[Pnews] CIA 'made' doctors torture prisoners taskforce finds

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Nov 4 15:28:10 EST 2013

  CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce
  finds /(and they complied - CM)/

Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and 
unethical practices continue, review concludes


Doctors <http://www.theguardian.com/society/doctors> and psychologists 
working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their 
profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/cia> to become involved in the torture 
and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has 

The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in 
National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health 
professionals working with the military and intelligence services 
"designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment 
and torture of detainees".

Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra 
"first do no harm" did not apply, because they were not treating people 
who were ill.

The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the 
CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in 
the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that 
caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation 
and force-feeding.

The two-year review by the 19-member taskforce, Ethics 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/ethics> Abandoned: Medical 
Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, supported by 
the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) 
and the Open Society Foundations, says that the DoD termed those 
involved in interrogation "safety officers" rather than doctors. Doctors 
and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of 
prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical 
Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and 
psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient 
confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner's physical and 
psychological condition with interrogators and were used as 
interrogators themselves. They also failed to comply with 
recommendations from the army surgeon general on reporting abuse of 

The CIA's office of medical services played a critical role in advising 
the justice department that "enhanced interrogation" methods, such as 
extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as 
forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were 
present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.

Although the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at 
Guantánamo Bay in recent years, and the CIA has said it no longer has 
suspects in detention, the taskforce says that these "changed roles for 
health professionals and anaemic ethical standards" remain.

"The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its 
physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm 
regardless of where they serve," said Dr Gerald Thomson, professor of 
medicine emeritus at Columbia University and member of the taskforce.

He added: "It's clear that in the name of national security the military 
trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of 
the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and 
practice. We have a responsibility to make sure this never happens 
again."The taskforce says that unethical practices by medical personnel, 
required by the military, continue today. The DoD "continues to follow 
policies that undermine standards of professional conduct" for 
interrogation, hunger strikes, and reporting abuse. Protocols have been 
issued requiring doctors and nurses to participate in the force-feeding 
of detainees, including forced extensive bodily restraints for up to two 
hours twice a day.

Doctors are still required to give interrogators access to medical and 
psychological information about detainees which they can use to exert 
pressure on them. Detainees are not permitted to receive treatment for 
the distress caused by their torture.

"Putting on a uniform does not and should not abrogate the fundamental 
principles of medical professionalism," said IMAP president David 
Rothman. "'Do no harm' and 'put patient interest first' must apply to 
all physicians regardless of where they practise."The taskforce wants a 
full investigation into the involvement of the medical profession in 
detention centres. It is also calling for publication of the Senate 
intelligence committee's inquiry into CIA practices and wants rules to 
ensure doctors and psychiatrists working for the military are allowed to 
abide by the ethical obligations of their profession; they should be 
prohibited from taking part in interrogation, sharing information from 
detainees' medical records with interrogators, or participating in 
force-feeding, and they should be required to report abuse of detainees.

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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