Home / Foreign Affairs / DoD Warns American Psychological Association – Help Us Torture, Or the U.S. Will be Attacked

DoD Warns American Psychological Association – Help Us Torture, Or the U.S. Will be Attacked

dod-apa-torture-interrogation

Caught colluding with the Pentagon and endorsing the CIA’s torture program, the American Psychological Association (APA) sent a letter to the Defense Department last year refusing to continue participation in national security interrogations. Instead of accepting the association’s new policy, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently responded with a veiled threat furtively blaming the APA’s nonparticipation in enhanced interrogations for any future attacks against U.S. citizens.

Following the tragic events of 9/11, the Justice Department constructed a series of legal memos authorizing the Bush administration’s use of torture against enemy combatants. In 2002 and 2003, Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo authored the torture memos, which were signed by Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee. The Authorization for Use of Military Force, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, and Executive Order 13440 became legal justifications for the utilization of enhanced interrogation techniques and a total disregard for the Geneva Conventions.

Under pseudonyms within the heavily redacted Senate Committee’s Executive Summary on CIA interrogation, two retired Air Force psychologists, Dr. Bruce Jessen and Dr. James Mitchell, received contracts to develop the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques. They decided to reverse-engineer the Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) counter-interrogation training by inflicting both physical and psychological torture upon detainees. According to the report, they personally participated in waterboarding and interrogating prisoners.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times at CIA black sites in Poland and Romania while providing no actionable intelligence or useful information to his interrogators. In November 2002, CIA officer Matthew Zirbel left black site detainee Gul Rahman beaten and half-naked from the waist down in an unheated cell overnight. Rahman ended up freezing to death in his cell. In a case of mistaken identity, German citizen Khalid El-Masri was abducted by the Macedonian police and handed over to the CIA. After months of beatings and forced rectal suppositories, El-Masri was released without charges.

Arrested in Pakistan on April 10, 2002, Binyam Mohamed was transported to a CIA black site where he was beaten, burned, and suffered cuts along his torso and penis with a scalpel. The US eventually dropped all charges against Mohamed and released him. Between June 19 and 20, 2003, CIA contractor David Passaro beat an Afghan suspect named Abdul Wali to death with a metal flashlight during an enhanced interrogation. At the Abu Ghraib prison in 2003, Manadel al-Jamadi died in a shower room under CIA interrogation with his arms tied behind his back. Former Specialist Charles Graner Jr. notoriously posed over al-Jamadi’s corpse for a photo before being charged with torturing his prisoners. CIA interrogator Mark Swanner was not charged with al-Jamadi’s death.

Kidnapped by CIA agents in Milan on February 17, 2003, an Egyptian cleric named Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr lost hearing in one ear after months of beatings and electric shocks. On November 4, 2009, an Italian judge convicted in absentia 22 suspected or known CIA agents, an Air Force colonel, and two Italian secret agents of kidnapping Nasr.

According to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, harsh interrogation techniques are not effective means of acquiring intelligence. Under duress, prisoners will say anything they believe the interrogator wants to hear in order to end the torment. Although the CIA claims information acquired through enhanced interrogation has saved lives and led to the death of Osama bin Laden, the Committee discovered these claims are patently false.

Instead of being held accountable for devising and utilizing the CIA’s torture program, Mitchell and Jessen received $81 million prior to their contract’s termination in 2009. Former CIA case officer John Kiriakou was sentenced to 30 months in prison after revealing the torture program during an interview with ABC News. Kiriakou was charged with violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 by giving Deuce Martinez’s business card to New York Times reporter Scott Shane. Martinez had been a CIA interrogator working for Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

In July 2015, a report found that two former APA presidents had been colluding with the CIA while convincing the board to endorse Mitchell and Jessen’s unorthodox therapy sessions. After concluding that sleep deprivation did not classify as torture, former APA president Joseph Matarazzo later held a small ownership stake in Mitchell Jessen and Associates.

On October 28, 2015, APA President Barry Anton and former APA CEO Norman Anderson wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter informing the Pentagon of its new policy prohibiting supervision, assistance, or presence in any national security interrogations, including CIA torture and interrogations of Guantanamo detainees. Instead of respecting the APA’s decision to avoid further ethical conflicts, Brad Carson, the acting principal deputy secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, responded this month accusing the APA of hindering the recruitment and retention of qualified psychologists required by the U.S. Armed Forces.

“The context of future conflicts — whether a traditional international armed conflict like World War II or the Korean War, a defense of the homeland against international terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or something entirely unpredictable — is today unknown,” Carson warned. “A code governing psychologists’ ethics in future national security roles needs to fit all such contexts. We respectfully suggest that a blanket prohibition on participation by psychologists in national security interrogations does not.”

Due to the fact that Mitchell and Jessen provided no actionable intelligence by devising and conducting enhanced interrogations, the only reason the Pentagon needs the APA to reconsider its policy change is because the DoD can no longer commit torture under current U.S. law. By contracting out to psychologists, the DoD would be able to resume the CIA’s torture program at the behest of a future president without interference from the Justice Department.


Andrew Emett is a Los Angeles-based reporter exposing political and corporate corruption. His interests include national security, corporate abuse, and holding government officials accountable. Andrew’s work has appeared on Raw Story, Alternet, Activist Post, and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @AndrewEmett and on Facebook at Andrew Emett.

  • Regardless of your opinion on this issue, I’d highly recommend reading this paper: https://law.utexas.edu/humanrights/events/speaker-series-papers/Hajjar_Does%20Torture%20Work.pdf

  • no need. We already know who the real criminals are…

  • No, it’s sick and depraved and lowers us all as humans……..

  • the people at the DoD are crimanls and should all be EXECUTED.

  • Torture has been used by every country including the U.S…..since forever….lol, what is your point ?

  • Torture is the LEAST effective way.

  • Torturing people is against EVERYTHING that America stands for. If our government needs to torture people our government needs disbanded.

    • Actually it’s against everything America once stood for, now they stand for professional sports events, various reality series , and pointing fingers at politicians rather than taking any action.

    • Frank Welsh Well, they say you get the government you deserve. We voted for it!

    • Like I said “rather than taking any action” I’m well aware apathy to policy is why we are where we are.

    • Also as far as Federal Government goes….we only voted for the electorate in other words the 538 people who determine presidential elections. Our only real voting power is at state and local levels. The Electoral College has defied popular vote at least 4 times in history the last case being George W Bush who lost the popular vote but gained office through electoral support.

    • This explains the Electoral College

      http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

      This is a list of states and whether or not their electorate is required by law to vote accordingly with popular vote.

      http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/laws.html

  • Didn’t the CIA even basically admit they got nothing useful out of their torture program? Just a lot of made up stuff to get the pain to stop

  • To late, we’re already under attack by the DoD

  • “How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.”

    ― Walter E. Williams, All It Takes is Guts: A Minority View

  • It doesn’t matter if I think it’s effective or not, it’s already been proven many times NOT to be effective.

  • As an expert interviewer, I can tell you that we obtain thousands of confessions per week nation wide, every one without torture. The reason torture was used was to radicalize Muslims and further radicalize jihadists to kill our boys, conduct terrorist attacks and help Neocons stoke war fever at home. It worked. When word got out to Iraqis, many who thought of Americans as liberators were then convinced they needed to support the resistance. The peaceful transition turned into hell on our boys.

  • No

  • so, even the APA is now a tool of the state? Next, you will be declared insane and gulaged if you oppose anything the state does

  • FOK The APA you wanna know about Torture and or getting Truth the PRC and John McCain know best!

  • Since the Spanish Inquisition all modern people know torture is no reliable method to obtain information , apart of that it violates human rights AND modern societies also know that even guilty proven offenders HAVE human rights which shall not be violated – under no circumstances!

    • for those who do not see: There is an emphasize on “modern”

    • That’s great.

      I don’t disagree with you.

      My official stance, any “true torture” should be illegal.

      But let me break this down for you. Do you have kids? Daughters? A wife? A mom? A sister?

      4 guys breaks into your home, rape your _________ (insert whatever applies to your home/family) and kill your dog/cat (whatever).

      You Come home and pull out your pistol, you fire off two shots injuring two of the attackers, while the other two escape with your __________(daughter, sister, mom).

      The two men you injured are the only people who have information about the men who took your __________.

      You have options.

      A) call the police, the men get arrested and the police use their limited tools to locate your family.

      >Turns out they are foreign ambassadors, immune to American laws and our district attorney doesn’t want to stir up trouble with foreign nations over something that can be just as easily swept under the rug.

      B) you plead with the captors humiliating the victim in hopes they will kindly have a change of heart.

      >Reality hits, they don’t care.

      C) you lock those fuckers up in your basement. Tie them to a chair and extract information from them by whatever means necessary.

      Torture ineffective? I disagree. If information is worthless, torture intensifies. Everybody has a breaking point. Human rights, theirs ended the moment they disregarded the human rights of my loved ones.

      Now that being said, the Catholic Church and kings using torture to get people to admit guilt. Obviously you’ll admit guilt even if innocent if tortured long enough and intensely enough. So it isn’t effective. It doesn’t mean they are guilty, it’s just means they’d prefer you and everybody else thinking they are over getting their fingernails ripped out.

    • Brandon Tutor Great story! Now please tell me where that happened, or are you trying out to be a Hollywood writer?

    • Nope! Right in that moment you break the rules, in that moment you say “they lost their rights as they disregarded law…” , right in that moment you are departing down from humanity, right in that moment you put yourself on the same stage of the offender and throw all your principles of the constitution over board.

      We had a case in Germany … I think it was in 2001 .. A 24-year old philosophy student kidnapped two siblings and extorted money from the parents. Police caught him at the money transfer and found the girl of the siblings in his car. He said the boy is his insurance, he counted on them trying to snatch him at the money transfer. So he remained silent about the boy, in order to be released again. On the second day the Supervision agreed to the plan of the chief inspector to torture the offender, hopefully he will tell where the boy is. Three guys beated him up badly but the student did not tell. He cried and was scared about his life but he remained silent.
      Only a random attempt lead to a trace about a second car of the student which had no licence plates and they found the boy in the cars trunk. Sexually abused and at least for two weeks dead. That is why he remained silent, because without the boys body he would only get sentenced for kidnapping and blackmailing.
      After further investigations against the polices investigations methods, the affected officers were suspended from duty for three months without payment, the supervision and the leading officer were dismissed, lost their old age pension claims and got sued by the prosecutor. They lost the first instance. After they appealed, a higher court confirmed the first ruling, even if there was a belief that the boy was alive.

      A commitee of the central european legislative also discussed this case and confirmed it a third time: There are no circumstances which justify torture.

      “You give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.”
      (Larry King Live, May 11, 2009)”

      I assess the power of a will by how much resistance, pain, torture it endures and knows how to turn to its advantage.
      Friedrich Nietzsche

      “Cowards make the best torturers. Cowards understand fear and they can use it.”
      ― Mark Lawrence, Prince of Thorns

      “The purpose of torture is not getting information. It’s spreading fear.”
      Eduardo Galeano

      “With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all, irrevocably.” ( offenders have the rights and the freedom to remain silent, a right on physical integrity. If you give up those rights, its the begin of putting us all into chains)

    • imma just say it like this… i don’t depend on THEM for justice… if that situation Brandon Tutor described occurred in my household… I WOULD TORTURE THEM UNTIL THEY BEGGED ME TO END THEIR LIFE… and I would probably still continue to insure that they stayed alive so that I could put the through more pain and anguish… but that’s just me

    • David Werking You assume them guilty. If they are not proven as guilty you are doing them wrong. Even if they are guilty for sure, you would do them wrong; it’s understandable but wrong.

  • Besides being morally reprehensible, this would not be reliable information since people will say anything under torture to stop the pain and save their lives.

  • DoD. You work for me and I say STAND DOWN.

  • That’s great.

    I don’t disagree with you.

    My official stance, any “true torture” should be illegal.

    But let me break this down for you. Do you have kids? Daughters? A wife? A mom? A sister?

    4 guys breaks into your home, rape your _________ (insert whatever applies to your home/family) and kill your dog/cat (whatever).

    You Come home and pull out your pistol, you fire off two shots injuring two of the attackers, while the other two escape with your __________(daughter, sister, mom).

    The two men you injured are the only people who have information about the men who took your __________.

    You have options.

    A) call the police, the men get arrested and the police use their limited tools to locate your family.

    >Turns out they are foreign ambassadors, immune to American laws and our district attorney doesn’t want to stir up trouble with foreign nations over something that can be just as easily swept under the rug.

    B) you plead with the captors humiliating the victim in hopes they will kindly have a change of heart.

    >Reality hits, they don’t care.

    C) you lock those fuckers up in your basement. Tie them to a chair and extract information from them by whatever means necessary.

    Torture ineffective? I disagree. If information is worthless, torture intensifies. Everybody has a breaking point. Human rights, theirs ended the moment they disregarded the human rights of my loved ones.

    Now that being said, the Catholic Church and kings using torture to get people to admit guilt. Obviously you’ll admit guilt even if innocent if tortured long enough and intensely enough. So it isn’t effective. It doesn’t mean they are guilty, it’s just means they’d prefer you and everybody else thinking they are over getting their fingernails ripped out.

  • Psychopathy at work.

  • Torture is extremely reliable at producing false confessions. We couldn’t crucify scapegoats without it.

  • Ahh, that whole Constitution thing is a piece of garbage anyway. Let’s lower ourselves to tha lowest common denominator, rather than show the world that the great experiment of democracy actually was intended to mean something better. Let’s let America join the ranks of war criminals. I’m sure Thomas Jefferson would be so proud of this country right now.

  • i would like to say that i am leaving you page. though your information and questions are well put. i clicked on a link to read a article about the rainbow gathering being terriost activity. shortly after reading a few lines a pop up blocked the page, and demanded that i do what i already have. click “like” & subscribe. Demanding that people do something for information is not “free thought” good by.

  • I think I’d kill anyone torturing another living being. I wouldn’t hesistate. And I wouldn’t make the person suffer. I do not condone such atrocities. Anyone with a mind set on humiliating others or causing them severe pain deserves no kindness or sorrow. Everyone has dark thoughts, but those with thoughts of darkness for those who do not deserve it only deserve darkness.

  • And they did until people started finding out about it. Now they are trying to preserve their order.
    I bet they still do or at least their techniques are used, on everyday citizens……….They need that REaction.

  • Sure it is,so long as you want lies.

  • No! unless you just want a “False confeeion”…

  • “Torture fails to make us safe, but it certainly makes us less free.”
    Jerrold Nadler

    “No conditions justify torture.”
    Norman Finkelstein

    “Torture is such a slippery slope; as soon as you allow a society or any legal system to do that, almost instantly you get a situation where people are being tortured for very trivial reasons.”
    Iain Banks

    “With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all, irrevocably.”

    “WikiLeaks exposed corruption, war crimes, torture and cover-ups. It showed that we were lied to about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; that the U.S. military had deliberately hidden information about systematic torture and civilian casualties, which were much higher than reported.”
    Jemima Khan

    “We are America; we don’t torture. And the moment that is not the case, I want off the train.”
    Shepard Smith

  • Effective? Effective??!?! How about IMMORAL and FORBIDDEN by the Geneva Convention and International Law. Of course it is effective at getting anyone to say anything you want them to, this has been proven. At getting reliable information? Not so much.

  • Absurd. Already proven to be ineffective

  • No

  • Do I? Hell, fucking NO!!!!!!

  • is torture effective in getting info?

    no, it is what the Miranda case was all about. (remember your Miranda rights?…cops put out cigarettes on him til he confessed)

    Under torture you will admit to anything to get it to stop.

  • Are we really asking this question? Wow…

    War should not be happening in the first place. The question on the plate is how to make war not profitable. How to stop war completely.

  • A torture victim will tell you what you want to hear simply to end the torturing. No, it’s an extremely inaccurate way of gathering information.

  • Sure! If you have the power over millions of useless eaters!

  • So I red the whole discussion. I do conclude that torture does more harm then good. but we need to keep perspective in mind. If we have a kidnaper who has someoene in underground chamber in the forest, I believe that the only way that criminal will not tell where his victim is because he was not asked “correctly”. Torture may not work in situations when interrogaters are at a loss what they even want to know. I found an interesting bias: The writer surely did his momework reasearching the subject. Basically we learn that torture is illegal by international law, but from time to time used by every government in mass. The researcher gives examples from history, the first democracy in the world, the old Greece tortured. He mensiones torture practiced by not only historical states, but by religionms like muslims. He does mention torture in mideaval ages in Europe. but he is surelly biased, not once he mentiones that it was the catholic church and jesuits that did the most atytrocious tortures and mostly for material gain killing the innocent. I saw Obama that would not say shit is his mouth was full of it (OF course I mean avoiding to connect muslim religion with nothing more then plucking flowers). Historically the Poop, vatican, catholic church is the biggest culprit in teh discussion but we never see them named

  • An no one can explain why the dod isn’t going up on war crimes …..holy crap this is turning into a horrible planit !

  • Torture is never acceptable.

  • I don’t know if torture can ever be justified. I do know I am grateful not to be in a position to have to make that call..

  • Torture is counterproductive

  • Torture is counterproductive

  • Torture is not a science, it is a ancient art of punishment. Torture results in unreliable information and sometimes complete fantasies.

  • No, it is just a vent for the darkness within the torturer

  • Torture is proved without a doubt to be ineffective. They know it. Torture is for the sadistic pleasure of the authoritarians. IT DOESN’T WORK!!!

  • Sure it is. The Inquisition proved that. Ferreted out all those witches, right?

  • Only if they are proven terrorists.which isn’t just a revenge freedom fighter

  • All is fair in love and war. This doesn’t mean morally just. This doesn’t mean a committee of people endlessly debating. It means action designed for results. I don’t agree with torture. But some ideological agendas would argue against it solely to help the enemy while seeming to be acting out of high standards of human rights. I’m not a general. I’m not someone making necessary judgement calls. Personal judgement calls is what wins wars or looses them. Not open ended endless debates within the realm of political correctness. That just mires effective warfare when scholarly minds seek to morally justify every decision before a battle plan, to bring zero casualties. No nation wins any war that way.

  • Nooo