CIA doctors did torture research on detainees, group claims

Ever since the “war on terror” began, there have been well-documented allegations that medical professionals working for the US government participated in interrogations by the Central Intelligence Agency. The lobby group Physicians for Human Rights has been a persistent critic and has issued several reports on the existence of harsh interrogation techniques, whether these constituted torture, and the participation of doctors, nurses and psychologists, based on careful scrutiny of publicly released government documents and reports.

In its latest report it alleges that prisoners were used as guinea pigs to refine “enhanced interrogation techniques”. If true, this would constitute a clear violation of medical ethics which ban the use of prisoners as research subjects without their informed consent. However, there is no new information in this report – just a different lens on the practices used by government agents.

The report says that medical personnel monitored all waterboarding practices and collected detailed medical information that was used to improve subsequent waterboarding procedures. They also helped determine whether it was better to apply techniques simultaneously or sequentially and gathered information on the effects of sleep deprivation on detainees.

The CIA flatly denied the allegations. “The report is just wrong,” said a spokesman. “The CIA did not, as part of its past detention program, conduct human subject research on any detainee or group of detainees.” ~ New York Times, June 6;

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