Panel: U.S. Doctors Violated Medical, Ethical Standards In Detention Facilities

Clara Ritger | National Journal | November 4, 2013

U.S. military and intelligence agencies improperly required doctors and health professionals to participate in "cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment and torture of detainees," an independent panel has found.

The Task Force on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centers concludes that at the request of the Defense Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, physicians performed acts that defied their medical ethics and practice, including participating in the abusive interrogation of detainees and force-feeding hunger strikers, following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

A DOD spokesman confirmed that detainees who refused to eat were fed through nasogastric intubation, the insertion of a tube through the nose.

"We have a very specific mandate to keep the detainees alive," said Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale. "The medical professionals that are employed at Guantanamo provide humane treatment and necessary care to the detainees. Not one of [the Task Force] has any access to the detainees. It's high comedy that one can opine about someone's condition without having seen them."