Guantánamo Court to Grapple With Coerced Confessions; 'Enhanced Interrogation' Psychologists Scheduled to Take the Stand This Week

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The fate of the 9/11 attack defendants may be determined in part on the testimony of the very same people who tortured them. 

Dr. James E. Mitchell and fellow psychologist John Bruce Jessen devised the program of violence, sleep deprivation and humiliation that the C.I.A. would employ on detainees, some at Mitchell's own hands. His team waterboarded Khalid Shaikh Mohammed 183 times over a two week period in 2003.

"Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen started off as contract consultants to the C.I.A. and went on to waterboard three other prisoners now at Guantánamo in addition to Mr. Mohammed, starting with a Palestinian man called Abu Zubaydah. By 2005, they set up a business, Mitchell Jessen and Associates, that grew to provide all of the contract guards at the black sites and 80 percent of the agency's interrogators. The United States government paid the business $81 million for their services." -- Carol Rosenberg, The New York Times

"It is unclear how much of the testimony the public or the defendants will get to see," notes Rosenberg. Air Force judge Col. W. Shane Cohen must decide how much evidence to allow about the men's torture. Considering the government's extensive use of national security privilege over the years, and how much information has been shielded from defense lawyers to date, the chances of a fair trial appear slim.

Jury selection is scheduled for January 22, 2021.

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This page contains a single entry published on January 20, 2020 6:48 PM.

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