Studying Detainees During Various Stages of Torture
What follows is an extract from this very thought-provoking article that ties in with those other posts below about Mitchell and Jessen – it asks this explosive question by this author of the piece – Gregg Bloche (@greggbloche), a psychiatrist, who now teaches law at Georgetown and is the author of “The Hippocratic Myth.”
Was the CIA enhanced interrogation program an instance of human experimentation?
(I Note: Keep in mind that the word: “enhanced” is a fancy buzzword for torture).
Recently declassified documents raise this explosive question. The documents were obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in connection with a federal lawsuit scheduled for trial next month. The case was brought on behalf of three former detainees against two psychologists who developed the CIA’s program. I reviewed some of the documents in a recent article in The Texas Law Review.
Internal CIA records indicate that the psychologists, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen (Note: The next 4 posts after this one address Mitchell and Jessen and the work they did for the CIA in our name) anticipated objections that critics would later level against the program, such as that coercion might generate unreliable information, and contracted with the agency to design research tools that addressed some of these concerns.
At their depositions for the ACLU lawsuit, each of the psychologists denied having evaluated the program’s effectiveness. But the CIA paid the two psychologists (some $80 million) to develop a research methodology and instructed physicians and other medical staff members at clandestine detention sites to monitor and chart the health conditions of detainees.
In response, the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights has charged that the program was an unlawful experiment on human beings. It calls the program “one of the gravest breaches of medical ethics by United States health professionals since the Nuremberg Code.”
Those were the ethical principles written to protect people from human experimentation after World War II mostly conducted by the Nazis. In its lawsuit, the ACLU is pressing a similar claim.
These claims are a bit of a reach since in “a true experimental study, the CIA would have had to test its interrogation strategy against one or more standard interrogation methods, using experimental and control groups of captives.”
There’s no evidence that the CIA did that.
(I Also Note: In 2010, the CIA first denied it conducted “human subject research on any detainee or group of detainees”).
Story continues at the link above – worth reading.
Thanks for stopping by.