Public Safety

We had the “public safety program” going throughout Central and Latin America for 26 years, in which we taught them to break up subversion by interrogating people. Interrogation, including torture, the way the CIA taught it. Dan Mitrione, the famous exponent of these things, did 7 years in Brazil and 3 in Uruguay, teaching interrogation, teaching torture. He was supposed to be the master of the business, how to apply the right amount of pain, at just the right times, in order to get the response you want from the individual.

They developed a wire. They gave them crank generators, with “U.S. AID” written on the side, so the people even knew where these things came from. They developed a wire that was strong enough to carry the current and fine enough to fit between the teeth, so you could put one wire between the teeth and the other one in or around the genitals and you could crank and submit the individual to the greatest amount of pain, supposedly, that the human body can register.

Now how do you teach torture? Dan Mitrione: “I can teach you about torture, but sooner or later you’ll have to get involved. You’ll have to lay on your hands and try it yourselves.”

…All they [the guinea pigs, beggars from off the streets] could do was lie there and scream. And when they would collapse, they would bring in doctors and shoot them up with vitamin B and rest them up for the next class. And when they would die, they would mutilate the bodies and throw them out on the streets, to terrify the population so they would be afraid of the police and the government.

And this is what the CIA was teaching them to do. And one of the women who was in this program for 2 years – tortured in Brazil for 2 years – she testified internationally when she eventually got out. She said, “The most horrible thing about it was in fact, that the people doing the torture were not raving psychopaths.” She couldn’t break mental contact with them the way you could if they were psychopath. They were very ordinary people…

—Former CIA agent John Stockwell
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