Monday, June 07, 2010

"Waterboarding 2.0": TWO Reports Today Further Outlining Medical Professionals' Involvement in Waterboarding

Gee, imagine what might have happened if the physicians and the psychologists had not been concerned about the untoward effects of hyponatremia from waterboarding. Where's the IRB when you need them? (IRB's are Informational Review Boards associated w/ universities pertaining to research with 'Human Subjects'):

From the Minneapolis StarTribune: (Associated Press)

Report from physicians group says doctors helped interrogators refine harsh methods
By KIMBERLY DOZIER , Associated Press Last update: June 6, 2010 - 10:59 PM

"....According to the report, "Medical personnel were required to monitor all waterboarding practices and collect detailed medical information that was used to design, develop and deploy subsequent waterboarding procedures."

For example, the report said, doctors recommended adding salt to the water used for waterboarding, so the patient wouldn't experience hyponatremia, "a condition of low sodium levels in the blood caused by free water intoxication."
The report interpreted that doctor-recommended practice of using saline solution as "Waterboarding 2.0."

New York Times:

".....The fact that psychologists, doctors and other health professionals were involved in the interrogations conducted by the C.I.A. and the Defense Department has been previously reported. A confidential report about the issue by the International Committee of the Red Cross, based on interviews with several high-value detainees held by the C.I.A., was leaked to the news media last year. .....

The report is the first analysis of the C.I.A.’s interrogation program to argue that one of the unintended consequences of the Bush administration’s efforts to provide legal cover for officials involved in the program was to place medical professionals in legal and ethical jeopardy. There are both international and national limits on human research and experimentation, including those based on the post-World War II Nuremberg Code and the so-called American Common Rule, both of which ban human experimentation without informed consent.

Medical personnel were ostensibly responsible for ensuring that the legal threshold for “severe physical and mental pain” was not crossed by interrogators, but their presence and complicity in intentionally harmful interrogation practices 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 report states.

Several academic experts noted, however, that there has been no investigation by the government of the medical professionals involved in the C.I.A. interrogations.

“There are countries that, over the years, have condemned medical complicity in torture in principle, but which haven’t really been willing to investigate medical professionals or hold them accountable,” said Dr. Steven H. Miles of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota and an expert on the role of medical professionals in torture. “That group of countries includes the United States.”

The report found that the C.I.A.’s practice of waterboarding of high-value detainees offered perhaps the most direct evidence that medical professionals were helping to refine interrogation techniques. The report cites agency guidelines for health professionals involved in interrogations requiring that they document each time a detainee was waterboarded, how long each waterboarding session lasted, how much water was applied, exactly how the water was applied and expelled, whether the detainees’ breathing passages were filled, and how each detainee looked between treatments...... "

Physicians for Human Rights:

"...“In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime – illegal experimentation on prisoners,” said Nathaniel A. Raymond, Director of PHR’s Campaign Against Torture and lead report author. “Justice Department lawyers appear to never have assessed the lawfulness of the alleged research on detainees in CIA custody, despite how essential it appears to have been to their legal cover for torture.”