By Sarah Dougherty, JD, MPH and Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD, Physicians for Human Rights, published July 25, 2016.
In June 2016, the CIA released more than 50 declassified documents related to the “enhanced interrogation program” undertaken after the 9/11 attacks. These documents contain new and more details about the brutality of this torture program and some of the prisoners that is shocking. However, there is also more information about the medical practitioners involved in the events and the process.
One of the most disturbing reports is about Gu Rahman, who was tortured, beaten, chained to the floor and left to die. He did die in sub-freezing temperatures as these medical people ignored the Hippocratic Oath that states that “if someone is sick, you treat them.” These were their very brief instructions on what to do about Rahman and the other prisoners. Regardless of his regular abuses and brutalizations, he was tortured hours before he died, frozen to death.
It is a crime, as well as a violation of medical ethics, to facilitate torture and ill-treatment. Any health professional (indeed, any reasonable person) knows that placing human beings in a coffin, subjecting them to freezing temperatures, sexually humiliating them, or drowning them will cause severe physical and mental pain. But CIA health professionals abandoned their ethics and became participants in such acts.
The two psychologists who devised this torture program, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, were paid $81 million to create and oversee the program.