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Issue #1626      February 12, 2014

Doctors collaborated in tortures in CIA’s military jails

Independent research published recently contains revealing facts about the involvement of doctors and other health professionals in tortures in military jails of the USA.

According to the authors of the research titled “The abandoned ethics: medical professionalism and abuses against detainees in the war against terrorism”, in the jails of the Pentagon and the CIA, where abuses were committed, doctors and other health professionals have become accomplices to abuses scorning their ethical obligations.

“The Defence Department and CIA demanded, in an inappropriate manner, of their health professionals to cooperate in operations of extracting security information in a way that caused serious pain to the detainees”, it is pointed out in the report.

“In the name of national security, the military people distorted the oath [of Hypocrates] and the doctors were transformed into agents of the intelligence services”, pointed out Dr Jerald Thompson, professor of medicine at Columbia University.

Another of the authors of the report, Leonard Roubinstein, professor of Public Health Law at John Hopkins University, referred to force-feeding the hunger strikers at Guantánamo, the hard interrogations and the drowning of suspects in the secret CIA jails.

The doctors or the nurses “legitimise these practises by their presence” and by saying that they are medically “acceptable”, stated Professor Rubinstein to the French Press Agency, highlighting that these abuses with medical cover “do not belong to the past in this country.”

Among these practices the research, conducted by 20 lawyers, medical and military experts, mentions the “fabrication” of the participation in and the conduct of tortures and “brutal, inhuman and humiliating treatment” of people held in American jails in Afghanistan, Guantánamo or the secret CIA jails.

The authors of this research of two years duration demand that an inquiry be conducted by the Information Committee of the US Senate.

These conclusions were defined as “false” by the CIA and “illogical” by the Pentagon. Answering a question from the French Press Agency, the CIA supported the view that this report “contains serious inaccuracies and false conclusions”.

“It is important to point out that CIA does no longer hold captives and that President Obama put an end to the program of detention and interrogation by decree in 2009,” stated the CIA communications manager Dean Boyed. The same was the response by the Pentagon, whose representative Tod Bricil “clarified” that “not one of the critics has had real access to detainees, to their medical reports or to the processes” of the Guantánamo jail.

The authors of the research, however, are demanding that an inquiry be held by the Information Committee of the US Senate.

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