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Historic Video: CIA Officials Testify About Torture For The First Time

by Derrick Broze, Activist Post:

Newly released court deposition videos show senior CIA officials calmly explaining how and why they authorized brutal torture methods.

The possibility of justice inches closer for victims of the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture techniques as the American Civil Liberties Union releases new video of two senior officials discussing their involvement. The ACLU originally filed a lawsuit against James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen in October 2015, accusing them of operating a “joint criminal enterprise” via their creation and promotion of violent torture methods.

Both men are former U.S. military psychologists who are seen as the “architects” of the CIA’s torture program. They served in the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program (SERE), teaching U.S. troops how to resist and survive torture in the event of capture by foreign nations. SERE was supposed to help troops understand torture techniques while Jessen and Mitchell supervised their mental state. After 9/11, the psychologists were tasked with designing and developing the CIA’s detention, rendition, and interrogation operations. Using their knowledge of how to resist torture, the two reverse-engineered the SERE program to create a new program that would break detainees’ mental state in the hopes of creating loose-lipped zombies. By the (alleged) end of the program, Mitchell, Jessen & Associates were paid more than $80 million in taxpayer money.

The ACLU filed the suit in defense of three men who endured the torture methods created by Jessen and Mitchell. Two of the men, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ben Soud, actually survived the torture. Gul Rahman was not so lucky. He died from hypothermia as a result of his torture. None of the men were ever charged for a crime despite being kidnapped and forced to endure sleep deprivation, water torture, ear splitting music, stressful positions, and beatings. The ACLU is fighting the case as a violation of the Alien Tort Statute, a law which allows lawsuits from victims of human rights violations at the hands of government. The defendants are asking the court to find that the psychologists were liable for aiding and abetting the illegal program.

In early October, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush ruled CIA officials would have to face questions under oath. Shortly after Donald Trump became president his administration made efforts to block CIA officials from testifying, including Gina Haspel, the agency’s new deputy director. The administration is attempting to use the state secrets privilege, claiming that revealing this information would damage national security. The Trump administration is seeking to block the testimony of Gina Haspel and a still unidentified official described as “John/Jane Doe.”

Haspel, who was chosen by Trump as the CIA’s deputy director, is accused of running one of the CIA’s secret detention sites in Thailand and having a direct role in the torture of the defendants. According to a recent article by John Kiriakou, a former CIA counterterrorism officer, Haspel was responsible for allowing some of the most brutal torture methods despite a lack of new information provided by the detainees. Kiriakou also accuses Haspel of directly overseeing the staff in Thailand, including Mitchell and Jessen. Kiriakou himself served 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to blowing the whistle about Bush administration waterboarding and torture of detainees.

Read More @ ActivistPost.com

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