THE ROLE OF SPOKANE, FAIRCHILD, AND THE SERE/JPRA PROGRAMS IN U.S. TORTURE AND GENEVA CONVENTION VIOLATIONS
Posted by Arroyoribera on July 25, 2007
After attending and reflecting on tonight’s meeting of the Spokane Human Rights Commission, I decided to post this information here. As it turns out, Spokane is a front in some of the ugliest aspects of the U.S. war on the world.
It is time that Spokanites no longer be allowed to claim ignorance of events occurring in our community which are part and parcel of the brutalizing and torturing of the people of this globe. During the 1960s and early 1970s, Spokane’s Fairchild Air Force Base played a crucial role in the aerial genocide of the Vietnamese people. As a legacy of that period, Fairchild still houses 85 nuclear weapons as part of the U.S. strategic reserve, making Fairchild home to more nuclear weapons than Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. With KC-135 aerial refuelers flying out of Fairchild from the start of the Clinton air war on Iraq until now, Spokane and Fairchild play a central role in another barbaric and illegal US war. And beyond the “clean, surgical killing” carried out with the aid of Spokane-based aircraft, we now know that Spokane has played a central part in years of physical torture and psychological abuse being carried out in U.S. military and CIA-run facilities in Guantanamo (Cuba), Iraq, Afghanistan, Europe, and elsewhere.
About three years ago, I began to raise 3 questions in e-mails to the media, legislators, and activists:
1) If the U.S. trains its world-class pilots in interrogation and torturer resistance training at the U.S. Air Force Survival School (SERE/JPRA) at Fairchild, isn’t it logical that the U.S. also brings world class interrogators and torturers to Spokane to pit against these pilots and train to “better” conduct real torture?
2) Why has the 12th Special Forces Group–which supposedly hasn’t existed for more than a decade–been listed for years in the DEX phone directory listing (click on thumbnail below for page 25 of the 2005 Spokane Qwest Dex phone entry and look at bottom of left column) for the U.S. Army Mann Hall Army Reserve Center in Spokane, Washington? The specific listing is for Detachment B4 and B5 Co B 3rd BN 12th Special Forces Group. What is the non-existent 12th Special Forces Group and its personnel actually doing in Spokane? (Hint: Think SERE, think torture, think human rights abuses).
3) Why is Ciber, Inc. at the same Mann Hall Army Reserve Center in Spokane the Army Reserve Center in Spokane, Washington? Ciber, you may know, is the same folks involved in, among many other things, in the electronic vote fraud scandal.
Among the items you will find in this post are two videos of waterboarding–one an MSNBC reporter describing his experience being waterboarded and another which will make it clear why we are hated around the world.
At the bottom of this very long post, you will find additional Unanswered questions for Spokane reporters, broadcasters, activists & citizens. I ask you to do your own research and share it here and elsewhere. There is a war to stop, and administration to impeach, and a world to reconstruct.
(Update from original version posted 6/27/07–from original & source materials)
(All blue underlined words and phrases are links to websites, documents, maps, etc).
Fairchild AFB is home to a Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) Program. SERE Programs train soldiers, seaman, airmen, CIA operatives, and others–including foreign nationals–in resistance techniques. However, they also provide military and other government torturers, trainers, foreign nationals, contractors (aka US government mercenaries employed by corporations such as Blackwater, CACI International, Titan Corp, and SAIC) and psychologists, among others, the opportunity to develop, refine, practice and polish their torture techniques.
In their must-read June 29, 2007 Spokesman-Review article, reporters Karen Dorn Steele and Bill Morlin reveal that “the SERE program is used by the Army at Fort Bragg, where Green Berets train, and at the U.S. Air Force Survival School near Spokane, where thousands of other trainees are instructed annually.” Using first-hand reporting and research as well as reporting from sources such as the New Yorker and Salon.com, Dorn Steele and Morlin reveal the role of Spokane area psychologists and businesses in the U.S. government’s reverse-engineering of torture resistance training.
These techniques of torture–witnessed at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other U.S. facilities around the world–have been employed by the U.S. government, military, intelligence agencies, contractors and foreign agents with the express purpose of breaking human beings as part of the global U.S. “war on terror”. That so-called “war on terror” has produced worldwide denunciations of U.S. preemptive attacks, massacres of civilians, torture, disappearances, use of “depleted” uranium, and other actions which are illegal under international standards and laws.
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In fact, not only is Fairchild home to a SERE program, it is home to an even more exclusive and secret program, SERE/JPRA (Joint Personnel Recovery Agency). This unclassified Department of Defense (DOD) memo shows that the SERE/JPRA site at the PRA White Bluff Site at 11604 W. NEWKIRK ROAD, SPOKANE, WA 99224 was the host in May 2007 of the DOD SERE Conference and the DOD SERE Psychology Conference.
As the memo shows, foreign government representatives from the U.S. government’s Iraq “coalition” partners participated in the two conferences as did three representatives from each of the FBI, DEA, and CIA. In point of fact, the facility has all the markings of a CIA facility such as those at Warrenton, VA and other locations in the U.S. (compare the similarity between the facility maps by clicking the respective links above).
On September 16, 2002, a prior SERE Psychologist Conference was hosted by the Army Special Operations Command and the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency at Fort Bragg for JTF-170 (the military component responsible for interrogations at Guantanamo) interrogation personnel. The Army’s Behavioral Science Consultation Team from Guantanamo Bay also attended the conference. Joint Personnel Recovery Agency personnel briefed JTF-170 representatives on the exploitation and methods used in resistance (to interrogation) training at SERE schools. The purpose was the reverse engineering of interrogation resistance to design more “effective” torture techniques. (See “Shrinks and the SERE Techniques at Guantanamo“)
Wording in the declassified memo indicates that topics dealt with at the SERE Psychology Conference include such topics as how to conduct psychological and other forms of torture in a way that is psychologically and morally palatable to the torturer as well as how to justify those actions under the law and in a way that can be argued to be “ethical” and “legal”. The memo states, “The first two days will focus on sere/code of conduct issues and reintegration. The remaining three days involve discussion and training on ethic, research, and SERE Orientation training”. (See conference agenda here).
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(quote) Do Special Operations Forces of the Army, Navy Marines and Air Force practice on detainees the interrogation techniques they are subjected to during their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) training at Ft. Bragg, NC, Fairchild, Air Force Base, WA and Naval Air Stations in Brunswick, ME and North Island, San Diego, CA? What are the limits of abusive interrogation techniques taught to CIA and CIA contract interrogators in the various CIA training areas around the Washington, DC and other locations in the US? (end quote)
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Report of the Department of Defense Inspector General, August 25, 2006
DOD Interrogation Techniques — The Office of the DoD Inspector General produced a Review of DoD-Directed Investigations of Detainee Abuse (Report No. 06-INTEL-10) on August 25, 2006.
(excerpt) The report made three findings. One of them was that SERE, a course designed to prepare selected American forces to withstand interrogations that did not abide by the Geneva Conventions, was turned into a program for harsh, coercive interrogation. In this way, a course of training to resist cruel, degrading, and inhumane treatment was transformed into a program to counter this very resistance. This program was carried out in the interrogation of Guantánamo prisoners before it “migrated” to Iraq. Officially, Guantánamo prisoners were not entitled to the protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions; Iraqi prisoners were. The finding in question is entitled “DoD Interrogation Techniques …”
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(excerpt) The OIG additionally found that the SERE methods later became the standard operating procedure for interrogations conducted in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and had migrated from Guantanamo due, in part, to training and support from JPRA, BSCT, and Special Operations psychologists and others. (end excerpt)
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“Improving the Fighting Position”: A Practitioner’s Guide to Operational Law Support to the Interrogation Process (From the July 2005 edition of The Army Lawyer )
(quote) This balance between legitimate manipulation and inhumane treatment in the form of physical or mental abuse orcoercion is articulated as a key principle of interrogation operations in FM 34-52:
The GWS, GPW, GC, and US policy expressly prohibit acts of violence or intimidation, including physical or mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to inhumane treatment as a means of or aid to interrogation.
Experience indicates that the use of prohibited techniques is not necessary to gain the cooperation
of interrogation sources. Use of torture and other illegal methods is a poor technique that yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say what he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. (end quote)
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The Abu Ghraib files by Joan Walsh — A 10-part evidentiary series from inside Abu Ghraib prison accompanied by 279 photographs and 19 videos based on the U.S. Army’s own investigation of the three month period from October 17-December 30, 2003. Nine essays follow the photos and videos.
Iraqi woman detainee in U.S. custody.
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(excerpt) In fact, there are likely people being “tortured” in this manner as we speak at Fairchild Air Force base Washington as a part of their “Land Survival” program (the POW resistance training). The only difference is that those at Fairchild have in the back of their minds the fact that their “torture” is only going to last 2 days. Many different career fields go through that training. Most field intelligence, anyone who flies (pilots and aircrew), SERE naturally, special forces and a few others.
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(Excerpt from Trip Report Summary of Commissioner Elaine Donnelly). During her two-day trip to Fairchild AFB, Washington, August 9-11, 1992, Donnelly talked to instructors about their realistic “rape scenario,” in which male trainees are taught to manage more intense feelings when a female colleague is threatened with sexual assault or worse, so that enemy captors cannot exploit those emotions. Donnelly described parts of the SERE training that she saw at Fairchild Air Force Base during her visit:
Without knowing what to expect, I found myself locked in a cramped black box that was both physically and psychologically uncomfortable. I also participated in and witnessed interrogation exercises designed to suggest but not duplicate the physical and emotional stress of being a POW. As the night wore on, a sense of cultural dissonance began to overcome the camp’s logic of equality in the simulation of brutality.
A woman I watched being interrogated was very capable, but she was totally in the power of a man much stronger than she. What I saw was an unmistakable element of inequality that-in the opinion of many Commission witnesses-cannot be overcome by peacetime training programs or psychological techniques. As the interrogation continued, it was easy to visualize the possibility of sexual abuse as well as physical harm at the hands of a menacing enemy. For reasons of survival, the SERE training for aircrew members makes sense. . . . However, the politically-correct unisex nature of the resistance training is very seductive; it is easy to become “desensitized,” meaning accustomed, to the idea that men and women are interchangeable equals in a world of torture and abuse. The SERE trainers asserted that the entire nation must prepare itself for this very real possibility if women are assigned to combat positions.
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(excerpt) An interview with trainers at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape training center at Fairchild Air Force Base uncovered a logical but disturbing consequence of assigning women to combat: “If a policy change is made, and women are allowed into combat positions, there must be a concerted effort to educate the American public on the increased likelihood that women will be raped, will come home in bodybags, and will be exploited..” (end excerpt)
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Robert Johnson, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
This Doctor of Clinical Preventative Medicine and Family Medicine proudly lists on his resume USAF Survival, Escape, Evasion and Resistance (SERE) Training, Fairchild AFB, WA, Sep-Oct 1990
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Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape Training Instructor Course. The 66th Training Squadron based at Fairchild Air Force Base, Spokane, Washington, conducts the survival, evasion, resistance, and escape (SERE) training instructor course in select areas of Washington and Oregon. The course is a physically demanding six-month program designed to teach future SERE instructors how to teach aircrew members to survive in any environment. The course includes instruction in basic survival, medical, land navigation, evasion, arctic survival, teaching techniques, rough-land evacuation, coastal survival, tropics/river survival, and desert survival.
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(quote) The SERE program also uses waterboarding, continual bombardment by loud noise, and sexual humiliation. Several sources told Mayer that psychologists trained in SERE techniques had advised interrogators at Guantánamo and elsewhere. One of the most disturbing things about the article is its suggestion that what started out as a stupid means of getting information evolved into pure sadism. As a retired colonel who attended a SERE school as part of his Special Forces training said, “If you did too much of that stuff, you could really get to like it. You can manipulate people. And most people like power.” (end quote)
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Senate probe focuses on Spokane men
Karen Dorn Steele and Bill Morlin
Spokesman-Review Staff writers
June 29, 2007
Two Spokane psychologists are the focus of a congressional inquiry into the use of harsh techniques to interrogate terrorist suspects in Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and other secret military and CIA detention centers.
In an article published last week, the online magazine Salon.com identified psychologists James E. Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen as key developers of the interrogation program — which the magazine said was linked to the CIA and likely violated the Geneva Conventions against the torture and mistreatment of prisoners.
The interrogation methods, according to a recently declassified Pentagon report reviewed by The Spokesman-Review, are “reverse engineering” of techniques taught in the military’s SERE program, set up to train U.S. special forces and flight crews in the principles of Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape.
The SERE program is used by the Army at Fort Bragg, where Green Berets train, and at the U.S. Air Force Survival School near Spokane, where thousands of other trainees are instructed annually.
(cont’d at http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?ID=10496 )
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SERE SOLUTIONS, INC — SERE Solutions, Inc., is owned by Spokane-based contractor Michael Lyons. In 2006 Lyons received a $47 million US Air Force grant with the 336th SERE Training Group at Fairchild AFB after 2 years of extensive assistance from the Washington State College of Business Small Business Development Center. Lyons operation employs at least 37 people in various locations.
SERE Solutions, Inc, lists an address of 6603 S. Shelby Ridge Rd., Spokane, WA. Interestingly, that same address was the site of the Democratic Party Sixth Legislative District Precinct No. 6151 meeting in 2004.
SERE SOLUTIONS INC (6603 S SHELBY RIDGE RD; small business): $2,161,904 in 2 contracts in 2006 $2,146,904 with Air Force for Training/Curriculum Development. Signed on 2006-03-20. Completion date: 2006-09-30. $15,000, same as above. Signed on 2006-06-28. Completion date: 2006-09-30.
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For more information, cut and paste the following lists of words into an internet search engine:
USAF Survival Escape Evasion and Resistance Training Fairchild AFB
SERE Fairchild torture
SERE JPRA Spokane
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Torture Teachers — Salon article
Open Letter to President of American Psychological Association
More Waterboarding (video) — not quite as sanitary as this military training video
Free Soul Jah–The CIA, Torture & George Tenet’s Body Language (Video of a CIA director in action)
(See the Cryptome Eyeball Series at http://eyeball-series.org/ )
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Unanswered questions for Spokane reporters, broadcasters, activists & citizens:
Have “high-value detainees” been flown into Fairchild, Felts Field, Spokane International Airport, the helicopter landing pad at Spokane’s SERE/JPRA site at 11604 Newkirk Road or other Spokane locations to be subject to interrogation and torture?
What involvement exists between the Spokane Police Department and the Spokane County Sherriff’s Department with the SERE/JPRA program? How many SPD and SCSD personnel are graduates of SERE/JPRA and other government or private coercive interrogation training programs?
What is the level of collaboration in surveillance of U.S. citizens, Spokane area activists, members of the media, and others by government agencies in the Spokane area–FBI, DEA, ATF, USCIS (formerly INS), Spokane Police Department, Spokane County Sherriff’s and others–as well as involvement of contracted companies and organizations such as SERE Solutions, Inc.
Why has the 12th Special Forces Group–which supposedly hasn’t existed for more than a decade–been listed for years in the DEX phone directory listing (click on thumbnail below for page 25 of the 2005 Spokane Qwest Dex phone entry and look at bottom of left column) for the U.S. Army Mann Hall Army Reserve Center in Spokane, Washington? The specific listing is for Detachment B4 and B5 Co B 3rd BN 12th Special Forces Group. What is the non-existent 12th Special Forces Group and its personnel actually doing in Spokane? (Hint: Think SERE, think torture, think human rights abuses).
Why is Ciber, Inc. at the same Mann Hall Army Reserve Center in Spokane? Ciber, you may know, is the same folks involved in, among many other things, the electronic vote fraud scandals of 2000 and 2004. Why when one calls the Mann Hall Army Reserve Center at 489-6441 does one get a message for Ray at Ciber, Inc.?
How many Spokane Police Officers are former U.S. military, what sort of training do they have, and how much of that training may help explain their attacks on protesters, killings of citizens, and other lawless behavior? (As an example, see the bio of 27 year Spokane Police Department officer Skip Pahvlischak, an instructor for this Team One Network tactics and weapons training). http://www.teamonenetwork.com/TeamOneCatalog2007.pdf