A top U.S. psychologist touting “Positive Psychology” — Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania — has been linked to the CIA’s Bush torture program.
|By: Jeff Kaye Monday December 9, 2013 1:22 pm|
|By: Jeff Kaye Tuesday April 5, 2011 6:07 am|
The commissions’ main purpose is to produce government propaganda, not justice. These are meant to be show trials, part of an overarching plan of “exploitation” of prisoners, which includes, besides a misguided attempt by some to gain intelligence data, the inducement of false confessions and the recruitment of informants via torture. The aim behind all this is political: to mobilize the U.S. population for imperialist war adventures abroad, and political repression and economic austerity at home.
|By: Jeff Kaye Tuesday March 22, 2011 3:40 pm|
As part of a new investigative story, Truthout has published two documents written by the former psychologist for SERE, and later CIA contract interrogator for the Bush torture program, Bruce Jessen. Jessen’s notes describe an “exploitation” survival course that was “reverse-engineered” to provide a blueprint for the interrogation and detention policies of the Bush administration, which emphasized not just the ways to coercively interrogate an individual for intelligence purposes, but to “exploit” the detainee for a number of uses, including production of false confessions, recruitment of prisoners as U.S. spies, putting on show trials, and medical experimentation.
|By: Jeff Kaye Thursday January 6, 2011 6:45 am|
An “experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative” called Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) is drawing criticism from civil rights groups and rank-and-file soldiers by testing military personnel for “spiritual fitness.” What’s next? Will atheism be pronounced a new form of “material support to terrorism”?
|By: emptywheel Wednesday January 5, 2011 6:20 pm|
The guy whose “Learned Helplessness” theories made it possible for Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell to make a killing (heh) on torturing detainees has figured out a way to make a killing–$31 million in sole source funds–himself: with an untested “Learned Optimism” program that claims to make sure those in the military who are on their fourth deployments in the most dangerous parts of the empire are happy being on those deployments.
But Martin Seligman’s program not only has not been proven to do what it claims to do, but it also has a built-in religious aspect to it, such that atheists have to undergo extra counseling because they didn’t answer affirmatively to the statement, “I am a spiritual person, my life has lasting meaning, I believe that in some way my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.”
|By: emptywheel Friday December 17, 2010 12:30 pm|
The AP has a story on Mitchell and Jessen’s torture defense. The lead of the story describes how CIA protected the torturers both by paying all of their defense costs — up to $5 million — as well as paying it directly out of CIA funds. This and some rather interesting sub-narrative suggest there was some regret or recognition that the torture program wasn’t such a good idea.
|By: emptywheel Monday July 26, 2010 4:00 pm|
There is a great deal of evidence that Jose Rodriguez knew as early as September 6, 2002 that he needed to destroy evidence of the torturers exceeding the guidelines set in DC. According to anyone’s definition, that means Rodriguez knew years before he had the tapes destroyed he was destroying evidence of torture, even by Jay Bybee’s and possibly John Yoo’s measure.
Yet the AP — in their “most complete published account” — doesn’t even mention that torture?
|By: emptywheel Monday April 19, 2010 1:30 pm|
One of the potential bombshells in last week’s FOIA dump appears in a CIA discussion about a potential statement in response to NYT’s breaking of the torture tape story; the document notes that the videotapes would have shown the sheer number of times the torturers waterboarded Abu Zubaydah, and suggests that that may have presented legal problems. John Yoo was playing (or actually was) dumb about the use of waterboarding in the months before CIA destroyed the torture tapes. Yet someone–perhaps Bruce Jessen or James Mitchell–claim they kept DOJ generally and Yoo specifically in the loop of what they were doing.
|By: Jeff Kaye Thursday November 19, 2009 3:00 pm|
Back in May 2007, while researching the activities of the American Psychological Association (APA) in support of the U.S. government’s interrogation program, I came across evidence that the APA had engaged in a discussion of torture techniques during a workshop organized by APA and the RAND Corporation, “with generous funding from the Central Intelligence Agency [...]
|By: Jeff Kaye Sunday August 16, 2009 4:00 pm|
In parts one and two of this series on the origins of the SERE torture program, we examined how unlikely it was that James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, relying on entrepreneurial guile and chutzpah alone, convinced a passive Pentagon and CIA, eager to find some way to get terror intelligence, to buy into their “learned helplessness” interrogation paradigm.