Medical personnel responsible for looking after Guantanamo prisoners neither documented nor asked the causes of the physical or mental injuries of the people they were supposed to “care” for, says a new study.
Science Daily reported on a study made of the medical records of Guantanamo prisoners, first described in the online journal PLoS Medicine by researchers Vincent Iacopino (Physicians for Human Rights) and Stephen Xenakis, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general. The researchers only had access to nine case files but the evidence they uncovered was considered “compelling” with respect to this dereliction of duty.
The prisoners described treatment by Americans soldiers and other personnel that, according to the UN Convention Against Torture, is torture. The U.S. says it doesn’t torture prisoners, but uses a narrower definition than the UN and calls its techniques “enhanced interrogation.”
And Saddam Hussein didn’t “gas” people, they were victims of “enhanced atmospheric pollution.”
Here is what the U.S. did, according to prisoners. Call it what you will: The prisoners were beaten severely, bones were fractured, they were sexually assaulted, some were told they would be raped, they were water boarded to the point of asphyxiation, they were taken to be executed then spared at the last moment, they were “disappeared” then returned, they were not allowed to sleep, they were subject to extreme temperatures, they were put in stress positions and were forced to be nude.
Although all the injuries and the psychological results of them were in the medical records, there were no details of how they occurred. But the injuries are all consistent with torture techniques the prisoners reported being subject to. The Department of Defense medical personnel failed to document any of the causes of the prisoners’ injuries, and any psychological problems seemingly resulting from torture are attributed to “personality disorders” or “routine stressors of confinement,” says Science Daily.
This evidence shows that the government’s medical personnel failed both professionally and personally in their duty to their patients. It appears to me that they were complicit in covering up crimes against humanity in the treatment of these prisoners and in violations of basic human rights. And not only to me. The editors of PLoS wrote, “This paper adds new evidence that will bolster calls for further investigation into the complicity of medical personnel in torture at Guantanamo Bay, which clearly breaches fundamental human rights.”
Image: Guantanamo guard tower. Photo by National Guard