Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 7, 2010

EXPERIMENTS ON THE TORTURED.... The list of gut-wrenching truths was already long. We know the Bush administration tortured people. We know the White House approved of the torture, and that White House lawyers rationalized the torture. We know the torture was illegal, and that the same acts have been prosecuted by U.S. officials in the past.

The fact that experiments were incorporated into the torture seems like a new one.

Medical professionals who were involved in the Central Intelligence Agency's interrogations of terrorism suspects engaged in forms of human research and experimentation in violation of medical ethics and domestic and international law, according to a new report from a human rights organization.

Doctors, psychologists and other professionals assigned to monitor the C.I.A.'s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other "enhanced" interrogation techniques gathered and collected data on the impact of the interrogations on the detainees in order to refine those techniques and ensure that they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration's lawyers, the report found. But, by doing so, the medical professionals turned the detainees into research subjects, according to the report, which is scheduled to be published on Monday by Physicians for Human Rights.

The data collected by medical professionals from the interrogations of detainees allowed the C.I.A. to judge the emotional and physical impact of the techniques, helping the agency to "calibrate the level of pain experienced by detainees during interrogation, ostensibly to keep it from crossing the administration's legal threshold of what it claimed constituted torture," the report said. That meant that the medical professionals crossed the line from treating the detainees as patients to treating them as research subjects, the report asserted.

The CIA flatly denied that any of their "detention programs" included "human subject research," but the report from Physicians for Human Rights seems to clearly document exactly that.

It's worth emphasizing an observation that Adam Serwer noted: "According to PHR, these practices violate domestic and international prohibitions against involuntary human experimentation, most ominously the Nuremberg Code, which was put in place after the Holocaust."

Of course, the real scandal is that Obama is like Spock and his White House asked a Senate candidate who applied for an administration job if he was still interested.

You see, torture and using detainees in medical research are defensible. "Chicago-style politics" is the real outrage.

Steve Benen 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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These people are against possible life-saving experiments like stem cell research but are okay with experimenting on tortured prisoners?

That hilltop fading into the distance, that would be the moral high ground.

Posted by: Dr. U on June 7, 2010 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry; the DoJ will get to the bottom of this. They will find out who fed secret information to the Physicians for Human Rights and make sure that the whistleblower, um, strike that, the guilty party is prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Look forward, not backward.

Posted by: Joe Buck on June 7, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I think Mr. Bush will say this is just so much 'nuance'.
I think Mr.Obama will say this is so in the past and let's look to the future.

Which is to say, the options are now open for the next monster...

Posted by: neill on June 7, 2010 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

I read about this and former Pres Bush admitting he did it and would do it again and I was pissed for 3 days straight. As a servicemen this is so infuriating. This is not something that the rest of the world will forget. the next time we go into some war you better believe that other nations will bring this up. I cant explain how upset this makes me just thinking that the country i swore to defend im being made to defend this crap

Posted by: Allamr18 on June 7, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

The legacy of Dr. Mengele is alive and well in the bowels of the US Military.

Posted by: cwolf on June 7, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

The latest outrage by Obama is him giving the press conference 5/27 (?) about the BP spill, with *no flags behind or beside him*. This is supposedly the first ever WH PC with no flags in background (is it?) And the complainers hate the backdrop of gold curtains, it looks vaguely Arabian-Nightsy. (But I do wish BHO was more on the ball about these things.) But Mengele-style experiments on prisoners, many of whom turned out to be innocent or devoid of useful information anyway: sure, no big deal.

Posted by: neil b on June 7, 2010 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to wish Obama's administration had the competency of the GWB's.

-And the hutzpah. . .

Posted by: DAY on June 7, 2010 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

Have these things stopped?

Posted by: flubber on June 7, 2010 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bush let loose the dogs of war -- cracked the whip and sent them packing in his new and shiny dictum of "preventive war" -- and there is no end in sight to the damage done, the horror spewed and seeded.

It's interesting that those accusing others, so often and so loudly, of being "Nazis" support this. Like men who disparage gays, for example, and are later found to be engaged in gay activity with rent-boys or users of the Minneapolis restroom or male masseuses. Isn't the term transference in psychology?

Posted by: Sf on June 7, 2010 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Congress is responsible for financial failure, 2+ failing wars, environment failure, Corporation dominance in decision making. With all that has occurred Congress fiddles even more while our country dies from lack of oversight , regulation and transparency.

Posted by: mljohnston on June 7, 2010 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

steve, please post more of the funny cartoons with the guy taking a crap.

Those were great and they said infinitely more than most of your threads. More doodie please.

Posted by: alex on June 7, 2010 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

This is not new. We knew this previously, though maybe not in as much detail. I was wondering why it wasn't a bigger deal.

Posted by: Andy Olsen on June 7, 2010 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Now we know why Republicans in the Bush administration ordered all those CIA torture videotapes destroyed; they could have been used in any criminal trial of Bush administration officials for war crimes. So, get rid of the evidence. Bury it. Burn it. Make it go away. Secretly "rendition" the CIA torture videotapes to some undisclosed shredding or burning location, and then bury the ashes in a similar undisclosed location.

Then, Republicans continue denying for years after the CIA torture videotapes were "disappeared" that Republicans in the Bush administration ordered the torture of detainees, the medical experimentation on detainees being tortured, anti-American actions that sometimes led to the killing of detainees in Bush administration custody.

And President Bush lets the tortured cat out of the bag the other day, chortling that he ordered the torture and he'd do it again. Psychopath. Sociopath. He and Dick Cheney make a great Republican couple. Now we know who the true founders of the Tea Party Republicans really are.

Posted by: The Oracle on June 7, 2010 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Sf, it's "projection." Transference is when you think your therapist is your mom.

Posted by: rabbit on June 7, 2010 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK


Posted by: ed on June 7, 2010 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

The last time I posted on this subject my computer simply crashed totally and forever on the spot. As if on purpose as I criticized the defenders of torture for their glib talk

Posted by: Mayonnaise on June 7, 2010 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

You're a doctor brought in to insure that prisoners do not suffer harm from torture.

Do you:
1) Refuse to participate and let a different doctor do it who may be more compliant than you. (Maybe risking insubordination charges?)

2) Participate under protest and do your best toi minimize harm?

3) Participate willingly.

If you did number 1, you're not part of this story.
If you did number 3, you're worthy of all the contempt you are likely to receive.

If you did number 2, HOW would you reduce the harm done without collecting data?

It's ugly business but I'm not ready to automatically say the doctors involved were ugly.
Maybe they were. It could be a VERY tough dance to perform to escape all condemnation. I only suggest some restraint is called for to get more facts, but get them, we should. I'm all for bringing this travesty back into the spotlight and [preferably to a courtroom. American war criminals should be prosecuted. We should not WANT to escape the rule of law either by might or stealth.

Posted by: toowearyforoutrage on June 10, 2010 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

It is unfortunate that experiments on detainees are not the only nasty involuntary experiments going on. There are ones on civilians here. Ask me how I know : (

The problem a victim encounters is that the internet is full of false information about who is behind this and what this is. There's no proof that it's the CIA or that "weapons" are being used. I suggest that there are "medical tools" being used to harm and that the experiment involves a "suggestibility" component.

The fact that this other experiment is being covered up to the degree that it is, the fact I have communications interferences with those who could help but somehow am allowed to post on the internet, and the fact that anything I say about it is immediately twisted into a delusional spin by the fakes indicates that internet research is a big part of this and that the people behind it not only know the difference between right and wrong but are the most sniveling cowards on the face of the planet. These are crimes against humanity and should be punished accordingly.

Posted by: Anonymous on March 6, 2011 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Good day everyone. In accordance with the Catalog of Human Population (CHP) any human is really a bio-robot and has a program as well as 3 manipulation modes. This allows to have full power over a human being without dependence on his or her will, for the reason that translation of control modes does not become registered by intellect as well as consciousness of the individual.

Posted by: cyborg on April 3, 2011 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Good day friends. Scientists learned the fact that great Leonardo da Vinci really was accurate in his assumptions - humans really are biorobots. Refer to - Catalog of Human Population (CHP)

Posted by: robot on April 7, 2011 at 3:29 AM | PERMALINK
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