Meet James Mitchell, CIA's post-9/11 torture architect whose firm we paid $80 million


I want to live long enough that bringing this guy’s name into an unrelated discussion invokes Godwin’s Rule.



Criminey. The guy seems to have that slightly more nuanced take than I’d originally suspected, but still can’t see the moral line that he (and those who went along with him) crossed in the utter dehumanization of people that are at your mercy.

His argument basically seems to boil down to, “Torturing people isn’t effective for information, but it’s effective to play ‘bad cop’ so that the good cops can get information, and when applied correctly, it doesn’t cause lasting physical harm compared with breaking their legs or whatever, and it’s better than indiscriminate bombing.”

So many books on Islam, he still failed to absorb the Quranic message of treating those humans that you are responsible well in their captivity.


He does offer a surprisingly compelling argument for the use of torture.

Albeit only on him and his conspirators; but still.


Guys like this are part of the reason I don’t care much about a few murdered dolphins.

And BTW Romero is an absolute dipshit for writing that Op-Ed suggesting they (the torturers, not the dolphins) be granted pardons.

A nondisclosure agreement isn’t much cover when the charge is torture - which, for some people, is worse than murder. How much crime can a contract force you to cover up?


I DO believe that ‘what goes around’ will eventually ‘come on back around’ for all these guys, including the politico’s that created it’; I just hope that, when that day comes, I’m still here to witness it. It’s definitely gonna be extreme…


And BTW Romero is an absolute dipshit for writing that Op-Ed suggesting
they (the torturers, not the dolphins) be granted pardons.


IANAL, but I think the answer to that is none.

A contract to break the law is void ab initio, if I’m reading my Wikipedia correctly.


That’s pretty much what I thought. Then again, if the guys on the other end of the contract have the ability and the will to disappear people and torture them…


Urgh, VICE. Way to induce my gag reflex.

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Just a sensitive, weepy, alligator loving guy nobly serving his country by devising torturing techniques to make us all safe… giving us all a sense of equal justice under the law.
Watching James Mitchell tear up (like an alligator) was almost convincing considering he is such a patriotic executioner upon receiving multi-million $ contract for his generous contribution to America’s new policy of international sadism upon which our country was founded (as envisioned by our forefathers).


The Wikipedia contributors pull no punches:

Mitchell had never conducted an interrogation, had no training as an interrogator, had no expertise in al Qaeda and no familiarity with the organization, did not speak Arabic and had no training in radical Islam. Mitchell nonetheless said he could design and implement an interrogation plan for alleged al Qaeda suspects.[3]

In April 2009, the CIA canceled Mitchell and Jessen’s contracts, after having paid US$81 million.[3] The CIA Inspector General concluded that there was no scientific reason to believe that the program Mitchell designed was medically safe or would produce reliable information.[6] The CIA agreed as part of the contract to provide legal costs for Mitchell and Jessen of at least $5 M if necessary.[7]


Mitchell “had reviewed research on ‘learned helplessness,’ in which individuals might become passive and depressed in response to adverse or uncontrollable events. He theorized that inducing such a state could encourage a detainee to cooperate and provide information.”[11]

It’s a pity that his review didn’t get as far as the last couple of decades, when competent psychologists abandoned Seilgmann’s “learned helplessness” construct as being roughly as useful as phlogiston.


Yeah, that more-or less occurred to me too.

Based on the data in his Wikipedia page, he’s responsible for roughly 256 man-years of employment (he’s also a job creator!) between the start of 2002 and 2009 when the contract was cancelled. Dividing $81M across all those man-years (and assuming no expenses) gives an average salary of $320,000. By way of comparison, that’s about 30% higher than the basic pay of a US Army 4-star General. Basically, Mitchell was 30% more patriotic than the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, or the Commandant of the Marine Corps.


Somebody please Photoshop this guy’s head onto Hannibal Lecter’s body.

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I’d rather see him behind that silly mask, myself.

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