ACLU sues psychologists over CIA interrogation tactics, Rise in child abuse investigations linked to fears of witchcraft
October 14, 2015 Comments Off on ACLU sues psychologists over CIA interrogation tactics, Rise in child abuse investigations linked to fears of witchcraft
ACLU sues psychologists over CIA interrogation tactics
The Associated Press ERIC TUCKER Oct 13th 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday sued two former Air Force psychologists who designed a CIA program that used harsh interrogation techniques to elicit intelligence from suspected terrorists, saying the pair endorsed and taught torture tactics under the guise of science.
The lawsuit comes 10 months after the release of a damning Senate report that said the interrogation techniques had inflicted pain on al-Qaida prisoners far beyond the legal limits and did not yield lifesaving intelligence.
The suit accuses the psychologists, James E. Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, of developing an interrogation program that relied on beatings, sleep deprivation, starvation, waterboarding and other methods that caused physical and psychological suffering on prisoners in CIA custody….
The suit was filed in federal court in Washington state on behalf of three former CIA prisoners. One, Gul Rahman, was interrogated in a dungeon-like Afghanistan prison called the Salt Pit, subjected to isolation, darkness and extreme cold water, and was later found dead of hypothermia. The other two men, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, are now free.
The lawsuit was brought under the Alien Tort Statute, which allows noncitizens to sue in U.S. courts over human-rights violations. A 2010 Associated Press report, citing former U.S. officials, said the CIA promised to cover at least $5 million in legal fees for the psychologists if the program ran into trouble.
The suit repeats many of the allegations that surfaced in an exhaustive Senate investigation issued last year. It found sweeping flaws with the CIA’s approach to interrogations.
The complaint alleges that the psychologists, despite having no practical interrogation experience or specific background in al-Qaida, devised a program for the CIA that drew from 1960s experiments involving dogs and the theory of “learned helplessness.” In making their case to the CIA, the psychologists argued that just as abused dogs will become passive and compliant, humans subject to “uncontrollable pain” would “become helpless and unable to resist an interrogator’s demand for information,” according to the lawsuit.
The pair, who worked as independent contractors for the CIA, formed a company that was ultimately paid $81 million and which as of April 2007 directly employed 11 of the 13 interrogators used by the agency, the complaint states. The men were also themselves involved in some of the interrogations….
Rise in child abuse investigations linked to fears of witchcraft
Ruth Gledhill Christian Today Contributing Editor 12 October 2015
Police are investigating increasing numbers of cases where children are being assaulted because of suspicions about witchcraft.
This year so far, 27 cases of ritual child abuse have or are still being investigated by the Metropolitan Police, including two allegations of rape. This compares to to 24 in 2013, 19 in 2012 and nine in 2011. There have ben 148 referrals to the Met since 2004….
Allegations included a child being swung around and smacked on the head to “drive out the devil” and youngsters being dunked in water, according to an investigation by the BBC.
Deaths linked to ritual child abuse include Kristy Bamu, 15, tortured and drowned by his sister and her boyfriend in 2010 and Victoria Climbie in 2000, whose aunt and boyfriend had believed she was possessed and who were found guilty of murder.
Det Supt Terry Sharpe said ritualistic abuse was a hidden crime.
“Abuse linked to belief is a horrific crime which is condemned by people of all cultures, communities and faiths. A number of high-profile investigations brought the issue of ritual abuse and witchcraft into the headlines, but it is important that professionals are clear about the signs to look for.”
Some families genuinely believed the victim had been taken over by the devil or an evil spirit, he said.
“Regardless of the beliefs of the abusers, child abuse is child abuse.”….
May 2, 2015 Comments Off on American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says
American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture Program, Report Says
By JAMES RISEN APRIL 30, 2015
WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-Sept. 11 war on terror, according to a new report by a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists.
The report is the first to examine the association’s role in the interrogation program. It contends, using newly disclosed emails, that the group’s actions to keep psychologists involved in the interrogation program coincided closely with efforts by senior Bush administration officials to salvage the program after the public disclosure in 2004 of graphic photos of prisoner abuse by American military personnel at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
“The A.P.A. secretly coordinated with officials from the C.I.A., White House and the Department of Defense to create an A.P.A. ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the C.I.A. torture program,” the report’s authors conclude….
The involvement of health professionals in the Bush-era interrogation program was significant because it enabled the Justice Department to argue in secret opinions that the program was legal and did not constitute torture, since the interrogations were being monitored by health professionals to make sure they were safe.
The interrogation program has since been shut down, and last year the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a detailed report that described the program as both ineffective and abusive.
Rhea Farberman, a spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association, denied that the group had coordinated its actions with the government. There “has never been any coordination between A.P.A. and the Bush administration on how A.P.A. responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program,” she said….
In early June 2004, a senior official with the association, the nation’s largest professional organization for psychologists, issued an invitation to a carefully selected group of psychologists and behavioral scientists inside the government to a private meeting to discuss the crisis and the role of psychologists in the interrogation program.
Psychologists from the C.I.A. and other agencies met with association officials in July, and by the next year the association issued guidelines that reaffirmed that it was acceptable for its members to be involved in the interrogation program.
To emphasize their argument that the association grew too close to the interrogation program, the critics’ new report cites a 2003 email from a senior psychologist at the C.I.A. to a senior official at the psychological association. In the email, the C.I.A. psychologist appears to be confiding in the association official about the work of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the private contractors who developed and helped run the enhanced interrogation program at the C.I.A.’s secret prisons around the world….
December 20, 2014 Comments Off on ‘Sons Of Guns’ Star Indicted On Multiple Rape Charges, Why the Torture Report Won’t Change Anything
‘Sons Of Guns’ Star Indicted On Multiple Rape Charges
The Huffington Post
Cavan Sieczkowski December 19, 2014
The former star of Discovery Channel’s “Sons of Guns,” Will Hayden, was indicted on multiple rape charges Wednesday in Louisiana.
An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Hayden, 49, on three counts of rape involving two females, the Times-Picayune reported. The charges against him include two counts of aggravated rape and one count of forcible rape. If convicted of aggravated rape, he faces a mandatory life sentence.
Hayden is accused of raping two preteen girls, according to the Advocate. He is accused of raping a girl in East Baton Rouge beginning in March 2013, when she was 11 years old, until August 2014.
Additionally, a woman, who is now in her 30s, also came forward claiming Hayden raped her in the 1990s when she was 12 years old, the Advocate reported….
Why the Torture Report Won’t Change Anything
At most, it only further proves the incompatibility of a secret intelligence service and an open democracy.
Tim Weiner December 16, 2014
The report on the brutalities of the CIA’s secret prisons is the most important work by the Senate Intelligence Committee since congressional oversight of the CIA began in the 1970s. Its descriptions of torture and deception are as compelling as the newsreels of the Nuremberg trials….
It appears that the CIA did not give President Bush a full report on the gory details of the secret prisons for four years. This is “plausible deniability,” which shields the president from legal or moral hazard by keeping him in the dark. That practice was supposed to have ended decades ago.
The CIA had also forbidden the use of torture—“not only because it is wrong, but because it has historically proven to be ineffective,” in the words of Richard Stolz, chief of the clandestine service under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Stolz is cited in the Senate report. The CIA’s codes of conduct before 9/11 clearly stated, “Inhumane physical or psychological techniques are counterproductive because they do not produce intelligence and will probably result in false answers.”
False answers were what Congress got from Bush’s CIA directors and their underlings. They delivered deceptive testimony and destroyed videotapes of torture. Brennan had to reprimand five officers for cybersnooping on the Senate’s files. The intelligence committees cannot function if the CIA lies to them and spies on them. That, too, was supposed to have ended when the committees were created in the 1970s….
December 19, 2014 Comments Off on The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings
The CIA Didn’t Just Torture, It Experimented on Human Beings
Reframing the CIA’s interrogation techniques as a violation of scientific and medical ethics may be the best way to achieve accountability.
Lisa Hajjar December 16, 2014
Human experimentation was a core feature of the CIA’s torture program. The experimental nature of the interrogation and detention techniques is clearly evident in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s executive summary of its investigative report, despite redactions (insisted upon by the CIA) to obfuscate the locations of these laboratories of cruel science and the identities of perpetrators.
At the helm of this human experimentation project were two psychologists hired by the CIA, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. They designed interrogation and detention protocols that they and others applied to people imprisoned in the agency’s secret “black sites.”
In its response to the Senate report, the CIA justified its decision to hire the duo: “We believe their expertise was so unique that we would have been derelict had we not sought them out when it became clear that CIA would be heading into the uncharted territory of the program.” Mitchell and Jessen’s qualifications did not include interrogation experience, specialized knowledge about Al Qaeda or relevant cultural or linguistic knowledge. What they had was Air Force experience in studying the effects of torture on American prisoners of war, as well as a curiosity about whether theories of “learned helplessness” derived from experiments on dogs might work on human enemies….
The “war on terror” is not the CIA’s first venture into human experimentation. At the dawn of the Cold War, German scientists and doctors with Nazi records of human experimentation were given new identities and brought to the United States under Operation Paperclip. During the Korean War, alarmed by the shocking rapidity of American POWs’ breakdowns and indoctrination by their communist captors, the CIA began investing in mind-control research. In 1953, the CIA established the MK-ULTRA program, whose earliest phase involved hypnosis, electroshock and hallucinogenic drugs. The program evolved into experiments in psychological torture that adapted elements of Soviet and Chinese models, including longtime standing, protracted isolation, sleep deprivation and humiliation. Those lessons soon became an applied “science” in the Cold War.
During the Vietnam War, the CIA developed the Phoenix program, which combined psychological torture with brutal interrogations, human experimentation and extrajudicial executions. In 1963, the CIA produced a manual titled “Kubark Counterintelligence Interrogation” to guide agents in the art of extracting information from “resistant” sources by combining techniques to produce “debility, disorientation and dread.” Like the communists, the CIA largely eschewed tactics that violently target the body in favor of those that target the mind by systematically attacking all human senses in order to produce the desired state of compliance. The Phoenix program model was incorporated into the curriculum of the School of the Americas, and an updated version of the Kubark guide, produced in 1983 and titled “Human Resource Exploitation Manual,” was disseminated to the intelligence services of right-wing regimes in Latin America and Southeast Asia during the global “war on communism.”
In the mid-1980s, CIA practices became the subject of congressional investigations into US-supported atrocities in Central America….
December 11, 2014 Comments Off on Here Are The Most Horrific Details From The Senate Torture Report, Read The Senate Torture Report
Here Are The Most Horrific Details From The Senate Torture Report
Nick Wing 12/09/2014
On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the long-awaited summary of its torture report, revealing horrific details about the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program.
Many of the details in the report are sickening and graphic. They are perhaps made only more disturbing by the overarching conclusion that the torture and “enhanced interrogation” employed by the CIA failed to produce the types of significant intelligence that had been used to defend the program in the past.
You can go here to read the unsealed summary of the report, including a section on initial findings and hundreds of pages of declassified documents. Below is a compilation of some of the most abhorrent details from it….
Read The Senate Torture Report Here
The Huffington Post By Paige Lavender
Panel Faults C.I.A. Over Brutality and Deceit in Interrogations, More Than A Quarter Of The World’s Countries Helped The CIA Run Its Torture Program, Senate report finds CIA torture produced ‘fabricated’ intel and thwarted no plots
December 10, 2014 Comments Off on Panel Faults C.I.A. Over Brutality and Deceit in Interrogations, More Than A Quarter Of The World’s Countries Helped The CIA Run Its Torture Program, Senate report finds CIA torture produced ‘fabricated’ intel and thwarted no plots
Panel Faults C.I.A. Over Brutality and Deceit in Interrogations
By MARK MAZZETTI DEC. 9, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday issued a sweeping indictment of the Central Intelligence Agency’s program to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks, drawing on millions of internal C.I.A. documents to illuminate practices that it said were more brutal — and far less effective — than the agency acknowledged either to Bush administration officials or to the public.
The long-delayed report delivers a withering judgment on one of the most controversial tactics of a twilight war waged over a dozen years. The Senate committee’s investigation, born of what its chairwoman, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, said was a need to reckon with the excesses of this war, found that C.I.A. officials routinely misled the White House and Congress about the information it obtained, and failed to provide basic oversight of the secret prisons it established around the world.
In exhaustive detail, the report gives a macabre accounting of some of the grisliest techniques that the C.I.A. used to torture and imprison terrorism suspects. Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”
….The torture of prisoners at times was so extreme that some C.I.A. personnel tried to put a halt to the techniques, but were told by senior agency officials to continue the interrogation sessions.
The Senate report quotes a series of August 2002 cables from a C.I.A. facility in Thailand, where the agency’s first prisoner was held. Within days of the Justice Department’s approval to begin waterboarding the prisoner, Abu Zubaydah, the sessions became so extreme that some C.I.A. officers were “to the point of tears and choking up,” and several said they would elect to be transferred out of the facility if the brutal interrogations continued.
….The committee’s report concluded that of the 119 detainees, “at least 26 were wrongfully held.”
….The program expanded, with dozens of detainees taken to secret prisons in Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other countries. In September 2006, Mr. Bush ordered all of the detainees in C.I.A. custody to be transferred to the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and after that the C.I.A. held a small number of detainees in secret at a different facility for several months at a time, before they were also moved to Guantánamo Bay.
Taken in its entirety, the report is a portrait of a spy agency that was wholly unprepared for its new mission as jailers and interrogators, but that embraced its assignment with vigor. The report chronicles millions of dollars in secret payments between 2002 and 2004 from the C.I.A. to foreign officials, aimed at getting other governments to agree to host secret prisons.
More Than A Quarter Of The World’s Countries Helped The CIA Run Its Torture Program 12/09/2014
….According to several U.S. officials involved with the negotiations, the intelligence community has long been concerned that the Senate document would enable readers to identify the many countries that aided the CIA’s controversial torture program between 2002 and roughly 2006. These countries made the CIA program possible in two ways: by enabling rendition, which involved transferring U.S. detainees abroad without due legal process, and by providing facilities far beyond the reach of U.S. law where those detainees were subjected to torture.
Senate report finds CIA torture produced ‘fabricated’ intel and thwarted no plots
After waterboarding, 9/11 mastermind told interrogators what ‘he thought they wanted to hear’ By Michael Isikoff 12/9/14
After days of brutal interrogations, in which he was slammed against walls, slapped in the gut, and repeatedly waterboarded — “near drownings” that caused him to vomit — 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his CIA interrogators he was “ready to talk.”
The story he told in March 2003: He had sent an al-Qaida operative to Montana to recruit African-Americans for terrorist attacks inside the U.S. The alarming new claim sent FBI agents scrambling to find evidence of the plot, but they came up with nothing.
And for good reason: KSM later admitted he had fabricated the story — that because he was being subjected to such rough measures, he “simply told his interrogators what he thought they wanted to hear,” according to an internal agency cable quoted in the mammoth Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Tuesday by the panel’s chair, Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
The invented Montana plot is only one example of multiple wild-goose chases and other false leads that were produced by the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” — what President Barack Obama himself has labeled “torture” — in the years after 9/11, according to the 489-page Senate report.
“The methods in question … regularly resulted in fabricated information,” the report states in its key findings….
Many of the techniques laid out in the report have been publicly known for years — forced nudity, sleep deprivation, dietary and temperature manipulation, wall slamming and, of course, waterboarding, a practice dating back to the Spanish Inquisition in which subjects are strapped down and doused with water to simulate the experience of drowning….
A CIA prison in Afghanistan (known as the Salt Pit but referred to as COBALT in the report) was described in CIA cables as a “dungeon” where hooded prisoners were kept in complete darkness and shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music — and only a bucket to use for human waste. One of the detainees died from hypothermia after being left naked from the waist down….
The committee report examined 20 “case studies” in which agency officials had claimed they had thwarted plots or rounded up suspects based on aggressive interrogations. These assertions, the panel found, were “inaccurate and contradicted by the CIA’s own records.”….