Sunday, September 9, 2007

CIA Tries to Evade Senate Hearings on SERE

Stephen Soldz has an important posting on his blog, Psyche, Science and Society: "Scott Horton on CIA evasion of SASC hearings on Mitchell-Jessen torture".

Soldz has dug a nugget out of Scott Horton's new Harper's article, "General Hayden Flunks an Interrogation Test". Both blog and magazine article are must reads.

From the Soldz piece:

In the midst of a long post on the lies and evasions of Gen. Hayden, Scott Horton provides insight into how the CIA is trying to evade the Senate Armed Service Committee hearings on the transformation of SERE techniques into US torture by CIA “contractors” Mitchell and Jessen:

Right now the intelligence community is engaged in one of recent history’s more outrageous games of three-card monte with an inquiry launched by the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, into contracts with two private individuals to develop a regime of highly coercive interrogation techniques. Full battle array has been brought out and extraordinary measures taken to shield these two individuals, who may well be guilty of serious crimes. An attempt is being made to avoid inquiry by claiming that the contracts are beyond the jurisdiction of the Committee. A series of consciously misleading representations have been made to the Committee; an effort has been undertaken to disguise and deny the source of these dealings in the Department of Defense and involving Dr. Stephen Cambone. This inquiry goes right to the core of the current concerns about his agency’s evasion of law and Congressional oversight. And Hayden is not cooperating with oversight; he’s fighting it with the tools that he is authorized to use with foreign governments—but not the U.S. Congress.

For those unfamiliar with the role of the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape, or SERE, program, and the role of same in implementing torture at Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites and elsewhere, or who want to know more about military psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, implicated in a CIA torture scandal, check out the following:

The Black Sites, by Jane Mayer

Rorschach and Awe, by Katerine Eban

The CIA's Torture Teachers, by Mark Benjamin

Sec. Gates: Stop SERE-type Torture! Drop Appendix M from Army Field Manual, by Valtin

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