US Torture Experiments Continue To Draw Fire!
The latest shocking revelation that the Bush Administration performed medical experiments on its torture victims has caused a new wave of outrage and a demand for criminal prosecution by the New York Times, and human rights and legal organizations.
Based on a newly released physicians report the New York Times is demanding that the “White House and Congress to investigate the potentially illegal human experimentation and whether those who authorized or conducted it should be punished.”
IndictBushNow and a wide variety of organizations are working non-stop to collect evidence on all of the Bush-era crimes, take testimony, organize public events and build global pressure.
Here is the latest news:
Following a six month long investigation a preeminent physician’s organization has published a major report revealing that the Bush Administration carried out medical experiments on its torture victims. This is a gross violation of the Nuremberg Code that barred the use of medical experimentation on detainees, following the exposure of Nazi experiments during WW11.
The Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) used public records showing health professionals worked under the supervision of the during interrogations of "war on terror" detainees after the 2001 attacks.
PHR's new report, "Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the 'Enhanced' Interrogation Program," provides new evidence that CIA used doctors and other health care personnel and engaged in the crime of illegal experimentation on detainees who had been tortured under the direction of the Bush Administration.
The “Experiments in Torture” report is the result of six months of investigation and the review of thousands of pages of government documents. PHR says it has been peer-reviewed by outside experts in the medical, biomedical and research ethics fields, legal experts, health professionals, and experts in the treatment of torture survivors.
The purpose of the medical experiments during the Bush years was apparently to measure the effectiveness of particular torture techniques on the victims. This is an abomination.
"Such acts may be seen as the conduct of research and experimentation by health professionals on prisoners, which could violate accepted standards of medical ethics, as well as domestic and international law," states the Physicians for Human Rights in a report it has now made public.
"Not only are these alleged acts gross violations of human rights law, they are a grave affront to America's core values," the report said.
"The CIA appears to have broken all accepted legal and ethical standards put in place since the Second World War to protect prisoners from being the subjects of experimentation," states Frank Donaghue, chief executive of the organization.
Take action now!
IndictBushNow joins in the growing call by many, including the Physicians for Human Rights, that the Obama Administration order "an immediate criminal investigation of alleged illegal human experimentation."
The PHR also called for a probe of violations by the CIA of protections against human research experiments and for Congress to amend the War Crimes Act "to eliminate changes made to the act in 2006 which weaken the prohibition on biological experimentation on detainees."
"In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime -- illegal experimentation on prisoners," said PHR leaders.
We urge all IndictBushNow members to send another letter to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding a criminal investigation into Bush era crimes based on the new information that not only did they torture those who had been arrested or kidnapped but they violated international law by engaging in medical experimentation to further refine their torture techniques. Click here to send a letter today.
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Published: June 7, 2010
Disturbing new questions have been raised about the role of doctors and other medical professionals in helping the Central Intelligence Agency subject terrorism suspects to harsh treatment, abuse and torture.
Readers shared their thoughts on this article.
The Red Cross previously documented, from interviews with “high-value” prisoners, that medical personnel helped facilitate abuses in the C.I.A.’s “enhanced interrogation program” during the Bush administration. Now Physicians for Human Rights has suggested that the medical professionals may also have violated national and international laws setting limits on what research can be performed on humans.
The physicians’ group, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., analyzed a wide range of previously released government documents and reports, many of them heavily censored. It found that the Bush administration used medical personnel — including doctors, psychologists and physician’s assistants — to help justify acts that had long been classified by law and treaty as illegal or unethical and to redefine them as safe, legal and effective when used on terrorism suspects.
The group’s report focused particularly on a few issues where medical personnel played an important role — determining how far a harsh interrogation could go, providing legal cover against prosecution and designing future interrogation procedures. The actual monitoring data are not publicly available, but the group was able to deduce from the guidelines governing the program what role the health professionals played, assuming they followed the rules.
In the case of waterboarding, a technique in which prisoners are brought to the edge of drowning, health professionals were required to monitor the practice and keep detailed medical records. Their findings led to several changes, including a switch to saline solution as the near-drowning agent instead of water, ostensibly to protect the health of detainees who ingest large volumes of liquid but also, the group says, to allow repeated use of waterboarding on the same subject.
Another government memorandum concluded from medical observations on 25 detainees that combining several techniques — say a face slap with water dousing or a stress kneeling position — caused no more pain than when the techniques were used individually. That was used to justify the application of multiple techniques at the same time.
The group concludes that health professionals who facilitated these practices were in essence conducting research and experimentation on human subjects. The main purposes of such research, the group says, were to determine how to use various techniques, to calibrate the levels of pain and to create a legal basis for defending interrogators from potential prosecution under antitorture laws. The interrogators could claim that they had acted in good faith in accord with medical judgments of safety and had not intended to inflict extreme suffering.
The report from the physicians’ group does not prove its case beyond doubt — how could it when so much is still hidden? — but it rightly calls on the White House and Congress to investigate the potentially illegal human experimentation and whether those who authorized or conducted it should be punished. Those are just two of the many unresolved issues from the Bush administration that President Obama and Congressional leaders have swept under the carpet.
Medical Ethics Lapses Cited in Interrogations
By JAMES RISEN
Published: June 6, 2010
WASHINGTON — Medical professionals who were involved in theCentral Intelligence Agency’s interrogations of terrorism suspects engaged in forms of human research and experimentation in violation of medical ethics and domestic and international law, according to a new report from a human rights organization.
Report by Physicians for Human Rights (phrtorturepapers.org)
· Times Topic: C.I.A. Interrogations
Doctors, psychologists and other professionals assigned to monitor the C.I.A.’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques gathered and collected data on the impact of the interrogations on the detainees in order to refine those techniques and ensure that they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration’s lawyers, the report found. But, by doing so, the medical professionals turned the detainees into research subjects, according to the report, which is scheduled to be published on Monday by Physicians for Human Rights.
The data collected by medical professionals from the interrogations of detainees allowed the C.I.A. to judge the emotional and physical impact of the techniques, helping the agency to “calibrate the level of pain experienced by detainees during interrogation, ostensibly to keep it from crossing the administration’s legal threshold of what it claimed constituted torture,” the report said. That meant that the medical professionals crossed the line from treating the detainees as patients to treating them as research subjects, the report asserted.
The fact that psychologists, doctors and other health professionals were involved in the interrogations conducted by the C.I.A. and the Defense Department has been previously reported. A confidential report about the issue by the International Committee of the Red Cross, based on interviews with several high-value detainees held by the C.I.A., was leaked to the news media last year.
Physicians for Human Rights has based its conclusions on an analysis of a wide range of publicly released government documents and reports about the agency’s interrogation program and has not offered any new information about the role of medical professionals in the interrogations. The group, which is based in Cambridge, Mass., also does not identify by name any of the medical professionals involved in the interrogations.
In a statement, the C.I.A. denied the group’s charges. “The report is just wrong,” said Paul Gimigliano, an agency spokesman. “The C.I.A. did not, as part of its past detention program, conduct human subject research on any detainee or group of detainees. The entire detention effort has been the subject of multiple, comprehensive reviews within our government, including by the Department of Justice.”
The report is the first analysis of the C.I.A.’s interrogation program to argue that one of the unintended consequences of the Bush administration’s efforts to provide legal cover for officials involved in the program was to place medical professionals in legal and ethical jeopardy. There are both international and national limits on human research and experimentation, including those based on the post-World War II Nuremberg Code and the so-called American Common Rule, both of which ban human experimentation without informed consent.
Medical personnel were ostensibly responsible for ensuring that the legal threshold for “severe physical and mental pain” was not crossed by interrogators, but their presence and complicity in intentionally harmful interrogation practices were not only apparently intended to enable the routine practice of torture, but also to serve as a potential legal defense against criminal liability for torture, the report states.
Several academic experts noted, however, that there has been no investigation by the government of the medical professionals involved in the C.I.A. interrogations.
“There are countries that, over the years, have condemned medical complicity in torture in principle, but which haven’t really been willing to investigate medical professionals or hold them accountable,” said Dr. Steven H. Miles of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota and an expert on the role of medical professionals in torture. “That group of countries includes the United States.”
The report found that the C.I.A.’s practice of waterboarding of high-value detainees offered perhaps the most direct evidence that medical professionals were helping to refine interrogation techniques. The report cites agency guidelines for health professionals involved in interrogations requiring that they document each time a detainee was waterboarded, how long each waterboarding session lasted, how much water was applied, exactly how the water was applied and expelled, whether the detainees’ breathing passages were filled, and how each detainee looked between treatments.
That information led the C.I.A. to make detailed changes in how interrogators conducted waterboarding sessions, the report concluded. Eventually, the agency replaced regular water with saline solution to reduce the detainees’ risk of contracting pneumonia or hyponatremia, a condition of low sodium levels in the blood caused by free water intoxication that can lead to brain edema and herniation, coma and death. The human rights group cited a 2005 memo from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, declassified by the Obama administration, saying that the C.I.A. made the switch to saline solution “based on the advice of medical personnel.”
Separately, the Red Cross report made public last year quoted Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as saying that when he was waterboarded his pulse and oxygen levels were monitored and that a medical attendant stopped the procedure several times.
The C.I.A. had adopted the use of waterboarding from a military survival training program, but the agency modified the technique as its medical professionals gleaned more information and experience. In addition to the switch to saline solution, the agency’s medical personnel introduced a special gurney so that the detainee could be moved upright quickly in case of choking. The agency also used a blood oximeter to measure vital signs, and detainees were placed on liquid diets on the advice of medical personnel so they would be less likely to choke on their own vomit, the report said.
“There was no therapeutic purpose or intent to monitor and collect this data,” said Jonathan D. Moreno, a professor of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. “You can’t use people as laboratories.”