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10 December 2014


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Thanks for that confirmation. And for your confirmation that waterboarding is indeed torture.
These people should be shunned, and that means no TV appearances to attempt to justify their actions. And some, particularly Hayden, should be prosecuted to lying to the President and Congress.

The beaver


The original articles on the Mormon Mafia - the two psychologists/psychopaths :

"Mitchell and Jessen's methods were so controversial that, among colleagues, the reaction to their names alone became a litmus test of one's attitude toward coercion and human rights. Their critics called them the "Mormon mafia" (a reference to their shared religion) and the "poster boys" (referring to the F.B.I.'s "most wanted" posters, which are where some thought their activities would land them)."


There is a third one:
"On Wednesday, dozens of psychologists made public a joint letter to American Psychological Association president Sharon Brehm fingering another CIA-employed psychologist, R. Scott Shumate. Previous news reports led the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association to ban their members from participating in interrogations"


I can't remember the name of the training, but I also was in pilot escape and evade training AFTER returning from Vietnam, oddly enough. All of the pilots from my Ft Hood Cav unit were sent through the course. We were divided into squads of about 7 or 8. We had to navigate through various check points using topo maps and evade the Rangers who were searching for us. We had to stay in the bush for three days surviving off what food we could get off the land. There was a Ranger with each group with a radio, for safety they claimed, but I'm quite sure they also stayed in touch with our pursuers.

My group was lucky enough to not be captured. I believe they always made sure some groups would be captured. Those who were captured were taken to a mock POW camp. Those that were captured said as they approached the camp, they heard screaming but most assumed it was just all part of the show. One I talked with said he started laughing, believing it was just all part of the show, but a few minutes later, it was he that was screaming, and there was nothing fake about it. And yes, water-boarding was one of the tortures they did on the captives.


RE: Himmler and Bush 43. It nauseates me that sober and patriotic Americans, of good intent, can find that easy a parallel between the two. We have learned nothing, simply nothing, from our past.



I didn't compare the two. Bush said what he said. pl


Feinstein and McCain, despite their feigned outrage, have successfully conspired with Obama and the CIA to release this report at a time when the American people are least likely to be paying attention, just before Christmas. As a result, it will be quickly buried and forgotten. And nothing will be done to hold torturers accountable or to prevent future abuses.

However, Obama and his ilk will continue to trumpet America as a beacon of light for human rights and exemplary behavior. The State Department will continue to issue its righteous human rights reports. This will make Americans proud to be represented by such a noble government. But the torture report will lurk in the back of the minds of many foreigners as a blatant example of American hypocrisy and, unlike Americans, will make their judgements according to what America does, not what it says.


Well said, PL.

C Webb

Look how well the German POWs were treated in ww2.

Things changed with the cold war...

Some these torture methods might have there root here.


Here' another program utilising torture methods.

What problems will torture have created down the road?


Col. Lang -

Based on your extensive experience, is there any way to clean up this mess? Especially given that there doesn't seem to be any political will from either party to root this out and destroy it?


This is just awful, but I do not think the nation can put it behind them without some kind of official sanctions against the people responsible. And make sure nobody in the future even contemplates it.

William R. Cumming

Do I understand correctly that at least two M.D.s also assisted the CIA in designing torture techniques?


Pat says "the USG had not tortured people since the Phillipine Insurrection."

Hmm - not sure that is true.

There was maybe no known structured top-down torture program during the Korea and Vietnam wars but cases of torture certainly occurred.

The 1963 CIA KUBRAK manual included "principal coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis and induced regression,”" says the Senate report. It was used on Soviet agent that went over to the U.S.

Torture was also part of the standard program taught at the School of Americas where the various South American dictatorships send their people to learn how suppress their populations.

Dan Mitrione was on of the CIA people who organized and supervised torture in Uruguay.

The CIA also had the MK Ultra and Artichoke programs which both amount to torture and led to the death of some people.

It is interesting that both Rumsfeld and Cheney were briefed on these programs in 1975.

Is that what gave them the ideas?


Laura Wilson

Thank you, Colonel. We, as a nation, were foolish and acquiescent…but warned by FDR that fear itself is the greatest danger. He was right.


The Australian Equivalent course was called "Code Of Conduct" (as a POW).

I signed up for it as a curious First Lieutenant.

My CO rang me a day later and talked me out of it thank God.

Medicine Man


Once again I'm grateful for your morality and clarity on this topic. Thank you for writing this.

Carl O.

Colonel, I went through Air Force survival school at Fairchild AFB in Washington state in 1984, which included evasion and escape and POW training. It was not pleasant but it was nothing like what you describe. The commander of the school at the time had been a POW in Vietnam and the course, as I recall, emphasized the kind of organizing that the Vietnam POWs did to maintain their own morale, and while it was psychologically stressful, the course did not include any physical abuse. I was sickened though, years later, to learn that the SERE methods became the basis for the torture program.

John Measor


A combination of on-the-fly repurposing of a reverse-engineered SERE and the influence of Israeli argumentation in the beltway political class over treatment of Muslim “terrorists” (exigent threat allowing for extraordinary measures).

The toxicity in the political process that has morphed this into a partisan issue will keep any accountability from occurring. Not unusual when looking at all the other issues of the day, but unfortunate as the U.S. had a strong hand in altering global norms and establishing international law regarding such practices as well as the law of warfare and sanction against wars of aggression. I truly wonder how Robert Jackson would assess the response to 9/11.

As for SERE you were most decidedly correct. It appears that it was reverse engineered during a crisis rather than sober reflection being applied to the path forward in response.

VICE interviews James Mitchell here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmNUi0itl-8

Boing Boing expose …

Meet James Mitchell, CIA's post-9/11 torture architect whose firm we paid $80 million

The Psychologists Who Taught the C.I.A. How to Torture (and Charged $180 Million)

John Measor

No medical doctors have been implicated, but two PhD’s - James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. See my post below for the links as they were ‘outed’ previously as in 2007 and 2009 there were reports by Katherine Eban (Vanity Fair) and Scott Shane (NYT).


John H and all: my take exactly:
Feinstein and McCain, despite their feigned outrage, have successfully conspired with Obama and the CIA to release this report at a time when the American people are least likely to be paying attention, just before Christmas. As a result, it will be quickly buried and forgotten. And nothing will be done to hold torturers accountable or to prevent future abuses.



"Feinstein and McCain, despite their feigned outrage, have successfully conspired with Obama and the CIA to release this report at a time when the American people are least likely to be paying attention, just before Christmas." Absolute rubbish. I thought you had better sense. pl


Haralambos and Farooq

Both GW Bush and Himmler argued that to sacrifice one's human sensibility in the service of a higher cause is a noble thing. I disagree. Swinish behavior is just that. It matters not what the cause may be. pl

C Webb

Some more information on the manuals.

There has to be truth before reconciliation and resolution.
1) Define the problem as it was.
2) Implement measures so it does not happen again.
3) Have a system of punishment to prosecute those who breach those measures.

Otherwise, it's a PR exercise and torture will continue in a different way after a respite.

IMHO, if it continues it will eventually undermine even the strong philosophical foundations upon which America was founded. (That's the goal of the enemies of Western civilisation)



Thank you for this piece. I found it enormously enlightening. I greatly appreciate you sharing it.


Haralambos is right about nobody doing anything:

Obama: "Rather than another reason to refight old arguments, I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past.”

HuffPo: "Despite Torture Uproar, DOJ Still Says No To Prosecutions."
"Similarly, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said any decisions about people being held "accountable" were up to the Justice Department. . . . ‘This inquiry was extraordinarily thorough and we stand by our previously announced decision [2009] not to initiate criminal charges,' the Justice Department spokesman said. . . . The official added, 'At the time, they were authorized and they were reviewed as legal.'"


During the WWII Canadian soldiers certainly engaged in relatively wide spread rape Gent/Melle region of the Flanders, during the liberation. German invaders, 4 years before them, though were though of being very disciplined. This is what I personally heard from several survivors and no they were not Nazi sympathizers. In The Netherlands (during the Hunger Winter of 1945) and around the Belgian-German border, the behavior of the Germans was as bad as it gets depicted in the average movie.

I think, it had more to do with a mood of invincibility and rapid end to active engagements at the beginning of the war instead of the relative attrition towards the end.

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