Civil Suit proceeds to trial against torture psychologists Jessen and Mitchell

The two psychologists pictured below were paid over $80,000,000 by the Bush administration to design a torture program for use against captured terrorism suspects.  The torture program was called “enhanced interrogation” to give the torture and inhumane treatment a fig leaf of legal deniability, just in case anyone later decided to follow up on the systematic violation of American and international law.   Nobody successfully did, until this ACLU lawsuit on behalf of two living and one murdered torture victim.  

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from a Spokane paper, Quackenbush is the District Court judge in the case:

In the last hearing, defense attorney Brian Paszamant argued that his clients only provided the CIA with a list of potential interrogation techniques.

“The problem is my clients were involved in drafting the guidelines (for the CIA) and didn’t know they were going to be applied at” CIA black-site prisons, Paszamant said. “There is a huge disconnect.”

Quackenbush asked Paszamant about the treatment of Rahman, who was placed in a diaper before he died on a cold floor. Evidence suggested that Jessen helped interrogate Rahman but it only included one slap to his face.

“I’m not sure a single slap to the face would constitute torture under international law,” Paszamant said last month.

Quackenbush replied: “He was tortured.”

Paszamant pointed out that Rahman died of exposure … “none of which my clients had anything to do with. I’m not at a position to acknowledge (Rahman) was subjected to torture.”

The judge then added: “That’s why we have juries.”

In his written findings, Quackenbush noted that the defense attorneys made “several unconvincing arguments” that there was no connection between developing the interrogation techniques and those applied to Sulieman and Ben Soud.    


Lawyers for these two psychologists also argued that the defendants could not be held accountable for their work because the scientists who invented Zyklon-B, the poison used in Nazi gas chambers, were not prosecuted at Nuremberg.   The judge rejected that argument as well.  He ruled yesterday that the case against these two will proceed to trial.  


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