Wednesday, June 22, 2016

DHS Behavioral Research Group proposed "use of Guantanamo Bay subjects as data"

Overlooked in a report released last year that documented collusion with top members of the American Psychological Association with U.S. government agencies in activities that involved torture or abuse of detainees was a section that documented interest in using Guantanamo Bay detainees for experimental purposes or objects of study by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

According to the minutes of a May 7, 2003 "unclassified advisory group" for the DHS Science and Technology Behavioral Research Program, which documented the inaugural meeting of the group, topics that might be included in DHS "social and behavioral research" included "autonomic specificity in reactions to stress; use of electro-encephalograms for determination of intent and for detection of deception; and use of Guantanamo Bay subjects as data."

Involved in such discussions, led by National Science Foundation, were Geoffrey Mumford; the Director of Science Policy at the American Psychological Association (APA), and Susan Brandon, then-Program Chief, Affect & Biobehavioral Regulation in Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, NIMH, and also a Senior Scientist at APA.

Currently Brandon is Chief of Research for the Obama Administration's High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG.

Others present at the 2003 meeting were Norman Bradburn, Assistant Director for the Directorate for Social, Behavioral & Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF); Phil Rubin, Division Director of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, NSF; Ken Whang, Program Manager for Collaborative Research on Computational Neurosciences, NSF; and Gary Strong, the Director of Behavioral Research, DHS. Strong kept the minutes for the event, which was held at NSF offices.

"Effectiveness Research" or "Program Evaluation"?

The report released last year (PDF) by Sidley Austin, "Independent Review Relating to APA Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture," authored by Chicago-based attorney David Hoffman and other Sidley associates, indicated that both Mumford and Brandon were queried about the interest in research on Guantanamo detainees.

Mumford, who Hoffman's report indicated was a central leader in getting APA involved with Department of Defense and CIA collaborative efforts, told Sidley investigators he couldn't recall any such discussion about detainees. Brandon's reply was more revealing. From Hoffman's report, p. 171-172:
Brandon likewise stated that she did not know what this comment referred to, and assumed that any discussions on this topic would have related to attempts to discover what people were doing with research subjects when there was very little oversight. However, she stated that she recalled people wanting to observe detainees to understand the effectiveness of the interrogation program. Brandon said she would characterize this kind of observation as program evaluation rather than research.
"Program evaluation" is precisely the term Dr. Jerald Ogrisseg, a psychologist with Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, United States Joint Forces Command, used before the Senate Committee on Armed Services on June 17, 2008, when the committee was investigating detainee abuse and torture at Guantanamo (bold added for emphasis):
Mr. Chairman, with regards to my July 2002 communications with then Lt Col Dan Baumgartner, the then Chief of Staff of JPRA, my recollection is that Lt Col Baumgartner called me directly, probably on the same day that I generated my 24 July 2002 memorandum that I referenced earlier. He indicated that he was getting asked “from above” about the psychological effects of resistance training. I had no idea who was asking Lt Col Baumgartner “from above” and did not ask him to clarify who was asking. I recall reminding Lt Col Baumgartner in general terms about program evaluation data I’d presented in May of 2002 at the SERE Psychology Conference. These data, which were collected on Air Force survival students at different points of time during training, indicated that training significantly improves students confidence in their ability to adhere to the Code of Conduct.
The "training" Ogrisseg referred to consisted of mock prison camps and use of graduated forms of torture as a form of "stress inoculation" on troops or other U.S. agents to make them more resistant to torture, or so goes their rationale. Is it possible that similar forms of "program evaluation" -- though it's hard to see this as anything but illegal research -- was also used on real torture victims, such as at Guantanamo? It is noteworthy that the DHS behavioral group referred to using Guantanamo detainees for research in nearly the same breath as studying "autonomic specificity in reactions to stress."

"Autonomic specificity in reactions to stress" is precisely a form of research previously conducted on SERE mock torture "detainees." Research by CIA psychiatrist Charles Morgan III showed powerful changes in endrocrine and nervous system functioning in mock-torture SERE students studied. Is it really so far-fetched to think such experiments were extended by CIA or the Department of Defense, or other government agency (such as DHS) to the detainees captured in the "war on terror"?

Apparently not. A National Research Council (NRC) 2008 report on a conference on Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies examined briefly what it characterized as a “contemporary problem,” the possibility of doing research on “war on terror” detainees, removed by the U.S. government from Geneva protections against experiments done on prisoners of war. (This report was earlier examined in an article I wrote back in February 2011.)

In a section of the report that looked at the “Cultural and Ethical Underpinnings of Social Neuroscience,” the report’s authors examined the “Ethical Implications” of these new technologies. The section explored the birth of the new field of bioethics, in response to the scandalous revelations of the Tuskegee experiments. The report noted that “On the whole, however, the system of protections for human research subjects is not well designed to capture instances of intentional wrongdoing,” providing “rather… guidance for well-motivated investigators who wish to be in compliance with regulatory requirements and practice standards.”

Another interesting, and even more ominous issue was discussed the NSC panel (emphasis added):
A contemporary problem is the status of detainees at military installations who are suspects in the war on terrorism. Presumably, the ethical standards that apply to all human research subjects should apply to them as well. But if they are not protected by the provisions of the Geneva protocols for prisoners of war, the question would be whether as potential research subjects they are nonetheless protected by other international conventions, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations, 1948). Those technical questions of international law are beyond the scope of this report.
Why should the question of research on detainees arise in this discussion at all?

Christian Meissner, currently a lead researcher for the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, back in 2010 spoke to National Academy of Science participants attending a workshop, "Field Evaluation in the Intelligence and Counterintelligence Context," on the putative difference between research and "program evaluation." According to the report of the meeting, "Christian Meissner commented that, from his experience as chair of an institutional review board, he knows that there is a significant gray area between program evaluation and research. Indeed, he said, it is quite possible to field test things under the guise of program evaluation. But once one begins manipulating factors and having control groups, the studies clearly amount to research." (pg. 68-69)

Commenting on the same issue at the workshop, Jonathan Moreno, well-known science ethicist at the University of Pennsylvania, said, "It’s not an easy line to draw,” he said, “but I think you can intuit those lines."

"Beyond the scope"

So for the NSC panelists, the issue of whether or not detainees, removed from normal Geneva protections (as at Guantanamo), are protected by international covenants, like the Nuremberg protocols, are "beyond the scope" of their inquiries. Not for the last time was the issue of research on detainees at Guantanamo deemed "beyond the scope" of investigators. In the Sidley report quoted above, Hoffman (and his co-authors) explained why they never followed up the trail of evidence on possible research abuse. "... we considered it beyond the scope of this investigation to draw conclusions regarding whether the CIA, DoD, or any other executive agency was conducting research on detainees because we found no evidence that APA had coordinated with the government to facilitate such research," they wrote (p. 172).

Maybe not APA as an institution, but certainly top APA officials collaborated with the government based on their standing as leaders of the field of psychology, as demonstrated by their leadership at APA. This aspect of the Sidley investigation has been ignored by the press, by APA critics, and by critics of the Hoffman report (who mostly are DoD apologists). Hoffman and his allies carefully determined who the scapegoats would be for their report, while letting a number of others -- and not only psychologists -- off the hook. Still, I am grateful for their work in documenting a good deal we didn't know about this collaboration.

The issue of studies on detainees also surfaced as part of a September 2003 "after-action" report by a SERE consultant, Terrence Russell, sent to Iraq to assist special forces Task Force 20 in interrogation of detainees. (This TF was later named Task Force 121.) But the report, and another by Russell's putative superior, Col. Steven Kleinman, showed that abuse of detainees was taking place. When Kleinman intervened to stop such actions, his life was threatened by TF personnel. Russell was a civilian manager for the Research and Development division of Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which was then the parent command for SERE.

“In regards to the recent study on effectiveness at GTMO, of which there is plenty of room to debate whether or not that have had [sic] much success..." Russell wrote in passing, trying to counter criticisms by Kleinman in the latter's own version of events written in his own after-action report. Kleinman later told me he thought Russell was referring to many different kinds of studies on interrogation going back to the Cold War years. He didn’t believe Russell had any “study on effectiveness at GTMO” that he could actually refer to. But perhaps such "effectiveness" research was hidden as "program evaluation."

The minutes for the DHS meeting where conducting research on Guantanamo detainees was released by the APA itself, as one of a number of "binders" of documentary material gathered by Sidley for its research. The minutes were on page 1355 of Binder 2 in the APA release (see PDF), but I am reproducing them here for the benefit of the public. Click on image to see larger, more readable version.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

CIA Claims "No Responsive Documents" Regarding Ethics Panel Linked to Torture Scandal

The following is a letter from CIA in regards to a FOIA I requested on the workings of their Professional Standards Advisory Committee, or PSAC. The existence of the PSAC was a by-product of the release of the Hoffman report (PDF) on the alleged collaboration between the CIA and the Department of Defense with the American Psychological Association (APA). The original FOIA request, made through the website, can be accessed here.

The CIA letter states that there are no responsive documents relating to my request for more information on PSAC. What's newsworthy about this particular FOIA episode concerns the individuals involved with PSAC and the role of PSAC itself in relation to the construction of the CIA's torture program and the involvement of top APA figures and others with that program.

The Hoffman report, released in July 2015, indicted the APA for collaboration with Defense Department officials to enable psychologists to work on interrogation matters, though no specific link was made to torture. But since it was known that DoD was involved in torture, the nature of the collaboration was murky, and certainly seemed to facilitate psychologists involvement in torture.

But the Hoffman report also alibied known links to CIA officials, including those directly associated with James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two DoD, and later CIA-linked psychologists who have been widely credited with helping construct (if indeed they were not the leading forces, which I actually doubt) the CIA "enhanced interrogation" torture program. I was not entirely suprised about this "limited hangout" aspect of the report, as I earlier had linked Hoffman to working, and possibly friendly, relations with former CIA chief George Tenet. The interested reader can peruse my analysis of these issues here.

From my standpoint, the Hoffman inquiry and supporting documentation provided those seeking the full truth about the government's torture program with some new "dots," even if Hoffman himself either ignored linking such "dots," or even engaged in some misdirection.

One of the more interesting pieces of information about the CIA's torture program that surfaced in the Hoffman report concerned the PSAC. The PSAC was described in the report as consisting of three leading outside psychologists—former APA Presidents Ron Fox
and Joe Matarazzo, and former APA Division 30 (Hypnosis) President and security-cleared CIA contractor Mel Gravitz. The Committee itself was allegedly formed by CIA official Kirk Hubbard, who was closely linked with James Mitchell, and who has described himself as the "Chief of the Research & Analysis Branch, Operational Assessment Division, Special Activities Group, CIA," and occasionally as "Chief of the Behavioral Sciences Staff at the Central Intelligence Agency."

According to the Hoffman report, "Hubbard says when he returned to CIA headquarters in 2000 from a covert assignment in London to lead a new behavioral science research unit, he believed the CIA needed to be less insular and he therefore formed the PSAC with Matarazzo, Gravitz, and Fox to enhance the access of Hubbard’s unit to experts in the area of psychological assessment and related issues. Contemporaneous emails from [Susan] Brandon confirm that this was his approach. Matarazzo, Gravitz, and Fox were apparently paid a small amount. Hubbard, Matarazzo, and Fox told us the meetings focused almost exclusively on understanding and applying psychological assessment models in various contexts, but that none of the contexts related to interrogations."

Joe Matarazzo, a former President of the APA, was also Mitchell and Jessen linked, as he was a governing, that is, corporate member of Mitchell, Jessen and Associates, the entity M&J used to contract their services to the CIA's covert rendition, detention and torture program. Though Hoffman said he found some indications Matarazzo was helping the CIA on its torture program, he pointedly did not pursue further the Matarazzo connection.

But he did release a copy of the minutes to a PSAC meeting for January 25, 2002, a period of time when the torture programs at both DoD and the CIA were ramping up. The first detainees at Guantanamo had arrived there only two weeks before.

Present at this meeting were APA "senior scientist" Susan Brandon, and CIA contract psychologist James Mitchell. Brandon is today a top interrogation research official in the Obama administration, being in charge of research for the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG. Earlier, Brandon was instrumental in the formulation of the APA's ethics policy explicitly endorsing the participation of psychologist in torture. She was formerly Chief of Research for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC) Behavioral Sciences Program. Prior to that, Brandon served in the Bush, Jr. White House as assistant director of Social, Behavioral, and Educational Sciences for the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Mitchell is famous as the presumed architect, or at least leading proponent and practitioner, of the CIA's torture program. The fact a major Obama administration official is linked to Mitchell and the CIA has gone practically unnoted by the U.S. press, or indeed by even the various critics of the CIA and the APA.

In a January 15, 2002 letter to Kurt Salzinger, the Executive Director of the APA's Science Directorate, Brandon and Geoff Mumford, Associate Executive Director of Science Policy for the Science Directorate, detailed some of their recent interactions with CIA's Hubbard. They warned that while "interactions between APA members and the CIA can be general knowledge (we put a note about Bob Sternberg's visit there in SPIN and PSA), the specifics of the people working there --their interests and roles -- might best be kept among those of us mentioned in and addressed by this note." (See "Binder 3" to the Hoffman report, which also has the copy of the PSAC minutes discussed in this article.)

Ten days later, Brandon attended the PSAC meeting (pg. 165 of the report). This is the Hoffman Report's narrative of that event, drawing heavily on Brandon's account:
In January 2002, the CIA’s Professional Standards Advisory Committee invited Susan Brandon and James Mitchell to attend a Committee meeting.660 Brandon said that Mel Gravitz and Ron Fox were her contacts in the CIA, and they asked her to come and brief the Advisory Committee. At the meeting, held on January 25, the minutes reflect that Brandon was introduced to the other members and asked to sign a “secrecy agreement,” before being briefed on the function of the CIA’s Operational Assessment Division and the purpose of the Advisory Committee. Brandon then discussed her role at APA, including her involvement in planning the upcoming conference at an FBI Academy to remedy the FBI’s traditional disengagement from academics and scholars.661 Following Brandon’s presentation, the group discussed “collaborative efforts between OAD, PSAC, and APA,” and Mitchell presented “research findings in cross-cultural assessment of personality.”662 Brandon said she could not recall Mitchell’s presentation, but her general impression was that Hubbard was more interested in obtaining information from spies around the world than from detainees. She said that nobody at the meeting asked her about interviewing or interrogations, and it did not strike her that the others at the meeting were interested in that topic.663 After the meeting, Brandon and Hubbard communicated regarding ways that Brandon and APA could be useful to Hubbard’s group.
I don't think there's much reason to take Brandon's account purely on face value. However,I think I've demonstrated that the PSAC both exists, and that knowledge of what other business was transacted by that group could be of importance to our understanding of both the CIA torture program and the collaboration of leading psychologists associated with the American Psychological Association with the CIA in that program.

But the CIA said, in a letter to me dated May 5, 2016 they could not find any records responsive to my request. Certainly this is obfuscation of some sort, and I have appealed their finding. Both the full CIA letter and my appeal letter are appended below.

June 7, 2016

Agency Release Panel, CIA
c/o Michael Lavergne
Information and Privacy Coordinator

Dear Sir or Madam,

This letter constitutes an administrative appeal under the Freedom of Information Act, 5. U.S.C. Sec.

I am writing to appeal the determination by the CIA with regard to my FOIA request filed on July 16, 2015, #F-2015-02180, for records concerning meetings of the CIA's Professional Standards Advisory Committee, hereafter "PSAC." By letter of May 5, 2016, I was informed that the CIA FOIA department "did not locate any records responsive to [my] request."

The lack of any responsive records seems untenable, as at least one copy of the minutes of a meeting of the Professionals Standards Advisory Committee is in the public domain, having been released as documentary material by the American Psychological Association (APA) as part of the release of a report by Mr. David H. Hoffman of Sidley Austin LLC (hereafter, "Hoffman Report").

The Hoffman Report, dated July 2, 2015, was posted online by the American Psychological Association, which had tasked the report from Mr. Hoffman as an "independent review" of APA's activities regarding national security interrogations. The URL for the full report is The full title of the report is "Report to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of the American Psychological Association - Independent Review relating to APA Ethics Guidelines, National Security Interrogations, and Torture." The PSAC is the subject of a subsection of this report, which can be found on pages 156-157 of the report.

The minutes of the one PSAC meeting noted above are dated January 25, 2002. They were published as part of a general distribution of documentary materials related to the Hoffman Report by APA, and can be found at page 353 of a PDF downloadable at APA’s website. The specific URL for that collection of material, known as “Binder 3”, which holds the PSAC minutes, is The document can be found on page 353 of that PDF.

I would like to add, in order to assist any further search, that in the same PDF file, "Binder 3," on page 349, is a letter dated January 15, 2003, signed by Susan Brandon and Geoff Mumford, both then from APA (although Ms. Brandon also worked for the government), referenced the PSAC. They wrote that the unit had been created by Mr. Kirk Hubbard, then Chief of the Research & Analysis Branch in the CIA's Operational Assessment Division. They wrote: "They currently retain a 3-member paid advisory group consisting of 3 APA members: Joe Matarazzo, Ron Fox, and Mel Gravitz meeting on average once a month, now in their second year of service."

In the Hoffman Report (p. 185), it states, "Sidley spoke with several members of the Advisory Committee, including Kirk Hubbard, Joseph Matarazzo, Ronald Fox, and James Mitchell, and more than one member of the Committee explained that its purpose was to advise the CIA on the methodology for conducting operational assessments of
personnel." Hubbard and Mitchell both worked in the early 2000s for the CIA. None of these individuals stated there was no PSAC. Hence, I add this information to show that it is not tenable that no responsive documents exist for this entity.

I suggest that another search be done, including a search of CIA databases ARCINS and/or AIRRS, or whatever record system is used to reference activities of the CIA's " Operational Assessment Division."

To make matters simpler, in my original request I asked for all PSAC records "between the dates January 1, 1999 and the date of this FOIA request [7/16/2015]." I would like to reduce that time frame to all PSAC records between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2005. At the same time, I reiterate from my original request that by "records" I am referring to "all written agendas, correspondence regarding its work or meetings, emails regarding its work of meetings, memoranda, meeting minutes, membership lists, dates of meetings, written reports that reference its work or are the product of its work, and presentation materials."

Thank you very much for your consideration of this appeal.

Jeffrey Kaye

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Government Hid Fact Tortured GITMO Detainee Mohammed al Qahtani Had Lifelong History of Severe Mental Illness

The Periodic Review Board (PRB) hearing for Mohammed al Qahtani on June 16, 2016 has more significance than another instance of the woefully inadequate and unjust form of adjudication for Guantanamo detainees. (For example, the PRB can consider evidence the prisoner, his lawyer, and his personal representatives cannot even see.)

No, this PRB hearing is significant for two reasons. Mohammed al Qahtani - Gitmo detainee 063 - was the first of the detainees to be subjected to an "enhanced interrogation" style torture at Guantanamo, using SERE-derived forms of torture that were approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Al Qahtani's torture was famously recorded in log form (most likely to assess him psychologically, not for intelligence reasons), and released by Time Magazine in 2006. Download and read its 83 pages here.

But as a press release today by Center for Constitutional Rights, posted below, indicates, filings made in the PRB case show that the government knew that al Qahtani suffered from schizophrenia, depression, and possibly a traumatic brain injury from a young age, but they tortured him anyway. As CCR notes, government interrogators, which included both DoD and FBI in al Qahtani's case, must have known that with severe mental illness al Qahtani was, one, not up to the stressors of rigorous interrogation (such as the isolation that the FBI and CITF interrogators wanted for him) much less the torture DoD implemented. They also had to know that he was not going to give reliable information as a result.

According to the statement by CCR attorneys Ramzi Kassem and Shayana Kadidal, an expert report by Dr. Emily Keram discovered that al Qahtani had been involuntarily psychiatrically hospitalized in Mecca a year before 9/11 for an "acute psychotic state." According to telephonic interviews with al Qahtani, his relatives, and a review of records from the hospitalization show that his history of psychosis went back to a head injury during an auto accident when he was 8 years old.

The attorneys wrote: "His family recalled 'episodes of extreme behavioral dyscontrol' over the years, including one when the Riyadh police contacted the family because they had found Mr. al-Qahtani naked in a garbage dumpster, spells of 'auditory hallucinations,' and an incident where Mr. al-Qahtani threw a new cellular phone out of a moving car because he believed it was affecting his emotional state."

Far from being a diabolical terrorist, in the months before 9/11, al Qahtani couldn't even hold down his job as a civilian driver for the Armed Forces Hospital in the Saudi city of Kharj. Dr. Keram came to a shattering conclusion - shattering because the U.S. had staked much of its "terror" interrogation/torture program on prisoners like al Qahtani:
...Dr. Keram concluded that Mr. al-Qahtani's pre-existing mental illnesses likely impaired his capacity for independent and voluntary decision-making well before the United States took him into custody, and left him "profoundly susceptible to manipulation by others." These findings call into serious question the extent to which it would be fair to hold Mr. al-Qahtani responsible for any alleged actions during that period of his life. They also cast doubt on any claims that Mr. al-Qahtani would have been entrusted with sensitive information about secret plots.

Moreover, Dr. Keram found that "Mr. al-Qahtani's pre-existing psychotic, mood, and cognitive disorders made him particularly vulnerable to [ ... ] the conditions of confinement and interrogation" his U.S. captors inflicted on him at Guantanamo under the guise of the "First Special Interrogation Plan." In fact, according to Dr. Keram, the combination of solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, extreme temperature and noise exposure, stress positions, forced nudity, body cavity searches, sexual assault and humiliation, beatings, strangling, threats of rendition, and water-boarding, amounting to "severely cruel, degrading, humiliating, and inhumane treatment" that Mr. al-Qahtani endured would have profoundly disrupted and left long-lasting effects on a person's sense of self and cognitive functioning "even in the absence of pre-existing psychiatric illness."

Applied to Mr. al-Qahtani, the torture and conditions of his confinement at Guantanamo were nothing short of devastating, exacerbating his pre-existing psychological ailments.
It is amazing that in 2016, the criminality of the U.S. government when it comes to torture only looks more inhumane and more ominous with every new revelation.

What follows is the CCR press release:
Tortured GITMO Detainee Had History of Severe Mental Illness

Attorneys Provide Records to Review Board, Urge al Qahtani’s Release to Care

June 15, 2016 – Tomorrow morning Guantánamo detainee Mohammed al Qahtani will have a hearing before a Periodic Review Board to determine whether he can safely be transferred to the custody of Saudi Arabia.

Al Qahtani was systematically tortured under a “Special Interrogation Plan”, designed to disorient, sexually humiliate, and psychologically destroy him, based on the suspicion that he might have been the “20th hijacker.” He is the only prisoner whose abuse has been formally described as “torture” by a senior U.S. government official, when the head of the Military Commissions explained that she had refused to authorize charges seeking the death penalty against him because “we tortured Qahtani.”

Filings made before the Periodic Review Board disclose, for the first time, that from an early age al Qahtani suffered from schizophrenia, major depression, and possible traumatic brain injury. He was mentally ill not only prior to his imprisonment and torture at Guantánamo, but also long before the government claims he was invited into the secretive, closely-guarded 9/11 conspiracy. Records independently located by the Center for Constitutional Rights show that al Qahtani was involuntarily committed to a mental hospital in Mecca in May 2000 because he suffered an acute psychotic break and attempted to throw himself into moving traffic. Saudi police once found him naked in a garbage dumpster, and he heard voices and suffered other classic symptoms of psychosis throughout his adolescence. A psychiatric expert’s report, based on the hospitalization records, other investigative work, and many hours of examination of al Qahtani, was filed with the Review Board as well.

“Mohammed was already mentally ill long before the time when the government alleges that he first met anyone involved in plotting anything. It would be passing cruel to put a person like that on trial or to continue to imprison him,” said Ramzi Kassem, a law professor at the City University of New York whose legal clinic represents al Qahtani with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“The obvious manifestations of Mohammed's illness – hearing voices, speaking to nonexistent people – were plain to see even before the worst of his abuse began. The people who designed and carried out his torture-and-interrogation plan must have known in advance that it could not possibly produce reliable information,” said Shayana Kadidal, Senior Managing Attorney of the Guantánamo project at CCR, which has represented al Qahtani since 2005. “Between his torture and his psychosis, he can never be tried. Rather than warehouse him forever at Guantánamo, Mohammed should be committed to a mental hospital in Saudi Arabia that can care for someone with his conditions.”

Read the attorneys’ statement to the Periodic Review Board.

Read more about Mohammed al Qahtani on his case page.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for more than 14 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit Follow @theCCR.
What can one say in conclusion? That the U.S. government waited years to reveal this information? That they never bothered to check on the actual life of someone they claimed was a "terrrorist"? That the moral standing of this country is next to nil?

We are still waiting for the kinds of accountability that the massive program of CIA and DoD torture demands. Moreover, the collaboration with torture also included, as revelations over the years have shown, include other state actors, most notably the FBI, but also NCIS, the Bureau of Prisons, and perhaps, though it seems incredible, even the staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee (circa 2003).

I wish the best for Mr. al Qahtani, and demand that the PRB find him releasable, and send him on his way back to try and construct some kind of life for himself after the nightmare of Guantanamo.

I do want to add this thought: it turns out that both the CIA test case for their torture program, Abu Zubaydah, and the DoD test case for their torture program, Mohammed al Qahtani, suffered from severe brain trauma. That is too strange to be a coincidence. What was really going on here?

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Exclusive: U.S. Airman's Confession on Use of Germ Warfare during the Korean War

Lt. Kenneth L. Enoch was a U.S. airman-navigator during the Korean War. Captured by the North Korea-China forces, he was one of a number of U.S. airmen to confess to using germ or bacteriological warfare on North Korean or Chinese forces or civilians during the Korean War. His confession was written out in longhand and dated April 7 or 9, 1952 (I'm not sure from the copy I have.) According to this post online, Kenneth Lloyd Enoch died at age 88, on Nov. 6, 2013, in Cypress, Texas.

In July 1952, China Monthly Review published a contemporaneous article on Enoch's confession, and that of a U.S. pilot, John Quinn, "Captured US Airmen Admit Germ Warfare." In the United States, the news was also reported. See this October 23, 1952 Associated Press article, "2 Fliers 'Forced' into Confession." It is interesting to see the word "forced" placed in quotation marks. I do have a facsimile of Quinn's confession as well, and will publish it in the near future.

I've transcribed the copy I have from the full report, with appendices, of The Int'l Scientific Commission Report on Bacterial Warfare during the Korean War. Enoch's confession occupies pages 493-500. I have tried to reliably and truthfully reproduce his written record, including crossed-out material. A drawing Enoch made, and a small portion of the reproduced confession is included in accompanying photos. I have not tried to correct spelling or punctuation, but I have added extra line breaks to delineate paragraphs, and for the sake for online readability. The paragraph breaks themselves follow Enoch. Any editorial comment by me is placed in square brackets.

I am not here going to give my impressions about this confession, or the others given by U.S. POWs during the Korean War. I have written about the famous confessions of U.S. airmen in relation to germ warfare elsewhere. It is enough to say here that while reference is often made by U.S. historians and journalists about the "brainwashing" of these airmen during their Korean War captivity, the actual documentary material related to their confessions is all but unobtainable.

For the sake of history, and the curiosity of the public, I am making here available Lt. Enoch's confession -- truthful or not -- and plan to make others publicly available as I have the time to do so.

Let the reader and historians decide what is true or false, as regards this controversial episode in the history of U.S. wars.

The Truth About How American Imperialism Launched Germ Warfare

I was at Iwakuni, Japan, during the last two weeks of August, 1951. During the month of August the 3rd Bomb Wing was in the process of moving to Kunsan, Korea, and the last thing to make the move was the ground school which moved on to Kunsan in early September, 1951. During my stay at Kunsan Iwakuni there were about 15 crews which had just come from the Unites States and were attending the ground school. This gound school gave the same kind of classroom subjects as the school at 4400 CCTG. We navigators recieved [sic] lectures and problems in navigations and the B-26 and Korea, so we would understand our jobs better and thus be better equipped to fly in combat.

On 25 August 1951, at 1300 hours, we attended a secret lecture in the ground school navigation classroom. There were as I recall, 10 pilots and 15 navigators present at the lecture. Of the pilots I recall Lt. Broughton, Lt. Schmidt, and Capt. Lema. Among the navigators I remember Lt. Brown, Lt. Hardy, Lt. De Gough, Lt. Zielinski, Lt. Garvin [or Sarvin?], Lt. Larson, and myself. I did not know all the pilotis and navigators, only these I had been with at Langley Field. Our instructor's name was Mr. Wilson, a civilian. There were no other instructors in attendance at this lecture.

Mr. Wilson told us that his lecture was concerning bacteriological warfare. He told us that our side had no plans at that time of using bacteriological warfare, but never-the less we might at some time, and thus the lecture was secret information and we were not to divulge its contents to anyone, are or even talk about it among ourselves.

The main part of Mr. Wilson's lecture was devoted to the weapons of bacteriological weapons warfare. He did not have any examples with him, but he discussed the various methods of scattering germs, either by scattering the germs by themselves or by dropping insects and animals to spread the germs. The contents of Mr. Wilson's lecture is as follows:

The ways of dropping the germs by themselves are: 1) by dropping a bomb full of dust and germs mixed together, which will open in the air and spread the germ-laden dust with the wind; 2) by dropping dust directly from the airplane itself, by means of a spraying device, so that there will be germs in the air wherever the dust is sprayed; 3) or by dropping a container full of germ dust, either a bomb which will open in the water or a paperboard box wish will be opened by the water, into reservoirs and lakes where the people and animals use the water, and where insects will pick up the germs and spread them.

The ways of dropping insects are : 1) by dropping a germ bomb which looks just like an ordinary bomb, but is filled with germ-laden insects, and which will open on contact with the ground to release those insects; 2 by dropping insects in paperboard containers which will break open on contact with the ground, releasing the insects with their germs; 3) or by spreading insects with animals.

The ways of releasing germs by animals are: 1) To release the rats or rabitts rabbits or small game by a parachute container which will release the animals upon contact with the ground, and these anaimals are covered with germ-bearing lice and fleas; 2) or by releasing such animals from a boat behind the enemy shore line.

There are other ways of spreading germs also: 1) By dropping leaflets toilet paper, envelopes, and paper materials which have been covered with germs, 2) by dropping germ-filled soap or clothing; 3) by dropping fountain pens filled with germ-laden ink; 3) or by dropping infected food to the enemy troops.

You can also spread germs by howitzer or mortar shells, but since it is so close to the front it is not safe to do so.

There are many types of germs that can be spread. In addition to may weird and unusual germs, the germs of more well-known diseases, such as typhus, typhoid, cholera, dysentery, bubonic plague, smallpox, malaria, and yellow fever, may be employed. There are many types of insects to carry those germs, the most popular being the louse, flea, fly, and mosquito. The louse can carry typhus, cholera, smallpox, plague, and dysentery, as can the flea and the fly. The mosquito can carry malaria, and yellow fever.

The best way to defend against germ warfare is to be prepared. All possible people should be inoculated against all diseases possible. If insects are dropped, it is advisable to pour kerosene or oil on the containers they are dropped in and set fire to them. If they have already escaped from the containers, it is best to spray DDT over the area, preferable from an airplane. In case germ-laden dust is employed, DDT spray must be used. All exposed food must be disposed of. All exposed clothing and articles must be washed with hot water and strong soap. All water must be boiled. All food eaten must be thoroughly cooked. You must use some protection over your nose and moth to breathe, and you must, when everything else is done, change clothes and take a good bath. All trash and waste exposed to germs must be burned. Screens should be placed on all windows in the summer for insect protection. In all cases, small animals such as rats, should be destroyed so the danger of plague, which they spread with their fleas, will be lessened. If paper objects or other such items are dropped, they should be burned at once.

All weapons of bacteriological warfare are of such a nature that they should, when employed, be dropped from as low an altitude and [illegible word] on an airspeed as possible, to avoid harm to the insects If parachute-type weapons are used any altitude will suffice but it should be sufficiently low, say 1000 feet, so that the parachute will not drift from the target area

When Mr. Wilson had finished his lecture it was 3 o'clock (1500 hours) and he reminded us not to discuss the weapons subject to anyone and took his leave. This was the only such lecture we ever received. On September 1st, 1951, I went to Kunsan.

In October, 1951, and again in December, 1951, a one-hour lecture was given at Kunsan by a Major [two illegible letters]onning [could be "Fronning"] on protection against germ warfare. This lecture he have many times on each occasion, and every person was required to attend one hours lecture. He gave the same lecture in December as in October. The idea, of course, is that due to the rotation plan there are always new troops, and it is also good to keep in mind the contents of his lecture. He told us that it was not unreasonable to expect bacteriological warfare to used against us by the enemy. If they did, germ dust or germ-[illegible crossed out word]laden insectes would be used, and he stressed that we should keep our shot records, or inoculations, current and up-to-date, and also discoursed on the other pertinent data as I have discussed in the second paragraph on page 3 of this paper. [Lt. Enoch is referring to the paragraph above that begins "The best way to defend against germ warfare..."]

On the 1st of January, 1952, we were told by the operations section group briefing officer at our regular briefing to be sure and report all our duds and where they fell. This was a usual procedure and just seemed to be a casual reminder at this time. The reminder was given to all the crews it [?] the briefing by Capt. Farey, one group briefing officir [sic], Dr. [illegible] a head cold I did not [three illegible words] night, but was replaced by another navigator.

My next scheduled flight was on the night of 6 January, 1952. We were scheduled to fly on Green 8 route (between Pyongyang and Sarinon [?]), and our take-off was scheduled for 0300. The crew was Capt. Amos, pilot, myself, navigator, and Sgt. Tracy, gunner. As ususal Capt. Amos and I reported to the group briefing room and group operations office at 0200 an hour before take-off. There we always checked for the latest weather and information on the mission to be flown. On this night we were informed by the officer on duty, a captain I am not familiar with, that we were to fly to the town of Hwangjn and drop our outboard wing bombs(of which there were two) and then to drop the rest of our load as quickly as possible and come directly back to Kunsan. He told us to drop at Hwangjn at 500 feet of altitude and 200 miles per hour maximum airspeed. We called his attention to the low altitude, as were to carry 10 - 500 pound bombs according to briefing, but he told us that this was top secret and these were germ bombs, and to tell no one whatsoever about our mission. He told us that the wing bombs were already loaded and checked for us, and not to bother them, and when we returned to report them as "duds". We went over to squadron operations and met our gunner, who did not report to group, and , as far as I know, did not know of our special mission. Wehn we got out to the plane a guard was standing there from armament section. He told us the wing bombs were already checked, which we already knew. I checked the bombs in the bomb bay, 6 of them, and they were 6 regular 500-pound bombs. We took off at 0300 and flew to Hwangjn dropping our two germ bombs just outside the west edge of town. There were no explosions or any unusual things to be seen. Then we continued for two minutes to the north and dropped our eight live bombs on the highway 5 miles north of Hwangjn, and went directly back to Kunsan. We took off at 0300, our bombs were dropped at 0400, and we landed at Kunsan at 0500. This was the first time I ever heard of anyone dropping germ bombs, and we kept it a secret. These germ bombs looked exactly like a regular 500-pound bomb to me. In the day time they may have some distinguishing characteristics, but it was dark when I saw them. I did not load these bombs or see them loaded but there was no special equipment on the wings, so they are loaded in the same way as ordinary bombs.

When we reported to group intelligence for debriefing after this mission we reported two bombs [inserted] (as a matter of fact, 150 pounds)[close insertion - see drawing of bomb below, which indicated weight as 150 pounds] 500 pounds dropped at Hwangjn and reported them as "duds", and reported where we dropped our eight good bombs. The bombs are evidently reported as "duds" to keep too many people from knowing the purpose of the mission, but higher headquarters can check the reports and know where the germs were dropped.

On the 10th of January, whether by accident or design I do not know, I was again scheduled for the same mission with Amos and Tracy. This time Amos and I reported to group operations, and we were told that all 4 of our wing bombs were to be germ bombs. This time our target was to be the town of Chunghwa, on Green 8, and we were then to get rid of the rest of our bombs as quickly as possible and return to base. We were still to keep our operation a secret and report our germ bombs as "duds". Our maximum airspeed was to be 200 miles per hour and our altitude 500 feet for the germ bombs. Once again armament was to have the wing bombs checked for us. We picked up Tracy at squadron operations and went out to the plane. Once again the wing bombs looked like regular bombs. An armament man told me that we were not to bother the wing bombs, as they were all set to go.

I checked the regular bombs in the bomb bay. At 0300 we took off and flew directly to Chunghwa, dropping our 4 germ bombs at 0410 hours, at an altitude of 50 - feet and an airspeed of 190 miles per hour, on the western edge of Chunghwa. We proceeded south and dropped our regular bombs on the highway north of Hwangjn and returned to Kunsan base, landing at 0515.

When we reported for debriefing we reported where we had dropped our 6 good bombs, and reported 4 "duds" at Chunghwa for the same reason as before, for secrecy.

Above is a drawing of the type of germ bombs which we used.

As I see it, the germ bombs come from a medical supply source, such as the same type which manufactures the vaccine used to combat disease, and I believe this source is in Japan, either on Honshua or Kyushu Island.

If the type of germ bomb which we dropped is used, it will open on contact with the ground, exposing the germs and insects to the open air. If it is cold outside, the insects will be dormant and sluggish, but the sun will cause them, by its heat to become active.

The leaflets are dropped in North Korea by B-29s. These leaflets are dropped in boxes which open in the air scattering the leaflets over a wide area These leaflets can be used in bacteriological warfare.

When the germ bombs are dropped, they are released by the pilot. The navigator takes notes on when and where they are dropped, and how many germ bombs. The bombs are released by pushing a button, which releases the bombs by electricity.

After the mission when the crew reports to group intelligence for debriefing, the whole crew attends the debriefing, and the report is given by the pilot and navigator. It is an informal report, and the whole crew sits around a table and give [sic] their report to an enlisted man from the intelligence section, who takes the report and puts it on paper, which he turns in to his superior. This is why the germ bombs are reported as "duds", to keep unauthorized personnel in intelligence and on the crew from knowing the secret of the mission.

To the best of my knowledge, B-26 aircraft are the only ones dropping the regular germ bomb, which looks like a regular bomb. However, the B-26 is unsuitable for dropping the other types of weapons. The leaflets are dropped by B-29's and cargo type, C-47 and C-46 aircraft, but mainly by B-29's. The cargo type aircraft are the best suited for dropping all other types of germ weapons, such as cardboard boxes, parachute containers, and articles of clothing, food, soap, and paper and fountain pens, but the B-29 can be used for these weapons also.

As to when we first started to use germ bombs, it was about the first of the year, around January 1952, I should say, since that is when we were all reminded to look for "dud" bombs. It is probable that other outfits, such as the 452nd Wing, started to use germ warfare at the same time.

The decision to use germ bombs, of course, is top secret, but due to the serious nature of this decision it undoubtedly rests with a very high command, probably the Far East headquarters in Tokyo.

Kenneth L. Enoch
9 [or 7?] April 1952

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