Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Physician Heal Thyself

-around 60% of torture victims report seeing a health professional involved in monitoring their interrogation, setting up how harsh the interrogation can be, and so forth. -

You can read all of this, listen to this, or watch this at Democracy Now!

-After 9/11, the Pentagon began using so-called behavioral science consultants, or "biscuit" teams to help interrogators obtain information from prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. These medical teams reportedly advised the military on how to "break" detainees to make them more cooperative.
Dr. Steven Miles, author of "Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror." He is a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and a faculty member of its Center for Bioethics. He is also a practicing physician.

"the medical system is entirely integrated into the abuse, that there was a structure, there was an actual policy mechanism that can be seen for the delayed release of torture-related homicides, that there was an entire structure for culling patients medical records for information on their vulnerabilities, incorporating that into harsh, incursive interrogation plans, monitoring those plans, designing those plans with psychological insights to exploit the particular characteristics of Islamic men, and then monitoring the disintegration of these men, and feeding that back into the torture plans.

looks very much like, oh, for example, the way physicians were complicit in torturing Argentina or Paraguay or Chile. Basically they hid torture. They delayed the release or concealed death certificates pertaining to deaths by torture. They helped design and monitor harsh interrogations, and they neglected basic medical needs as they failed to record injuries from torture and failed to report that torture up the chain of command or to places that could stop it.he was not a prisoner. He was actually a U.S. employee, and somebody else said that he was getting ready to attack our unit. And, in fact, around 85% of the prisoners in Iraq and 60% in Guantanamo are innocent of any insurgency or al-Qaeda activity by the Military Intelligence's own estimate. In this case, we picked up one of our own employees. So Schlesinger said -- well, the guy blurted out a bunch of names after they fired a gun next to his head, and Schlesinger said, “This is a great example of a ticking time bomb case.” But the problem was --

the guy gave out names of people who were innocent, just because he was scared. We alienated him as an informant, and none of these names panned out. But here's the follow-up to the story: what they did then was they let this lieutenant colonel off very lightly and they allowed him discharge with a pension, okay? And about a hundred congressmen gave him dinners across the United States.

this government’s definition of what’s a legal interrogation is infinitely elastic and so that this is not a profound barrier to psychologists, and it doesn't surprise me that the military will shift over to working with psychologists. In fact, they screen the docs before they go down to Guantanamo to make sure they have no moral objections to force-feeding and then they take the docs who don't have an objection to force-feeding, and those are the docs who get to go to Guantanamo."-

At this moment psychiatrists and their professional body have taken a stand and are generally not involved in the torture regime. However American psychologists have failed to show much backbone, their association passed a bullshit resolution which sounded good but actually allowed them to cooperate with the Bush crime family. Learn more at psychoanalyst Stephen Soldz's blog