Monday, June 28, 2010

United States / Torture

Did CIA Doctors Experiment on Terror Suspects?
By Tara A. Lewis
Newsweek, June 24, 2010
"The recent allegation that CIA doctors 'conducted human research and experimentation on prisoners in US custody' adds a new wrinkle to longstanding questions about the role of health professionals during interrogations of terror suspects following 9/11. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which issued its report earlier this month, is the first to give evidence of alleged 'illegal experimentation' by CIA medical personnel. 'This current report provides evidence that in addition to medical complicity in torture, health professionals participated in research and experimentation on detainees in U.S. custody,' the report says. After releasing its findings, PHR, along with other activist groups, called for a federal investigation by the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) -- part of the Health and Human Services department -- into the CIA's Office of Medical Services. PHR says that the Office of Medical Services personnel -- through 'unethical' human-subject research and experimentation, and complicity in torture -- have violated Article III of the Geneva Conventions, the UN Convention Against Torture, the Nuremberg Code, and the US War Crimes act.
Violating the War Crimes Act is a criminal offense punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or death (if a prisoner dies as a result of abuse). PHR also alleges that 2006 amendments to the War Crimes Act 'weaken the prohibition' of human experimentation; the organization is calling for the original wording to be restored. ... PHR's report suggests that medical personnel working for the CIA monitored interrogations of prisoners in U.S. custody, 'collected and analyzed the results of those interrogations, and sought to derive generalizable inferences to be applied to subsequent interrogations ... Such acts may be seen as the conduct of research and experimentation by health professionals on prisoners, which could violate accepted standards of medical ethics, as well as domestic and international law ... These practices could, in some cases, constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.' [...]"

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