Selected transcripts from the Casebook meeting, Herndon Virginia, 27-30 June 2008


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Summary: Group discussion with Mr. C, a former clandestine service officer. His experience with active participation of psychologists in his field was limited to conducting so-called “remote assessments” of the agents he recruited. Additionally, Mr. C provided comment on two scenarios described to Jean Maria Arrigo by others.

Cheryl Welsh describes her own experiences as the subject of a mind control program, and cites historical precedents on the level of secrecy involved in such programs, i.e. the Manhattan Project.

David MacMichael gives a historical perspective, covering a government’s interest in research that can be used in the national security field, and which the government can defend as such.

Jean Maria Arrigo seeks to develop an epistemic schema for evaluating allegations of fringe weapons research on human subjects, taking Welsh’s report of human experimentation with neuroweapons as a starting point.

Roberta Culbertson explains how secret government-contract research can appear to be so far ahead of academic scientific research. Government-contract scientists may achieve practical results through hit-or-miss trials rather than application of theory.

Mr. A, a retired senior military intelligence officer with primarily tactical experience, believes that the military was not prepared doctrinally for processing un-uniformed personnel captured in a combat or occupying environment. He discussed an approach where a psychologist could serve the role of observer, ensuring both that detainees were not abused, and the mental health of interrogators was monitored. Another, possibly separate approach, would be to install a separate reporting chain, apart from normal military hierarchical channels, akin to the Inspectors General model, to report abuses and concerns, even having psychologists as a part of the Inspector General’s scope of authority and organization. Mr. A is concerned about the dependence on contractors and the concurrent ill-defined chain of command and responsibility. Mr. A believes that in the first Gulf war, the U.S. treated and processed captured personnel doctrinally, and surmises that the abuses in the current Global War On Terrorism are a result of a lack of doctrine.

Ms. B, a former military intelligence officer, did not agree entirely that the Army had doctrinal problems, but points to a failure of leadership, resulting to a lack of discipline within the force. For the purpose of monitoring interrogations and ensuring compliance with established norms, she suggests the military chaplaincy could play a role.

Sam Provance, a soldier stationed at Abu Ghraib in late 2003/early 2004, described the use of civilian interrogation contractors at the Abu Ghraib detention facility, the lack of qualified military interrogators, and the resultant use of non-qualified personnel in an interrogation role.

A summary of several group discussions. A retired military intelligence officer proposes to use a separate chain of command, similar to the Inspector General model, for psychologists to report abusive interrogations, and stresses the importance of formalizing the process in Army doctrine.

Military psychologists reporting channels and Army doctrineOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2_1.pdfshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4

Anthropologist Roberta Culbertson, an attendee at the June 2008 Casebook plenary session who observed the work of all the groups, discusses the development of the Casebook through the lens of emergent systems theory.

An Anthropologist’s Application of Systems Theory to Development of the CasebookOrigins_files/PMIC%20Culbertson%20%5Bpost%5D.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Culbertson%20%5Bpost%5D.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Culbertson%20%5Bpost%5D.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Culbertson%20%5Bpost%5D.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Culbertson%20%5Bpost%5D.pdfOrigins_files/PMIC%20Review%20II%206-29-08%20b-a2_2.pdfshapeimage_2_link_0shapeimage_2_link_1shapeimage_2_link_2shapeimage_2_link_3shapeimage_2_link_4