by Thierry Meyssan
Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on December 9, 2014, released an extract of her classified report on the secret program of torture by the CIA. 
Presentation of the report
The declassified portion corresponds to only one-twelfth of the initial report.
The report itself does not address the vast removal and sequestration system that the US Navy had put in place during the terms of President George W. Bush; a program that has led to worldwide kidnapping and sequestration of more than 80 000 people aboard 17 flat-bottomed boats stationed in international waters (these ships are: USS Bataan, USS Peleliu, USS Ashland, USNS Stockham, USNS Watson, USNS Watkins, USNS Sister, USNS Charlton, USNS Pomeroy, USNS Red Cloud, USNS Soderman, USNS Dahl MV PFC William B Baugh, Alex Bonnyman MV, MV Franklin J Phillips, MV Huage Louis J Jr, James Anderson Jr. MV). It is content to study 119 cases of human guinea pigs subjected to psychological experiments in Guantánamo and fifty secret prisons from 2002 to late 2009, a year after the election of Barack Obama.
The extracts of the report do not indicate the criteria by which these human guinea pigs were chosen. They merely state that each prisoner denounced the following, while indicating that the confessions were not coerced but learned. In other words, the CIA sought to justify its choices by making denunciations post.
In the initial report, the names of agents and contractors of the CIA involved have been replaced by pseudonyms. In addition, the declassified extracts were widely censored, mainly to clear the names of foreign accomplices of the CIA.
The content of the report
I read the entire 525 pages of excerpts from the public report. However, I am far from having drawn all the information because much research is needed to interpret the redacted passages.
Conditioning sessions were performed in fifty secret prisons under the responsibility of “Alec Station”, the unit of the CIA responsible for following Osama bin Laden. Infrastructure, staff and transport were the responsibility of the “Group of surrender and detention” of the CIA. The sessions were designed and built under the supervision of two contracting psychologists who formed a firm in 2005. The conditioning techniques employed were authorized at the highest level, without specifying that these tortures were intended to condition and not to extract information.
Vice President Dick Cheney, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Justice John Ashcroft, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin Powell and CIA Director George Tenet attended meetings on this subject at the White House. They attended simulations at the White House and watched recordings of some sessions; records that were subsequently illegally destroyed. These meetings were obviously designed to “wet” these personalities, but it is not possible to determine which of them knew for what these techniques had been used.
However, in June 2007, Condoleezza Rice was personally briefed by the CIA contractor who supervised the experiments. The National Security Advisor authorized the continuation of the experiments, but diminished the number of authorized tortures.
The publicly available excerpts of the report contain a detailed analysis of how the CIA lied to the other branches of the Bush administration, the media and Congress.
- James Mitchell and Bruce Jensen, supervisors of the CIA conditioning program. Mitchell was appointed Mormon bishop in 2012, but he was forced to resign when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints learned about his activities.
The experiments of Professor Martin Seligman
The public extract from the report confirms that the CIA conducted experiments based on the work of Professor Martin Seligman (theory of “learned helplessness”). They were not intended to obtain a confession or information, but to inculcate a narrative or behavior in the subjects.
Most of the quotes that the press has extracted from the report are confusing. Indeed, the CIA speaks of “conditioning methods” under the name of “non-standard means of interrogation”). Out of context, we can assume that the term “interrogation” means the search for information while it actually denotes conditioning sessions undergone by the subjects.
All the names of the torturers were censored in the declassified extracts. However, we recognize Bruce Jessen under the pseudonym “Grayson Swigert” and James Mitchell as that of “Hammond Dunbar.” From April 12, 2002, the two men oversaw the program. They were physically present in secret prisons. In 2005, they organized themselves into a commercial company, Mitchell Jessen & Associates (referred to as “Company Y” in the report). From 2005 to 2010, their firm was paid $ 81 million. Subsequently, they were used by the Army to conduct a behavioral program on 1.1 million US soldiers.
In May of 2003, a senior CIA officer informed the Inspector General of the Agency that the work of Professor Seligman was based on torture practiced by North Vietnam to obtain “confessions for propaganda purposes”. The officer put the conditioning program into question. His information was not followed up on. Moreover, he made a small mistake by citing North Vietnam; Seligman’s research was based, like the North Vietnamese practices, on Korean work.
How torturers protected themselves
According to the Senate Committee, the CIA’s torture program was ordered by President George W. Bush, September 17, 2001, six days after the attacks. He had intended only to give extraordinary means to investigate the attacks of 11 September 2001. However, this program was immediately developed in breach of some President’s instructions. Therefore, from the attacks, the CIA, unbeknownst to the White House, sought to manufacture fraudulent evidence falsely attesting to the guilt of al-Qaeda.
President George Bush and parliamentarians were deceived by the CIA who
got authorizations to practice certain forms of torture by masking their true purpose and
misrepresented inculcated confessions as if they had been extracted under torture.
When , on September 6, 2006, President Bush admitted to the existence of the secret torture program of the CIA, he defended the practice, arguing that it had yielded information that saved lives. It was based on the false reports of the CIA and he was unaware that it manufactured evidence instead of searching for it. From that point, the Atlanticist media descended into barbarism and debated the merits of torture by presenting it as a necessary evil.
The torturers ensured legal cover for themselves by asking for permission to practice from the Department of Justice. But it took no action on the legality of the methods used (isolation, confinement in a small box, staged funeral, use of insects, etc.) and not on the program as a whole. Most lawyers allowed only particular postures ignoring their psychological consequences when combined. All authorizations were collected in August of 2002.
CIA officials who authorized these experiments have indicated in writing that the human guinea pigs were to be incinerated if they succumbed during conditioning or they should stay locked up for life if they survived.
Let’s be clear: the Senate Committee does not say that the confessions of CIA detainees are legally incorrect because they were obtained under torture, it states that the CIA did not question the detainees, but it conditioned them to confess to acts of which they knew nothing. The Commission states that the CIA agents did not even look to see what the detainees had confessed during previous interrogations with the authorities who arrested them. In other words not only has the CIA not investigated whether al Qaeda was involved in the attacks or not, but its action had no other purpose than to generate false evidence attesting to the involvement of al-Qaeda in the attacks of September 11.
The Senate Committee did not discuss whether the confessions of the human guinea pigs were extorted or inculcated, but after explaining that supervisors were conditioning experts and not interrogators, the Committee explains at length the fact that none of these “confessions” has allowed us to anticipate anything. It demonstrates that the CIA lied by claiming that they had helped prevent further attacks. The Commission does not write that information on al-Qaeda in these confessions is fabricated, but notes that it all was verifiably false. In doing so, the Commission explicitly refutes the arguments that were used to justify torture and implicitly cancels the testimonies which were used to link al-Qaeda to the attacks of Sept. 11.
This report confirms, officially, several items of information we presented to our readers and that contradict and invalidate the work of Atlanticist think tanks, universities and the media since September 11, both in regard to the 2001 attacks themselves and with regard to al-Qaeda.
Following the publication of excerpts from this report, it appears that all the evidence cited in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the September 11 attacks connecting these to al-Qaeda is false. There no longer exists to date a shred of evidence for attributing the attacks to Al Qaeda: There is no evidence that the 19 people accused of being airline pirates could have been found that day in one of the four planes, and none of the former members of Al Qaeda’s testimonials confessing to the attacks is genuine .
- Martin Seligman, the designer of the CIA conditioning program.
The report confirms what we revealed in 2009
In October 2009, I published a study on this subject in the Russian magazine Odnako . I argued that Guantanamo was not an interrogation center, but a conditioning centre. Also I was putting personally calling Professor Seligman to task. A year later, the article having been translated into English,US psychologists led a campaign to ask Martin Seligman for an explanation. In response, he denied his role as a torturer and launched legal proceedings against myself and the Voltaire Network in both France and Lebanon where I lived. Ultimately, Professor Seligman instructed his lawyers to stop the procedures after we published one of his letters followed by an explanatory text.  Martin Seligman sued all those who treated this subject, such as Bryant Weich of the Huffington Post .
- John O. Brennan was deputy director of the CIA (2001-05) and, as such, director of the National Anti-Terrorist Centre. He was the main architect of the secret program for fabricating confessions under torture. In 2009, he became adviser to President Barack Obams on Homeland Security issues. He was appointed CIA director in 2013.
Senator Diane Feinstein bravely managed to publish part of her report, despite the opposition of the current CIA director, John Brennan, formerly in charge of controlling the torture program.
President Barack Obama announced that he would not pursue any of the perpetrators of these crimes, while defenders of human rights are fighting to have the perpetrators brought to justice. It’s the least we can do.
However, the real issues are elsewhere: Why did the CIA committed such crimes? Why did it fabricate confessions to link al-Qaeda artificially to the attacks of September 11? And therefore, al-Qaeda being unrelated to the attacks of Sept. 11, who has the CIA therefore sought to protect?
Finally, the CIA program involved only 119 human guinea pigs, what do we know about the 80,000 secret prisoners of the US Navy?
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