This week we were hosted by NEA for the research and development week. Monday saw me packing the van with all the stuff I thought might be needed and setting off to Pilton.
Work began with untangling the events in America that resulted in the SERE torture resistance training programme becoming reverse engineered and tried out on Abu Zubaydah – the first person to undergo CIA rendition.
A very interesting discovery was of the role of John Mitchell, a psychologist who designed the torture programme. He said “I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country by people at the highest level of government, and I did the best that I could.” He is said to have exaggerated his expertise, to have convinced the CIA that torture works when their own evaluation of torture undergone by their own soldiers concluded that no real information (probably only false confessions) are elicited. On the other hand, the FBI at the time in the form of Ali Soufan were getting intelligence from Abu Zubaydah without resorting to enhanced interrogation techniques.
John Mitchell, who is retired now, is due for trial in June 2017.