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 Monday February 28, 2011 7:15 pm|
The Texas State Board of Examiners claims they haven’t enough evidence to challenge the legitimacy of CIA torture contractor James Mitchell’s professional license to practice psychology. This is but the latest in a number of legal defeats in the now years-long attempt to bring torturers to justice. The campaign to bring these criminals to justice spans the continent, from Berkeley to Texas, from Ohio to New York, while abroad, efforts to investigate or prosecute U.S. torturers have met varying fates in Poland, Lithuania, Spain, and the United Kingdom. What more can be done to expose the war criminals, and bring them before the law?
|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: Jeff Kaye Saturday August 14, 2010 4:00 pm|
Psychologists for an Ethical APA have put out a press release charging the American Psychological Association with complicity in the supporting military and CIA psychologists in the development and implementation of the U.S. torture program. While the APA has released a letter ostensibly in support of a licensing complaint against CIA contractor-interrogator-torturer James Mitchell, a look at the letter itself and the context surrounding it presents a different story.
|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: Jeff Kaye Thursday July 8, 2010 6:18 am|
The announcement of a United Kingdom torture inquiry has been met with approval by many, but many questions remain about whether the inquiry will really produce what the UK government promises. Meanwhile, in the U.S., frustrated by government obstructionist policies aimed against accountability for torture crimes, some are turning to legal actions against psychologists who were involved in 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: emptywheel Wednesday March 3, 2010 12:27 pm|
Just past noon on July 31, 2002, Jennifer Koester sent Patrick Philbin an email alerting him that the White House wanted them to finish the memos authorizing Abu Zubaydah’s torture by close of business the next day. Those memos would either retroactively or prospectively authorize Abu Zubaydah to be exposed to the same kind of treatment Ibn Sheikh al-Libi had undergone five months earlier.