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Crooks, torturers and God’s Own Country

By Owei Lakemfa
The terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 (9/11) in which nearly 3,000 people were killed, was a nightmare for humanity. But while people mourned across the globe, some schemed to make fortunes out of it even if it meant sending more innocent people to untimely graves. This  is the case against two American psychologists, James Elmer Mitchel, 64, with a 1986 doctorate from the University of South Florida, and ‘Bruce’ Jessen who are accused of running a “Joint criminal enterprise”. Three of their victims have returned to hunt them in the courts.
Suleiman Abdullah Salim, a Tanzanian fisherman was married to a Somali and was working in that country when he was kidnapped by the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). His torture began almost immediately with  an object inserted into his anus. He was to go  through detention centres in various countries for five years until  his release from the Bagram Airfield centre in August, 2008.
Mohammed Ben Soud  was a Libyan  held in Afghanistan. As part of sleep deprivation, he was paraded naked for fifteen minutes every thirty minutes from night to morning. After long tortures, he was taken to Libya where he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The two are lucky to be alive, but not so for Gul Rahman, an Afghan refugee in Pakistan whom CIA  kidnapped. As part of the torture methods developed by Mitchel and Jessen, Rahman was frozen to death. Now, his estate has teamed up with Salim and Soud to sue  the two torturers who inverted their professional training of healing.
Since they cannot get justice against the  American State and its agencies, they decided under the Alien Tort Statute to sue the two individuals who developed  and operated the criminal programme of torture used against them.  Mitchel and Jessen are being sued for “their commission of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; non-consensual human experimentation; and war crimes”. in a landmark  judgement, US District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush  ruled on April 22, 2016  that the two can be sued.
Following 9/11, the George Walker Bush administration charged like a drunken  bull into Iraq, destroying and transforming it into a failed state, and Afghanistan, turning it into a perpetual war zone. In the process, it captured  various persons and went round the world, kidnapping  others. With such people in its custody, the US decided that it would not take them to its soil where it could be forced to present evidence against them in a law court, and where legitimately, many  will have  prisoner of war status. So it set up illegal detention centres  in various countries where such people were dumped, tortured and held without trial.
In 2002, the CIA approached  two alleged experts, Mitchel and Jessen for help on how to interrogate such detainees, especially  Abu Zubaydah an alleged senior  al-Qaeda operative. The pair, claiming to be experts developed “enhanced interrogation techniques” based on the 1960s ‘learned hopelessness” theory  by which dogs which were  continuously subjected to small doses of electric shocks for long periods,  became such emotional wrecks that even when offered escape, they refused. The thinking of the two torture  merchants is that if an individual is subjected to an adverse  condition he is powerless against, he would like the dogs, become passive and depressed, and in that state,  provide whatever information required.
Mitchell and Jessen said  “Our goal was to reach the stage where we have broken any will or ability of the subject to resist or deny providing us information (intelligence) to which he had access”. They developed twenty ‘enhanced techniques’ for the CIA which was so appalled that it rejected ten of them while ten were accepted and authorised by the Presidency. These included a combination of regular beatings,  confining victims in coffin-like boxes, mock executions and burials, use of insects in tiny cells, shackling of arms and feet to  hooks which leaves victims perpetually in a painful squatting position, sleep deprivation, anal penetration, water boarding  and dousing victims in ice-cold water and then wrapping them like frozen fish in freezing plastic sheets.
They followed up their ‘inventions’ by going out into the field to practise on victims and assessing their psychological degeneration. Not since the days of Dr. Josef Mengele, aka The Angel of Death, the German Schtzstaffel (SS)  officer  at the Austchwitz Concentration Camp during the Second World War, had humanity been confronted with the type of horrors  perpetuated in these 21st Century American concentration camps. Mengele and his fellow physicians  had tortured children, women and men and performed medical experiments using human beings. This included killing people by simply freezing them to death, putting them in pressured chambers, performing  experimental surgeries on children  without anesthesia and  sex change  experiments.
To maximise profits from their  criminal enterprise, the two in 2005, established a company;  Mitchell Jessen and Associates and secured from the CIA, a contract worth $180 million out of which $81 million was paid before it was stopped in 2009.
The US Senate which investigated the tortures found that Mitchell and Jessen were fraudsters “Neither psychologist had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qaeda, a background in counter-terrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise”. Even the CIA  was to say the Mitchell and Jessen claims were unscientific and bogus. But the men are not remorseful; enjoying his  loot in retirement, Mitchell told the British GUARDIAN “ I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country by people at the highest level of government, and I did the best that I could” He did not mention the profits he made from his inhuman trade.
The US is also not remorseful for its crimes against humanity violating the Geneva Convention  on treatment of civilians and prisoners of war. It is also unrepentant violating the United Nations  Convention against Torture which forbids any act  of  intentionally inflicting  pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,  on a person for whatever reason. For a country to continue laying claims to be God’s Own Country, it must respect human beings.
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