CIA Doctors Experimenting On Detainees: Report

LA News Monitor | June 7, 2010

An anti-torture non-governmental association, the Physicians for Human Rights, has revealed some gruesome facts: Medical personnel who were involved in “enhanced interrogations” of terrorists during the Bush administration are guilty of “complicity in intentionally harmful interrogation practices [that] 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 organization made the revelation in its latest report released this morning. The report said that said that medical personnel, who were a part of CIA’s 2002-2009 interrogations of senior al-Qaeda detainees weaponized their knowledge of the human body and mind. The report added that the physician and mental-health experts collected ”detailed medical information” from detainee interrogations and used to shape subsequent interrogation regimens based on these information.

The NGO said that the medical personnel involved in the torture violated their professional ethics and paid no respect to the legal restrictions, which are imposed across the globe to prevent human experimentation. "Those violations could rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” the group writes in its report. The Physicians for Human Rights calls for an “immediate criminal investigation” into its charges.

Just months after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, two psychologists were hired by the CIA. The psychologists were experienced in a training programme to help U.S. service members survive enemy torture, known as SERE. The duo were hired to help design an interrogation program to extract maximum information from high-value al-Qaeda detainees. Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell worked on Abu Zubaydah, a detainee in CIA custody, and Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, under their guidance in the summer of 2002.

Meanwhile, the CIA has rejected the report. “The report is just wrong. 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,” said Paul Gimigliano, an agency spokesman to The New York Times.

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