A major Department of Defense Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigation on the drugging of detainees held at Guantanamo and other Department of Defense (DoD) facilities was completed almost a year ago and shared with a key Senate committee. But the investigation did not receive any media attention at the time likely due to the fact that the report was classified. News of the completion of the investigation and the report came as a surprise to human rights workers who had been involved in investigating the drugging claims. According to DoD spokesperson, Maj. Tanya Bradsher, the report is classified. While the findings of the investigation are unknown, a spokeswoman for the Senate Armed Services Committee said the OIG's investigation did not substantiate allegations of drugging of prisoners for the "purposes of interrogation." The involuntary use of drugs on prisoners would violate a number of domestic and international laws, as well as basic ethical codes of the medical professions.
In early 1972, [Nguyen] Tai ["the most senior North Vietnamese officer ever captured during the Vietnam War"] was informed he was being taken to another location to be interrogated by the Americans. After being blindfolded, he was transported by car to an unknown location and placed in a completely sealed cell that was painted all in white, lit by bright lights 24 hours a day and cooled by a powerful air-conditioner (Tai hated air conditioning, believing, like many Vietnamese, that cool breezes could be poisonous). Kept in total isolation, Tai lived in this cell, designed to keep him confused and disoriented, for three years without learning where he was.
Tai's interrogation began anew....
Without doubt, the South Vietnamese torture gave Tai the incentive for the limited cooperation he gave to his American interrogators, but it was the skillful questions and psychological ploys of the Americans and not any physical infliction of pain, that produced the only useful (albeit limited) information that Tai ever provided. [Emphasis added.]
Clinical expertise has a limited place in the planning and oversight of lawful interrogation. Psychologists play such a role in criminal investigations and medical monitoring of detainees is called for by international legal instruments. But proximity of health professionals to interrogation settings, even when they act as caregivers, carries risk. It may invite interrogators to be more aggressive, because they imagine that these professionals will set needed limits. The logic of caregiver involvement as a safeguard also risks pulling health professionals in ever more deeply. Once caregivers share information with interrogators, why should they refrain from giving advice about how to best use the data?
Present regulatory guidance authorizes health-care providers to share detainee medical information with interrogators, but does not provide specific guidance on how to do so. As a result execution of these policies at Guantanamo has been inconsistent, resulting in confusion for both health-care providers and interrogation elements. [Emphasis added.]