America’s Torture Doctors Revealed

torture -abu ghraibMeet the America’s Torture Doctors: Bruce Jessen and Jim Mitchell. The names of the two psychologists have been released with a report that they played a critical role in establishing the torture program by attesting to its safety. I will be addressing the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Toronto in August on the involvement of doctors in these war crimes.

According to ABCNews, either Jessen or Mitchell were previously involved in interrogations and had simply been used in the training of pilots to prepare them for capture and interrogation. They were reportedly paid $1000 a day to lend their endorsement to the torture program — that comes to a rate of roughly $360,000 a year as torture consultants, not bad wages in the world torture market.

When I was lead counsel in the espionage case of Petty Officer Dan King, I brought formal charges against a psychologist who was brought in to help break King. The video of his “session” with King remains one of the most disturbing aspects of that abusive case. Yet, the APA never even interviewed King or me on the allegations — refusing to take any actions against the psychologist.

For the full story, click here.

38 thoughts on “America’s Torture Doctors Revealed”

  1. doesn’t it count when america tortures its own people? do you believe this technology should be used in this manner? acoustic & directed energy weapons have been used on me everyday for several years. these weapons were developed at los alamos national laboratory. head of r & d at los alamos is j. douglas beason. mr. beason wrote a book, the e bomb. he says these weapons will change the future of warfare. and he’s right, you have no idea how right he is. i’m not a terrorist. i’ve never been a terrorist. is this torture justified? is this acceptable behavior? none of this would be possible without the knowledge of high level government officials. is doing this to me keeping america safer? is that the logic behind this? is there any logic behind this? when president obama was elected he said, these secret american programs will now see the light of day. what happened with that, do you know? if anything happens to me here it will have been murder. all law enforcement and elected officials know about this. law enforcement is directly involved in all of this. all the resources being used against me here while crime and rampant corruption continue to worsen. the number of people in just this area alone that know and are involved in this is in the thousands. that’s no exaggeration either. imagine being tortured in your own home and everyone around you not only know about it, they’re involved, and worse yet, they enjoy it. how would you handle that? these weapons, this technology are being horribly abused. i believe these weapons were used on jiverly wong, the person who committed mass murder in binghamton,n.y. mr. wong wrote that police were touching him while he slept. these weapons, this technology can do just that, and much, much more. i believe everything jiverly wong wrote about law enforcement. i know because it’s happening to me here. this is being done to people all across this country. the american government know and sanction it. the abuse of this technology will only get worse. what this technology can do is magic. in the hands of these people it is evil, pure evil. this technology was made to be abused. i have a great deal of information i can send to you about this. i also have over 90 hours of video documenting my life and this area dating back to 2005. you in the media have the power to do something about this. i do not, this is the best i can do.

  2. It’s heckuva-job-Brownie all over again: dismiss the knowledgeable experts and replace them with loyal hacks and opportunistic con-men, then watch while it all blows up in your face. It’s the Bush playbook — the ONLY PAGE of the Bush playbook.

  3. But officials who work on the Guantanamo issue say administration lawyers have become concerned that they would face significant obstacles to trying some terrorism suspects in federal courts.

    Like, eye witnesses, physical evidence, forced confessions thru torture. Rights, what rights, you have no rights unless being prosecuted on U.S. Soil.

  4. The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting terrorism suspects held at a detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even though the president has criticized the system in the past, the New York Times reported.

    Officials told the Times the administration’s first public moves on the issue could come as early as next week.

    The plan would amend the system created by former President George W. Bush to provide more legal protections for terrorism suspects.

    Continuing the military commissions in any form would most likely prompt sharp criticism from human rights groups as well as some of Obama’s political allies, the paper noted.

    But officials who work on the Guantanamo issue say administration lawyers have become concerned that they would face significant obstacles to trying some terrorism suspects in federal courts, the Times said.

    “The more they look at it,” an official told the Times, “the more commissions don’t look as bad as they did on Jan. 20.”

    Obama previously said the commissions had “been an enormous failure” and during the campaign said he would “reject the Military Commissions Act.”

    Another I think I can moment.

  5. AK, I do not know the answer to your question, it needs to be directed to DHS and FBI.

  6. bdaman (anyman, or woman for that matter): How do we read the record? How do we know that “the 17 Uighurs were complicit in their training?
    That panel found that the seventeen Uighurs — members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement captured at an al-Queda training camp in Pakistan — were too dangerous to release in the United States.”

    Just curious.

  7. I don’t want to damper the enthusiasm of the torture-R-us incorporators, but I do believe that the Prince of Darkness, Dick Cheney, has already cornered the torture market. Maybe you can get him to grant you a license to torture in a protected territory. Of course, you will have to find out where his isolated bunker is located and defeat its sophisticated security system, in order to sit down with him to discuss the financial arrangements.

  8. Not to worry about those prisoners:

    “Gates Suggestion Would Move Guantánamo Onshore (5/1/2009)…

    NEW YORK – Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested in congressional testimony Thursday that as many as 100 Guantánamo detainees could be transferred to U.S. soil and held without trial…” (ACLU website)

    This post shows just how poisonous to a society torture is. In order to torture, one needs the “work” of many. This ranges from the wet worker to the prison guards, to interrogators, to the lawyers, doctors, psychologists and most importantly, the prime movers who demand it in the first place. Torture is labor intensive. It originates in depravity and spills out everywhere. So many citizens believe torture is a good. In part that is because of religious ideology, in part it is the result of TV shows like 24 but it is always because of an unquestioning obediance to authority. The willingness to order and/or engage in torture is not bound by class, education or position. People from every group must agree to participate and people of every group must agree to look the other way for it to flourish. If the left keeps looking the other way on detainee treatment, because it was ordered by a leftist authority, shame on us. Abuse can only happen when a large group refuses to reckon with the truth, however painful that truth may be.

  9. Moving quickly to release Chinese Uighur terrorists into the United States, Obama has — for the second time — overridden objections of federal agencies responsible for national security.

    The first time — as I reported on April 20 — the White House overrode the inter-agency panel it created from all the national security agencies to review all the cases of the Guantanamo Bay prisoners. That panel found that the seventeen Uighurs — members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement captured at an al-Queda training camp in Pakistan — were too dangerous to release in the United States.

    Now — according to a federal agency source who requested anonymity — the White House has also overridden opposition to the release from both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.

    Beginning yesterday and continuing today, Obama administration officials are briefing key members of Congress on the release, which may happen as early as next week. There apparently has been no decision on where the Uighurs will be turned loose. Earlier reports suggested they could be released in Alexandria, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

    “I will stand with them should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” — Barack Hussein Obama

  10. The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
    Attorney General of the United States
    United States Department of Justice
    950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

    Dear Attorney General Holder:

    This letter is respectfully submitted to inform you that I must decline the invitation to participate in the May 4 roundtable meeting the President’s Task Force on Detention Policy is convening with current and former prosecutors involved in international terrorism cases. An invitation was extended to me by trial lawyers from the Counterterrorism Section, who are members of the Task Force, which you are leading.

    The invitation email (of April 14) indicates that the meeting is part of an ongoing effort to identify lawful policies on the detention and disposition of alien enemy combatants—or what the Department now calls “individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations.” I admire the lawyers of the Counterterrorism Division, and I do not question their good faith. Nevertheless, it is quite clear—most recently, from your provocative remarks on Wednesday in Germany—that the Obama administration has already settled on a policy of releasing trained jihadists (including releasing some of them into the United States). Whatever the good intentions of the organizers, the meeting will obviously be used by the administration to claim that its policy was arrived at in consultation with current and former government officials experienced in terrorism cases and national security issues. I deeply disagree with this policy, which I believe is a violation of federal law and a betrayal of the president’s first obligation to protect the American people. Under the circumstances, I think the better course is to register my dissent, rather than be used as a prop.
    Moreover, in light of public statements by both you and the President, it is dismayingly clear that, under your leadership, the Justice Department takes the position that a lawyer who in good faith offers legal advice to government policy makers—like the government lawyers who offered good faith advice on interrogation policy—may be subject to investigation and prosecution for the content of that advice, in addition to empty but professionally damaging accusations of ethical misconduct. Given that stance, any prudent lawyer would have to hesitate before offering advice to the government.
    Beyond that, as elucidated in my writing (including my proposal for a new national security court, which I understand the Task Force has perused), I believe alien enemy combatants should be detained at Guantanamo Bay (or a facility like it) until the conclusion of hostilities. This national defense measure is deeply rooted in the venerable laws of war and was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in the 2004 Hamdi case. Yet, as recently as Wednesday, you asserted that, in your considered judgment, such notions violate America’s “commitment to the rule of law.” Indeed, you elaborated, “Nothing symbolizes our [adminstration’s] new course more than our decision to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay…. President Obama believes, and I strongly agree, that Guantanamo has come to represent a time and an approach that we want to put behind us: a disregard for our centuries-long respect for the rule of law[.]” (Emphasis added.)
    Given your policy of conducting ruinous criminal and ethics investigations of lawyers over the advice they offer the government, and your specific position that the wartime detention I would endorse is tantamount to a violation of law, it makes little sense for me to attend the Task Force meeting. After all, my choice would be to remain silent or risk jeopardizing myself.
    For what it may be worth, I will say this much. For eight years, we have had a robust debate in the United States about how to handle alien terrorists captured during a defensive war authorized by Congress after nearly 3000 of our fellow Americans were annihilated. Essentially, there have been two camps. One calls for prosecution in the civilian criminal justice system, the strategy used throughout the 1990s. The other calls for a military justice approach of combatant detention and war-crimes prosecutions by military commission. Because each theory has its downsides, many commentators, myself included, have proposed a third way: a hybrid system, designed for the realities of modern international terrorism—a new system that would address the needs to protect our classified defense secrets and to assure Americans, as well as our allies, that we are detaining the right people.
    There are differences in these various proposals. But their proponents, and adherents to both the military and civilian justice approaches, have all agreed on at least one thing: Foreign terrorists trained to execute mass-murder attacks cannot simply be released while the war ensues and Americans are still being targeted. We have already released too many jihadists who, as night follows day, have resumed plotting to kill Americans. Indeed, according to recent reports, a released Guantanamo detainee is now leading Taliban combat operations in Afghanistan, where President Obama has just sent additional American forces.
    The Obama campaign smeared Guantanamo Bay as a human rights blight. Consistent with that hyperbolic rhetoric, the President began his administration by promising to close the detention camp within a year. The President did this even though he and you (a) agree Gitmo is a top-flight prison facility, (b) acknowledge that our nation is still at war, and (c) concede that many Gitmo detainees are extremely dangerous terrorists who cannot be tried under civilian court rules. Patently, the commitment to close Guantanamo Bay within a year was made without a plan for what to do with these detainees who cannot be tried. Consequently, the Detention Policy Task Force is not an effort to arrive at the best policy. It is an effort to justify a bad policy that has already been adopted: to wit, the Obama administration policy to release trained terrorists outright if that’s what it takes to close Gitmo by January.
    Obviously, I am powerless to stop the administration from releasing top al Qaeda operatives who planned mass-murder attacks against American cities—like Binyam Mohammed (the accomplice of “Dirty Bomber” Jose Padilla) whom the administration recently transferred to Britain, where he is now at liberty and living on public assistance. I am similarly powerless to stop the administration from admitting into the United States such alien jihadists as the 17 remaining Uighur detainees. According to National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, the Uighurs will apparently live freely, on American taxpayer assistance, despite the facts that they are affiliated with a terrorist organization and have received terrorist paramilitary training. Under federal immigration law (the 2005 REAL ID Act), those facts render them excludable from the United States. The Uighurs’ impending release is thus a remarkable development given the Obama administration’s propensity to deride its predecessor’s purported insensitivity to the rule of law.
    I am, in addition, powerless to stop the President, as he takes these reckless steps, from touting his Detention Policy Task Force as a demonstration of his national security seriousness. But I can decline to participate in the charade.
    Finally, let me repeat that I respect and admire the dedication of Justice Department lawyers, whom I have tirelessly defended since I retired in 2003 as a chief assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. It was a unique honor to serve for nearly twenty years as a federal prosecutor, under administrations of both parties. It was as proud a day as I have ever had when the trial team I led was awarded the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award in 1996, after we secured the convictions of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and his underlings for waging a terrorist war against the United States. I particularly appreciated receiving the award from Attorney General Reno—as I recounted in Willful Blindness, my book about the case, without her steadfastness against opposition from short-sighted government officials who wanted to release him, the “blind sheikh” would never have been indicted, much less convicted and so deservedly sentenced to life-imprisonment. In any event, I’ve always believed defending our nation is a duty of citizenship, not ideology. Thus, my conservative political views aside, I’ve made myself available to liberal and conservative groups, to Democrats and Republicans, who’ve thought tapping my experience would be beneficial. It pains me to decline your invitation, but the attendant circumstances leave no other option.
    Very truly yours,
    Andrew C. McCarthy

  11. FFLeo:

    “I think that being in the Psyc profession would be one of the hardest of all ’cause you are trained in how the mind “works” and then looking in the mirror every morning and wondering “am I exhibiting that ‘problem’ or phobia today”, etc.”


    It’s like using a broken microscope to fix an even more broken microscope.

  12. Hey Mike Spindell, I knew not to even bother requesting your résumé. But, since M72 is a lawyer, well, you know…

    I think that being in the Psyc profession would be one of the hardest of all ’cause you are trained in how the mind “works” and then looking in the mirror every morning and wondering “am I exhibiting that ‘problem’ or phobia today”, etc. Talk about second-guessing yourself. “The mind is a terrible thing (to waste”)…sometimes.

  13. As a former (I’m no longer in practice and didn’t renew my license) member of the Psychiatric/Psychological profession I can confidently state that there are many within it who are in business for the money, the ego and the sense of power they get from having someone believe their life is in the professional’s hands. Given that,it is easy to see why the government was able to pick up apologists to do this kind of work. Like law, though I suspect on the whole lawyers are more ethical, these are professionals trained in the ability to take all sides on an issue and to convincingly articulate and justify any position. The main diagnostic tool used by this profession the DSM IV is a manual put together by committees that hew to current political realities, rather than established science.

    Are there good, ethical people in the profession of course and some rise to the level of genius, but there are far too many out there who are masters of self deception and so hide from themselves the egotism and the venality of the work they do. Can the treatments offered actually help people, definitely, but a major component is the desire of the patient to help themselves and not have somebody else do it for them.

    Perhaps I sound jaundiced and in fact that is true.I finally quit that work in 1992 while running a training program for professionals. Most of those in my program, all successful professionals, had not put in the effort to deal with their own psychiatric/psychological problems as they professed to treating the ills of others.

    FFLEO it’s too bad we can’t work together on this excellent and potentially successful project, but I lack the ability to self deceive needed in the professionals you would hire. I do see the potential though and believe you could be at the start of a large multinational enterprize. As a caution get a Cayman Islands PO box.

  14. This just in from the post, Out with the old, in with the new.

    New Prison May Have To Be Built, Gates Says

    “I fully expect to have 535 pieces of legislation before this is over saying, ‘Not in my district, not in my state,’ ” Gates said, referring to the number of senators and representatives in Congress. He said the Pentagon wants to have $50 million at hand in case it has to build a prison on short notice.

    See along it was location,location,location

  15. I doubt that Drs. Jessen and Mitchell will register for the Toronto conference, thus losing out on any continuing education credits.

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