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.”….
December 18, 2010 Comments Off on CIA gave waterboarders $5M legal shield
Officials: CIA gave waterboarders $5M legal shield
(AP) 12/17/10 WASHINGTON (AP) — When the CIA decided to waterboard suspected terror detainees in overseas prisons, the agency turned to a pair of contractors. The men designed the CIA’s interrogation program and also personally took part in the waterboarding sessions.
But to do the job, the CIA had to promise to cover at least $5 million in legal fees for them in case there was trouble down the road, former U.S. officials said.
Turns out the contractors needed that secret agreement as taxpayers pay to defend the men in a federal investigation over an interrogation tactic the United States now says is torture. The deal is even more generous than the protections the agency typically provides its own officers, giving the two men access to more money to finance their defenses.
It has long been known that psychologists Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen created the CIA’s interrogation program. But former U.S. intelligence officials said Mitchell and Jessen also repeatedly subjected terror suspects inside CIA-run secret prisons to waterboarding, a simulated drowning tactic.
The revelation of the contractors’ involvement is the first known confirmation of any individuals who conducted waterboarding at the so-called black sites, underscoring just how much the agency relied on outside help in its most sensitive interrogations….
After the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mitchell and Jessen sold the government on an interrogation program for high-value al-Qaida members. The two psychologists had spent years training military officials to resist interrogations and, in doing so, had subjected U.S. troops to techniques such as forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.
August 17, 2010 Comments Off on Childhood stress leads to adult ill health, studies say
Childhood stress leads to adult ill health, studies say
Stress in childhood has long-term effects say psychologists 14 August 2010 Adversity and stress early in life leads to long-term ill health and early death, a group of psychologists warn. A series of studies suggest that childhood stress caused by poverty or abuse can lead to heart disease, inflammation, and speed up cell ageing. The American Psychological Association meeting heard that early experiences “cast a long shadow” on health….Another study presented at the conference showed that childhood events such as the death of a parent or abuse can make people more vulnerable to the effects of stress in later life and even shorten lifespan. Researchers at Ohio State University looked at a group of older adults – some of whom were carers for people with dementia. They measured several markers of inflammation in the blood which can be signs of stress, as well as the length of telomeres – protective caps on the ends of chromosomes which have been linked to age-related diseases. The 132 participants also answered a questionnaire on depression and past child abuse and neglect. A third study reported some sort of physical, emotional or sexual abuse during childhood. Those who did face adversity as children had shorter telomeres and increased levels of inflammation even after controlling for age, care-giving status, gender, body mass index, exercise and sleep. Study leader Professor Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, said: “Our latest research shows that childhood adversity casts a long shadow on one’s health and can lead to inflammation and cell ageing much earlier than for those who haven’t experienced these events. “Those reporting multiple adversities could shorten their lifespan by seven to 15 years,” she added. Dr Andrea Danese, a clinical lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, said such studies had to be interpreted carefully because there is a chance that people do not recall their childhoods accurately and you can only show an association not prove causality. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe these results. “The evidence is quite consistent. “It’s already been established that childhood stress has an effect on mental health and it now seems like it has an enduring effect on physical health.” He said that stress causes an increase in inflammatory proteins which could underpin the physical consequences suggested by the research.