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

d legal rationalizations for torture techniques should provide no cover for health professionals who helped design and implement them," stated John Bradshaw, Washington Director of PHR. "The White House and Congress must work together to ensure public accountability for these crimes and violations of medical ethics."

Further investigation of the role of health professionals in the subsequent implementation of these illegal techniques, as called for in the memos, must be conducted by an independent commission which includes a specific focus on health professional complicity.

"These techniques rise to the level of war crimes and can cause catastrophic physical and mental suffering, lasting for years after an individual has been subjected to them," stated Dr. Scott Allen, MD, PHR Medical Advisor and Co-Director of the Brown University Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights. "The involvement of health professionals in techniques they should have known would result in severe pain and harm is not only an egregious violation of medical ethics, it is malpractice."

PHR has long contended the techniques authorized in these memos were developed directly from the military's SERE training program. The memos conclusively show that the legal justifications provided for the interrogation techniques were developed after the decision to proceed with the SERE techniques had already been made at a policy level.

"The timeline seen in these memos supports what other investigations have shown," said Bradshaw. "A decision to use the SERE techniques was made at the White House level and the OLC memos were written after the fact to provide legal cover. Rather than serving as a shield to protect our values, the law was used as a fig leaf for torture."

Since 2005, PHR has documented the systematic use of psychological torture by the US during its interrogations of detainees at Guant
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OLC Memos Confirm Integral Role of Health Professionals in US Torture
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