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    Guantanamo Bay Doctors Are Helping Torture Captives

    Written by

    Michael Byrne


    Wikileaks, sure, but some of the most damning Guantanamo Bay revelations are coming from the journal PLoS Medicine. In a paper published this week, the journal reveals that Department of Defense doctors treating detainees willingly overlooked or failed to inquire about injuries or psychological harm demonstrated by captives.

    A pair of researchers, Vincent Iacopino, Senior Medical Advisor for Physician for Human Rights, and Brigadier General (Ret) Stephen Xenakis, U.S. Army, looked deeply at records for nine inmates, specifically looking for evidence of torture, and its documentation by medical personnel.

    All nine captives reported treatment consistent with the U.N.’s accepted definition of torture. Examples include “severe beatings resulting in bone fractures, sexual assault and/or the threat of rape, mock execution, mock disappearance, and near asphyxiation from water. Detainees were also subject to enhanced interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, exposure to temperature extremes, serious threats, forced positions, beatings, and forced nudity.” Their reports were backed up with evidence of physical and/or psychological harm, reported by GTMO doctors.

    What the doctors didn’t do was ask what happened, attributing the harm to “personality disorders’’ and ’’routine stressors of confinement," as a matter of course. Moreover, the evidence suggests that medical files were made available to interrogators for exploitation. Like, one inmate reported “his chronic back pain was exploited by interrogators with the use of prolonged, painful stress positions.”

    The authors of the paper add, “The full extent of medical complicity in US torture practices will not be known until there is a thorough, impartial investigation including relevant classified information." While an accompanying editorial states, “this paper adds new evidence that will bolster calls for further investigation into the complicity of medical personnel in torture at Guantánamo Bay, which clearly breaches fundamental human rights."

    Remember when we were talking about closing this hell down?

    Reach this writer at michaelb@motherboard.tv.

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