Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Two U.S. psychologists made $81-million teaching the CIA how to torture.............

Vice News went on a boating trip with one of the psychologists believed to have created the CIA's torture program.

Two U.S. psychologists were paid about $81-million to consult with the CIA on its brutal interrogation program – criticized as amounting to torture — the U.S. Senate’s damning report said.
The two psychologists, whom the report said had no prior experience with Al Qaida, counterterrorism or interrogation techniques, were working with the Air Force on its “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape” (SERE) program before the 9/11 attacks. That program has been reported to have evolved into the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” — which included sleep deprivation and waterboarding.
One of the psychologists, now retired to a life of leisure in Florida, sat down for a lengthy interview with Vice News on his role in the program.
“The whole point of the (SERE) program is so that the men and women who in high-risk of capture can serve with honour whether in captivity and then return with their honour intact. The training is really focused on helping them avoid providing actionable intelligence to the bad guys,” the kindly-looking James Mitchell told Vice reporter Kaj Larsen over a meal.
Jose Rodriguez, a 31-year veteran of the CIA who rose to the position of Director of the National Clandestine Service, claimed in his 2012 book, Hard Measures, that the SERE program was reverse-engineered for “enhanced interrogation.”
“I don’t recall exactly, but that’s the myth anyway,” Mitchell told Vice of that assertion.
The Senate report confirms that two psychologists’ firm was outsourced the contract for most of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program from 2005 to 2008. The firm was paid $81-million of the $181-million consulting contract before it was terminated in 2009.
“The CIA relied on these two contractors to evaluate the interrogation program they had devised and in which they had obvious financial interests,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said on the Senate floor Tuesday.
The two contractors — who are not named in the Senate report — personally participated in interrogating detainees and Mitchell is believed to have personally waterboarded 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
AP Photo, File
eFILE - This March 1, 2003, file photo obtained by the Associated Press shows Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged Sept. 11 mastermind, shortly after his capture during a raid in Pakistan.
When asked directly about waterboarding Mohammed, Mitchell said he had a non-disclosure agreement and could not respond.
“Until I am released from that I can’t answer those kinds of questions,” he said. “I’d like to clarify what people are saying because a lot of what people are saying is inaccurate.”
“I don’t think it’s the right thing to do, I don’t think it’s the wrong thing to do,” Mitchell said of waterboarding.
But he did defend some of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA.
“To me it seems completely insensible that slapping KSM is bad but sending a Hellfire missile into a family picnic and killing all the children, killing Granny, is OK,” Mitchell said.
Evaluating the psychological state of the very detainees they were interrogating is a clear conflict of interest and a violation of professional guidelines
The Senate report said the CIA’s interrogations were completely ineffective in terms of gaining intelligence.
“It was to facilitate getting actionable intelligence by making a ‘bad cop’ that was bad enough that the person would engage with the good cop,” Mitchell said of the methods used. “I would be stunned if they found any kind of evidence to suggest that EITs — as they were being applied — yielded actionable intelligence.
Sen. Feinstein said the psychologists clearly broke ethical rules in their involvement in the program.
“Evaluating the psychological state of the very detainees they were interrogating is a clear conflict of interest and a violation of professional guidelines,” she said.
Bruce Jessen has been identified as the other psychologist working with Mitchell.