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CIA Torture Program Originated in MKUltra Department

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CIA Torture Program Originated in MKUltra Department
The shocking truth of the “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and interrogation Program” is steadily making its way into the public domain. From intense use of solitary confinement to ‘rectal hydration’, the release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report means the antics of the CIA’s disturbing torture program is being justifiably circulated around the world.

However, there is one element of the distressing story that has gone markedly unreported – the program’s association with the highly controversial MKUltra. Sometimes referred to as the CIA’s mind-control program, MKUltra was a (1) top secret CIA research project aimed at researching mind control, interrogation tools and chemical weapons through use of drugs. The project began in 1953 by Allen Dulles, the then director of the CIA.

According to the SSCI report, the same man associated with executing the most ruthless part of the torture program came from the CIA division responsible for the notorious MKUltra project decades earlier.

The SSCI report claims that James Mitchell, a CIA contractor psychologist who is widely linked to the CIA’s mind-control program, was working with the CIA’s Office of Technical Services (OTS).

The report continues that in late 2001, Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen, Mitchell’s former psychologist associate, were commissioned by the OTS to write a study centered on an alleged Al Queda manual. The paper is purported to address interrogation countermeasures discussed in Al Queda’s manual.

SSCI Report

As the Constantine Report writes, from the SSCI study we learn that Mitchell was “working for the CIA’s OTS at the time he was ostensibly recruited or volunteered for the CIA’s new interrogation program” (2).

The SSCI report claims that in 2002 the OTS recommended Mitchell for the interrogation of Abu Zabaydah, who was believed to be a leading figure of Al Qaeda. The report states:

While Abu Zubaydah was still hospitalised, personnel at CIA Headquarters began discussing how CIA officers would interrogate Abu Zabaydah upon his return to Detention Site Green [CIA’s Thailand black site]. The initial CIA interrogation proposal recommended that the interrogators engage with Abu Zubaydah to get him to provide information, and suggested that a ‘hard approach’, involving foreign government personnel, be taken “only as a last resort.”

At a meeting about this proposal, [1-2 words redacted] CTC Legal, [2-3 words redacted] recommended that a psychologist working on contract in the CIA’s Office of Technical Services (OTS), Grayson SWIGERT [James Mitchell], be used by CTC to “provide real-time recommendations to overcome Abu Zubaydah’s “resistance to interrogation.”

It is believed that James Mitchell met up with Martin Seligman, the famous American psychologist associated with the “Learned Helplessness” (LH) theory. LH is a laboratory-based theory that is used to describe the act of an animal or human being collapsing when faced with inescapable and uncontrolled stress.

mkultra papers

Theory of Learned Helplessness

As Soft Panorama notes, Seligman’s theory of Learned Helplessness was initially used to design a training program to help captured military personnel resist the effects of torture (3). LH went on to be used in the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay to assist the interrogation of convicts.

According to an article by Shadow Proof about the CIA’s torture program originating in the same department as MKUltra, Seligman is believed to have met with Mitchell on three occasions, which, as Shadow Proof claims “strongly suggests” that the CIA torture program was initiated by the OTS and constituted “at least in part” of an experimental program (4).

As some of the SSCI report is redacted or uses pseudonyms, it is, as Shadow Prof writes, “…impossible to know if the SSCI report ever mentions Seligman.”

Nonetheless, the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and interrogation Program’s report reveals the shocking likelihood that the CIA’s interrogation techniques are associated with the sickening antics of MKUltra, the CIA’s controversial effort towards mass mind control.

References & Image Credits:
(1) TSW: 5 Most Disturbing MKUltra Experiments
(2) Constantine Report
(3) Soft Panorama
(4) Shadow Proof

Originally published on

  • freebird100

    From a article in January,2006.
    “Author explores CIA connections to torture tactics” (Alfred McCoy)

    “The origins of the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Guantanamo controversy can be
    traced very directly to the 1950s, when the Central Intelligence Agency
    launched a massive mind-control project that discovered psychological
    torture. This proved an unheralded scientific breakthrough, indeed, the
    first real revolution in five centuries in the cruel science of pain,” McCoy says.

    He goes on to say that the CIA spent the next 30 years spreading these
    sophisticated techniques throughout the world by training anti-communist
    allies, police and military in the developing world to use methods of
    psychological torture. “By the end of the Cold War, these torture techniques had become so embedded in the American security apparatus that congressional
    legislation enacted to abolish these practices instead legalized them,”

  • freebird100

    You people work for the scumbags you claim you are watching don`t you?

  • Why would you say that? This is a privately run website, funded by a private individual, and we often go after big government projects/departments/agencies without hesitation. Always have. We just report the truth as it comes out, as it is. Take it or leave it I guess – but there it is.

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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
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Mark Dorr grew up the son of a treasure hunter. His experiences led to working internationally in some surprising situations!
Mark R. Whittington, from Houston, Texas, frequently writes on space, science, political commentary and political culture.

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