Like a modern-day Ministry of Truth, the American Psychological Association (APA) has scrubbed the webpage describing "deception scenarios" workshops that were part of a conference it conducted with the CIA and Rand Corporation on July 17-18, 2003. In addition, the APA erased the link to the page, and even all mention of its existence, from another story at its July 2003 Science Policy Insider News website that briefly described the conference.
In May 2007, in an article at Daily Kos, I noted that the workshops were describing "new ways to utilize drugs and sensory bombardment techniques to break down interrogatees." Quoting from the APA’s description (and note, the link is to an archived version of the webpage; emphasis is added):
- How do we find out if the informant has knowledge of which s/he is not aware?
- How important are differential power and status between witness and officer?
- What pharmacological agents are known to affect apparent truth-telling behavior?….
- What are sensory overloads on the maintenance of deceptive behaviors? How might we overload the system or overwhelm the senses and see how it affects deceptive behaviors?
In August 2007, in a landmark article at Vanity Fair, journalist Katherine Eban revealed that SERE psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were participants at the APA/CIA/Rand affair. Mitchell and Jessen have since been linked with the implementation of the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation techniques" in 2001-2002.
Just last November, in an article at Firedoglake, I recalled the issue of the 2003 conference and asked Who Will Investigate CIA/RAND/APA Torture “Workshop? I wrote at that time:
The APA and CIA have a very long history of working together on interrogation techniques, in particular on sensory deprivation and use of drugs like LSD and mescaline in interrogations, and other methods of breaking down the mind and the body of prisoners.
Use of drugs to influence interrogations, in addition to sensory deprivation, distortion and overload or bombardment were signal techniques in a decades-long interrogation research program that came to be known by its most famous moniker,MKULTRA (although these torture techniques were studied and tested by the CIA even earlier, in its 1950s projects Bluebird and Artichoke). Such techniques were codified by the early 1960s in a CIA Counterinsurgency Interrogation Manual, also known by its codename, KUBARK.