Report slams U.S. doctors involved in interrogations

WASHINGTON — A report by a medical task force says Defense Department and CIA health professionals violated professional ethics standards by helping to develop interrogation and torture techniques and participating in force-feeding of terror suspects over the last decade.

While reports of torture following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 are not new, the report by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession said the U.S. should do a full investigation into how much military and intelligence physicians and psychologists participated in the interrogations, saying the record “remains fragmentary.”

The report, compiled by a 20-member task force says that government agencies improperly used legal restrictions rather than ethical standards to determine the actions of health professionals. And it said heath workers must be held to higher ethical standards than interrogators, who can inflict stress to legal limits.

“A health professional has an obligation not to participate in acts that deliberately impose pain or suffering on a person,” said the report, which was also funded by the Open Society Foundations and is titled, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror. It added that replacing ethical standards with legal ones “eviscerates the ethical standards.”

Billionaire and longtime liberal political donor George Soros funds Open Society Foundations.

The report said that medical professionals were used to advise interrogators on how to exploit detainee vulnerabilities, even as they were required to be present in order to protect detainees from severe harm. And the report said that even today reporting requirements for health professionals who witness abuse are unclear.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the report “contains serious inaccuracies and erroneous conclusions,” adding that the CIA has no detainees in custody and that the interrogation program was ended by President Barack Obama in 2009. He said the CIA’s medical staff upholds “the highest standards of their profession in the work they perform,”

The ongoing debate over force-feeding hunger strikers, particularly at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was also targeted in the report. The task force said that force-feeding and the use of restraints should be prohibited and that health professionals should be trained in how to ethically handle hunger strikes.

Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale, a Pentagon spokesman, said the allegations in the report involving military doctors have been subject to a number of investigations over the years and have never been substantiated. He also said the force-feeding of detainees is legal and “medically sound,” and is largely the same as procedures used in U.S. prisons and nursing homes.

Currently there are 14 detainees at Guantanamo who are refusing to eat and on the list for force-feeding, although some may drink supplements and don’t always have to go through the process. The men are protesting their indefinite detention.

U.S. courts have so far rejected challenges to the force-feeding at Guantanamo, with officials arguing that without the feeding the detainees would die.

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Former Everett councilman also sued his employer, the county

Ron Gipson says he suffered racial discrimination related to an investigation into sexual harassment.

Most Read