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,