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Medical Workers Assist in CIA Interrogations, Found to be Torture by ICRC

In Civil Liberties, Guantanamo Bay, Rendition on April 7, 2009 at 9:40 am

The February 2007 report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that CIA interrogation techniques at the “black sites” were tantamount to torture.  A New York Times article highlights medical workers’ role in assisting the CIA in their interrogation techniques:

Medical personnel were deeply involved in the abusive interrogation of terrorist suspects held overseas by the Central Intelligence Agency, including torture, and their participation was a “gross breach of medical ethics,” a long-secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded. Red Cross investigators concluded that medical professionals working for the C.I.A. monitored prisoners undergoing waterboarding, apparently to make sure they did not drown. Medical workers were also present when guards confined prisoners in small boxes, shackled their arms to the ceiling, kept them in frigid cells and slammed them repeatedly into walls, the report said.

Facilitating such practices, which the Red Cross described as torture, was a violation of medical ethics even if the medical workers’ intentions had been to prevent death or permanent injury, the report said. But it found that the medical professionals’ role was primarily to support the interrogators, not to protect the prisoners, and that the professionals had “condoned and participated in ill treatment.”

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