On Tuesday, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), an organization that examines human rights violations in the medical field, released a report that called for a federal investigation into the health professionals who were involved in the torture methods that were used on terror suspects.
The request was sparked by the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 500-page summary of its 6,7000-page report on the torture techniques used by the CIA on al-Qaeda hostages, following the terror attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
The report from PHR states that the health professionals who aided the CIA in carrying out certain techniques “betrayed the most fundamental duty of the healing professions” and should be investigated for committing war crimes:
“Health professionals, given their ethical and legal obligations to protect the health and welfare of all individuals, have historically represented one essential barrier to the inhumane treatment of detainees and prisoners,” stated the report. “The complicity of health professionals themselves in such abuse indicates that egregious violations of public trust, ethics, and law have taken place.”
The report went on to state that the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report summary “confirms that the United States systematically tortured” the terror suspects detained after 9/11, and shows that the “practices were far more brutal than previously acknowledged.”
The Executive Director of PHR, Donna McKay, said that after more than a decade of covering up the truth, the report finally shows the extent to which health professionals were involved in torturing detainees.
“The report confirms that health professionals used their skills to break the minds and bodies of detainees,” said McKay. “Their actions destroyed trust in clinicians, undermined the integrity of their professions, and damaged the United States’ human rights record, which can only be corrected through accountability.”
PHR also states that not only did health professional play an essential role in carrying out the program, they were also the ones who “designed, supervised, and implemented” the techniques, they were “paid enormous sums for their efforts,” and they “monitored those being tortured and used their expertise to certify detainees’ fitness for torture and worked to enable and enhance the pain inflicted.”
One of the methods used on detainees by health professionals was the practice of forced rectal feeding. RT reported that this practice was used, despite “officials having not found any medical necessity” in the practice, and despite the fact that as a result, “detainees suffered from rectal prolapses and other after-effects.”
The report from PHR states that the Senate’s torture report shows that rectal feeding was used “without medical necessity” and to “control and/or punish the detainees,” and that according to PHR experts, “Insertion of any object into the rectum of an individual without his consent constitutes a form of sexual assault.”
Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor, called for the health professionals involved to be held accountable for their involvement in the torture program.
“Health professionals played a pivotal role in the abuse and brutality exposed in the CIA torture report and they must be held accountable,” said Iacopino. “They were complicit at every step, including designing the torture techniques, monitoring the infliction of severe physical and mental pain, and failing to document clear evidence of harm.”
PHR released a statement calling for an investigation of the professionals who betrayed their ethical duties, and inflicted harm on patients they were supposed to be protecting:
“PHR calls for the investigation and prosecution of all those complicit in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees and the revocation of licenses for any health professionals who participated. PHR also repeats its call for transparency, and for the U.S. government to clarify the extent to which U.S. officials and those acting at the government’s direction violated the U.N. Convention against Torture and the U.S. Constitution.”