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Doctors Aided CIA Interrogators, Participated in Human Experimentation

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response by Martin Seligman (former president of Ameican Psychological Association) at end of article, posted at his request.



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Days ago, an ethics group known as Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) produced a report titled, "Aiding Torture," that has been, for the most part, ignored by American news media. The report concludes that "health professionals participated at every stage in the development, implementation, and legal justification" of the CIA's torture program.

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While news in America disregards the PHR report that was compiled by the ethics group after reading the 2004 CIA Inspector General report released just over a week and a half ago, the Guardian in the UK details one particularly appalling portion of the report.

The Guardian reports that "doctors actively monitored the CIA's interrogation techniques with a view to determining their effectiveness, using detainees as human subjects without their consent."

The PHR report ultimately concludes that such a practice approached "unlawful experimentation." This practice was primarily used when detainees were being waterboarded so health professionals could help interrogators' improve the technique's effectiveness.

The Guardian newspaper goes on to provide a brief history of human experimentation and how it is clearly defined as an act that is prohibited by law:

Human experimentation without consent has been prohibited in any setting since 1947, when the Nuremberg Code, which resulted from the prosecution of Nazi doctors, set down 10 sacrosanct principles. The code states that voluntary consent of subjects is essential and that all unnecessary physical and mental suffering should be avoided.

The Geneva conventions also ban medical experiments on prisoners and prisoners of war, which they describe as "grave breaches". Under CIA guidelines, doctors and psychologists were required to be present during the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on detainees.

In April, a leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross found that medical staff employed by the CIA had been present during waterboarding, and had even used what appeared to be a pulse oxymeter, placed on the prisoner's finger to monitor his oxygen saturation during the procedure. The Red Cross condemned such activities as a "gross breach of medical ethics". PHR has based its accusation of possible experimentation on the 2004 report of the CIA's own inspector general into the agency's interrogation methods, which was finally published two weeks ago after pressure from the courts.

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The report states that health professionals were required by CIA to be present "to sanitize" the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and "enable the abuse to escalate, thereby placing health professionals in the untenable position of calibrating harm rather than serving as protectors and healers as required by their ethical oath."

Furthermore, a portion of the report details how health professionals played an "essential role" in developing legal justifications for the program designed by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [lawyers like John Yoo, Jay Bybee, David Addington, and Douglas Feith helped out too].

Newly approved techniques detailed in the CIA IG report are analyzed by PHR. These techniques include: forced shaving, hooding, restricted diet, prolonged diapering, "walling", and confinement boxes.

PHR explains that confinement in a box has been associated with joint and ligamentious injury, and both acute and prolonged musculoskeletal pain. Following blunt trauma there is an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (clotting) and associated and potentially fatal pulmonary emboli (which two detainees have died from in Afghanistan while in U.S. custody).

The report details how this technique was adopted by CIA interrogators:

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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