August 17th, 2009
In a 3-part series, [part 1, part 2, part 3] Jeff Kaye adds to our picture of the development of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program by taking a closer look at the other shareholders of Mitchell Jessen, and Associates. As has been previously noted by Kaye, all of them had long connections with the SERE program and with JPRA [Joint Personnel Recovery Agency], the SERE parent agency.
Kaye cites a JPRA sources as stating that Mitchell and Jesses were not the prime actors in the initiator of the program. Rather, this source suggests, stakeholders Roger Aldrich, one of the pioneers of the SERE program, played a critical role.
Kaye also extends backwards the involvement of former American Psychological Association President Joseph Matarazzo:
David Ayers, head of Tate, Inc., was the other MJA shareholder, along with Joseph Matarazzo, yet another former president [in addition to Martin Seligman: SS] of the American Psychological Association who crossed Mitchell and Jessen’s path. Matarazzo, who Jane Mayer recently reported worked for the CIA, had been hired by Mitchell and Jessen years earlier, in 1996, along with other prominent U.S. psychologists — Charles Speilberger, Richard Lazarus, and Albert Bandura – for an internal review of SERE training procedures, according to a SERE internal document.
It is amazing how many senior psychologists seem to have been at least tangentially connected with the developers of the CIA’s torture program. And, of course, we should remember that the APA itself had Mitchell and Jessen as participants in a joint CIA-APA-Rand conference on the Science of Deception at which, accordingly to the conference description, several enhanced interrogation techniques were discussed. Someday we will understand why these and, no doubt, other prominent psychologists were so close to the SERE program and to Mitchell, Jessesn, and the other creators of the CIA torture program.