miércoles, junio 07, 2006

The Pentagon and the Torture of Prisoners

The Pentagon insists on finding "legal loopholes" to turn the torture against detainees into an acceptable practice.

Now it demands from medical personnel to become accomplices to the mistreatment of those who fall into the American Gulag, wether is Guantanamo or one of the many other secret prisons that the CIA and the Pentagon fund and operate in several countries.

Beware US citizens, here you have the latest report on how Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld and Cheney are all for torture and mistreatment. Remember, all this could be used against you in the future if the neocons deem it necessary.

Rights activists rip US detainee medical guidance

By Will Dunham

Tue Jun 6, 9:18 PM ET

The Pentagon on Tuesday unveiled its most comprehensive guidance to date for medical professionals in dealing with detainees, but rights activists denounced it for allowing broad use of prisoners' health data to guide interrogations.

The directive allows a detainee's medical information to be disclosed for several reasons other than medical treatment, including "lawful law enforcement, intelligence or national security-related activity," which includes interrogations.

"Detainees shall not be given cause to have incorrect expectations of privacy or confidentiality regarding their medical records and communications," the directive stated.

It also reaffirmed the military's policy of force-feeding detainees who engage in a hunger strike, as has often occurred at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, said the directive "puts doctors and other health professionals in the untenable position of assisting in the infliction of harm," and pushes the United States further away from basic medical, ethical and legal standards.

The group called the directive an assault on medical ethics, the professional integrity of military medical personnel and the Geneva Conventions governing treatment of wartime prisoners.

William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the directive pulled together and added greater detail to various existing policies.

"It is a comprehensive, thoughtful policy document that's reaffirming high ethical principles and humane care and treatment for detainees and persons under the authority and control of the United States armed forces," Winkenwerder told reporters.

COMPLICIT IN ABUSE?

Critics have accused U.S. military medical personnel of being complicit in the abuse of detainees. Winkenwerder said it was fair to say that without the appropriate detailed guidance "people may not have acted in full accord with these standards and procedures that we're describing today."

Winkenwerder did not say to whom he was referring and offered no examples.

By allowing clinical information from medical records to be used in interrogations, Rubenstein argued, the Pentagon is violating core ethical principles protecting confidentiality of information provided by patients to health care providers.

With access to such information, Rubenstein said, interrogators could exploit a detainee's anxieties, phobias or depression, or take advantage of physical problems like back pain by using "stress positions" in an interrogation.

The directive said health care personnel assigned to help interrogators figure out how to extract information from detainees "shall not use or facilitate directly or indirectly the use of physical or mental health information regarding any detainee in a manner that would result in inhumane treatment or not be in accordance with applicable law."

Rubenstein said the policy, therefore, allowed use of this information for interrogations as long as they are not defined by the same government conducting the questioning as inhumane or unlawful.

Winkenwerder said military behavioral science consultants -- psychologists and psychiatrists -- are authorized to make psychological assessments of the character, personality, social interactions and other behavioral characteristics of detainees. Based on those assessments, he said, these consultants can give advice for interrogations but not actually conduct them.

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