John Bradshaw, Director of PHR’s [Physicians for Human Rights] office in Washington, DC, told IPS [Inter Press Service], “The technique of separation allowed by Appendix M sounds innocuous, but in reality it allows the use of sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation and isolation.”The bulk of the article concentrates on the use of medical professionals in the U.S. torture program. Fisher notes, for instance, that the International Committee of the Red Cross called the participation of doctors and other health professionals, such as psychologists, as part of the interrogation program at Guantanamo a “flagrant violation of medical ethics.”
“Particularly when used in combination, these techniques amount to psychological torture. The Obama Administration must close this loophole in the Army Field Manual by eliminating Appendix M, which leaves the door open to torture,” he said.
Legal experts agree. Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild, told IPS, “President Obama’s announcement that the United States will not engage in torture is commendable. But cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment also violate U.S. law, as specified by three treaties we have ratified. The new administration should not use the Army Field Manual as the gold standard for interrogations since Appendix M sanctions techniques, including isolation and prolonged sleep deprivation, that amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.”
I should note, that Bill Fisher quotes this blog and some statements of mine favorably, for which I am grateful. It gives one hope that thoughtful and careful journalists are increasingly asking questions about the current proposals to make the AFM the "single standard" for U.S. interrogations. What they are finding is that the important medical, legal, and human rights activists and organizations find the AFM's interrogation techniques to amount, in toto, to torture.
Thank you, Bill Fisher, for helping further the cause of purging torture for good in this country, by critically examining the statements of President Obama about the supposedly humane procedures of the Army Field Manual, and the alarmist, crackpot views of ex-Bush administration officials, like John Yoo, who wrote in today's Wall Street Journal that the AFM doesn't go far enough in allowing freedom to use "coercive interrogation techniques,"