U.S. medical officers charged with facilitating torture of detainees

A confidential report produced by the International Committee of the Red Cross charges that U.S. medical officers helped the Central Intelligence Agency facilitate and, in some cases, participated in the torture of "high value detainees" in Guantanamo Bay in 2006. The report, which was circulated to a small group of recipients in 2007, was posted yesterday on The New York Review of Books website by journalist Mark Danner. Medical officers working for the CIA monitored prisoners to make sure they didn't drown when interrogators subjected them to a torture method known as waterboarding, according to prisoners' statements included in the ICRC report. 

The Red Cross also stated that the role of CIA medical officers was to support interrogators, not to ensure the health and well being of the prisoners. The report added that medical officers "gave instructions to continue, to adjust, or to stop particular [interrogation] methods." In some cases, medical officers allegedly supervised or assisted in exposing prisoners to extreme temperatures, forcing them to stand in painful positions for days, and threatening them with "electric shocks, infection with HIV and sodomy," according to the Red Cross report. 

The report does not indicate what level of medical training the CIA medical officers had, such as whether they were doctors or nurses, or whether they were still licensed to practice medicine.

For more information:
- see the Associated Press story
- also see the Red Cross report here