This Is How Doctors And Pyschologists Helped The CIA Torture And Interrogate Detainees

Atul Gawande, award-winning writer and doctor, tweeted about the extent of the medical community's complicity in the CIA's torture of terror suspects.

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Boston-based surgeon and New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande took to Twitter Wednesday to highlight how the medical community aided the CIA in its torture and interrogation techniques, which were outlined in a recent U.S. Senate report.

Gawande expressed his discomfort at how "deeply embedded" doctors, psychologists, and others were in "this inhumanity."

1/The Senate CIA Torture Report reveals savage, immoral, utterly despicable practices by our govt. http://t.co/qZWUNtJSeU

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

1/The Senate CIA Torture Report reveals savage, immoral, utterly despicable practices by our govt. http://t.co/qZWUNtJSeU

6:48 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

2/But the worst for me is to see the details of how doctors, psychologists, and others sworn to aid human beings made the torture possible.

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

2/But the worst for me is to see the details of how doctors, psychologists, and others sworn to aid human beings made the torture possible.

6:49 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

3/The torture could not proceed w/o medical supervision. The medical profession was deeply embedded in this inhumanity.

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

3/The torture could not proceed w/o medical supervision. The medical profession was deeply embedded in this inhumanity.

6:49 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

He used excerpts from the Senate report to detail instances of medical officers supervising and approving the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" techniques on detainees.

CIA medical officers discussed rectal hydration as a means of behavior control, the report said.

4/It was doctors who devised the rectal infusions “as a means of behavior control.” (p100)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

4/It was doctors who devised the rectal infusions “as a means of behavior control.” (p100)

3:49 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

One officer wrote that they were impressed with the "effectiveness of rectal infusion on ending the water refusal" in one case.

The officer, referencing the experience of a medical officer who subjected a terror suspect to rectal rehydration, provided instructions for the procedure: "What I infer is that you get a tube up as far as you can, then open the IV wide. No need to squeeze the bag — let gravity do the work."

Medical officers advised interrogators to use saline in "future waterboarding sessions."

5/Doctors suggested the water temperature for waterboarding and use of saline instead of free water to avoid water intoxication. (p86, 419)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

5/Doctors suggested the water temperature for waterboarding and use of saline instead of free water to avoid water intoxication. (p86, 419)

6:50 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The report states that 9/11 terror suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's (KSM) gastric contents were so diluted by water that a medical officer was "not concerned about regurgitated gastric acid damaging KSM's esophagus."

Medical officers also advised the CIA on the water temperatures for waterboarding detainees after sleep deprivation.

Doctors did not intervene when detainees were in brutal stress positions unless they were concerned about bone dislocations.

6/Doctors watched as stress positions inflicted pain, lacerations, and only stopped them when producing, e.g., shoulder dislocation (70)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

6/Doctors watched as stress positions inflicted pain, lacerations, and only stopped them when producing, e.g., shoulder dislocation (70)

3:50 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Psychologists and medical officers also acted as interrogators instead of preventing physical and psychological harm to detainees.

7/Psychologists, who were supposed to stop damaging interrogation, actually served as interrogators. (72)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

7/Psychologists, who were supposed to stop damaging interrogation, actually served as interrogators. (72)

3:51 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Medical officers wrote guidelines stating that three waterboard sessions in a 24-hour period was "acceptable."

9/The Office of Medical Services wrote guidelines approving up to 3 waterboard sessions in 24 hours per prisoner. (p87)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

9/The Office of Medical Services wrote guidelines approving up to 3 waterboard sessions in 24 hours per prisoner. (p87)

6:52 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

According to the report, the on-site medical officer raised concerns that a fourth waterboarding session in 14 hours for suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would exceed the limits in the Office of Medical Services' guidelines.

The report detailed how Mohammed was subjected to three waterboarding sessions in a day and his fifth in 25 hours:

During the first of three waterboarding sessions that day, interrogators
responded to KSM's efforts to breathe during the sessions by holding KSM's lips and directing the water at his mouth.

According to a cable from the detention site, KSM "would begin signaling by pointing upward with his two index fingers as the water pouring approached the
established time limit." The cable noted that "[t]his behavior indicates that the subject remains alert and has become familiar with key aspects of the process.CIA records state that KSM "yelled and twisted" when he was secured to the waterboard for the second session of the day, but "appeared resigned to tolerating the board and stated he had nothing new to say" about terrorist plots inside the United States.

On the afternoon of March 13, 2003, KSM was subjected to his third waterboard
session of that calendar day and fifth in 25 hours. CIA records note that KSM vomited during and after the procedure.

Medical officers requested a test for a detainee's torture-subjected eyes because there was a "lot riding upon his ability to see, read and write."

10/When torture caused Abu Zubaydah’s eyes to deteriorate, MDs only intervened to insure ability to see was saved to aid interrogation.(112)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

10/When torture caused Abu Zubaydah’s eyes to deteriorate, MDs only intervened to insure ability to see was saved to aid interrogation.(112)

3:54 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

A CIA physician also approved standing sleep deprivation positions for two detainees with broken feet.

11/Doctors found prisoners with broken feet and still approved putting them into standing positions for up to 52 hours (p112)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

11/Doctors found prisoners with broken feet and still approved putting them into standing positions for up to 52 hours (p112)

3:55 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Gawande said that government medical leaders have failed in their roles as the "medical conscience of the military."

12/Doctors were long the medical conscience of the military. The worst occurred because gov't medical leaders abdicated that role. (p87)

Atul Gawande@Atul_GawandeFollow

12/Doctors were long the medical conscience of the military. The worst occurred because gov't medical leaders abdicated that role. (p87)

6:55 AM - 10 Dec 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The Senate report noted that detainees' medical complaints were underreported in the CIA's medical records.

When detainee Ramzi bin al-Shibh complained of his ailments to CIA personnel, he was told by interrogators that his medical condition was of no concern to the agency and he was subjected to further "enhanced interrogation techniques."

In 2007, a report by the International Committee of the Red Cross concluded that the association of CIA medical officers within the interrogation program is "contrary to international standards of medical ethics."

However, according to the Senate report, CIA Director Michael Hayden testified that the ICRC's conclusion was "just wrong" and that the role of CIA medical officers in the detainee program "is and always has been to ensure the safety and well-being of the detainee."

Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at tasneem.nashrulla@buzzfeed.com.

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