A series of recent revelations have scratched the surface of just how deranged the actions of America’s intelligence agencies have become. Using legalese and secret directives, U.S. intelligence agencies have attempted to argue that certain human beings are . . . not human.
Americans seem largely unaware that their country, founded upon principles of due process and individual rights, now appears to have been overthrown by this Gestapo-like faction of government that uses trained physicians to carry out torture in the supposed defense of its nation. Although what has been uncovered does not yet approach the scale of Nazi Germany or the Soviet Gulags, the methods are similar. State-sanctioned torture is a hallmark of tyranny, and inevitably leads to the collapse of the country that legitimizes it.
The transfer allowed the U.S. to interrogate the detainees in CIA “black sites” for two more years without allowing them to speak with attorneys or human rights observers or challenge their detention in U.S. courts. Had they remained at the Guantanamo Bay prison for just three more months, they would have been afforded those rights.
In the compendium of human cruelty, in fact, the most infamous examples have occurred when physicians have turned the tools of the healing trade into instruments of pain.
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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.
It also said information was gathered on the pain inflicted when various techniques were used in combination. Raymond said the purpose was to see if the pain caused violated Bush administration definitions of torture, rather than as a safeguard of the detainees’ health.
Medical personnel, the report said, also monitored sleep deprivation, with sleepless stints from 48 hours to 180 hours — again to make sure it did not cause prolonged physical and mental suffering, as per those Bush administration definitions, rather than to watch out for harm to the detainee.
The report also raised questions about the Obama administration’s new high-value detainee investigation group, known as the HIG. Part of its role is to research new methods of interrogation. The physicians group demanded clarification, asking whether this meant learning by doing.
The people responsible for this were not low-level “bad apples,” but were behavioral scientists working in concert with very high-level military experts in intelligence field activities. In fact, at Bagram Air Field what took place was structured and detailed enough to produce these notes from Marc Ambinder who investigated the abuses for The Atlantic:
From what information I’ve been able to gather, the interrogation environment is much like a social science laboratory, with psychologists and experts in human behavior looking for clues to see who might know more than they do, alternating with interrogators trained to ferret out actionable intelligence information.
But there have been numerous, independent reports of abuses, and these claims have reached the White House. I do not know what the White House has done with these claims because no one there would tell me, not even off the record.
This is only what has been revealed under the light of allowed scrutiny. What about the rest of the dark corners of clandestine intelligence operations spanning the globe, beyond the reach of such a high-profile event? Do Americans have the strength to face the enormity of what has been done in their name? These doctors, and the administrations that oversee their activities, need to lose much more than their “credentials.” The world is watching. History will record our level of outrage.