Wednesday, June 16, 2010

In America....

The Nobel prize winning NGO Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has published a widely circulated white paper detailing "experiments" conducted by physicians and other medical personnel on detainees at Guantanomo. Read the paper. It's a grisly, soul-sapping compendium of state-sanctioned, state-organized human experimentation.

Remember those OLC torture memos that war criminals John Yoo and Jay Bybee wrote, alleging that the US policy of "enhanced interrogation" was both legal and safe? Well, the "safety" of the techniques was determined based on results of "studies" conducted by medical personnel on actual human beings. The effects of waterboarding and extreme sleep deprivation and sustained severe pain were all meticulously recorded and studied. Conclusions were then drawn. Just like a happy little science project! Only instead of making acetaminophen in the lab and determining the yield of product (the only actual science experiment I remember from college), these criminals were distorting the scientific method for totalitarian, undemocratic purposes.

To wit:
1) Experimenters were able to conclude that saline was a far safer liquid to pour over the faces of restrained inmates, rather than pure water. The simulation of drowning wasn't altered (thank god!) but the higher sodium concentration of saline helped prevent the unfortunate side effect of severe hyponatremia and subsequent brain edema seen with the forced swallowing of large amounts of pure water.

2) Clinical investigators determined that combination of techniques that cause severe pain did not lead to an overall increased susceptibility to the perception of severe pain (someone please feel free to interpet whatever the hell that means). Consequently, researchers felt comfortable recommending that Gitmo torturers could freely combine walling, stress positions, and other pain eliciting techniques. In other words, the detainee felt equally shitty whether you just rammed his head into a wall or combined that with forcing him to also stand on his right leg for three hours without moving.

3) Researchers concluded that sleep deprivation up to 180 hours (that's about 8 days of sleeplessness for the math impaired) did not lead to any long term psychological or physical consequences. And then as long as you let the subject sleep uninterruptedly for 8 hours, you could resume another 180 hours of wakefulness! Sweet!

Yes, this happened in America. This is what even the Obama Administration defends to its core. We don't look back in this country. We gaze only toward the future, wide eyed and full of hope. With our blinders on. No one is held accountable for lawlessness and immoral actions. We invade countries under false pretenses. We torture suspects. We detain indefinitely "suspicious Muslims" for years at a time only to release them without any charges. We send unmanned Predator drones into Pakistan and Afghanistan, strafing villages, collateral damage be damned. Our former President can smugly proclaim, "hell yeah I waterboarded KSM....and I'd do it all over again!". We have government employed doctors who conducted illegal, immoral experiments on human subjects, not for some greater good, mind you, but to provide a sham scientific cover for the inhumane torture and abuse of completely subjugated prisoners.

Maybe the AMA could advocate for some transparency on this issue. I realize they are busy fighting the good fight for the doctor fix and against the special tax on plastic surgery procedures. But perhaps it would be beneficial to their moral standing and ethical credibility to update their statement on the torture doctors from April 2009....


rlbates said...

It is unbelievable....

Anonymous said...

People are waking up Dr. Parks. I attached a letter from Kevin Tillman the brother of Pat Tillman. Both of the Tillman brothers are true American patriots unlike Bush Sr., Clinton, Gore, Bush Jr., Obama, Cheney, ect, ect. When history is written people will look at these leaders as traitors to the constitutional republic of the United States.

Anonymous said...

Man, it was so hot in the ATL yesterday, the Arab Terrorists were waterboarding themselves....:)Hasn't Guantanamo been closed yet??? I mean the President(Oil be upon Him) as been in Office for....17 months, or 650 deaths in Iraq/Afghanistan ago.
And that photo was taken in Germany, not America.
and you've never stayed up 180 hrs straight?? I have, and look how I turned out...


Anonymous said...

hey Frank, try water boarding yourself and see if you still remember your name.

FaST Surgeon said...

Its important that you stick with the facts. I detest the very idea of "experimentation" with human subjects as it relates to this scenario. However, I do draw issue with your statement

"We send unmanned Predator drones into Pakistan and Afghanistan, strafing villages, collateral damage be damned.

First, "Unmanned Arial Vehicles" (UAVs) is a misnomer. You intimate that they are somehow autonomous indiscriminate killers. In fact, they are "manned", albeit remotely. Second, they don't "strafe" anything... as they have no capability to do such. Strafing would imply that they are weaponized with guns, of which they are not.

The enormous effort directed at protecting civilians is at such a point as to be causing the loss of American lives. This is termed Rules of Engagement (ROE). Current ROE is so restrictive as to not allow for attacking an enemy position if it is within 500 meters of a qalat. It is so restrictive that if the "bad guy" puts his weapon down and out of sight, there is nothing our men can do but to allow him to walk away.

This is not to say that protecting civilians is wrong (of course.... its our morale mission to protect). However, we would not be attacking an target if it were not for the fact that many of these "civilians" are in fact either a bad guy, or aiding the bad-guys. This is an extremely, extraordinary problem our men and women have to deal with every single day. But out here, in the reality of the battlefield, you can't tell who is who. When they call in a strike.. how easy do you think it is to distinguish one brown mud wall from another? These are good men and women trying to do the very best they can under very bad conditions. There is not a single military man or woman that I believe wants to "strafe" a village of civilians.

We are once again seemingly engaged in a war of politics. Trying to sterilize war, in my opinion, only leads to its prolongation.

But now, even I have digressed. My point being. I know that you have valid, conscientious points concerning this immoral "experimentation". However, my opinion is that you are completely out of line with your emotionally charged statement concerning UAVs.

Jeffrey Parks MD FACS said...

That's for the insight. I apologize for inaccurate use of the word "strafe" I meant "unmanned" in the sense that there are no American pilots on board. To me, guided drones remove a bit of the moral hazard of war, i.e. risk of lost American lives reduced to zero compared to a piloted F-16 flying a sortie.

Also, despite best efforts, American drones have led to the deaths of innocent civilians. I realize that's one of the dirty secrets of any war but when these deaths result from machines guided by men and women tucked away safely in some control tower on another continent, then it starts to look somewhat unsavory.

Here are some links to peruse on civilian deaths:

Keep up the great work over there and stay safe.