportunity. They believed they had no ability to control their fates. They had learned helplessness.
Mitchell and Jessen posited that this theory could be applied to interrogation — that harsh measures could be used to break any resistance of al-Qaida captives by inducing a state of learned helplessness. Torture would “shape compliance” with interrogation, Mitchell and Jessen theorized. Once detainees were abused to the point of learned helplessness, resistance would crumble, and the detainees would divulge information that they might otherwise withhold.
No legitimate science backs up this assumption. Research on inducing a sustained state of learned helplessness in humans through abuse, or on the role of learned helplessness in eliciting truthful information, does not exist for the simple reason that it can’t be legally or ethically conducted….
The CIA program violated not only international and U.S. prohibitions on torture — it also violated the well-established ban on non-consensual human experimentation. The Nuremburg Code, in place since 1947, was the basis for the prosecution and convictions of World War II Nazi doctors. It forbids any research on human subjects without their informed consent. Numerous other treaties and ethics codes include similar bans, recognizing that any experimentation, however benign, on human subjects without their consent or on prisoners, is inherently cruel, inhuman, or degrading.
Mitchell and Jessen, however, were undeterred by law, ethics, or the lessons of history. The torture program they designed and implemented at the behest of the CIA by its very design required ongoing experimentation on its human subjects. They did not know how the detainees would react to the torture techniques they devised, or if the detainees would even survive them. They did not know whether and how much torture would be needed to induce learned helplessness in a particular detainee, or whether once a detainee’s mind was broken, he would produce truthful information. They had, after all, adapted the torture techniques from those used by authoritarian regimes to extract false confessions….
After weeks of debate, and over objections from the State Department, President George W. Bush ultimately issued the final word on the matter. In a February 2002 memo, he stated that al-Qaida and Taliban detainees were not protected by the Geneva Conventions….
Mitchell and Jessen made out handsomely too. From 2001 until 2005, as consultants to the CIA, they made $1.5 and $1.1 million, respectively. In 2005, they formed a company, Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, to supply the CIA with more personnel to help implement and expand their program. Until the termination in 2010 of the CIA’s contract with Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, the company received $81 million for its torture services, financed by the American taxpayer….