News you may have missed #0067

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Post-9/11 torture sparked internal dissent, rift between FBI and CIA

Abu Zubaida

Abu Zubaida

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Citing interviews with almost “two dozen [anonymous] current and former US officials” The Washington Post has revealed crucial new background information on the CIA’s torture methodology after 9/11. The exposé, by reporters Joby Warrick and Peter Finn, helps piece together some of the complex puzzle of internal decisions that led US interrogators to resort to waterboarding and other forms of torture against “war on terrorism” detainees. The article focuses on Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two psychologists who were hired by the CIA to design an elaborate ten-stage harsh interrogation program (see previous intelNews report). According to The Washington Post, Mitchell, who was the program’s mastermind, told associates he had modeled it on the theory of “learned helplessness”, used by professional psychologists “to describe people or animals reduced to a state of complete helplessness by some form of coercion or pain, such as electric shock”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0022

  • Australian detained on espionage charge in China. The arrest of Stern Hu, who heads Anglo-Australian Rio Tinto’s iron ore operations in China, comes right after the company backed out of a deal to sell China’s state-owned Chinalco a big stake in Rio Tinto.
  • US diplomat implicated in CIA abduction in Italy requests immunity. Days after the wife of a of Muslim cleric Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, who in 2003 was kidnapped by the CIA in Milan, Italy, announced plans to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, a CIA agent involved in the affair has come forward requesting immunity. Sabrina De Sousa, who was listed as a “diplomat” at the US consulate in Milan at the time of Nasr’s kidnapping, has made the request through her lawyer. Last week, Robert Seldon Lady, who was the CIA station chief in Milan at the time, came forward making a similar case.
  • CIA won’t release torture interrogation contracts. The CIA has denied a Freedom of Information Act request for post-9/11 contracts signed between the CIA and Mitchell Jessen & Associates. As intelNews explained last May, Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were the psychologists hired by the CIA to design an elaborate ten-stage interrogation program of “war on terrorism” detainees, which apparently culminated in waterboarding.

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Psychologists behind CIA torture named

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Two American psychologists behind the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program, which the President of the United States has described as torture, have been named by ABC News. They are Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, former military officers and partners in Mitchell, Jessen and Associates, a company based in Spokane, WA. The two psychologists were hired by the CIA to design an elaborate ten-stage interrogation program, which culminated in waterboarding. Interestingly, the Agency hired the two scientists, offering them a lucrative $1000-a-day contract, without checking whether they had any experience in interrogation techniques. Agency officials later discovered that Mitchell and Jessen has significantly less professional experience in the psychology of interrogation than they had led the CIA to believe. The two psychologists were contacted by ABC News, but declined to comment, citing non-disclosure contracts with the CIA.