The Government’s Unprecedented Position in CIA Torture Lawsuit Is Very Good News

Update (4/22/16): In a huge win for our side, the federal judge in Spokane, ruling from the bench, denied Mitchell and Jessen's motion to dismiss. Now we enter discovery. This is the first time a CIA torture case moves past this stage.

Those responsible for the CIA torture program have never had to face their victims’ claims in a U.S. court because the government has always shielded the perpetrators. Until now.   

Next week, three victims of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program are taking a critical and unprecedented step in seeking accountability from the men who devised their torture. On April 22, a federal court in Spokane, Washington, will hear the ACLU’s argument on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the family of Gul Rahman. They have sued James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, the psychologists who teamed up with the CIA to design, implement, and oversee the agency’s torture program, which ensnared at least 119 men from its inception in 2002 until it was shuttered in 2008.

In every previous lawsuit by CIA victims, the Bush and Obama administrations invoked the “state secrets privilege” to shut down cases before they even got underway. Despite voluminous information in the public record, the government insisted that the very subject matter of the cases — CIA torture — was secret and its lawfulness could not be considered by the courts.

But not this time. Instead of invoking state secrets at the outset, the government said in a court filing last week that it is willing to consider “protective measures” to safeguard its interests while still allowing the case to go forward. This has never happened before — and it means that CIA torture survivors may finally get their day in court.

We almost certainly have the Senate torture report to thank. The government’s shameful use of secrecy was unjustified in previous cases, but the public release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s official report on CIA torture makes it untenable now. Demonstrating that this case does not rely on any facts that could be considered “secret,” the government publicly confirmed in the same filing — for the first time — that Mitchell and Jessen “served as CIA contractors in the detention and interrogation program.” 

Without claims of state secrets to shield them, Mitchell and Jessen have made extreme arguments to try and keep their victims out of court. They have argued that torture is a “political question” and that courts have no role in judging whether it is unlawful. But as we will argue next Friday, torture isn’t politics — it’s a war crime.

Mitchell and Jessen also argue that, as federal contractors, they’re immune from any accountability to their victims — even though they personally made millions of dollars from CIA torture. As we will tell the court and have previously explained, that just isn’t true. Contractors don’t share the government’s immunity from suit because they face a completely different set of incentives and restrictions than government employees. As contractors, Mitchell and Jessen took millions of taxpayer dollars for their role in the torture program; they don’t get impunity.

Torture victims have waited a long time for justice. Friday’s hearing is a long-delayed step towards the accountability our clients deserve.

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Derek R Speed

The Psychological State of the Union
Punitive Authoritarian Personality Disorder

Dr Stanley Milgram 1961:Teacher/Learner Experiment; Yale University. Were Hitler's accomplices, actually accomplices, or were they just following orders? Let's find out, shall we?

Pay very close attention to three factors in this experiment. Three individuals were involved in the experiment:

1. The one running the experiment, A.K.A. the "1%".

2. The "subject" of the experiment. Remember, the "subject(s)" is unaware of the experiment, A.K.A. "Society".

3. "The Confederate". A.K.A. the "Government".Two Parts,
1.)Elected Political Officials (highly funded by the 1%)

2.) Police, Judges, Crown Attorneys, Jail Guards, Military. (The scapegoat, thinks or are being led to believe by the 1% and the confederate running the experiment, that this is harmless to do, the experiment, is the Justice System, which in turn creates scapegoat for, part 1, or the Elected Political Officials. In turn, gives the Experimenter, two levels of scapegoat safety for the experiment.) The experiment is democracy, A.K.A. "The Matrix".

As you know, Soldiers, are suffering from PTSD, police officers, are also starting to develop this disorder. Think of soldiers and police, as the "Teacher" in this experiment. They are not permitted to question orders. Society is the learner, but, the shocks being inflicted, aren't fake.These shocks, are becoming more and more impunitive, and strictly enforced.

The United States Governments S.E.R.E., C.I.A. program, ran by Gray Swigert, A.K.A. James Mitchell is a prime example of this structure.The S.E.R.E. programs, was reverse engineered by James Mitchell and his partner Bruce Jesson, former air force psychologists.It was used as torture tactics at Guantanamo Bay. This program blatantly violated the Geneva Convention, and nobody in government was held accountable.

The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram. They measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts conflicting with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology[1] and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.[2]

The experiments began in July 1961, in the basement of Linsly-Chittenden Hall at Yale University,[3] three months after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the popular question at that particular time: "Could it be that Eichmann and his million accomplices in the Holocaust were just following orders? Could we call them all accomplices?"[4] The experiments have been repeated many times in the following years with consistent results within differing societies, although not with the same percentages around the globe.

The Experiment

Three individuals were involved: the one running the experiment, the subject of the experiment (a volunteer), and a confederate pretending to be a volunteer. These three people fill three distinct roles: the Experimenter (an authoritative role), the Teacher (a role intended to obey the orders of the Experimenter), and the Learner (the recipient of stimulus from the Teacher). The subject and the actor both drew slips of paper to determine their roles, but unknown to the subject, both slips said "teacher". The actor would always claim to have drawn the slip that read "learner", thus guaranteeing that the subject would always be the "teacher". At this point, the "teacher" and "learner" were separated into different rooms where they could communicate but not see each other. In one version of the experiment, the confederate was sure to mention to the participant that he had a heart condition.[1] Pay very close attention to the fact, that the teacher and the learner, are "separated" purpose, to protect the teacher from psychological trauma? or from imminent conflict based on Canon's Fight or Flight response?Does that mean that people or Confederates are in fact being used to protect the experimenter from the psychological trauma of inflicting pain for obedience? thus creating a two part scapegoat system used by government, elected political officials, and the police that protect them from the experiment.

At some point prior to the actual test, the "teacher" was given a sample electric shock from the electroshock generator in order to experience firsthand what the shock that the "learner" would supposedly receive during the experiment would feel like. The "teacher" was then given a list of word pairs that he was to teach the learner. The teacher began by reading the list of word pairs to the learner. The teacher would then read the first word of each pair and read four possible answers. The learner would press a button to indicate his response. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher would administer a shock to the learner, with the voltage increasing in 15-volt increments for each wrong answer. If correct, the teacher would read the next word pair.[1]

The subjects believed that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual shocks. In reality, there were no shocks. After the confederate was separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electroshock generator, which played prerecorded sounds for each shock level. After a number of voltage-level increases, the actor started to bang on the wall that separated him from the subject. After several times banging on the wall and complaining about his heart condition, all responses by the learner would cease.[1]

At this point, many people indicated their desire to stop the experiment and check on the learner. Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner.[1] "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" How many police officers are held accountable for killing people? Soldiers are killing people, politicians (confederate) are not.

If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:[1]

The following, from the definition of schizophrenia, can be the part of the definition that refers to auditory hallucinations:

Please continue.
The experiment requires that you continue.“Become strong again in spirit, strong in will, strong in endurance, strong to bear all sacrifices” Adolf Hitler.
It is absolutely essential that you continue.“Strength lies not in defense but in attack.” Adolf Hitler
You have no other choice, you must go on."We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail." George Bush.
If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession.[1]

My father is the jailhouse. My father is your system... I am only what you made me. I am only a reflection of you. Charles Manson.

"Punitive Authoritarian Personality Disorder" Elected Government Officials, and the 1% who fund them".

The experimenter also gave special prods if the teacher made specific comments. If the teacher asked whether the learner might suffer permanent physical harm, the experimenter replied, "Although the shocks may be painful, there is no permanent tissue damage, so please go on." If the teacher said that the learner clearly wants to stop, the experimenter replied, "Whether the learner likes it or not, you must go on until he has learned all the word pairs correctly, so please go on."

Results:

Before conducting the experiment, Milgram polled fourteen Yale University senior-year psychology majors to predict the behavior of 100 hypothetical teachers. All of the poll respondents believed that only a very small fraction of teachers (the range was from zero to 3 out of 100, with an average of 1.2) would be prepared to inflict the maximum voltage. Milgram also informally polled his colleagues and found that they, too, believed very few subjects would progress beyond a very strong shock.[1] Milgram also polled forty psychiatrists from a medical school, and they believed that by the tenth shock, when the victim demands to be free, most subjects would stop the experiment. They predicted that by the 300-volt shock, when the victim refuses to answer, only 3.73 percent of the subjects would still continue and, they believed that "only a little over one-tenth of one percent of the subjects would administer the highest shock on the board."[6]

In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent (26 of 40) of experiment participants administered the experiment's final massive 450-volt shock,[1] though many were very uncomfortable doing so; at some point, every participant paused and questioned the experiment; some said they would refund the money they were paid for participating in the experiment. Throughout the experiment, subjects displayed varying degrees of tension and stress. Subjects were sweating, trembling, stuttering, biting their lips, groaning, digging their fingernails into their skin, and some were even having nervous laughing fits or seizures.[1]

Milgram summarized the experiment in his 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience", writing:

The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.

Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.[7]

The original Simulated Shock Generator and Event Recorder, or shock box, is located in the Archives of the History of American Psychology.

Later, Milgram and other psychologists performed variations of the experiment throughout the world, with similar results.[8] Milgram later investigated the effect of the experiment's locale on obedience levels by holding an experiment in an unregistered, backstreet office in a bustling city, as opposed to at Yale, a respectable university. The level of obedience, "although somewhat reduced, was not significantly lower." What made more of a difference was the proximity of the "learner" and the experimenter. There were also variations tested involving groups.

Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment. He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, 61–66 percent, regardless of time or country.

The participants who refused to administer the final shocks neither insisted that the experiment itself be terminated, nor left the room to check the health of the victim without requesting permission to leave, as per Milgram's notes and recollections, when fellow psychologist Philip Zimbardo asked him about that point.

Milgram created a documentary film titled Obedience showing the experiment and its results. He also produced a series of five social psychology films, some of which dealt with his experiments.

Anonymous

The Psychological State of the Union
Punitive Authoritarian Personality Disorder

Perfect!

That's exactly what I mean about not having anything that resembles equal say in the matter, witnessing etc. !! I mean who
is to keep the Punitive Authoritarian Personality Disorder checked as well? It comes down to abuse of power with the haves and the "have nots", of wiretapping, non-lethal 24/7 attacks (who would protect themselves with a lethal weapon and risk being called "insane"), covert magnet ray guns (the "wave" of the future), and even more new technology for the government to dispense its riches on the "people". Better hurry and legislate before history repeats itself with tyranny again!

A Comrade for J...

It is heartening indeed to read this news and about time. The argument that private contractors are immune from responsibility for war crimes is just not tenable. Torture is far from a "political question" though clearly it is used in the service of political aims and ambitions. It is defined and abjured in international treaties and covenants and has been since the signing of the Geneva accords. Kudos to the ACLU.

Anonymous

Throw the contractors under the bus. Giggle...

Anonymous

:D~ How did this happen??? I cannot believe it! The audacity of... Talk about a round about approach to invading peoples lives sparing what expenses in conversion.... Obviously, WRONG to do. Step 1... Set up "target" to each lunch with possible "Croonie", Step 2... Step 3... "harass over lunch meeting with Croonie via anal tapping".. step 4... Croonie laughs and harasses as well... non-stoppppppp....

There's nothing like over accusing people via anal tapping, what can they do about it anyway? Obviously they are just taking advantage of it. What happened to good old fashioned, dispute handling? Yellow signing. Who Flags people and acts that violent anyway? Two wrongs don't make a right, we learned that in Kindergarten anyway. Look do they want to stop violence or create it? Come on.. Guys. That's MY lunch.

Get what I'm saying about the ludicrous nature of this. Or are you just "reading my mind", to invade...insert "thought here" about mass destruction... Step 5... "Dangerous Stalker Attack Invasion"...on "target A". ... target A - But, I haven't; done anything!!!!... step 6... insert thought "yet".

(this is all just CIA entertainment)

Are you pinching my butt or is this paranoia?

Mission Accomplished: Self-destruction (insert implant, tap, pain sensors, Voice-FM, and unintentional desires...) for 25 years accomplished, playing mind games. "We had so much fun though!!!! Accusing you and making you go under :D"

Is this the true nature of people unchecked... I believe that it is. Why would the national email cyber spy be called "carnivore" anyway? Ok, well most people felt safe or not? Its for anti-terrorism, but what happens when they just use it to take over "above the law". I mean the Federal Bureau might not be responsible but there are other civilian terrorism programs in place by the CIA that is not questioned ever in court that is technology that is used to spy, and not just look but totally harass.

(was that you pinching my butt? or Big Govt Contractors..).

Anonymous

Since when does soft-kill constitute anything but a "defense" claim against the actual "culprits". Not an "insanity plea" for mutual harassment (so dum.. and they fall for it!!! 24 hour trap).

Also since when does a claim, or accusation not require an equal hearing for Adjudication with people that are NOT "hired" by the SAME organization guilty of "persecuting" and "community torturing non-touch"??? They don't agree that they are the ones doing it, Thats obvious.... They totally abuse people without a mutual hearing. -Thats obvious.

"Oh well", is all they have to say right now!!! This is utterly ridiculous.

Worse yet, they are capturing up kids, spying on their very motions, setting them in naivety, saying "so what lifes good for us", and keeping them in this loop for a very long time playing with their lives. Its not even looked at by any judicial structure.

Anonymous

I'm curious about the mildly tortured out side of the current legal structure "above the law". Like in so, targeted-individuals.com . Or Freedom From Covert Harassment. These people met no court date from their torturers or accusations being honest or truthful at all about the nature, severity or total honesty of why they are being tortured and deemed in sane. It should be a public policy issue.

Chris Rush Dudley

Hope this is successful. And, I hope it opens doors for other victims to seek compensation from contractors.

Anonymous

Blacklisting is the very worst form of lethal torture that not even judges seem to understand.

For example: Post 9/11 blacklisting programs were actually composed largely of blacklistees dating back as far as the 1980's. Grossly inaccurate blacklists created by local and state police agencies decades ago.

Local and state police agencies fleeced the federal government after 9/11 by placing these innocent blacklistees (from decades ago) onto post/911 terrorist blacklists - having absolutely nothing to do with crime or terrorism. It was unconstitutional in the 1980's and is still unconstitutional today.

In some cases it appears this fraud was used to fabricate probable cause in order to open illegal investigations and perform illegal searches - a federal crime. Gravitating from the local/state levels onto federal blacklists. Essentially it's quickly becoming a carbon-copy of the lethal Stasi blacklisting during the Cold War, except with far better technology to destroy civil liberties.

Audit any state Fusion Center for legitimate "probable cause" in their blacklists to prove it. The vast majority of Fusion Center blacklisting is simply a fleecing of taxpayers - there is no legitimate criminal or terrorism evidence in most of these decades-old cases.

This is the biggest torture story nobody is paying attention to!

Anonymous

Bush attorneys and other top officials that authorized war crimes should receive far harsher legal penalties than subordinate order-takers.

We should fully restore the "Nuremberg Defense" legal precedent ("just following orders" is not a legal defense) from World War Two but there are mitigating circumstances in these 21st Century cases that actually predate World War Two legal precedents.

There was a culture of fear already established within the national security agencies that punished government employees and contractors that were LOYAL to their oath of office (ex: John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden, Thomas Drake, Chelsea Manning, etc). Most subordinates, with a family and a mortgage, were essentially being attacked by the nation that created the "Nuremberg Defense" - the United States.

The Bush Administration intentionally destroyed internal whistleblower channels within agencies to report waste, fraud, abuse. Bush officials, like Monica Goodling, were also purging government agencies of Democrats, gays and liberals (a federal crime under the Hatch Act). Goodling testified in front of Congress to avoid prison time.

The unprecedented abuse of the "Espionage Act of 1917" since 9/11 also reinforced to order-takers that the United States no longer stood for human rights and no longer supported the "Nuremberg Defense" legal precedent it created.

Most order-takers had little choice, there were no good-guys with any real power after 9/11 to provide Judicial Review. Even the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defenseless citizens had to prove the war crime of blacklisting and warrantless surveillance by the most powerful spy agencies on Earth.

We should start indicting and disbarring the government attorneys and other top officials with lesser punishment for order-takers in a culture that punished government officials that were LOYAL to their oath of office!

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