Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the ‘War on Terror’

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From the summary at Full Text Reports (November 6, 2013)

Source: Institute on Medicine as a Profession and Open Society Institute (via Harvard Law School)

the task Force has determined that actions taken by the U.s. government immediately following 9/11 included three key elements affecting the role of health professionals in detention centers:

1. The declaration that as part of a “war on terror,” individuals captured and detained in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere were “unlawful combatants” who did not qualify as prisoners of war under the geneva conventions. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice approved of interrogation methods recognized domestically and internationally as constituting torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

2. The DoD and CIA’s development of internal mechanisms to direct the participation of military and intelligence-agency physicians and psychologists in abusive interrogation and breaking of hunger strikes. Although the involvement of health professionals in human rights violations against detainees progressed differently in the military and the CIA, both facilitated that involvement in similar ways, including undermining health professionals’ allegiances to established principles of professional ethics and conduct through reinterpretation of those principles.
[my emphasis – Janice]

3. The secrecy surrounding detention policies that prevailed until 2004– 2005, when leaked documents began to reveal those policies. secrecy allowed the unlawful and unethical interrogation and mistreatment of detainees to proceed unfettered by established ethical principles and standards of conduct as well as societal, professional, and nongovernmental commentary and legal review.

These key elements, as well as the task Force’s recommendations for remediating the participation of health professionals in detainee torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, are summarized below and addressed in detail in the body of this report.

November 7, 2013 - Posted by | health care, Psychiatry | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on publichealthwatch.

    Comment by publichealthwatch | November 7, 2013 | Reply

    • Thank you. An acquaintance has tirelessly worked for years on the involvement of psychiatrists in Guantanamo who have given advice on interrogations/torturing. She really opened my eyes. One of the psychiatrists was the department head of a local university! [What kind of message was this sending to the people he was advising, the nature of the profession, etc?? ]
      Dr. Trudy Bond did participate in a related lawsuit, but the Louisiana Board of Psychology refused to investigate Dr. Larry James.
      http://valtinsblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/breaking-louisiana-court-of-appeal.html

      Comment by Janice Flahiff | November 8, 2013 | Reply


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