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OLC Memos Confirm Integral Role of Health Professionals in US Torture
Date:4/17/2009

Physicians for Human Rights Analysis of CIA Interrogation Tactics Confirms Severe and Long-Lasting Harm of Techniques

Cambridge, MA (Vocus) April 17, 2009 -- The newly released Bush Administration's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos are detailed confirmation of the intimate involvement of health professionals in designing, supervising and implementing the CIA's "enhanced" interrogation program. According to analysis by Physicians for Human Rights, tactics used by psychologists and supervised by medical personnel, including physicians, clearly constituted torture and a grave breach of medical ethics. The memos specifically reference psychologists from the SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape) training program, medical experts, and consultations "with outside psychologists" and "with a number of mental health experts."

"The health professionals involved in the CIA program broke the law and shame the bedrock ethical traditions of medicine and psychology," stated Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer of PHR. "All psychologists and physicians found to be involved in the torture of detainees must lose their license and never be allowed to practice again."

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), in collaboration with Human Rights First, published a 2007 study, Leave No Marks: Enhanced Interrogation Techiques and the Risk of Criminality, conclusively showing the illegality of, and long-term mental and physical harm caused by, these tactics.

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