The Architect

2014 ,    »  -   13 Comments
Ratings: 6.78/10 from 59 users.

His name is Dr. James Mitchell, and he's a retired Air Force psychologist. When we first see him rowing his way across the alligator-infested Myakka River State Park in Central Florida, he has the outward appearance of a rugged outdoorsman at peace with himself in his natural environment. He exudes an effortless air of intelligence, experience and accomplishment. Little would anyone realize that Mr. Mitchell is a key figure at the center of one of the most prominent hot-button issues facing United States today.

He is rumored to be the architect of the enhanced interrogation (EIT) program for the CIA, and may have even been present during the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11th attacks. In these 13 years following 9/11, Mr. Mitchell has existed largely in shadow, but he emerges to tell his story for the first time in this short documentary from VICE News. His insights expose the tremulous moments when an American tragedy may have compromised the basic principals for which this country stands.

How far should you be willing to go to secure actionable intelligence from those who are motivated solely by the crippling of your country? The CIA response to that question appears unequivocal as detailed in the EIT program guidelines thought to be devised by Mr. Mitchell. The program outlines a series of ten tactics for the interrogation of high value Al Qaeda targets, including wall standing, sleep deprivation, cramped confinement and, most controversially, waterboarding.

Mr. Mitchell offers no admission as to his personal involvement in these matters. "I think it's a policy decision," he proclaims. "I don't have a vested interest in any form of interrogation." Surprisingly, in spite of these assertions, Mr. Mitchell welcomes an open debate on the effectiveness of these enhanced interrogation protocols.

The Architect gives voice not only to Mr. Mitchell's unique perspective, but to the various human rights advocates and watchdog groups who have long been vocal in their opposition of these tactics. Their activism has embedded itself within the global dialogue concerning the morality of the interrogation techniques which many consider to be borderline barbaric. Skillfully guided by VICE reporter Kaj Larsen, The Architect provides an engrossing and open-eyed probe into the culture of government-sanctioned torture; the full ramifications of which might only be knowable through the hindsight of history.

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13 Comments / User Reviews

  1. moltovivo

    Mitchell comes across as a normal sort of guy, one that you can feel warm and fuzzy with. However, it's just an illusion that he has created and mastered. Don't be fooled. Inside, he is a monster. This became quite evident to me after listening to him and watching his body language for just a few minutes.

  2. S/N:N/A

    “the suggestion, that no coercion is used by law enforcement,
    or the FBI, is just silly. So the 1st question should be: why don’t
    we have an interrogation program, on some level? Why are we treating it, like a law enforcement matter.” (@8:03)

    Yes, watch after he says this. He def comes across, as
    someone who knew what they had just said, was very contradictive/nonsensical/outright full of shat.

  3. S/N:N/A

    “There will be some people, that will withhold info.” I’m
    thinking, yea, esp those with a free pass, to do just that. He said that,
    shortly after saying, “I don’t lie”. He should just take his free pass, and
    shut his dirty mouth. After being in his position, he should know, saying that you aren’t lying, is a flag to any interrogator lol.

  4. dmxi

    he says more with gesture than with words...

  5. Guest

    I don't think anyone here is qualified to remote diagnose Jim. Especially considering he has a background in the field of psychology.

    The documentary was extremely interesting. Jim gives great explanations and was sufficient in answering the certain questions he could.

    It really illustrated the blueprints & M.O. the... "layer cake" of bureaucracy that, is made within the structure of certain military protocols.

    Although I do agree with the summery of 11:30. As Jim did "minimize" the fact that waterboarding is torture, by answering the question he did @ 16:30.

    To reiterate, waterboarding is torture.

    It seems as though the motivation of Jims participation in engineering an interrogation program was, personally motivated (12:17 ~approx 6 years before he participated in the architecture of the United States' interrogation program after 9/11).

    I hope that Jim lives in peace, with himself and nature.
    Not everything is his fault, as he is just another brilliant human, trying to protect his "community" from a "religious invasion".

  6. whateverittakes2

    Who are the “bad guys,” referred to by Mr. Mitchell? Dare we hope that Dianne Feinstein and her committee will now spend as much time looking at who exactly was behind the 9/11 attacks on the United States of America? A Canadian, Graeme MacQueen, recently published a book called "The 2001 Anthrax Deception" in which he traces the great likelihood that the perpetrators of the Anthrax hoax were also the perpetrators of 9/11. But that falls short of being the only evidence: The US government story is so riddled with holes and duplicity and evidence withheld that any reasonable person cannot but question the grounds on which the United States went after the Muslim world after the 9/11 hoax. The torture techniques were never employed to get actionable intelligence. They were employed to extort lies, to get innocent people to admit to something they had no knowledge of and no complicity in, simply to keep criminal thugs like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld in business. Let Mr. Mitchell tear up about the real victims of 9/11. He says: “They (the Arabs) see us as their primary opposition.” In the end, that’s just a major piece of reverse psychology, what the Freudians call “projection.” We wanted their oil and strategic lands in the Middle East for our bid to take over the world. The bad guys who’ve taken over the government of the United States wanted to turn the country into a police state. They’ve largely succeeded: They foisted an horrific lie on the American people, and used it to destroy the country by laying waste to millions of innocent people in the Muslim world. If karma works, we had best get ready.

  7. sejn

    As it was with the Nazis and Japanese in WWII, it was torture and constitutes war crimes to the worst degree. There must be a full accounting and prosecution of those in command and those who carried it out. There is no legitimate excuse whatsoever for these crimes.

  8. Black Scholar

    PSYCHOPATH, they are the ABNORMALS; They are the OPPRESSORS; They are the Monsters and Demons that control the Media - that keep you living in fear

  9. Hodd

    This is a great look at the motivations when good people do bad things. I can completely empathize with this guy, but I can't help but become even more polarized against the greed and corruption that has exploited the Middle East for decades that keeps brutal regimes in place and the people in a dark age state of ignorance, and under the thumb of primitive forms of religious beliefs the developed world has long since escaped. And what a mess we have today!! Insane is the only way to describe it.

  10. Kansas Devil

    It would seem the truth is not always what is presented. Since the torture report has already been released, Dr Mitchell should be released from his silence and add to the clarifications of the torture program.
    I suspect his consultations were probably interpreted beyond their intention by people with a darker psychosis even if the information he gave them was of questionable morality.
    His coming clean certainly couldn't add much more embarrassment than already exists.

  11. inspectorclouseu

    A disgusting, well-spoken scumbag of a human being who has sucked from the government breast his entire life.

    God willing, one of those 'gators will have him for a meal...sans the chianti.

  12. windship

    "..if you kill them, you can't question them." That simple truth certainly applies to Osama bin Laden, the greatest intelligence asset the CIA ever had. Way to go Seals! Oops, they're dead too! WTF?

  13. Sarah

    Most americans are quite niave. You want us all to hug trees and hug each other and never hurt a bad guy, but yet you have no idea what it takes to protect this country. Americans and their safe homes thinking everybody in the world wants to hug trees just like them and doesn't do any sort of torture. *facepalm* It takes a demon to fight a demon. Ignorance is bliss if you have the IQ of a carrot and a big 'ol squishy heart. I can't believe that I just read all this dribble from people who have no idea what goes on outside of their safe little homes. Proof that Americans ARE really that dumb.

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