Interview with James Mitchell, psychologist credited with designing CIA torture program


He defends torture as having been neccesary to “defend the country.”

They say the best defense is a good offense—and what’s more offensive than torture?


my grandad was waterboarded as part of his navy training, he swears up and down that ‘waterboarding IS NOT TORTURE!, it just makes you believe that your are going to drown to death’, I dont think hes being sarcastic :-/

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I started to read it, but immediately came upon his excuses and couldn’t stomach more. It’s particularly twisted that someone goes into the field of psychology to do damage and use the knowledge against someone’s psyche, especially since it was unsuccessful, which makes it even more sadistic.


He defends torture as having been neccessary to “defend the country.”

As a side effect, torture increased the need to defend the country.

To many, like me, torture even started to define the country.
Which made it an infamous attack on what the country used to be.


That’s a massive amount of cognitive dissonance your grandfather has then. What counts as torture if believing you’re drowning doesn’t?

I’d expect that use of devices like the Active Denial System on restrained prisoners wouldn’t count as torture to him either. It just makes them feel like all the water in their skin is boiling (because that’s what it’s doing).

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Well, I’d say he made a convincing argument for the use of torture.

Albeit only in cases involving its use on him.

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He was probably bitter because the other psychologists always made “Mitchell” jokes behind his back…

Mitchell, license to slouch.


Apart from being a torture designer, hating healthcare for the poor and being an anti-scientific climate change denier he seems like a great guy.



Sadly, the US isn’t a signatory to the ICC in the Hague. Mitchell best not travel outside the United States; he’d run the risk like the Bush II Administration of being arrested on foreign soil and being charged with Crimes Against Humanity for the Iraq War.


And unlike Bush or Kissinger, he doesn’t have friends in high places to pull his ass out of a crack overseas. Obama’d throw his ass under a bus in a Chicago second.


He also criticized Obama’s … administration’s approach to global warming. Mitchell believes it’s a myth.

I don’t think I need to read anymore about this idiot.


Anyone else look at that picture of him and think, “Men Who Stare at Goats” walk-on character?


He is one of many unindicted, guilty, war criminals who has been defacto pardonned by Obama who makes himself a war criminal by doing so.


Wait until what went on in “black sites” starts leaking. Does anyone really think this guy and his ilk would stop short of experimental neurosurgery on their prisoners? Once they exempt themselves from moral constraints, dehumanize their enemies, and declare their cause nothing short of an apocalyptic battle against evil, behavioral boundaries vanish, and grindcore horror films become inspirational corporate teambuilding videos.


Hail Hydra

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Mengele probably uttered something similar.

The cognitive dissonance that grips the US public is mind boggling. USians and their politicians LOVE to see themselves as some sort of paragon of freedom but on the same time they rationalize torture, mass surveillance and secret courts like this Mitchell guy. Torture, mass surveillance, indefinite detention, secret courts etc. are the polar opposite of freedom not the means to an end.


For one of the best examples of US cognitive dissonance one need only briefly peruse that country’s Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The 2013 document was prefaced by comments by John Kerry, who had this to say:

The reports draw attention to the growing challenges facing individuals and organizations as governments around the world fall short of their obligation to uphold universal human rights. … We at the Department of State will continue to press governments to uphold fundamental freedoms. We remain committed to advocating on behalf of civil society and speaking out for the protection of human rights for all individuals.

I don’t think I’m too far off if I rate this as a 9.4 on the Sphincter Tightening Scale of Cognitive Dissonance.

I can’t believe US taxpayers are still shelling out for this self righteous, moralising, hypocritical bullshit. Like many others, I’m sick of listening to USians (a great term, by the way) preach on this. Kerry is like a crack smoking, whoring, violent preacher blessing his flock with visions of love and peace.


Several years ago I visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh and had a stark insight into the minds of people like James Mitchell.

The museum was a former prison and execution centre for the Khmer Rouge and went under the name S-21. It is believed that around 20,000 prisoners were killed there, many of whom were tortured before what I can only believe was the sweet relief of death. In paintings now hanging on the walls some of the most vile acts of torture and punishment are recorded.

In one room I came upon sketches of torture techniques and devices by people who survived. I found myself focussing on one picture, not sure what I was seeing. Slowly it dawned upon me that it was a depiction of water boarding. Water boarding… In a prison where guards threw babies in the air and bayoneted them in front of parents. In a prison where the screams of the tortured was torture in itself. This. This was one of the tortures of choice. This was used by the Khmer Rouge.

And at that moment I realised how deluded you have to be to think that water boarding is basically harmless. Just another interrogation technique.

People like Mitchell can dodge all they like. They are vile.