Monday, April 6, 2009

Full ICRC Report on CIA Prisoner Abuse Now Published Online

The New York Review of Books has now posted a full version of the "strictly confidential" February 2007 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross on CIA torture of "high-value detainees." The report was leaked in part by journalist Mark Danner, who wrote a review of the report in April 9 edition of the NYRB.

I subsequently reviewed Danner's article here at Invictus.
Danner makes the connections which I and others have made between these techniques and the study of torture and "brainwashing" undertaken by the CIA and the military over 50 years ago, which culminated in the codification of such procedures in the CIA counterintelligence interrogation KUBARK manual of the early 1960s.

The NY Review article also confirms the ABC news report of approximately a year ago that reported how each variation and application of the torture techniques was vetted by the White House.
The full ICRC report has a remarkable section on the participation of medical providers at the CIA interrogations. Joby Warrick and Julie Tate have an article posted at the Washington Post right now. According to the Post, the ICRC found the "participation [of medical officers] in some of the more harsh episodes to be a severe breach of medical ethics."
Medical officers who oversaw interrogations of terrorism suspects in CIA secret prisons committed gross violations of medical ethics and in some cases essentially participated in torture, the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded in a confidential report that labeled the CIA program "inhuman."

Health personnel offered supervision and even assistance as suspected al-Qaeda operatives were beaten, deprived of food, exposed to temperature extremes and subjected to waterboarding, the relief agency said in the 2007 report, a copy of which was posted on a magazine Web site yesterday. The report quoted one medical official as telling a detainee: "I look after your body only because we need you for information."
The news comes at the same time as highly regarded medical ethicist Steven Miles has released his second edition of his book documenting medical complicity in Bush's torture program, Oath Betrayed: America's Torture Doctors, which I will be reviewing here in the next week or so. This new edition "shows how interrogation psychologists may have moved from information-gathering to coercive experiments, warning all of us about a new direction in U.S. policy and military medicine--a direction that not so long ago was unthinkable."

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