Justifying Torture: CIA Psychologist’s Book Defends His Role

WASHINGTON ― A former CIA contractor who is being sued for his role in the spy agency’s torture program argues in a forthcoming book that his actions were legal, morally justified and necessary to protect Americans from terrorist attacks.

In “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America,” James Mitchell and his coauthor, Bill Harlow, deliver a firsthand account of how he joined the CIA’s interrogation program in 2002 as an adviser and eventually became one of the agency’s top interrogators, using techniques now widely recognized as torture against suspected al Qaeda members imprisoned at secret torture locations, known as black sites.

In his book, Mitchell is dismissive of former interrogators who say that building rapport with prisoners is more effective than violent coercion. The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques,” Mitchell says, saved lives.

Mitchell was one of two psychologists hired by the CIA in 2002 to help develop ways to break down detainees’ ability to resist interrogations. He and his colleague John “Bruce” Jessen worked at the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) school, where they taught U.S. troops how to endure brutal treatment if they were taken captive by a country that does not adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Under Mitchell and Jessen’s guidance, the CIA used modified SERE techniques against suspected terrorists between 2002 and 2008.

President Barack Obama banned enhanced interrogation techniques in 2009, and the Senate Intelligence Committee released a scathing report on the CIA program, using code names for Mitchell and Jessen, in 2014. Mitchell admitted his role in the program to Vice News in 2014, but his book, which will be released Tuesday, is his comprehensive defense of his work with the CIA and the methods they used.

Mitchell, one of the few public faces of the CIA’s torture program, may appear in court next year in a civil case brought by former CIA black site prisoners. He has a vested interest in convincing readers that he was motivated by a sense of patriotic duty and that the interrogation techniques used by the CIA were less horrifying than described in a 500-page report by its Senate overseers...


Imprisoned former CIA officer fights conviction over leak

RICHMOND, Va. – Once an employee of the powerful CIA, Jeffrey Sterling now sits behind bars at a federal prison in Colorado. He bides his time by reading and writing and working at the facility's recreational center.

Nearly two years after Sterling was found guilty of leaking government secrets to a reporter, the 49-year-old maintains that he is innocent. Sterling is now pinning his hopes for an early release on a federal appeals court, which will soon consider whether to reverse his convictions.

"I continue to have hope that the truth will come out," said his wife Holly Sterling, who travels to the prison from their home in Missouri once a month to visit her husband. Sterling is serving a 3 1/2-year prison sentence at an all-male prison that also houses former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and ex-Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.

A jury convicted Sterling on all counts last year after he was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking details of a CIA mission to New York Times journalist James Risen. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Sterling's case on Tuesday.

Prosecutors portrayed Sterling as a disgruntled former employee who exposed a plan to stall Iranian ambitions to build a nuclear weapon in an attempt to discredit the CIA. That operation involved using a CIA agent nicknamed "Merlin" to deliver flawed nuclear blueprints to Iran in the hopes that they would spend years trying to develop a product that would never work...


Lloyd Blankfein’s oldest son quietly landed one of the best jobs in finance

Remember Alex Blankfein? He’s the 30 year old son of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Last time we caught up with him, he’d spent around three years at Goldman Sachs working in cross asset sales, followed by an MBA at Harvard Business School, followed by a job at Bain & Co. Now though, he’s working as a senior associate at Carlyle Group – one of the world’s most prestigious private equity companies.

Alex Blankfein’s arrival at Carlyle isn’t recent – according to his publicly available profile he joined from Bain in April last year. However, it appears to have gone unnoticed by the world’s media. Carlyle updated its page relating to Alex Blankfein last week. He’s working on Carlyle’s U.S. Equity Opportunities team, is ‘focused on a broad range of middle-market buyout transactions,’ and is based in New York City.

Private equity jobs are notoriously difficult to get and Carlyle is one of the most selective hirers of the lot. Alex Blankfein’s move may have been indirectly facilitated by his father’s closeness to David Rubenstein, Carlyle’s founder. Rubenstein interviewed Lloyd Blankfein last month for his Bloomberg-hosted chat show.

Speaking at a London School of Economics conference last year, Rubenstein said the people who succeed in private equity are those who are in it for love rather than money: “You have to really love what you’re doing and you won’t find what you love until you’ve experimented a bit. Find something you really enjoy and then you can make a career out of it.” In this, Rubenstein echoed Lloyd Blankfein’s own careers advice from several years earlier: success comes from being a “complete person”, said Blankfein in 2013, adding that young people should have a “few years of experimentation.”

In 2013 Blankfein said his own children ignored his careers wisdom. In fact, it seems Alex was listening: Blankfein’s oldest son has experimented by notching up a range of top brands. He’s worked for a top name investment bank, taken a top name MBA, joined a top name consultancy firm, and now he’s at a top name private equity firm. Other millennials may want to take note.


Why Did Team Obama Try to Take Down Its NSA Chief?

At a recent town hall meeting at a National Security Agency facility in Texas, employees at the U.S. government’s biggest and most secretive intelligence bureau told their boss, Adm. Michael Rogers, that they were concerned about how the agency’s reorganization was upending their work lives.

“His response was that employees should ‘stop bitching’ and do their jobs,” a recently-retired NSA analyst told The Daily Beast. That remark produced a “small outcry” that was discussed on an internal NSA blogging site where employees are encouraged to share their views. And it became symbolic to some of the tensions that have grown in the two-and-a-half years Rogers has been in charge of NSA.

Major policy disagreements between Rogers and top Obama administration officials—including ones about how hard to go after ISIS—have exacerbated long-standing grievances among NSA rank-and-file employees about Rogers’s brusque and aloof management style. Now, those complaints are erupting on the surface in a manner that has surprised current and former officials.

Most recently, The Washington Post reported an effort by the Secretary of Defense and the nation’s top intelligence official to remove Rogers from his post, as well as from the command of U.S. Cyber Command, which conducts cyber warfare operations.

It’s highly unusual for these sorts of internal struggles to emerge into the open press. But it’s even more unusual for a serving officer to do what Rogers recently did—meet with the president-elect about a job without notifying the current secretary of defense or the White House. Rogers huddled with Donald Trump last Thursday and could be in line to be named director of national intelligence in the next administration, if the reports out of Trump Tower are to be believed...

HMRC "gleeful" ahead of KPMG raid

Lawyers for the Big Four firm's partners Eamonn Donaghy, Jon D’Arcy, Paul Hollway and Arthur O’Brien told the court in Belfast that there was no justification for taking the "nuclear option" of an intrusive operation that also involved trawling through children's school bags, according to a report from the Belfast Telegraph.

The four men, the firm’s most senior partners in Ireland, are challenging the legality of the permits gained to search their homes and business premises.

They were arrested last November in connection with suspected tax evasion. None have been charged. Their counsel has previously argued that important information, including about their cooperation with the investigation, was omitted in HMRC’s applications for the warrant.


#PizzaGate: CPS Investigation Ends In Death of Sen. Nancy Schaefer


Solar Warden - The Secret Space Program

Since approximately 1980, a secret space fleet code named ‘Solar Warden’ has been in operation unknown to the public...

Is this nonsense, is it a conspiracy or is it simply so sensitive that it will cause uproar around the world?

These are my own words after conducting research into the secret program. Whilst conducting an FOI (freedom of information) request with the DoD (department of defence) in 2010, I had a very unexpected response by email from them which read:

“About an hour ago I spoke to a NASA rep who confirmed this was their program and that it was terminated by the President. He also informed me that it was not a joint program with the DoD. The NASA rep informed me that you should be directed to the Johnson Space Center FOIA Manager.

I have ran your request through one of our space-related directorates and I’m waiting on one other division with the Command to respond back to me. I will contact you once I have a response from the other division. Did NASA refer you to us?”...





'Magic mushroom' drug lifted 'cloud of doom' for cancer patients

(CNN)Patrick Mettes was overcome with frustration. He was anxious. 

His bile duct cancer seemed to bring him more anguish than his wife, Lisa Callaghan, ever realized, she said at a news conference Wednesday.

In search of solace, Mettes volunteered for a study in which he was given a synthetic version of psilocybin, a compound found in mind-altering "magic mushrooms," as a potential treatment for his anxiety and depressed mood.

During the study, Mettes' psychedelic trip was akin to "a space shuttle launch that begins with the clunky trappings of Earth, then gives way to the weightlessness and majesty of space," Callaghan said, recalling what Mettes wrote in a journal entry.

"I believe it helped him, and both of us, live life fully up to the very end," she said.
Mettes later suffered a massive heart attack. He survived but decided to stop chemotherapy. The Brooklyn, New York-based television news director, whose portfolio included CNN's "American Morning," died at the age of 56 in 2012.

Callaghan believes the psilocybin helped Mettes overcome his fear of death, she said.
"He was not afraid of death, and in fact, he seemed to grow through the process of dying," she said of her late husband. "My brother was with us quite a bit during that time and says that he felt that Patrick's spirit grew as his body declined."...