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Iran Press TV

CIA torture survivors sue psychologists who designed program

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:21PM

Three survivors of the CIA's brutal torture program have sued the psychologists who designed it and helped the agency to implement it.

James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, former US Air Force trainers, are accused of playing a key role in convincing the CIA to subject terror suspects to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, denounced by much of the world as torture, the Guardian reported on Tuesday.

The CIA employed brutal techniques like waterboarding, physical abuse, sleep deprivation, mock executions, and anal penetration performed under cover of "rehydration" to interrogate terror suspects imprisoned after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

These torture techniques migrated from the CIA's undocumented prisons, known as black sites, to US military prisons at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

In an extraordinary move on Tuesday, on behalf of former CIA prisoners Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the family of Gul Rahman, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the suit against Mitchell and Jessen in a federal court in Washington state.

Afghan national Rahman froze to death in a CIA black site in Afghanistan. Salim, a Tanzanian man, was held in US custody in Afghanistan for five years before being released, and Soud, a Libyan man, was held by the US in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2005. They seek compensatory damages of at least $75,000.

The lawsuit describes the torture program as a "joint criminal enterprise" and a "war crime" in which the CIA, Mitchell and Jessen conspired and from which Mitchell and Jessen made millions of dollars.

The CIA reportedly paid $81 million to the psychologists to act as contractors to help run the torture program.

"This case is about ensuring that the people behind the torture program are held accountable so history doesn't repeat itself," Steven Watt, one of the ACLU attorneys representing the three ex-detainees, told the Guardian.

"Impunity for torture sends the dangerous message to US and foreign officials that there will be no consequences for future abuses," he added.

The CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" on terrorism suspects after the September 11, 2001 attacks may have violated the US government's rules against "human experimentation," according to a another report by the Guardian.

The previously classified CIA document released in June outlined the CIA director's ability to "approve, modify or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research," despite the fact that such practices were prohibited without the subject's consent.

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