Medical support to detainee operations manual reveals new drugs can be tested on prisoners
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
A recently revealed document entitled “Medical Support to Detainee Operations,” originally published in November 2007 by the United States Army, reveals some quite disturbing realities of what goes on in detainee operations run by the U.S. military.
For those who are not familiar with detainee operations or the related “internment/resettlement operations,” I highly recommend you watch the below video from May of this year covering the military’s internment/resettlement operations manual:
While some of the newly released manual made public by Public Intelligence on August 16, 2012 seems to be positive such as some of the prohibited acts which include “killing, torture, medical/scientific experimentation, physical mutilation, removal of tissues/organs for transplantation, and causing serious injury, pain, and suffering.”
Interestingly, it appears that this document would incriminate some individuals who have participated in past interrogations, including the health care personnel responsible for forcibly injecting detainees at Guantanamo Bay with “mind altering drugs.”
“Health care personnel, who administer drugs to facilitate interrogation or advise interrogators on the ability of an individual to withstand torture, can be considered complicit in that torture,” states the document.
Then again, they will undoubtedly claim that the interrogations just happened to take place while the detainees were under the influence of the drugs. Therefore, they can claim that the drugs were not administered to facilitate interrogation.
The seemingly positive prohibitions against torture and medical/scientific experimentation outlined above crumble completely when one realizes that this can indeed be done in a roundabout manner.
For instance, one paragraph reads, “Under current DOD policy, health care personnel cannot certify a detainee for torture but they can provide consultation to interrogators so long as they are not also detainee treatment providers.”
That seems to clearly indicate that torture does occur, despite the claims otherwise. This is hardly surprising given that three detainees in Guantanamo Bay turned up dead in 2006, supposedly from committing suicide.
The suicide claim is dubious at best since, according to one of the fathers of the dead inmates the bodies bore “all the traces of torture” and upon further medical examination he discovered that “his son’s esophagus had been ripped out and his body bore signs of torture, including several injection marks on his hands.”
To make matters even worse, according to Sergeant Joe Hickman who was stationed in a guard tower at the time, he was told that the men had swallowed rags which is hardly a typical suicide method.
The document also states that they will only seek to gain the consent of the detainee for medical treatment when it is practical to do so.
“To the extent practicable, standards and procedures for obtaining consent will be consistent with those applicable to consent from other patients. Standard exceptions for lifesaving emergency medical care provided to a patient incapable of providing consent or for care necessary to protect public health, such as to prevent the spread of communicable diseases, will apply,” the document states.
In other words, obtaining consent is only necessary when there is not an emergency, when the person is capable of providing consent and/or when there is not a risk to public health. As I’m sure you can tell, those are a lot of exceptions.
But wait, there’s more! The exceptions get even broader when the manual deals with medical and scientific experimentation on detainees.
While the manual states, “The Detaining Power is prohibited from conducting medical and scientific experimentation on detained personnel. This prohibition arose from the experiences in World War II. Since the prisoner is in the custody of the Detaining Power, any consent to the experiment is suspect as the prisoner may feel coerced to provide consent,” there is a pretty significant exception outlined in the next sentence.
“This prohibition does not extend to the introduction of new treatment regimens and/or pharmaceuticals when there is a substantiated medical necessity and withholding the treatment would be detrimental to the health of the detainee,” states the document.
In other words, so long as they can claim it is a medical necessity or that withholding the treatment would be in some way detrimental to the health of the individual being detained, they can feel free to try out those dangerous experimental treatments or pharmaceuticals on the detainee.
Interestingly, the document appears to say that surgeons may ignore an individual’s refusal to undergo a surgical procedure, “even if that procedure would be lifesaving and falls within existing medical standards.”
“A surgeon may feel that he is not ethically bound by a refusal in the case of a minor or of an individual whose judgment is impaired by injury or illness,” the document states. “Documenting the issue, whether it is the patient’s refusal (in writing if at all possible) or the surgeon’s decision is an essential step in ensuring that allegations of abuse are not forthcoming.”
The document also deals with assistance provided to interrogation teams by medical personnel. It may come as a surprise to some but medical personnel are “authorized to make psychological assessments of the character, personality, social interactions, and other behavioral characteristics of detainees, including interrogation subjects and, based on such assessments, advise authorized personnel performing lawful interrogations and other lawful DO [Detainee Operations], including intelligence activities and law enforcement.”
Furthermore, medical personnel, “May provide advice concerning interrogations of detainees when the interrogations are fully in consonance with applicable law and properly issued interrogation instructions are available,” and, “May observe, but shall not conduct or direct, interrogations.”
It goes far beyond just the interrogations, however, including even advising “command authorities on the detention facility environment, organization and functions,” and medical staff can also “advise command authorities responsible for determinations of release, continued detention of detainees, or assessments concerning the likelihood that a detainee will, if released, engage in terrorist, illegal, combatant, or similar activities against the interests of the US.”
They are very careful, however, to make sure that those health care personnel who are involved in the clinical care of the detainees are not seen as assisting in the interrogations themselves.
“Behavioral science consultants will not allow themselves to be identified to detainees as health care providers. Behavioral science consultants will not provide medical care for staff or detainees (except in emergency circumstances in which no other health care providers can respond adequately to save life or prevent permanent impairment),” the document states.
The same individual is also not supposed to serve as clinical staff and as a behavioral science consultant at the same location within a three-year period unless there are “compelling circumstances requiring an exception to the rule.”
It might just be me but it seems this document provides an exception and a way to get around just about every meager protection provided to the detainees.
Unfortunately, this is hardly surprising when one reads other manuals dealing with these types of operations or when one looks at some of the horror stories which have emerged from prisons like Abu Ghraib, the Bagram prison (which the United States is expanding instead of closing), and of course Guantanamo Bay.
The strangest aspect of all of this, in my opinion, is just how little most people seem to care about it. Considering the fact that any American can now be indefinitely detained as confirmed by a U.S. federal judge and now being fought for by the Obama administration, I think the treatment of detainees is something everyone in the United States should be deeply concerned about.
Did I forget anything or miss any errors? Would you like to make me aware of a story or subject to cover? Or perhaps you want to bring your writing to a wider audience? Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with your concerns, tips, questions, original writings, insults or just about anything that may strike your fancy.