UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

April 7, 2009

RED CROSS SAYS MEDICAL WORKERS HELPED IN CIA TORTURE: PANETTA SAYS NO ONE WILL BE PUNISHED

NY Times - Medical personnel were deeply involved in the abusive interrogation of terrorist suspects held overseas by the Central Intelligence Agency, including torture, and their participation was a "gross breach of medical ethics," a long-secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded.

Based on statements by 14 prisoners who belonged to Al Qaeda and were moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in late 2006, Red Cross investigators concluded that medical professionals working for the C.I.A. monitored prisoners undergoing waterboarding, apparently to make sure they did not drown. Medical workers were also present when guards confined prisoners in small boxes, shackled their arms to the ceiling, kept them in frigid cells and slammed them repeatedly into walls, the report said.

Facilitating such practices, which the Red Cross described as torture, was a violation of medical ethics even if the medical workers' intentions had been to prevent death or permanent injury, the report said. But it found that the medical professionals' role was primarily to support the interrogators, not to protect the prisoners, and that the professionals had "condoned and participated in ill treatment.". . .

Mark Mansfield, a C.I.A. spokesman, said that because of the Red Cross's confidentiality policy, he would not comment on the report. He said that President Obama had prohibited all government interrogators from using techniques apart from the noncoercive methods in the Army Field Manual, and that the new C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, "has taken decisive steps to ensure that the C.I.A. abides by the president's executive orders."

Mr. Mansfield added, however, that Mr. Panetta "has stated repeatedly that no one who took actions based on legal guidance from the Department of Justice at the time should be investigated, let alone punished." . . .

In its 40-page report, the Red Cross roundly condemned the C.I.A. detention program not only for using torture and other cruel treatment, but also for holding prisoners without notice to governments or families.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Mr. Mansfield added, however, that Mr. Panetta "has stated repeatedly that no one who took actions based on legal guidance from the Department of Justice at the time should be investigated, let alone punished." . .."
That is an appalling argument. It creates opportunities to do almost anything, needing only an "opinion" from someone appointed to the Justice Department to provide immunity. It is insane. Many depravities in the past were technically legal due to new "opinions". This includes Nazis and Stalin's Soviet Union.
I encourage everyone to find and read the Red Cross report. You will be ashamed, and it will make you understand that Panetta's stance is unconscionable.

April 9, 2009 9:32 PM  

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