Naming The Torturers

James Elmer Mitchell (aka Grayson Swigert) and John Bruce Jessen (aka Hammond Dunbar) are the names of the chief designers of the United States program of torture run by the CIA.

While not responsible for the decision by the United States government to violate its Constitutional and International Treaty obligations (that came directly from the White House, specifically Richard Bruce Cheney aka “Dick” Cheney), they were admittedly responsible for selecting the tortures to be used, oversaw the implementation of those tortures, and actively tortured themselves.

For this they received $81 Million of a $180 Million contract from the United States Government.

These facts are undisputed.

What you may not know that is that James Mitchell was already employed by the CIA’s Office of Technical Services in 2002, from which he was selected to develop the United States Torture Program.  As masters of CIA triva like Valtin remember, this was the same division of the CIA responsible for the MKULTRA program.

MKULTRA was the code name given to an illegal and clandestine program of experiments on human beings, made by the CIA – the Intelligence Service of the United States of America. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations and torture, in order to weaken the individual to force confessions through mind control. Organized through the Scientific Intelligence Division of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the project coordinated with the Special Operations Division of the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corps. The program began in the early 1950s, was officially sanctioned in 1953, was reduced in scope in 1964, further curtailed in 1967 and officially halted in 1973. The program engaged in many illegal activities; In particular it used unwitting U.S. and Canadian citizens as its test subjects, which led to controversy regarding its legitimacy. MKUltra used numerous methodologies to manipulate people’s mental states and alter brain functions, including the surreptitious administration of drugs (especially LSD) and other chemicals, hypnosis, sensory deprivation, isolation, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as various forms of torture.

SSCI Report Reveals CIA Torture Program Originated in Same Department as MKULTRA

By: Jeff Kaye, Firedog Lake

Thursday December 11, 2014 12:47 am

The sheer brutality of the program’s use of torture is overwhelming, from the use of forced enemas on detainees – the CIA called it “rectal hydration” and “rectal feeding” – to intense use of solitary confinement, threats to kill prisoners’ families, homicide, and more. Revelations from this report will continue to be reported and absorbed into the world’s understanding of the criminal extent of the U.S. torture program for months or years to come.

But one revelation has gone notably unreported. The man associated with implementing the most brutal part of the interrogation program was drawn out of the same division of the CIA that some decades ago had been responsible for the notorious MKULTRA program. As a CIA history of OTS (.PDF) explains, MKULTRA “involved Agency funding for the testing and use of chemical and biological agents and other means of controlling or modifying human behavior” (p. 19)

On April 1, 2002, a cable was sent from OTS at the request of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center and ALEC Station, which was the group within CIA supposedly hunting down Osama bin Ladin, discussing the possible use of “novel interrogation methods” on Abu Zubaydah.

The new proposed interrogation strategy proposed “several environmental modifications to create an atmosphere that enhances the strategic interrogation process.” The cable continued, “[t]he deliberate manipulation of the environment is intended to cause psychological disorientation, and reduced psychological wherewithal for the interrogation,” as well as “the deliberate establishment of psychological dependence upon the interrogator,” and “an increased sense of learned helplessness.”

(I)t seems more likely, for reasons that will be further explored below, that the program was initiated by OTS itself, and constituted at least in part an experimental program. What exactly the experiment consisted is not totally clear. But it may have involved the use of wireless or other medical devices to measure biological markers of “uncontrollable stress,” in an effort to establish a scientific calibration of torture and overall behavioral or mental control of prisoners. That such a “mind control” effort would originate or be carried out by the same institution that spent millions of dollars on the MKULTRA program is not difficult to believe.

OTS has been part of the CIA’s Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) since the early 1970s. It was transferred from the Directorate of Plans (clandestine operations, renamed around that time, the Directorate of Operations). OTS had earlier gone under other names itself, including Technical Service Staff and Technical Services Division. OTS and its predecessors had been involved in arranging the technical aspect of covert operations, including audio surveillance, forgery, secret writing, spy paraphenalia, sophisticated electronics, and assassination devices.

Then, there was the massive MKULTRA project, which had other names as well, and was coordinated in various ways with similar military programs. MKULTRA had well over a hundred “subprojects,” and contracted with many of the U.S.’s top universities and medical and psychological researchers. (For listing of subprojects see here and here.)

MKULTRA research is probably best known for its use of hallucinogens, like LSD, which were sometimes used on unsuspecting civilians, and resulted in damaged lives and even deaths. Sometimes derided as subject matter for conspiracy theorists, MKULTRA and assorted programs was all-too-real. While the vast majority of its documentation was destroyed by CIA leaders with the program was exposed in the early 1970s, what we do know it terrifying.

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