This study offers a guide for how to prepare, organize, and conduct a workshop that will produce meaningful conversation and reflection. The document is supported by a comprehensive list of primary sources, relevant news articles, and information from related non-governmental organizations. It is designed to accommodate all levels of familiarity with the topic.
The study is released in the context of the latest developments of the 9/11 military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, which is trying five men who are charged with helping to plan and assist the September 11, 2001 attacks. As of May 21, the two designers of the CIA’s torture program, Dr. James Mitchell and Dr. Bruce Jessen, have been called to testify in the tribunal. James Connell, a lawyer for Ammar al Baluchi, a current detainee who was rendered by North Carolina’s Aero Contractors, states “this will be the first time Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen will have to testify in a criminal proceeding about the torture program they implemented.”
The torture program designed by Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen sought to instill a sense of “learned helplessness” among detainees, where individuals would become “passive and depressed in response to adverse or uncontrollable events.” The techniques used to achieve this state include walling (slamming detainees head against a wall), sleep deprivation, solitary confinement, stress positions, and torture.
To learn more about the state’s participation in the CIA’s Rendition and Torture program, click here to view the report from the North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture.
We hope you find this study useful in your church small group or Sunday school class.