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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Doctors Aiding Torture
Friday, 18 September 2009
Physicians for Human Rights believe doctors who helped develop, implement, provide cover for, and justify torture and abusive practices should be investigated on charges of "alleged criminal conduct." Those proved guilty should be prosecuted, lose their license, professional society memberships, and any standing in the medical community henceforth.
In April 2009, a confidential February 2007 ICRC torture report was publicly released. Titled, "ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen 'High Value Detainees' in CIA Custody," it detailed harsh and abusive treatment from their time of arrest, detention, transfer, and incarceration at Guantanamo where ICRC professionals interviewed them.
Besides detailed information on torture and abusive treatment, they obtained damning, consistent detainee accounts of medical personnel involvement, including:
Condoning or participating in torture grievously breaches medical ethics and the 1975 World Medical Association (WMA) Declaration of Tokyo "Guidelines for Physicians Concerning Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Relation to Detention and Imprisonment." It states:
Protocol I of the 1949 Geneva Conventions states:
On July 7, 2005 in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Gregg Bloche and Jonathan Marks published an article titled, "Doctors and Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay" in which they cited evidence that "Health information (was) routinely available to behavioral science consultants and others" engaged in interrogations, in violation of strict medical ethics.
In early 2003, detainee medical records were readily available, and since late 2002, psychiatrists and psychologists were involved in crafting extreme stress techniques "combined with behavior-shaping rewards to extract actionable intelligence from resistant captives."
"Wholesale disregard for clinical confidentiality" seriously breaches medical ethics "since it makes every caregiver into an accessory to intelligence gathering." It also "puts prisoners at greater risk for serious abuse."
In July 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) published a report titled, "Report on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba" that included evidence of medical personnel involvement in torture.
Detainee Othman Abdulraheem Mohammad was told that medical treatment would depend on his cooperation. Lakhdar Boumediene said every time he requested care he was told to ask permission from his interrogators. They "controlled his access, (and it) was granted or denied based on the interrogator's assessment of his level of cooperation."
Bosnian prisoner medical records confirmed that medical staff were present during their interrogations "and authorized (them) to proceed."
Medical personnel monitored Mohammed al Qahtani's interrogation during nearly two months of "severe sleep deprivation and physical stress." At one point, they rushed him to the base hospital when his heart rate dropped dangerously low. After stabilization, they returned him the next day for more interrogation.
Other prisoners described doctors performing unnecessary and abusive procedures, including forced amputations, after which they were denied proper treatment.
Psychiatrists and psychologists designed "extreme interrogation techniques as part of the Behavioral Science Consultation Team (BSCT)." In late 2002, it was tasked "to torment detainees in interrogations...."
International and US Laws Prohibiting Torture
Numerous international and US laws unequivocally ban torture under all conditions at all times with no allowed exceptions ever, for any reasons, including in times of war.
The Third Geneva Convention covers war prisoners and detainees. It prohibits torture and protects their right to be treated humanely against "violence to life and person (and) humiliating and degrading treatment" as well as to judicial fairness and proper medical treatment. The Fourth Geneva Convention affords the same rights to civilians in times of war.
The federal anti-torture statute (18 USC, 2340A) prohibits its use outside the US and defines it as "an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering....upon another person within his custody or physical control."
The 1991 Torture Victims Protection Act authorizes civil suits in America against individuals, acting in an official capacity for a foreign state, who committed torture and/or extrajudicial killing.
The 1984 UN Convention Against Torture bans all forms of torture, cruel and degrading treatment in all circumstances at all times with no exceptions ever allowed.
The US Constitution's Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments prohibit cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
The US Army's Field Manual 27-10 states that military or civilian persons may be punished for committing war crimes (that include abusive interrogations) under international law. Army Field Manual 34-52 outlines interrogation procedures and specifically prohibits force, mental torture, threats, and inhumane treatment.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) bans cruelty, oppression, actions intended to degrade or humiliate, and physical, menacing, and threatening assaults. Army Regulation (AR) 190-8 protects detainees from violence, assaults, and insults, and directs that they be treated humanely with respect.
The 1996 US War Crimes Act prohibits grave Geneva Convention breaches, including (as stipulated under Common Article III) "violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture (as well as) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."
Other binding international laws also prohibit torture, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1992 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights with no exceptions or justifications allowed, such as orders by field commanders, Pentagon officials, or the President of the United States.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)
Founded in 1986, PHR "mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity, and justice and promotes the right to health for all." It also "investigates human rights abuses and works to stop them" in conflict zones, US prisons, and offshore detention facilities where torture is routinely practiced.
In 2005, it published a report titled, "Break Them Down: Systematic Use of Psychological Torture by US Forces," which it called the first comprehensive examination of "the use of psychological torture by US personnel in the so-called 'war on terror,' " including sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, using fierce dogs to instill fear, cultural and sexual humiliation, mock executions, and threatened violence against loved ones.
It called the effects devastating and longer-lasting than physical torture, and said psychological abuse is morally reprehensible and illegal under international and US law.
In August 2009, PHR published a new report titled, "Aiding Torture: Health Professionals' Ethics and Human Rights Violations Revealed in the May 2004 CIA Inspector General's Report," including ethical misconduct not previously known. It revealed the role of health professionals involved "at every stage in the development, implementation and legitimization of this torture program."
It explained that doctors and psychologists actively participated in abusive interrogations and contributed to the physical and mental suffering of detainees. It called their actions "an unconscionable affront to the profession of medicine," made worse by experimenting on inmates, then "aggregat(ing) data on (their) reaction to interrogation methods."
PHR's Steven Reisner said "They were experimenting and keeping records of the results," a war crime under Geneva and the Nuremberg Code that requires "voluntary consent" of human subjects and prohibits experiments:
PHR's report detailed the psychological and medical effects:
Involvement of Medical Professionals
They help develop, implement, provide cover for, and justify torture and abusive practices. They're actively involved in designing harmful interrogation techniques in clear violation of the law and medical ethics. They're "complicit in selecting and then rationalizing (methods) whose safety and efficacy in eliciting accurate information have no valid basis in science." Their actions constitute "a practice that approaches unlawful experimentation."
CIA guidelines require health professionals, including a doctor and psychologist, to be present during enhanced interrogations, "thereby placing (them) in the untenable position of calibrating harm rather than serving as protectors and healers as" their ethical code demands.
They also participate in initial physical and psychological assessments, then monitor all subsequent interrogations. They know their actions are harmful, unethical, and illegal, yet they serve willingly.
PHR believes they should be investigated on charges of "alleged criminal conduct." Those proved guilty should be prosecuted, lose their license, professional society memberships, and any standing in the medical community henceforth.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on September 18, 2009.
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