Another Nuremberg in the Making: Intelligence Agencies Employ Physicians to Torture Detainees

John Galt

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.

An AP exclusive report released today revealed that detainees in the War on Terror were whisked away from Gitmo before the American judicial system could account for them.  The AP article states:

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.

This extraordinary rendition was specifically designed to hide the activities taking place overseas.  It is a clear sign that what was going to take place was not something designed for the courts, or the average American to consider.
If one looks at the catalog of known tortures inflicted by totalitarian regimes — and the American Intelligence agencies today — one will find detailed accounts of sensory deprivation, psychological torture, extreme temperature exposure, sexual humiliation and rapes, starvation, threats of (and actual) torture and killing of children in front of their parents, and medical experimentation.

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. 

A June Associated Press article, posted by The Raw Story, cited a report authored by Nathanial Raymond for Physicians For Human Rights:
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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.
In other words: medical experimentation that violates The Nuremberg Code, specifically created to defend the world against future Nazi regimes.  Lest one think that this was a Bush-era exclusive, AP added that:

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.

By now, the world is aware of some of the psychological torture techniques that occurred at Guantanamo Bay, despite the assertion that it was all the result of  “a few bad apples.”  But a July 7th article by Mother Jones covered the story of Mohammed al-Qahtani who was subjected to such extreme psychological torture at Guantanamo that it was more akin to laboratory animal experimentation.  

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.


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