Answers to leading questions under torture naturally tell us nothing about the beliefs of the accused; but they are good evidence for the beliefs of the accusers. -C.S. Lewis (1964)
[A] dramatic rise in witchcraft cases after the 1560s [during the French civil wars] provided more proof the Apocalypse was coming. As fast as they were detected, the courts burned them, but the Devil replaced them even faster. Contemporary demonologist Jean Bodin argued that, in crisis conditions such as these, standards of evidence must be lowered. Witchcraft was so serious, and so hard to detect using normal methods of proof, that society could not afford to adhere too much to “legal tidiness and normal procedures.” –Sarah Bakewell (2010)
Days before the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ program, VICE News, above, posted an interview with the program’s architect, psychologist James Mitchell.
It’s a chilling conversation. Mitchell plays the retired Kurtz, kayaking among alligators back from the heart of darkness in the easygoing manner of the unpunishable. Nothing on land or water threatens him now save, it seems, his reputation.
His flaccid self-justifications here of following orders and a terrible enemy have long been refuted by international law from Nuremberg on and by name by his colleagues at the American Psychological Association, who four years ago began calling for stripping Mitchell his license to practice.
There are too Mitchell’s creepy yuck-yucks over the “tool” of waterboarding, as if a rite of frat initiation.