Psychiatrists raise concern over torture involvement


The US military is violating international and professional agreements forbidding doctors to partake in any sort of interrogation.

Contrary to stated positions of various medical and psychiatric profession associations, the US military is training psychiatrists to be involved in military interrogations. So-called 'softening-up' techniques used in the interrogation of suspected terrorists of the sort used at Guantanamo Bay, are condemned by the World Medical Association, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychiatric Association.

The authors of a new study, The Ethics of Interrogation — The U.S. Military's Ongoing Use of Psychiatrists, revealed that five psychiatrists had been trained by the US military for involvement in torture. International codes already prohibit doctors, including psychiatrists, from partaking in military interrogations.

One of the study authors said, "It undermines the notion of psychiatrists as healers, and undermines trust in the profession,". The report follows on the heels of over 400 psychologists in the United States withholding dues to the American Psychological Association over its failure to explicitly condemn all forms of torture. The APA statement being protested against allows psychologists to be involved in the same 'softening-up' techniques the US military is training psychiatrists to partake in.

New England Journal of Medicine

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Sep 17 2008 18:19


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