Degradation and manhandling: Document reveals US interrogation techniques by Katherine Eban (SERE)

Dandelion Salad

Published: Tuesday July 17, 2007

After conducting a 10-month investigation that consisted of more than 70 interviews, as well as a detailed review of public and classified documents, Vanity Fair writer Katherine Eban delivers the fullest portrait yet of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the C.I.A.-contracted psychologists who were put in charge of designing the aggressive interrogation methods known as ‘SERE school’ techniques (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) that came to be used during the Iraq war,” states a press release sent to RAW STORY. “Eban also reveals a never-before-seen memo that details how the U.S. military sought to treat detainees at Guantanamo Bay.”

According to colleagues, Mitchell and Jessen, who were placed in charge of interrogations on the C.I.A.’s network of “black sites,” had no real-world experience in questioning prisoners. Their expertise was in training U.S. soldiers to endure Communist-style torture techniques—the same tactics they are accused of reverse-engineering for use on detainees.

In response to a detailed list of questions regarding their involvement with the C.I.A. and their interrogation qualifications, Mitchell and Jessen responded: “We are proud of the work we have done for our country. The advice we have provided, and the actions we have taken have been legal and ethical. We resolutely oppose torture. Under no circumstances have we ever endorsed, nor would we endorse, the use of interrogation methods designed to do physical or psychological harm. We were not in any way involved with the scandal at Abu Ghraib or with the abuses alleged at Guantanamo. We were appalled by reports from both places.”

Eban reports on the interrogation of al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, and asserts that contrary to George Bush’s claim that it was “tough” interrogation that forced Zubaydah to reveal Khalid Shaikh Mohammed as the mastermind behind 9/11, it was actually humane treatment at the hands of the F.B.I.—they nursed his gunshot wounds and cleaned up after him—that prompted his sharing of information.


The CIA’s torture teachers By Mark Benjamin (SERE)

Psychologists responsible for the development and migration of abusive interrogation techniques (SERE)

Shrinks and the SERE Technique at Guantanamo By Stephen Soldz

Gitmo/Guantanamo Bay/Torture (older posts)