Category Archives: Torture Ban

NYT Editorial Calls for Investigations on Illegal Torture Experiments

Firedoglake

The June 8 New York Times will carry an editorial, “Doctors Who Aid Torture,” that endorses the recommendation of Physicians for Human Rights in their new report, “Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program” (PDF), for investigations by the executive branch and Congress of the charges of illegal human experimental research undertaken in support of Bush and Cheney’s torture program. The editorial is online now.

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….

The report from the physicians’ group [PHR] 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.

Within only a day of the report’s release, there has been an amazing amount of coverage, from the New York Times itself, to Scott Horton at Harper’s, Jason Leopold at Truthout, Marcy Wheeler at Emptywheel, Adam Serwer at The American Prospect/Tapped, and dozens of other commentators and news outlets. I had my own article covering the report’s release yesterday.

Especially interesting was an interview at BoingBoing with the reports lead medical author, Dr. Scott Allen. The story has also penetrated the academic and scientific communities with stories at Nature and Scientific American.

You don’t charge “Nuremberg crimes” and not have people sit up and listen.

In their report, PHR charged that “Health professionals working for and on behalf of the CIA monitored the interrogations of detainees, collected and analyzed the results of [the] interrogations, and sought to derive generalizable inferences to be applied to subsequent interrogations.” In other words, they engaged in research. Except, when you engage in research with human beings, you must get their full informed consent. The history of government research is replete with criminal failures to do that, with tragic results.

In recent history, the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the U.S. government’s Human Radiation Experiments are two of the more egregious examples. Another example are the MK-ULTRA and Artichoke and other mind-control experiments of the 1950s-1970s.

In the case of the CIA “enhanced interrogation” program (EIP), the government used medical professionals (doctors and psychologists) to determine the parameters of the torture techniques, to make them conform to the twisted ideas of John Yoo, David Addington and Jay Bybee about the torture and what constituted “severe pain,” so they could write a near-blank check for torture in the Office of Legal Counsel memos approving the EIP. While Yoo was gaming the system by drawing definitions out of obscure Medicare regulations, the doctors and psychologists at CIA black sites were determining whether or not extending sleep deprivation, the amount of water during waterboarding, and manipulating various combination of torture techniques would cause severe pain — or not. This patently constituted unethical research in the service of constructing an illegal, experimental torture program.   Continue reading…

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PHR report: CIA personnel engaged in human experimentation

I actually had to find familiar and credible sources before I published this.  It seemed too weird and out of the norm of military and covert activity for American citizens.

I did find more credible sources (listed below.)  I am shocked in a way, but still I would put nothing past the very weird group of people who constantly told us that “America does not torture”, all the while torturing, maiming  and experimenting with human beings.

This is like something out of the Nazi playbook.   I’m not sure of the rationale for the Obama administration to back away from prosecuting any CIA agents,former  Bush administration official(s) or anyone in the White House who sanctioned those horrendous practices, but I sure wish they would rethink their position.  The Obama refusal to prosecute only makes it easier for the next right wing administration (or left wing for that matter) to continue the practice.

Salon

Bush-era CIA medical personnel conducted experiments on detainees in CIA custody to provide legal cover for torture as well as to justify and shape future torture techniques, a just-released report from the Physicians for Human Rights alleges.

“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,” said Frank Donaghue, the CEO of PHR, a nonprofit organization of health professionals.

According to PHR’s investigation, the CIA conducted experiments monitoring sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours and experimented with waterboarding by adding saline to water to avoid killing detainees or rendering them comatose.

“‘Waterboarding 2.0′ was the product of the CIA’s developing and field-testing an intentionally harmful practice, using systematic medical monitoring,” the report claims.

Its author, Nathanial A. Raymond, said that although such experimentation appears to have been essential for the CIA’s legal cover for torture, Justice Department lawyers seem never to have assessed the human subject research.

PHR is calling on President Obama to direct the attorney general to investigate the allegations and prosecute those responsible if a crime is found to have been committed. They are also demanding that Congress repeal changes made to the War Crimes Act in 2006 that allow a more permissive definition of illegal experimentation on detainees.

Related Stories:

PHR Report: Bush Administration Engaged in Illegal Human Experimentation on Torture

CIA Experiments on US Soldiers Linked to Torture Program 

CYA for the CIA: The CIA’s Torture Research Program

Unethical Research and the C.I.A. Inspector General Report of 2004: Observations Implicit in Terms of the Common Rule

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