• Never Again? Gitmo Medical Records Chilling

    August 8, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq, Military, Other Ideas

    A recent study of medical records kept at Guantanamo Bay is chilling in its simplicity. The study concludes:

    The findings in these nine cases from GTMO indicate that medical doctors and mental health personnel assigned to the DoD neglected and/or concealed medical evidence of intentional harm.


    The doctors who conducted the study reviewed GTMO medical records and relevant case files (client affidavits, attorney–client notes and summaries, and legal affidavits of medical experts) of nine individuals for evidence of torture and ill treatment and documentation by medical personnel. In each of the nine cases, GTMO detainees alleged abusive interrogation methods that were consistent with torture.

    However, US Government medical personnel who treated the detainees at GTMO failed to inquire and/or document causes of the physical injuries and psychological symptoms they observed. Psychological symptoms were commonly attributed to “personality disorders” and “routine stressors of confinement.” Temporary psychotic symptoms and hallucinations did not prompt consideration of abusive treatment. Psychological assessments conducted by non-governmental medical experts revealed diagnostic criteria for current major depression and/or PTSD in all nine cases.

    Doctors and other medical personnel employed by the United States violated their oaths, as well as their common decency, to ignore clear signs of torture and abuse. The doctors chose to be complicit in hurting other human beings, instead of helping them when they could, for political goals.

    The study found that detainees reported being exposed to an average of eight different forms of “authorized” abuse including sleep deprivation, temperature extremes, serious threats, forced positions, beating, and forced nudity.

    In addition to the use of authorized abuse used as an interrogation tool, each of the nine detainees reported being subjected to “unauthorized” acts of severe beatings, often associated with loss of consciousness and/or bone fractures, sexual assault and/or the threat of rape, mock execution, mock disappearance, and near asphyxiation from water (i.e., hose forced into the detainee’s mouth) or being choked.

    Other allegations included forcing the detainee’s head into the toilet, being used as a human sponge to wipe the floor, and desecration of the Quran (e.g., writing profane words in the Quran, stepping on the Quran, and placing it on the floor near the trash). Five of the detainees reported loss of consciousness during interrogation. Seven of the nine detainees reported participating in one or more hunger strikes to protest conditions of detention, and two detainees reported being restrained and forced to receive intravenous fluids and nasogastric tube feedings.

    In addition to the physical abuse, the report documents the extreme forms of psychosis experienced by the detainees. One man with suicidal thoughts was told by a health care professional “[You]…need to relax when guards are being more aggressive.”

    In short, the conditions the US Government subjected them to quite simply drove the men insane.

    Read the report yourself, as well as some commentary on it.

    Like the Nazis before us, we will all claim not to have known, not to be a part of this, that at worst we were only following orders. Shame on us, because this was all done by Americans fully prepared to claim their actions were legal, moral and justified. Shame on us, for letting these things be done in our name.



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    • Concealing Evidence at Gitmo « Antiwar.com Blog said...

      1

      […] Via Peter Van Buren, this recent study of medical records kept at Guantanamo Bay concludes: The findings in these nine cases from GTMO indicate that medical doctors and mental health personnel assigned to the DoD neglected and/or concealed medical evidence of intentional harm. […]

      08/8/11 3:51 PM | Comment Link

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