American Samizdat

Tuesday, July 28, 2009. *
Physicians at Guantanamo violate medical ethics: study
(AFP) – July 24, 2009

WASHINGTON — The use of physicians at the US prison camp in Guantanamo Bay has forced medical professionals to violate their ethics codes, according to findings published Thursday in the UK journal Lancet.

The roles that medical professionals have been called on to play at the controversial detention facility "has damaged the integrity of the physicians working for the military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)," the study said.

"These physicians had a conflict of loyalty because of their ethical obligations to their imprisoned patients and the Bush administration's demands to further the goals and interests of military commanders and intelligence officials." [...]
Most Americans, I imagine, remain under the impression that torture of prisoners and their use as subjects of human experimentation was the province of evil Japanese and Nazi military scientists and doctors during WWII. Many may also assume that such practices have occurred within the extended Soviet Union and, perhaps, by the governments of China, North Korea, and the like. But the "It Can't Happen Here" syndrome is widespread. Never would this happen in and by the United States. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.

We all now know that our military and "intelligence" forces have used scientific techniques, monitored and/or administered by doctors to torture captives in the "war on terror" since 9/11/2001. They did this in the name of "national security", that malodorous phrase which they use to justify any and all conceivable war crimes and other crimes against humanity perpetrated by themselves and their operatives. It is likely that these techniques are still used.

What is not widely known is that the military-medical-scientific complex has been and still is guilty of these crimes, not just against perceived "enemies", but indeed against our own citizens and members of our military forces.

Let me make it clear that I do not condone such experimentation, conducted with any goal in mind on any humans, foe or friend. The fact that they have been and continue to be foisted on Americans by Americans is simply testament to the arrogant and cynical disregard for human safety and life that are supposed to be the very basis of our society. Further, their ubiquitous occurances belie any attempt to characterize such experiments as isolated instances of unethical behavior on the part of a few rogue scientists.

After WWII, as the result of the unveiling of Nazi atrocities, the Nuremberg Code was put in place. The rules governing human experimentation are clear:
  • Informed consent is essential.
  • Research should be based on prior animal work.
  • The risks should be justified by the anticipated benefits.
  • Research must be conducted by qualified scientists.
  • Physical and mental suffering must be avoided.
  • Research in which death or disabling injury is expected should not be conducted.
I've just finished reading two books on the subject of human experimentation conducted in the United States since WWII and the present. The first is In the Name of Science: A History of Secret Programs, Medical Research, and Human Experimentation by Andrew Goliszek (St Martin's Press, New York: 2003); the second, by Jonathan D. Moreno, is Undue Risk: Secret State Experiments on Humans (Routledge, New York: 2001). Together, these two volumes catalog hundreds of experiments since the late 1940s conducted on both military personnel and civilians. All of the experiments documented in the books were conducted either in secret and/or under a cover of disception, exposing unwitting subjects to radiation, biochemicals, and other agents. Few, if any, of these experiments fulfilled the rules set out by the Nuremberg Code and, in many cases, subjects have been made critically and chronically ill or have died from the effects of these experiments.

I have neither the resources nor the wish to recount these betrayals here - they are too numerous - but one personal perspective is in order . . .


[more at P! ...]
posted by Unknown at 1:07 PM
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