Luonard Rubenstein and Stephen Xenakis recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association an analysis of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services [OMS] guidelines for medical personnel monitoring torture. Their analysis adds to the evidence that a major reason for OMS monitoring and guidelines was to provide legal cover for the torturers. In addition to their monitoring duties, which allowed the torturers to say that the detainees were protected from harm the OMS medical personnel directly helped justify the safety of the torture techniques:
In 2003, partially in response to a CIA Inspector General investigation that questioned the use of enhanced interrogation methods and criticized the agency’s failure to consult with OMS about the risks to detainees of waterboarding, OMS physicians assumed another role, providing opinions to the agency and lawyers whether the techniques used would be expected to cause severe pain or suffering and thus constitute torture. Physicians provided opinions on potential health effects of enhanced interrogation, described medical “limitations” on their use, and listed references.
August 14th, 2010