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22 Organizations Support PHR’s Complaint to the Office of Human Research Protections

On June 9, Physicians for Human Rights had 7 organizations joining us as co-signers of our complaint to the Office of Human Research Protections regarding evidence of CIA violations of the Common Rule. Today, nine days later, the number of supporting organizations has swelled to 22! Here is the current list:

  • Physicians for Human Rights
  1. AfterDowningStreet
  2. Amnesty International USA
  3. Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  4. Center for Constitutional Rights
  5. Center for Victims of Torture
  6. CodePink
  7. Friends Committee on National Legislation
  8. Human Rights Watch
  9. Interfaith Communities United for Justice & Peace (ICUJP)
  10. International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims
  11. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  12. National Accountability Action Network
  13. National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA
  14. National Religious Campaign Against Torture
  15. Network of Concerned Anthropologists
  16. Program for Torture Victims (PTV)
  17. Progressive Democrats of America
  18. Psychologists for Social Responsibility
  19. Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
  20. The Provincial Council of the Clerics of St. Viator (Viatorians)
  21. United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society
  22. WarIsACrime

We know this list will continue to grow, so we’ve added a page on The Torture Papers that we’ll keep up to date with all of the groups demanding an investigation into evidence of illegal CIA experimentation on detainees.

Don’t forget that individuals can sign onto the complaint, too!

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Did the CIA Experiment on People? Demand an Investigation!

PHR’s new report, Experiments in Torture, has sent shock waves through the conscience of America this week. This report reveals evidence indicating that the Bush administration may have conducted illegal and unethical human experimentation and research on detainees in CIA custody.

This research, if proven to have occurred, could violate the Geneva Conventions, The Common Rule, the Nuremberg Code and other international and domestic prohibitions against illegal human subject research and experimentation. Not only are these alleged acts gross violations of human rights law, they are a grave affront to America’s core values.

Elected officials have failed in their duty to investigate potential CIA wrongdoing. It’s time to get the experts involved.

Join PHR as we file a complaint with the Office of Human Research Protection, demanding an investigation into these alleged abuses.

Physicians for Human Rights, together with Amnesty International, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Center for Victims of Torture, Human Rights Watch, the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims, the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, Network of  Concerned Anthropologists and Psychologists for Social Responsibility, has filed a complaint based on evidence of  CIA experimentation with the Office of Human Research Protection (OHRP). The complaint demands that OHRP launch a full investigation into possible human experimentation by the CIA.

The OHRP, which is part of the US Department of Health & Human Services, is responsible for ensuring that federally funded research involving human subjects complies with scientific and human rights-based regulations. OHRP has a long history of sanctioning powerful institutions that violate US law protecting human subjects in research.

Take action now by joining the OHRP complaint. Anyone world-wide can officially join the complaint just by signing the petition. You will add your name to a list of thousands of people calling for justice. You will not be asked to come to court, nor will you need to take further action. By signing your name, you will have demanded an official investigation into deeply disturbing allegations of illegal CIA experimentation on detainees.

The integrity of America’s commitment to human rights and rule of law stands in the balance. Sign on to the OHRP complaint today.

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Human Rights, Health, and Religious Groups File Federal Complaint Against CIA Based on New Evidence Indicating Human Experimentation on Detainees

June 9, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Ben Greenberg
bgreenberg at phrusa dot org
617-510-3417 (mobile)
Contacts for partner organizations appear below.

A broad coalition of human rights, health, and religious groups filed a formal complaint today with the US Department of Health and Human Services Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) against the Central Intelligence Agency. This action is in response to new revelations by Physicians for Human Rights that the CIA allegedly engaged in illegal human subject research and experimentation on detainees as part of Bush-era interrogation practices. The CIA has denied the allegations and has refused to investigate evidence of experimentation presented by Physicians for Human Rights in a report entitled Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the “Enhanced” Interrogation Program. The report is available at http://phrtorturepapers.org

The following groups have joined the OHRP complaint so far:

  • Physicians for Human Rights
  • Amnesty International USA
  • Bill of Rights Defense Committee
  • Center for Constitutional Rights
  • Center for Victims of Torture
  • Human Rights Watch
  • National Religious Campaign Against Torture
  • Network of Concerned Anthropologists
  • Psychologists for Social Responsibility

Continue Reading →

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Complaint to Office of Human Research Protections Regarding Evidence of CIA Violations of Common Rule

Today, Physicians for Human Rights has filed the following complaint to the Office of Human Research Protections at the Department of Health and Human Services. Joining PHR in filing this complaint are: Amnesty International USA, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, Center for Victims of Torture, Human Rights Watch, National Religious Campaign Against Torture and Psychologists for Social Responsibility.

UPDATE 6/15: By an unfortunate oversight, the Network of Concerned Anthropologists was left off the original complaint though they were one of PHR’s first partners in this campaign. It is a pleasure to acknowledge NCA’s support.

UPDATE 6/10: International Rehabilatation Council for Torture Victims has joined the complaint.

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National Religious Leaders Denounce Health Professionals’ Involvement in Experiments on Detainees

Monday, June 7, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Alanna Sobel NRCAT
asobel at fenton dot com
(202) 789-7751
Ben Greenberg
Physicians for Human Rights
bgreenberg at phrusa dot org
(617) 301-4237

People from all faiths demand a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the use of torture including its use in medical experiments

In light of today’s release of Physicians for Human Rights’ new report, Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program, Rev. Richard L. Killmer, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture has responded with the following statement and announced the release of a new video “Accounting for Torture” (www.nrcat.org/act) that describes the PHR repor:

“As religious leaders we commend Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) for their groundbreaking work uncovering and documenting evidence of the involvement of United States military and intelligence health professionals in performing experiments, without consent, on detainees in the custody of the US following September 2001.

Such experimentation would violate the legal and ethical protections afforded by the Nuremberg Code, the Geneva Conventions, federal regulations governing human subject research – known as “The Common Rule” – and the federal War Crimes Act.

We have adamantly opposed and consistently spoken out against US-sponsored torture. Torture is immoral and abhorrent, violating the teachings of all our religious traditions.

Just as adamantly, we now condemn these alleged acts of illegal and immoral experimentation. Separate and distinct from the torture, such medical experiments could themselves constitute war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.

Continue Reading →

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Evidence Indicates that the Bush Administration Conducted Experiments and Research on Detainees to Design Torture Techniques and Create Legal Cover

June 7, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Illegal Activity Would Violate Nuremberg Code and Could Open Door to Prosecution

Media Contacts:

Ben Greenberg
bgreenberg at phrusa dot org
Mobile: +1-617-510-3417

Valerie Holford
Mobile: +1-301-926-1298

(Cambridge, MA) In the most comprehensive investigation to date of health professionals’ involvement in the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation program (EIP), Physicians For Human Rights has uncovered evidence that indicates the Bush administration apparently conducted illegal and unethical human experimentation and research on detainees in CIA custody. The apparent experimentation and research appear to have been performed to provide legal cover for torture, as well as to help justify and shape future procedures and policies governing the use of the “enhanced” interrogation techniques. The PHR report, Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of Experimentation in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program, is the first to provide evidence that CIA medical personnel engaged in the crime of illegal experimentation after 9/11, in addition to the previously disclosed crime of torture.

This evidence indicating apparent research and experimentation on detainees opens the door to potential additional legal liability for the CIA and Bush-era officials. There is no publicly available evidence that the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel determined that the alleged experimentation and research performed on detainees was lawful, as it did with the “enhanced” techniques themselves.

“The CIA appears to have broken all accepted legal and ethical standards put in place since the Second World War to protect prisoners from being the subjects of experimentation,” said Frank Donaghue, PHR’s Chief Executive Officer. “Not only are these alleged acts gross violations of human rights law, they are a grave affront to America’s core values.”

Physicians for Human Rights demands that President Obama direct the Attorney General to investigate these allegations, and if a crime is found to have been committed, prosecute those responsible. Additionally, Congress must immediately amend the War Crimes Act (WCA) to remove changes made to the WCA in 2006 by the Bush Administration that allow a more permissive definition of the crime of illegal experimentation on detainees in US custody. The more lenient 2006 language of the WCA was made retroactive to all acts committed by US personnel since 1997.

“In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime – illegal experimentation on prisoners,” said Nathaniel A. Raymond, Director of PHR’s Campaign Against Torture and lead report author. “Justice Department lawyers appear to never have assessed the lawfulness of the alleged research on detainees in CIA custody, despite how essential it appears to have been to their legal cover for torture.”

PHR’s report, Experiments in Torture, is relevant to present-day national security interrogations, as well as Bush-era detainee treatment policies. As recently as February, 2010, President Obama’s then director of national intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, disclosed that the US had established an elite interrogation unit that will conduct “scientific research” to improve the questioning of suspected terrorists. Admiral Blair declined to provide important details about this effort.

“If health professionals participated in unethical human subject research and experimentation they should be held to account,” stated Scott A. Allen, MD, a medical advisor to Physicians for Human Rights and lead medical author of the report. “Any health professional who violates their ethical codes by employing their professional expertise to calibrate and study the infliction of harm disgraces the health profession and makes a mockery of the practice of medicine.”

Several prominent individuals and organizations in addition to PHR will file a complaint this week with the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) and call for an OHRP investigation of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services.

The PHR report indicates that there is evidence that health professionals engaged in research on detainees that violates the Geneva Conventions, The Common Rule, the Nuremberg Code and other international and domestic prohibitions against illegal human subject research and experimentation. Declassified government documents indicate that:

  • Research and medical experimentation on detainees was used to measure the effects of large- volume waterboarding and adjust the procedure according to the results. After medical monitoring and advice, the CIA experimentally added saline, in an attempt to prevent putting detainees in a coma or killing them through over-ingestion of large amounts of plain water. The report observes: “‘Waterboarding 2.0’ was the product of the CIA’s developing and field-testing an intentionally harmful practice, using systematic medical monitoring and the application of subsequent generalizable knowledge.”
  • Health professionals monitored sleep deprivation on more than a dozen detainees in 48-, 96- and 180-hour increments. This research was apparently used to monitor and assess the effects of varying levels of sleep deprivation to support legal definitions of torture and to plan future sleep deprivation techniques.
  • Health professionals appear to have analyzed data, based on their observations of 25 detainees who were subjected to individual and combined applications of “enhanced” interrogation techniques, to determine whether one type of application over another would increase the subject’s “susceptibility to severe pain.” The alleged research appears to have been undertaken only to assess the legality of the “enhanced” interrogation tactics and to guide future application of the techniques.

Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the ‘Enhanced’ Interrogation Program is the most in-depth expert review to date of the legal and medical ethics issues concerning health professionals’ involvement in researching, designing and supervising the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation program. The Experiments in Torture report is the result of six months of investigation and the review of thousands of pages of government documents. It has been peer-reviewed by outside experts in the medical, biomedical and research ethics fields, legal experts, health professionals and experts in the treatment of torture survivors.

The lead author for this report was Nathaniel Raymond, Director of the Campaign Against Torture, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) and the lead medical author was Scott Allen, MD, Co-Director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at Brown University and Medical Advisor to PHR. They were joined in its writing by Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD, PHR Senior Medical Advisor; Allen Keller, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine, Director, Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture; Stephen Soldz, PhD, President-elect of Psychologists for Social Responsibility and Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation and Program Development at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis; Steven Reisner, PhD, PHR Advisor on Ethics and Psychology; and John Bradshaw, JD, PHR Chief Policy Officer and Director of PHR’s Washington Office.

The report was extensively peer reviewed by leading experts in related medical, legal, ethical and governmental fields addressed in the document.

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