Originally posted May 20, 2019
Two Spokane psychologists who devised the “enhanced interrogation” techniques that a federal judge later said constituted torture could testify publicly for the first time at a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, that is trying five men charged with helping to plan and assist in the 9/11 attacks.
James E. Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen are among a dozen government-approved witnesses for the defense at the military tribunal. Mitchell and Jessen’s company was paid about $81 million by the CIA for providing and sometimes carrying out the interrogation techniques, which included waterboarding, during the early days of the post 9/11 war on terror.
“This will be the first time Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen will have to testify in a criminal proceeding about the torture program they implemented,” said James Connell, a lawyer for Ammar al Baluchi, one of the five Guantanamo prisoners.
Both Mitchell and Jessen were deposed but were never forced to testify as part of a civil suit filed in 2015 in Spokane by the ACLU on behalf of three former CIA prisoners, Gul Rahman, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud.
According to court records, Rahman was interrogated in a dungeon-like Afghanistan prison in isolation, subjected to darkness and extreme cold water, and eventually died of hypothermia. The other two men are now free.
The U.S. government settled that civil suit in August 2017 just weeks before it was scheduled for trial in Spokane before U.S. District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush.
The info is here.