The Trump Administration Is Attempting To Block Testimony On CIA Torture

By Derrick Broze

President Trump has invoked states secrets privilege in an effort to prevent the two psychologists who created the CIA’s torture program from testifying in court.

The lawsuit against the two architects of the Central Intelligence Agency’s torture program has dragged on for nearly two years, with the CIA attempting to limit or completely block attempts to hold the creators of the program accountable.  The lawsuit faces yet another hurdle as the Trump administration has invoked “state secrets privilege” to prevent the two men accused of creating the program from testifying in court.

In October 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, former U.S. military psychologists who created the CIA’s torture program. The lawsuit accuses Jessen and Mitchell of operating a “joint criminal enterprise” and seeks compensatory damages of at least $75,000.  The ACLU is representing Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ben Soud, two survivors of the CIA torture program, and Gul Rahman, who died as a result of his torture. The plaintiffs are suing Mitchell and Jessen under the Alien Tort Statute — which allows federal lawsuits for gross human rights violations — for their commission of torture; cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment; non-consensual human experimentation; and war crimes.

James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen served in the U.S. military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape program (SERE), teaching U.S. troops how to resist and survive torture in the event of capture by foreign nations. SERE was supposed to help troops understand torture techniques while Jessen and Mitchell supervised their mental state.  After 9/11, the psychologists were tasked with designing and developing the CIA’s detention, rendition, and interrogation operations. Using their knowledge of how to resist torture, the two reverse-engineered the SERE program to create a new program that would break detainees’ mental state in the hopes of creating loose-lipped zombies. According to the 2015 Senate report on CIA torture, “neither psychologist had experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in terrorism, or any relevant regional, cultural, or linguistic expertise.”

Although the trial is set to begin on June 26, 2017, the Trump administration is now attempting to block testimony from top CIA officials. The New York Times reported:

Hoping to prevent the officials, including Gina Haspel, the agency’s new deputy director, from being forced to testify, the administration is using the state secrets privilege, which means the executive branch is asking the judge in the case to keep information out of court by asserting that its disclosure would damage national security.

The government rarely tries to use the extraordinary power, and this is among the first assertions of it by the Trump administration. At an earlier phase of the case in Federal District Court in Spokane, Wash., the Obama administration did not invoke the privilege — although in court filings last year, it did leave the door open to doing so at a later stage.

In October 2016, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Justin Quackenbush ruled CIA officials would be required to answer questions under oath as requested by Mitchell and Jessen. The two men requested that former high-ranking CIA officials be forced to answer questions about the program and also that the government turn over documents related to the torture program. Judge Quackenbush agreed and ordered the government to produce some of the requested documents. According to the ACLU, two of the officials who will face questioning are John Rizzo and Jose Rodriguez. Rizzo was the CIA’s head lawyer during the George W. Bush administration while Rodriguez was the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center and then deputy director of operations. Both men played a vital role in the decision to torture detainees. In 2005, Rodriguez ordered the destruction of more than 90 videotapes that showed detainees undergoing waterboarding and other torture methods. The ACLU writes:

Rizzo was the CIA’s acting general counsel for much of the George W. Bush administration. President Bush nominated him to be confirmed in the position in 2007 but was forced to withdraw the nomination amid objections over Rizzo’s involvement in the torture program. Rizzo went along with the now-discredited Justice Department Office of Legal Counsel memos that purported to approve torture, privately acknowledging the OLC’s ‘ability to interpret over, under and around Geneva, the torture convention, and other pesky little international obligations.’ Rizzo also helped draft Bush’s still-secret order authorizing the CIA to establish secret detention facilities overseas and to interrogate detainees.

The Trump administration is also seeking to block the testimony of Gina Haspel and a still unidentified official described as “John/Jane Doe.” Haspel, who was chosen by Trump as the CIA’s deputy director, is accused of running one of the CIA’s secret detention sites in Thailand and having a direct role in the torture of the defendants. According to a recent article by John Kiriakou, a former CIA counterterrorism officer, Haspel was responsible for allowing some of the most brutal torture methods despite a lack of new information provided by the detainees. Kiriakou also accuses Haspel of directly overseeing the staff  in Thailand, including Mitchell and Jessen. Kiriakou himself served 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to blowing the whistle about Bush administration waterboarding and torture of detainees.

The final decision on whether or not to invoke state secrets privilege and block the testimony rests with Federal District Court judge Justin L. Quackenbush.  The state secrets privilege was used a number of times during the Bush administration to block lawsuits related to the CIA’s torture program and the NSA’s surveillance programs. After Obama took office he ordered an investigation of the cases blocked by Bush and eventually found that each use of state secrets privilege was legitimate. Still, as the Times notes, the Obama administration did make use of the privilege. “The first instance came in September 2010 in response to a lawsuit filed by the father of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and radical cleric for Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch, seeking an injunction against attempts to kill his son,” the Times wrote. Only one year later, Awlaki and his 16-year-old son would be killed via drone strike by the Obama administration.

The attempt to invoke state secrets privilege is yet another example that President Trump is not for freedom, or basic human rights. If you stand with Trump, you are standing with a tyrant. At the least, the public can take some solace in the fact that even if the state secrets privilege is allowed to go forth, the victims of torture will still be allowed to testify about their horrible experiences. The truth will be set free.

For more details on the disturbing methods of torture employed on these men, please see this article.

Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for and the founder of the Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2

Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact

This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.

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15 Comments on "The Trump Administration Is Attempting To Block Testimony On CIA Torture"

  1. I had made a comment on the Darpa mind control article, it came on and was later removed and I do not know why.

    • I don’t know who is in charge of censorship, but I have encountered significant, consistent problems with disqus. If I were a budding authoritarian political machine getting ready to overthrow a system, disqus would be exactly what I would deploy to determine the specific enemies of my program.

  2. We really need to do more than “see” the monsters. These monsters have facilitated false-flag attacks, killed untold numbers of Americans/foreign nationals and they have largely destroyed our Constitutional rights.

    They need to be held to account for their crimes.

  3. Torture was one of the issues that Tramp was in favor. Waterboarding was on the top of his list.

  4. Trump is just one more neo-Nazi thug.

  5. Psychologists and whoever should NEVER involve themselves in a barbaric, insane practice
    like torture(programs)
    Ofcourse they are to be held accountable for their horrific crimes like anyone who commits
    crimes, even more satanic crimes like this.

  6. The US Armed Forces are the worlds leading terrorist organization paid for by the USA’s psychopathic citizens. It is torture to realize this and live in this demented country. The CIA should be disbanded for their incompetence and the psychologists who invented the US torture program should receive multiple life sentences.

  7. Sigh. As days turn into weeks and months, Trump’s eye’s move closer together and his nose appears to be growing grotesquely wide and long – And the SMELL! ….. OY VEY!!

  8. I can’t help but think that at the heart of humankind’s sadistic streak lies the Anunnaki agenda – the negative aliens who visited our planet aeons ago to shape our physiology (via genetic engineering) and manipulate our minds – the latter being accomplished via seeding various regions with false religions / gods.

    Our spiritually limiting religions (or death cults) are the breeding grounds on which we humans have fomented a culture of war and death, torture and (child) abuse and slavery which exists in many forms to this very day (prostitution, the notion that we need to work for the man to “earn our living”, our money system that perpetuates debt slavery, our sickness industry designed to get us hooked and keep us sickly and dependent, etc).

    Some excerpts from an interesting site:

    Today the religions of the world remain a major tool of the Illuminati agenda. They maintain the climate of unquestioning, unthinking, ignorance, and their pseudo-morality provides a veil of hypocrisy, behind which the most sickening abuse of children can be hidden.

    Some of the most famous church “leaders” and evangelists on the planet are Illuminati operatives who use religion to manipulate and brain-wash their followers while engaging in Satanic rituals that beggar belief.

    With so many churches built on ancient pagan religious sites (energy vortexes and ley lines), the Satanists desire access to those “Christian” buildings for their rituals. This they can do if they control the church. Dr Loreda Fox is a Christian psychiatrist who has worked with many victims of Satanism and trauma-based mind control or Multiple Personality Disorder.

    She wrote in the Spiritual And Clinical Dimensions Of Multiple Personality Disorder (Books of Sangre de Crista, Salida, Colorado, 1992):

    “Some Satanists have invaded the church as it is the perfect cover for them. They masquerade as angels of light and gravitate towards positions of leadership in order to have more influence. Because much of what they say is sound doctrinaily, they are rarely detected. Most survivors whom I have worked with had Satanist parents who were in high positions in churches; many were pastors.”1

    Billy Graham, the mind-controlled satanist:

    The Illuminati deploys its agents, all of them under mind control of some variety, to lead their religious believers into the clutches of the Anunnaki agenda or “New World Order”. One such man is the most famous evangelist in the world, the American Billy Graham, who is a 33rd degree Freemason and a practicing Satanist.

    More about the negative aliens / the Anunnaki:

    And, if you’re game, watch this video:

    Secret Ancient Knowledge Exposed (1 hr 17 mins) – a bit of a stretch, but keep an open mind.

    Published on Aug 18, 2013

    A cartoon explanation of the possible “human history” based on the information gathered from all around the world.

    Written / produced by jordan Duchnycz & Josef Dolezal

    Based on the work of: Drunvalo Melchizidek

  9. George Bush III, making America Great Again.

  10. One of the most dangerous things about the internet is that it removes all distance of separation and allows the enemy to cozy right up into bed with us and anonymously whisper sweet honey-nothings into our ear.

  11. Very discouraging. There is absolutely no excuse for torture. Intelligence professionals know well you cannot gain useful information in this way. However, they also know you can torture people and turn them into radicals filled with rage and hatred… then release them and they become ISIS et al. Torture is also used for intimidation; it’s a way of terrorizing individuals and subject populations…. which is why the MI-6, CIA, Mossad and other “intelligence” agencies use it. Morality is not an issue; only money/power for the global central banks and their minions in the so-called government. Delightful people our “leaders”.

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