Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mitchell and Jessen Trial Hearing Set for August 4 in Spokane, WA

Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell

This story is about Mitchell and Jessen (photos above, and cited in below posts) re: their upcoming hearing outlined in this report

They are apt to say: “We were just following orders” (just like those Nazis claimed at Nuremberg in 1945-46).

More likely today those two are claiming:We were just following the government’s contract specs – yes, we did modify it later and watched and yes, we even participated in some of the “enhanced methods we developed and refined them, too, but we did our duty by fulfilling the contract, and yes, we were paid some $80 million) – so what – we were just following orders.”

(Note: “Enhanced” is a buzzword for torture)

Whoa – stop the press – hold it a darn minute for this short edit. Let’s be clear here shall we – “Just following orders” ain’t gonna hack it for Mitchell and Jessen.  

It didn’t work in 1945-1946 for the Nazis on trial for war crimes, and it won’t fly today, either. The heart of the defense’s case argument in their motion to dismiss a lawsuit from former detainees outlined in the article, are the points below:

1.  The two, Mitchell and Jessen (both former Air Force psychologists who helped craft the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques known as “enhanced” (again the buzzword for “torture”) should be as free from liability as a worker for a company that supplied the Nazis with poison gas used in concentration camps in WWII.

2.  Like the gassing technician who was acquitted on charges of helping the Nazis, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were independent contractors who lacked authority to “control, prevent or modify” the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques.

The ACLU challenges that defense claim, saying the psychologists should be held accountable for the methods they designed following the September 11 terror attacks – wherein those methods included waterboarding, beatings, and worse.

Notes: (1) The Nuremberg tribunals that judged the Nazis and their enablers after World War II established the opposite rule re: innocent contractors who developed the gas saying in part: “Private contractors are accountable when they choose to provide unlawful means and profit from war crimes.” 

(2) And, the owner of the company that developed the poison gas for the Nazis was executed after World War II.

(3) Even for countries that never signed “The Rules for War or the Geneva Accords, etc.” please note: Following World War II, jurists at the Nuremberg Trials and the Tokyo Trials ruled that by 1939 the rules for armed conflicts, particularly those concerning belligerent and neutral nationals, had been recognized by all civilized nations and thus could apply to officials even of countries that never signed the Hague Conventions.
Historical Notes from the Nuremberg Tribunals:

1.  “Following orders that are illegal, unlawful, and a war crime” are punishable by law and in the case of many of the Nazis – that was the death penalty.

2.  Most of the Nazis used the so-called “Superior orders plea.” That was regarded as the complement to command responsibility.

Superior orders, often known as the Nuremberg defense, lawful orders or by the German phrase Befehl ist Befehl (“Only Following Orders”) literally “An order is an order”) was a plea in a court of law that a person — whether a member of the military, law enforcement, a firefighting force, or the civilian population — not be held guilty for actions which were ordered by a superior officer or an official.

Both sides in this case plan arguments on August 4 in in Spokane. The outcome will determine whether the lawsuit will go to trial, set for September 5, 2017.

The judge could decide that the psychologists are guilty of aiding and abetting torture and no trial is needed, or he could dismiss the suit or limit what claims can be pursued.

My View: Both Mitchell and Jessen, were neither trained or experienced interrogators. They were in it for the money and they knew the plan and they went along with it and made adjustments in the overall techniques… 

Seems to me that they are using a weak excuse of following orders (or in this case, the government contract specs) and in turn, the CIA will duck and say that’s what we paid them for. 

This is an important phase in the long-term damaging event in American history and still today, and there are still 41 detainees at Gitmo, some who went through the same set of techniques (namely KSM). 

Note Insert: The Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA program, released in 2014, under a section titled “The CIA Waterboards KSM at Least 183 Times,” says that “On March 10, 2003, KSM was subjected to the first of his 15 separate waterboarding sessions” 

(Note: One procedure in each session was counted and thus equaled the total of 183 times for the entire 15 sessions).

Let’s hope that justice does not escape from in this tragedy.

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