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From Boing Boing:

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today released evidence it says indicates that the Bush administration conducted “illegal and unethical human experimentation and research” on detainees’ response to torture while in CIA custody after 9/11. The group says such illegal activity would violate the Nuremburg Code, and could open the door to prosecutions. Their report is based on publicly available documents, and explores the participation of medical professionals in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program.” Download the full report at”

Boing Boing goes on to interview the Dr. Scott Allen, co-director of the Center For Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University, and Medical Advisor to PHR.

Allen contends that the ongoing monitoring of torture techniques (waterboarding, stress positions) crossed over into note taking and experimentation on human subjects. Protocols would then demand the involvement of ethics board, consent forms, etc – the safeguards of legitimate research – but obviously, the US military and CIA never saw torture as “experimentation” in its most formal definition.

Allen: “I think it’s certainly possible that while they weren’t eagerly looking forward to setting up research they might have been backed into this by saying, let’s take notes. That citation we note of Appendix F in the CIA 2004 Inspector General’s report, the one that describes the directives to doctors, says, ‘Take these notes in a very meticulous way about how detainees respond to waterboarding so we can better inform our procedures in future.’ That’s describing the framework of a research protocol.”

The note-taking on interrogation techniques probably doesn’t surprise many, but the results of new legal avenues opened up by defining torture tactics as “experiment” and “research” may?


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