Former APA President tied to CIA torture firm

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Former APA President tied to CIA torture firm

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:31 pm

Former APA President tied to CIA torture firm
Stephen Soldz

August 13, 2007

Followers of this blog, or of the role of psychologists in abusive interrogations, will be familiar with the Names of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, reported by Mark Benjamin, Katherine Eban, and Jane Mayer to be the CIA’s principal torture teachers. Evidently these two psychologists, through CIA contract to their firm Mitchell Jessen & Associates, was key in the translation of SERE techniques into the routine torture utilized in the CIA black sites. Eban further describes how these brutal interrogation techniques were copied at Guantanamo and elsewhere, becoming standard operating procedure for US torturers.

Now the Spokesman Review reports that former American Psychological Association President Joseph Dominic Matarazzo is " one of five 'governing people’ in the Mitchell Jessen firm," and owns a 1% stake in the torture company. Of course Matarazzo denies knowing what the company did, but apparently declined to say what he thought they did.

The evidence increases that many key psychologists were involved in America’s torture regime. Now that reporters are looking, this may be but the first of many revelations.

Here is the complete article:

Expert has stake in cryptic local firm
Consultants tied to CIA interrogations

by Bill Morlin
The former president of the American Psychological Association is a partner in a Spokane-based firm linked to the CIA’s reported use of harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists at secret detention centers around the world.

Joseph Dominic Matarazzo, an 81-year-old former psychology professor at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said in a statement Friday that he serves on the board of Mitchell Jessen & Associates and owns 1 percent of the firm.

According to public records, Matarazzo is one of five "governing people" in the Mitchell Jessen firm, which does secret interrogation consulting work for the CIA.

Matarazzo refused repeated interview requests but said in an e-mailed statement that he "is not and never has been involved in the company’s operational decisions," and that he only "attends brief and infrequent company meetings."

Matarazzo added in the e-mailed statement: "I have never been involved in the use either of torture or the legal or illegal interrogation of prisoners or anyone else. And I would strongly advise against it. I also have no knowledge of anyone who has been involved in such torture or interrogation."

The statement was relayed by a spokesman at the Portland medical school where Matarazzo taught behavioral neuroscience for 50 years before his retirement in June.

The nationally renowned psychologist helped establish the University of Oregon’s Department of Medical Psychology before the school evolved and was renamed. The program became Oregon Health & Science University’s Department of Behavioral Neuroscience.

"He is very well respected at OHSU and among his peers in the area of neuro-behavioral science," said university spokesman Jonathan Modie.

The ethics surrounding the issue of psychologists involved in torture interrogations will be a prime topic of debate next weekend when the 90,000-member American Psychological Association that Matarazzo once headed holds its national conference in San Francisco. Matarazzo isn’t expected to attend, nor are the two psychologist-managers of the Spokane firm, James E. Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen.

"This news of our former APA president being closely tied with the notorious Mitchell and Jessen group is shocking and distressing," said Brad Olson, chairman of the APA Divisions for Social Justice.

"This leads to, more than anything else, many, many more questions," said Olson, a Northwestern University psychology research professor who will be at the forefront of the conference debate.

APA President Sharon Brehm and Stephen Behnke, the director of APA’s Ethics Directorate, both declined comment last week when asked about Matarazzo’s ties to the private psychology firm working for the CIA.

"Dr. Matarazzo was president of APA 18 years ago," Rhea Farberman, the organization’s director of public affairs, said in a prepared statement.

"Since that time, he has had no active role in APA governance but has been actively involved in the American Psychological Foundation (APF), the charitable giving arm of APA. Dr. Matarazzo currently holds no governance positions in either APA or APF," the statement said.

Matarazzo’s "professional activities are outside and independent of any role he has played within APA and APF," the statement said. "We have no direct knowledge about the business dealing of Mitchell’s and Jessen’s company; however, APA’s position is clear – torture or other forms of cruel or inhuman treatment are always unethical."

Matarazzo, in his e-mailed statement, said, "I firmly subscribe to and abide by the APA Code of Ethics that torture or other forms of cruel and inhumane treatment are unethical."

James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, who once claimed APA ties, are both former Department of Defense psychologists who taught and monitored SERE training – survival, evasion, resistance and escape – for military and other government personnel at Fairchild Air Force Base.

According to various published reports, Mitchell Jessen & Associates specializes in "reverse engineering" of SERE techniques such as sleep and sensory deprivation, starvation and simulated drowning. The techniques are reportedly used on detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Iraq, Afghanistan and other "black sites," or secret prisons.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to hold hearings this fall into whether the techniques violate anti-torture provisions of the Geneva Conventions.

Mitchell Jessen has business offices in Alexandria, Va., and in the American Legion Building in downtown Spokane where work goes on behind key-carded security doors monitored by video cameras. The top floor of the building is off-limits to the public and reportedly is used by Mitchell Jessen and three affiliated businesses.

It’s not known how Mitchell Jessen established its business relationship with Matarazzo.

Mitchell and Jessen have refused interview requests but haven’t denied their company’s contract work for the CIA, which they likely would be prohibited from discussing. Through a spokeswoman, Mitchell, who now lives in Florida, and Jessen, who lives in Spokane, say they are proud of their work for the U.S. government and deny any connection to torture interrogations.

They formed their consulting business in 2005. Although they didn’t register their limited liability corporation as required with the Washington secretary of state’s office, they did file necessary documents with the state Department of Licensing and the Department of Revenue.

Those documents list the "governing people" of the company as Mitchell, Jessen, Matarazzo, David M. Ayres, Randall W. Spivey and Roger L. Aldrich. Spivey, who lives in Spokane, has declined comment on his work with Mitchell Jessen. Ayres, who lives in Alexandria, Va., and Aldrich, who lists a Spokane Valley address, couldn’t be reached for comment.

Matarazzo’s link to Mitchell Jessen will come as a surprise to his fellow APA members, said Olson, of the organization’s Divisions for Social Justice.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Psychology has a scholarship named after Matarazzo, who attended Brown University before getting his master’s and doctoral degrees from Northwestern University.

Matarazzo was an assistant professor of medical psychology at Washington University in St. Louis and was a research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School before moving to Oregon.

Olson said a recent Vanity Fair article portrayed Mitchell Jessen as amateurs lacking APA credentials, who weren’t perceived as scientists possessing data.

But the Vanity Fair report and other published accounts, Olson said, "suggest that SERE connections to interrogations were all about science, or at least some form of it."
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Re: Former APA President tied to CIA torture firm

Postby Stephen Morgan » Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:47 am

-- Several elements of historical and operational continuity between the development of fascism prior to World War II and its resurgence over the last several decades. Comparing American scientific racism of the 1920s and 30s with current thinkers of that school... the profound influence of the American social legislation spawned by that racism on the Nazi racial laws that were the pretext for the Third Reich's extermination programs... the American 'prosecutorial' staff at Nuremberg who helped to exonerate numerous Nazi war criminals and who subsequently participated in the coverup of President Kennedy's assassination... a possible fascist connection to the gun-control movement (Note: It is indeed curious that the American Psychiatric Association initially contained over 2,000 German 'immigrant' members following World War II. The APA also was/is involved in GUN CONTROL lobbying.- Branton), as well as a possible connection between that movement and the assassination of President Kennedy... the resurgence of Fascism in Italy and Germany stemming from the fascist elements left in place in these countries as a result of the laxness of individuals such as the American Nuremberg staffers.

John Judge, quoted by Bob Ness:

And also in the medical community. The community around cancer, and the AMA and the FDA, have doctors that came directly from the Fascist countries. The whole psychiatric establishment is riddled with them. Some of the students of the top psychiatric killers, and the killers themselves, came directly to this country. And they run VA wards; they experiment there. They're in private practice in many places, some of them hold top credentials in the top psychiatric associations around the world and nationally. That's part of what's revealed in Lenny Lapon's book, Mass Murderers in White Coats.

It's not just what they did during the war; but where they came to after the war, where they went. All of the modern psychiatric techniques were developed in Nazi Germany. So, you don't have to think of, like, your neighbor, "Would he give me AIDS?" We're still talking about the Fascists and Nazis, the Fascists here in this country who, for their own reasons, don't like the non-White populations.
Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that all was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, and make it possible. -- Lawrence of Arabia
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