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"I don't think we had any idea doctors were involved to this extent, and it will shock most physicians," said George Annas, a professor of health law, bioethics and human rights at Boston University.

The Washington Post has a fresh story about a part of the torture scandal that torques me considerably.

Euphemistically titled Psychologists Helped Guide Interrogations, the article does lay out, surprisingly, what I would say: that medical professionals - Medical Doctors, Psychologists, etc - who participated in, supervised, 'guided', designed, monitored, influenced, or provided rational and/or other forms of service that perpetuated these events must be identified and they should be banned from practice.

Their names are among the few details censored in the long-concealed Bush administration memos released Thursday, but the documents show a steady stream of psychologists, physicians and other health officials who both kept detainees alive and actively participated in designing the interrogation program and monitoring its implementation. Their presence also enabled the government to argue that the interrogations did not include torture.

They used their talents and arts, which are cultivated over years solely to HELP people and they turn it on its head and they hurt people, cause and magnify suffering and torment, and they made up deceitful stories, which, in this case, are worse than just lies, to justify it and to  encourage others to break the law.

I lump torturing people in with rape and child molestation. It is a primary violation of another person's human rights. Torture is unacceptable, there is no rationalization for it, it does not accomplish what it purports to do, and it it not really used for what they say it is used for.

Torture is primarily used to inflict fear on the population in general: Behave or this will happen to you. This alone makes an obscene mockery of Hippocratic Oath.

Once people are willing to break this taboo, they are compromised. There's no "reverse gear" so far as I have learned. And the folks we are talking about have broken this taboo with the expressed encouragement of those above them, and of very powerful people way above them, assuring them they are doing right.

For soldiers, this is one thing, for licensed healthcare professionals and those supervising and providing "creative legal fantasies" to encourage complicity with the torture, is really another level entirely.  Putting their credentials and authority towards harming some people and encouraging others to harm them when you're supposed to be helping people is .....  evil.

"The health professionals involved in the CIA program broke the law and shame the bedrock ethical traditions of medicine and psychology," said Frank Donaghue, chief executive of Physicians for Human Rights, an international advocacy group made up of physicians opposed to torture. "All psychologists and physicians found to be involved in the torture of detainees must lose their license and never be allowed to practice again."  

It is NOT ok for these people to skate any more than it is OK for Bush a Cheney any of those dirtbags to skate. But it appears the Obama Administration is going to protect them at that level. Which sucks.

We can also rule out any sort of consequences for the people at the CIA, who designed all this stuff to begin with: they are protected too.

But the soldiers - Lyddie England, for example - folks at that basic level, need to be investigated and counseled. As following orders can't be an excuse for being part of a group where detainees died from torture, charges have to be considered where appropriate.

But Medical doctors and psychologists are special concerns:  they have used their knowledge, and stature and talent to torture people in profound violation of professional ethics and in violation of International law. And they used their authority to encourage those subordinate to them to break the laws and violate international laws.

A line has to be drawn somewhere.

Originally posted to Toking Points Memo on Sun Apr 19, 2009 at 02:06 PM PDT.

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