Shrinks who designed CIA torture admit to torturing — but say it wasn’t torture!

Bruce Jessen — Jim Mitchell

The acknowledgement by two former Air Force psychologists that they used waterboarding and other harsh tactics against detainees in the war on terror is a striking development…

“It’s remarkable to see an end to the deniability of the existence of records of torture,” said Sarah Dougherty, a senior fellow with Physicians for Human Rights…

“This is a significant step forward for accountability,” Dougherty said.

In federal court documents filed this week, the two psychologists who helped design the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques said they used harsh tactics, but they denied allegations of torture and war crimes leveled by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU has sued James E. Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen of Washington state on behalf of three former CIA prisoners, including one who died, creating a closely watched case that will likely include classified information.

In response, the pair’s attorneys filed documents this week in which Mitchell and Jessen acknowledge using waterboarding, loud music, confinement, slapping and other harsh methods but deny that they were torture

The records don’t say why Mitchell and Jessen don’t consider the techniques to be torture. They declined to respond to many of the ACLU’s allegations, saying much of the information is classified.

I’ve been writing about these two pricks for seven years, now. They sit back on their overpaid butts and rely on the CIA to hide their tracks.

RTFA for the latest. You can read here and back here to catch up with early days in the history of a nation that violates international protocols on torture.

3 thoughts on “Shrinks who designed CIA torture admit to torturing — but say it wasn’t torture!

  1. Update says:

    (Oct 8, 2016) “Psychologists Who Developed CIA Torture Program Get Court Approval to Depose their CIA Bosses” U.S. District Judge Justin Quackenbush granted the deposition request on Tuesday, allowing psychologists James Mitchell and John Jessen to depose four CIA officers about the torture and interrogation program that aimed to teach detainees “learned helplessness.” The interrogation methods developed by Mitchell and Jessen for federal intelligence agencies were based on research from the 1960s that applied electric shocks to dogs. The research found that dogs that cannot escape the pain of being shocked eventually didn’t try to avoid it, even when they had the opportunity. The case goes before a jury on June 26, 2017.
    Order Re Motion for Protective Order @

  2. 3rdDegree says:

    Oct 15, 2016: Guantánamo Detainee Requires Rectal Surgery Following CIA Sodomy Torture Defense attorney Walter Ruiz said injuries from being sodomized causes his client to soil himself in blood and feces, accompanied by excruciating pain. “To this day Mr. al-Hawsawi continues to have to choose between defecating and eating because whenever he has bowel movements he has to reinsert parts of his anus back into his anal cavity.” Prosecutors alerted Ruiz on Monday that his client will be having surgery Friday evening. Prior to this, the government had only given al-Hawsawi a topical cream that provides some lubrication to help reinsert his prolapsed anal cavity, Ruiz added.
    Al-Hawsawi’s torture features prominently in the declassified Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, which describes harsh treatment on al-Hawsawi in a footnote (#34 ).
    The announcement about Saudi detainee Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi came just days after The New York Times published an in-depth report on persistent mental health problems among captives at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and the 39 people held at the CIA’s secret black sites.

  3. Footnote says:

    In his testimony last week in the pre-trial hearing of five men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States, Dr. James Mitchell vividly described his role in torturing detainees in the program he helped design for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
    Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba: A CIA psychologist testified here Monday that he told self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, that if there was another attack on America, he would kill Mohammed’s son.
    James Mitchell, who designed, oversaw and often carried out the harsh interrogation program in the CIA’s secret black-site prisons, said that in retrospect the threat was probably made in poor judgment but added that “I wanted him to remember it.”
    Mohammed and four fellow defendants are charged with conspiring to murder nearly 3,000 people. The pretrial hearings here continue to the end of the week.
    David Nevin, a defense lawyer for Mohammed, relied for a large part of his questioning on a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report and a little-noticed report produced by the CIA’s Office of Medical Services.
    The Senate investigation found the interrogation program was brutal and ineffective. The CIA report described the program as well-intentioned, but amateurish and inconsistent. It found it inappropriate that the interrogators authorized to use the waterboard were also responsible for judging its effectiveness.

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