by Scott Creighton
TruthOut has published an article this morning about Dr. John Bruce Jessen, the CIA contracted psychologist who became one of the architects of the government’s torture program, and how he turned his work with the SERE program, a program designed to help soldiers deal with the pressures of torture, into a “how to” guide for “exploiting” War on Terror detainees for the CIA and department of defense.
The article includes hand-written notes from Dr. Jessen taken during his time working on the SERE program and provided by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns to TruthOut writers Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye. Though the notes themselves do not deal with torture, they do detail key aspects of what would later become our “enhanced interrogation” program.
This article is going to get a lot of attention today and over the course of the next week or so I suppose, but I will tell you now, something doesn’t add up. This smells rotten to the core. And if you watch Capt. Kearns between his staged, rehearsed, getting ready for the political career answers, you will see something in this man’s eyes that I think exposes his truer nature, a nature born of a lifetime in service to the spook industry and the CIA specifically.
This man is crazy and he just may the CIA’s next Manchurian candidate.
The candidate’s background or “The Kearns Supremacy”
Capt. Kearns’ Wikipedia page reads like the resume of 6 highly motivated men, not one guy. He has attended almost every single Intelligence school we have, the only thing I saw that was missing was the School of the Americas, but that had a slightly different slant than his career path seemed destined for. Below I have copied and pasted just some of his attributed accomplishments listed on his vast Wikipedia web-page. It’s impossible to know just how much of this is factual, but what I find, over and over again, is many of his accomplishments overlap with each other, and many of them overlap with his time in the service when he was also being charged with positions that one would think would require a bit of time and attention. It’s almost like this guy had the ability to be in two or three places at once, on different sides of the globe at once… kinda like Lee Harvey Oswald.
US Naval Special Warfare Command’s Force Historian within the Office of Special Operations Plans, Liaison Officer to the Intelligence Community (IC) Staff, Joint Services SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) Agency (JSSA), a brief Joint Chiefs of Staff assignment in the Joint Special Operations Agency at The Pentagon, Aide-de-Camp to the Director of the Defense Mapping Agency (now the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency), an Intelligence Specialist and was trained as an Air Intelligence Operations Specialist, Senior Marketing and Business Development Manager in Federal Business Development, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tiffin University in Ohio, RAAF’s liaison / technologist to Google, Inc. and was a graduate of Google’s first Enterprise Professional certification training program in April 2008, Special Operations Association (#949 Life), Air Commando Association (Life), Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Association of Old Crows (Electronic Warfare and Information Operations, Life), National Military Intelligence Association (Life), International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association, California Association of Licensed Investigators, American Society for Industrial Security, American Association of University Professors. California Licensed Private Investigator, Florida teachers’ pre-certificate 6-12 Social Science, Certified Law Enforcement Thermographer (1995–97), Certified Tax Practitioner (CPTx).
Michael’s work with foreign military special operations forces has appeared in Soldier of Fortune (magazine). In the October 1984 issue’s feature article “Winning Israeli Wings,” then Lieutenant Kearns appears in a photograph on page 56. In the June 2001 issue article “SOF Jumps with South Africa’s PARA Bats,” Michael is featured in a photograph on page 46.
… and Knighted in the Royal Order of Scotland in 1995.
Kearns ran for congress in 2010 on an updated, modern-day, small government “Grassroots Leadership” platform where apparently he believes that we can use the power of the internet to advance to a “direct democracy, self governance” system using real-time computer modeling capabilities for greater transparency, accountability, and direct decision-making via online referendums.
When a guy who spends his career with and owes all he is to the CIA (the most anti-democratic institution on the planet) starts talking about “direct democracy” and rule by the majority, then I have to wonder about what he is really doing. Especially when he is clearly educated enough in the field to know how easily manipulated online polls and votes are. Especially at a time when we find out about the CIA and defense department’s million dollar investment in software that will create multiple online “personas” for use by the intelligence industry.
“Full transparency, accountability, and due diligence in politics is Internet-based self-governance at the Federal level. We are at a stage in modeling and simulation technologies wherein our own learned helplessness in American Politics can begin to transform into the post-Industrial era, and away from the mindless self-aggrandize tyranny of tax and spend we find ourselves in today.” Capt. Kearns
Kearns has also found time to get himself featured in many papers and periodicals over the years, some of which some of you might recognize as CIA fronts from their Operation Mockingbird days.
“Notably, Michael is a calculated risk-taker. He is the first person to have parachuted over all seven continents. Uniquely, on December 6, 1997, Kearns was the sole survivor of the world’s first four-way skydive over the geographic South Pole. His military and parachuting exploits were chronicled in MAXIM Magazine (May 1999), The Washington Post (Style Section, May 1998), Outside Magazine (Dispatches, February 1998), and Business Inc. (May 1998). Kearns also appeared on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition by Bob Edwards (January 5, 1998), and various sports-talk programs in the Washington, DC area. The Washington Post calls Kearns, “…the clean-cut Boy Scout type who does everything by the book,” and Business Inc. notes, [Kearns’] “…professional background reads like the protagonists from best-selling authors Robert Ludlum or Clive Cussler.”” Wikipedia
Yes, his background does read like the protagonist of a Cussler or Ludlem novel. Perhaps there is a reason for that. David Webb comes to mind.
The interview or “The Kearns Ultimatum”
According to a video interview which you can see on the TruthOut site, Kearns “discovered” these old handwritten notes from 20 years ago and became “physically ill” at the implications.
Why would that be?
He was partnered up with Jessen during the time they spent together at the SERE school program. He worked very closely with him for a long time and Kearns has known, just like the rest of us have, for a while, that Jessen was an architect of the enhanced interrogation program. So why would Kearns just now put these two obvious facts together which he has known for quite sometime and become “ill” at the implications?
When asked during the interview why he and the others who took part in the SERE school didn’t come forward before, back when people were being tortured into “confessing” about their roles in 9/11, Kearns said that people like him didn’t do that during times of war because it could be construed as not supporting the president during times of war and that they could face prosecution.
This doesn’t pass the smell test either. First of all, ask any oath-keeper and they will tell you your first duty is to the constitution, not the president, and soldiers are required to disobey illegal orders, by law. This is why some low-level soldiers went to prison in the Abu Ghraib incident.
But many people did in fact come out and blow the whistle on what they believed to be illegal or suspicious activity since 9/11 and before. Case in point, the soldier who turned over the photos from Abu Ghraib (but perhaps that too was a type of psyop itself, who knows these days). He was ostracized, sure, but he wasn’t charged with treason and the photos he disclosed are certainly more damning that the hand-written notes of Dr. Jessen.
So that bit of spin doesn’t hold water.
Kearns continues to harp on the already well established fact that torture doesn’t work. Well, it does work, but it works as an effective tool to exploit prisoners for reasons of state propaganda. So it does work and Kearns knows that.
As an example, our entire “official story” of what happened on 9/11 came directly from secretive torture and then the videos of those sessions were illegally destroyed. Kearns acts as if these water-boarding sessions were “experiments” on the process of enhanced interrogations, but it reality, they were looking to achieve a far different goal; the official cover for an act of state sponsored terrorism in the United States.
In fact, one could easily argue that the experimentation stage of our torture program was long since over.
Many writers have looked into the long troubling history of CIA experimentation with torture.
Naomi Klein goes into great detail on the subject in the first part of her book Shock Doctrine. LSD was born from the CIA’s torture experimenting days, just look up Ewen Cameron and McGill University, MKUltra, or the Kubark Counterintelligence Handbook if you would like a little history lesson. In the 60’s they were playing around with the Algerian Technique, shock treatment, at Fort Bragg. The same place Kearns and Jessen would be working together later on.
Look up Dr. Sidney Gottlieb , Frank Olsen, Project Artichoke , Operation Dormouse (a secret project created to deflect attention away from Project Artichoke “Among other participants, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have been specifically implicated in Operation Dormouse, working with the CIA to suppress information on Artichoke from surfacing”), and Project Bluebird.
Some interesting quotes about these projects:
ARTICHOKE was an offensive program of mind control that gathered together the intelligence divisions of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and FBI. In addition, the scope of the project was outlined in a memo dated January 1952 that stated, “Can we get control of an individual to the point where he will do our bidding against his will and even against fundamental laws of nature, such as self-preservation?”
This was the MKNAOMI – MKULTRA program, previously known as Project Artichoke and earlier, Project Bluebird, and justified based on claimed Soviet efforts to create a “Manchurian Candidate.”
These projects are well-known to most reasonably aware U.S. citizens so it stands to reason that someone with Capt. Kearns’ extensive knowledge of the intelligence and CIA communities would certainly know it. KSM and the others who were tortured into confessing roles in the planning of 9/11 were not “experiments” as Kearns suggests, they were in fact applications of what was already well-known.
One aspect of Capt. Kearns’ history that is also worth mentioning is the SERE program itself. Now here is a program which purports to train soldiers and agents in ways to counteract the effects of torture. But clearly there is a serious problem with that in so much as any soldier undergoing training knows perfectly well that he will survive and that there will be no serious harm inflicted during the torture process. So by its very nature, it’s not preparing anyone to endure real torture in an environment where serious bodily harm will be inflicted and the understanding which will grow in the subject is almost certainly going to be that they know they will die in the end after enduring months or even years of suffering and pain. You can’t “train” someone how to resist that.
So what was the SERE program really doing? Why did they have Jessen there and then ship him off to design OUR torture program? Did Kearns know that he was facilitating torture experiments, like the many conducted before on our own soldiers for the purpose of creating an “enhanced interrogation program” in the future?
The reveal or “The Shaw Agenda”
Why is Capt. Kearns coming out now with these papers that really tell us nothing new and presenting them in such a way as to sugar coat the long, depraved history of the CIA and torture programs? If a candidate were to wish to run for office in 2012, now would be the time to start, wouldn’t it? And what better way than to have him come out like a Julian Assange type “hero” exposing something we already knew, something that “exposes” someone who was already “exposed, in pursuit of “accountability” and “justice” and supposedly promising to bring “transparency” and “direct democracy” to America?
I mean, if you wished to create a perfect Manchurian Candidate back in the 60s and 70s, like the CIA did, this guy would be your ideal end result. His only blemish is his connection with Jessen and the SERE program, which this release white-washes quite nicely. They took a guy who was mildly educated, a reservist who signed up for an intelligence career, and they turned him into Wonder-BoyScout, Super CEO and wartime Hero. And now he is being reinvented once again as Whistle-Blowing Champion of Justice and Accountability.
He’s not too far left, he’s not too far right, he’s pro-business and just libertarian enough to appeal to the Ron Paul revolution and the Kucinich crusade… all at the same time.
He’s ex-military, pro-military, and yet the notion of the US torturing the evil terrorists just makes him “physically ill”. The consummate “good soldier” in every sense of the word.
He’s everything to everyone, but when you look in his eyes, there’s just nothing there. He’s a canvas, a slate, that others with clear agendas have been painting on and writing on since he left high school.
But perhaps a more accurate analogy would be a character out of a Richard Condon novel, maybe someone like Raymond Shaw . Only time will tell. If this little stage trick garners him enough traction and he runs for office, higher office that is, I guess we will know at that point.
All I know now is this revelation is sadly not quite going to live up to its billing and watching Capt. Kearns in that video it seems perfectly clear to me that a lifetime immersed in the covert CIA world of illusion seems to have left the good captain as crazy as a shit-house rat. And that might just be enough to get him “elected”.