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From ‘Do No Harm’ to Torture

Posted on Sep 3, 2009

By Eugene Robinson

Torture is a delicate business. The aim is to injure but not incapacitate—to inflict precisely enough pain and terror to break a subject’s will, but no more. To calibrate the proper degree of abuse, the torturer must have an accurate sense of how much agony the subject’s mind and body can tolerate.

In the Bush administration’s program of “enhanced interrogation,” this expertise was provided by doctors and psychologists—professionals who are supposed to heal and comfort. A new report by Physicians for Human Rights assembles the evidence and reaches a sickening but inescapable conclusion: “Health professionals played central roles in developing, implementing and providing justification for torture.” 

Dwell on that for a moment, especially if you believe the Bush administration’s decision to submit terrorism suspects to medieval interrogation practices was somehow justifiable—or even if you believe that torture was wrong but that now we should “look forward” and pretend it never happened. This is how torture warps a society and distorts its values.

Much of the information cited by Physicians for Human Rights had previously been unearthed, but some new details were disclosed in the CIA inspector general’s report released last week—revealing “a level of ethical misconduct that had not previously come to light,” in the words of the human rights group.

From sources that include published reports, an inquiry by the International Committee of the Red Cross and various documents pried out of the government by organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, here is some of what we know:


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The interrogation program—using 11 abusive “enhanced” techniques, including waterboarding—was designed by two Ph.D. psychologists. The techniques, according to a statement released in April by American Psychological Association President James H. Bray, “are tantamount to torture as defined by APA and international law.”

Said the APA: “The central tenet of psychology’s code of ethics is, like that of medicine, to do no harm. It is unthinkable that any psychologist could assert that stress positions, forced nudity, sleep deprivation, exploiting phobias, and waterboarding—along with other forms of torture techniques that the American Psychological Association has condemned and prohibited—cause no lasting damage to a human being’s psyche.”

According to Bray, “There is one ethical response to an order to torture: Disobey the order.”

We know that medical doctors were asked to sign off on the “enhanced” techniques. We know from detainees themselves, as quoted by the Red Cross, that there was medical monitoring of waterboarding sessions. We know from the CIA inspector general’s report that a 2004 letter from a Justice Department official reauthorizing the use of waterboarding specified a maximum of two two-hour sessions per day, with both a doctor and a psychologist present.

From the torturer’s point of view, this probably looks like compassion—an attempt to ensure that interrogators didn’t go too far, that they didn’t cause permanent harm, that they stayed within bureaucratic guidelines. But from any other perspective, it’s simply and starkly grotesque.

That any medical doctor would help design or review a program of torture, let alone be present when an abusive interrogation amounting to torture was being conducted, would be a gross ethical violation.

The American Medical Association’s code of ethics “forcefully states medicine’s opposition to torture or coercive interrogation and prohibits physician participation in such activities,” according to a letter AMA officials sent to President Barack Obama in April. AMA guidelines state that “physicians must neither conduct nor directly participate in an interrogation,” and that doctors “must not monitor interrogations with the intention of intervening in the process, because this constitutes direct participation.”

So how was our government supposed to conduct abusive interrogations without the guidance of psychologists to tell them whether they were irreparably damaging the subject’s mind or physicians to tell them whether they were irreparably damaging the subject’s body? It would have been impossible.

Doctors and psychologists might have been able to prevent this whole shameful episode by refusing to participate. Instead, professionals who were trained in the healing arts used their experience and skill in a way that facilitated harm. They played a vital role in enabling torture.

I like to believe that some psychologists and physicians took a stand and said no. As for those who said yes, the law should hold them accountable—just as conscience, one hopes, is already doing.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)

© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group

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By squirrel, June 25, 2010 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

CDR Gary Hoyt, a clinical psychologist with the Navy, played a big role in torture
procedures.  He is licensed in the state of Virginia.  Encourage all to file

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By MarthaA, September 11, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

An excerpt from George Bush, The CIA, Mind Control & Child Abuse

“During the war, the allies had captured documents in the Nazis experiments on inmates of Dachau with mescaline and other psychedelics in a search for a truth serum. The doctor in charge of the Dachau experiments was Dr. Hubertus Strughold. Strughold was also involved in barbaric high altitude experiments on inmates of Dachau. Strughold was brought to the United States under the Project Paperclip and became America’s father of space medicine. His use of mind-altering drugs on inmates provided the foundation for the CIA’s research into truth serums and mind control.”

“The United States first foray into truth serums started in 1947 as Project CHATTER initiated by the navy. The project was terminated in 1953. In 1949, at the Edgewood Arsenal the CIA began project Bluebird using Nazi scientists to find a truth serum. Project Bluebird evolved into Project Artichoke and eventually into MK-Ultra. MK-UTRA was much larger in focusing on mind control and the means to achieve it was not limited to drugs and psychedelics. MK-ULTRA experiments including using hypnosis, lobotomy, electroshock, sensory deprivation, ESP, and drugs experiments in hypnosis, lobotomy, electroshock, sensory deprivation, ESP, drugs and sexual abuse.”

“Ironically, the CIA’s first widespread use of sex came from a program to blackmail United States politicians conducted by Edwin Wilson. The political targets were enticed to live out their sexual fantasies in the flesh. With hidden cameras ready the unsuspecting politician would be filmed, which would later be used to blackmail him into supporting the agency’s projects and views. Wilson’s skill in these matters dated back to the early 1950s, when he took over a network of homosexual and pedophile rings from CIA asset and McCarthy Committee counsel Roy Cohn.”

“While MK-ULTRA focused primarily on the use of drugs for mind control other CIA projects evolved to use trauma to induce control or the victim’s mind such as Project Monarch. Project Monarch officially began in the early 1960s, although unofficially at a much earlier date. Monarch may have evolved out of MK-SEARCH subprojects such as SPELLBINDER, which was a program to create the Manchurian candidate or sleeper assassins that could be activated with code words.”

“MK-ULTRA still remains classified as top secret. Officially, the CIA refuses to acknowledge it.
“Alpha is regarded as general programming within the base personality.”

“Beta programming or sexual programming eliminates all learned moral behavior and stimulates the primitive sexual instinct, devoid of inhibitions.”

“Delta is known as killer programming. Subjects are devoid of fear and are very systematic in carrying out their assignment. Self-destruct or suicide instructions are layered in at this level.”  (cont. at following link)

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By drbhelthi, September 10, 2009 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

Since the takeover of the USA by the US/NAZI organization, OSS/CIA in the 1950s, and sliding a
NAZI spy into the 41st US presidency, the US citizenry does not contribute to national decisions. The CIA has ruled the USA since the 1950s, with its disinformation program and its “black budget” that not even the US congress can access.  The CIA, with assistance of the zionists, who own/control the “Federal Reserve,” has deliberately misinformed Americans and the world, and led the USA into bankruptcy.  The distortion that occurs in the midst of such process is cleared off only afterwards, if ever. Examplia gratia, the trials at Nuremburg of the NAZI war criminals.  The targeted NAZIs were carefully selected by the US/NAZI government as scapegoats. A select few, such as Werner von Braun, another NAZI war criminal, are selected to become heroes. 
Torture is not an information-gaining technique. 
It is a procedure that is inflicted by the- at the moment – stronger, onto the at-the-moment weaker, to punish the “weaker” for not conforming to the desires of the “stronger.”  Psychologists and physicians who assist with such torture should be street-sweepers.  The “stronger” gratifies himself with the tormented writhings of the “weaker,” feeding his sick mentality.  While such self-ingratiation has been demonstrated by dictator-types throughout history, the USA went into high-gear with the Reagan-Bush administration.  When Reagan was almost-assassinated, George H.W. Bush Sr. (Georg H. Scherff Jr, of Doerlitzsch s.e. of Leipzig) took over the presidency and used Reagan for his movie-star abilities. Simply googling for “Bush NAZI” and “Otto Skorzeny” provides adequate information to clear off the naievete of open-minded folk.  Take a look at what has been done to journalism, freedom of speech and freedom of movement since Georg H.W. Bush Jr. (Georg H. Scherff III) was defrauded into the U.S. presidency - - .  Thanks to the NAZIs and the zionists, who plan to collapse the U.S.of A. during or just after Christmas, 2009, and the naivete of Americans.  Neither NAZIs nor zionists believe in Christmas.  They plan to assassinate it in the process of assassinating the U.S.ofA., and all who do believe, just as they assassinated the Christ.  Since the Almighty cast israel aside, approx. two thousand years ago, zionists have consistently tried to torture the Almighty, for not fulfilling the historical plan conjectured by israeli zionists.  Take a look at their genocide and repopulation of Palestine.  Which Bush provided them with nuclear weapons, Bush Sr. or Bush Jr. ?  Genocide and repopulation is being attempted in New Orleans and California, is underway in Irak and Afghanistan, is speeding up in the U.S.ofA. and the entire western world.  The acquisition of “oil reserves” is only a “banner” being misused by leading zionists.  The conformity superimposed onto the German folk in the 1930s has been imposed onto the U.S.of A. via Patriot Act bastardization of the U.S. Constitution. Who was the alleged U.S. president that initiated the bastardization ?  And who claimed to be a believer in Christmas as he satanized America?  dr.b_helthi

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By MarthaA, September 10, 2009 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment


Lindsey Graham is one of the Right-Wing Conservative servitor Crusader-type Christians, who rely on themselves, without God, to do man’s work for God, that Matthew 15:8-9 speaks about:  “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

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By bogi666, September 9, 2009 at 3:06 am Link to this comment

MarthaA, Graham is also a self professed christian.Just makes me feel so fuzzy and secure with great minds like him guarding the store. It is beyond Graham and his ilk that after 500 years torture didn’t work, not for lack of trying.

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By MarthaA, September 9, 2009 at 12:06 am Link to this comment


Lindsey Graham is a good little Right-Wing Conservative EXTREMIST Republican servitor.

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By bogi666, September 8, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Not to worry folks,Repubican Senator Lindsay Graham has reassured us that since “these torture techniques have been used for 500 years it must be because they work and must continue to be used”. What a great philosopher he is and being from South Carolina who would have guessed that he’s the successor to Strom Thurmond. By the token lynching of blacks should be reinstated because it worked so well to keep them in their place in society, afraid.

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By Jean Gerard, September 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here’s something to hope on:  Yes, there never has been a time without torture in one form or another, someplace or another.  But torture, like most other evils, is a choice, not an inevitability.  Individual people make such choices.  If the majority of people agree that torture is immoral, they pass laws forbidding it and providing for punishment (hopefully less torturous than the original torture!) The torturer is arrested, receives a fair trial and is judged by a jury of his peers, and a judge recommends a sentence if the accused is decided to be guilty. So . . . if we choose not to prosecute, it is more likely that torture will continue, rather than not.  The whole scene is a mare’s nest of moral choices, but what else is there than honest efforts to stop it when it occurs?  To do nothing is to refuse to use what methods are available to hold the line on ugly human impulses.  (Not that we don’t all have ugly human impulses, but that the worst of them have to be held in check to prevent universal madness.)

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By Folktruther, September 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

It is quite true, Ouroboros, that ALL class-based powersystems of national or regional homelands are barbaric to varying degrees.  The reason that the US is so dangerous to the people of the world is that the US is getting MORE barbaric over historical time, and is still extremely powerful with theromonuclear weapons.

When the War on Communism of the 20th century morphed into the War on Terrorism of the 21st, the US transformed its power system to implement historical reaction: endless war, colonialism, torture, rape, increasing economic inequality.  The identification with violence, huge military budgets and selling two thirds of the world’s military weaons, is using its desposible money on current war aims, rather than on future investment.

Which means that the American ruling class have given on future growth, and simply want to retain their present power with violence.  This has made the US power system a danger to the whole world, and to the American people as well. 

The present US power system is fundamentally different than the bourgeous Democracy of the past, just as the military dictatorship of Roman Empire was different from the Republic.  Although the Senate and the other institutions were still in place, devoid of power.

The US is dscending into barbarism, rule by violence, bribery and deceit, just as Nazi Germany did last century, but now in a world with nuclear weapons.

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By MarthaA, September 6, 2009 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment


Talk about fascism, if Floyd Abrams gets his way our country will have full blown fascism.  Bill Moyers interviewed Floyd Abrams and Trevor Potter the FOR and AGAINST attorneys who will be representing their case to the Supreme Court on whether or not the CORPORATIONS should have individual FREE SPEECH like individual people, even though corporations are cooperatives, instead of individuals, whose sole purpose is to make MONEY, not at all like Unions whose sole purpose is to to make a way for individuals to be able to earn a living wage.  Read it, it is scary to think a corporation, instead of its management,  could have legal FREE SPEECH as if an individual person, when corporations are actually cooperatives:

PBS Bill Moyers Journal Transcript:
September 4, 2009

BILL MOYERS: Joining us now is Trevor Potter who had a hand in creating the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation. On its behalf, he has filed one of the more than 50 friend-of-the-court briefs submitted in this current Supreme Court case.

Trevor Potter heads the political activity law practice of the firm Caplin & Drysdale in Washington and served as general counsel to John McCain during the Senator’s 2000 and 2008 Presidential Campaigns. He’s former chairman of the federal election commission. And he’s the founding president of the campaign legal center. A nonpartisan group committed to quote: “Representing the public interest in the enforcement of campaign and media law.” Good to have you.

TREVOR POTTER: Thank you very much.

BILL MOYERS: What’s the public interest in this case?

TREVOR POTTER: The public interest in this case is enormous. It has grown significantly as the Supreme Court has changed the case. It started with a question of whether a particular film funded with for-profit corporate money could be advertised on television. It has morphed, or the Supreme Court has turned it, into a case about whether 100 years of American tradition of regulating the speech of for-profit corporations in election should be changed. Whether the Supreme Court should legislate that what the government has done for 100 years, starting with Theodore Roosevelt, what more than 22 states do, in terms of restricting corporate spending in elections should be overturned. That’s a big deal.

BILL MOYERS: I’ve read your brief. And you clearly think it’s dangerous—you didn’t use that word. But dangerous to allow corporations and unions to spend so much money in an election, and at certain times. I mean, but don’t they have important questions to address?

TREVOR POTTER: Well, let’s start with a couple things. First, everyone says corporations and unions and it sounds as if there’s some parody here. This is a case about corporate money. If this case is won by the corporation, we will be in the ironic situation where corporations will have no limits on what they can spend in elections and unions still will. So, it’s important to remember we’re talking about corporations.

BILL MOYERS: But aren’t those corporations, don’t they have important things to say, important issues?

TREVOR POTTER: They probably have a lot to say. The question is, first of all, who are they? Now, you and I have never seen a corporation walking down the street and we haven’t seen one in the voting booth. That’s because corporations are creatures of the state. That sounds like some piece of law school mumbo jumbo, but it’s not. Corporations exist, because government said, “We’re going to give you limited liability for commercial, for economic purposes. We’re going to take somebody who might have lost everything they invested and we’re going to say you can limit your liability by having a corporate form. You only lose what you invest.”

That was an economic revolution when it happened. But it was done for (cont. in above transcript link)

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By edward, September 6, 2009 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unfortunately individuals that are willing to step over the line and participate in torture have no conscience, therefore I doubt they are losing sleep over their actions.

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By Ouroborus, September 6, 2009 at 5:31 am Link to this comment

Folktruther, September 5 at 5:18 pm #
“Especially in the US, an aging power system
descending historically into barbarism.”


It would be enlightening if you could illustrate a
time in our history when we weren’t practicing
barbarism towards any given group at any given time.
I’ve yet to find an example.

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By KDelphi, September 5, 2009 at 2:31 pm Link to this comment

Yes, and the implication is not quite as subtle as one might think.

When private militaries are employed by private citizens and the govt to treat protestors as enemy combatants, the notsubtle picture of Abu Gharib and GITMO is very intentionally popping into peoples heads. It is a cruel power and gives an honest citizen goosebumps thinking abou tit.

I have them now. There were all someone’s child or husband, you know, peeps. He is YOURS—your brother. Your fellow human being, who may have possibly just grown up in a different part of the world, and indoctrinated with another religion.

Until we learn to treat our fellow human beings with some decency, equality and a sense of the fellowship of humankind, we will not treat each other any better.

These “drs” just became tools of a general attitude of Imperialism and fascism.

What is it, live together as brothers or perish alone as fools.

We’re all going to die—I dont want to die torturing my fellow human beings.

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By Folktruther, September 5, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, Jean Girard, it is perfectly possible to develop an effecive science of torture.  It is possible to develop a science of anything.  Of the form- if you do this, this will happen with that probability.  And this form of science was developed by the Nazis by using prisoners.

Science is not immoral, it is ammoral.  And those trained in science often become intellectual psychopaths.  Educated pscyhopaths.  It is these specialists that power structures use in precisely the same way the American millitary and intelligence agencies used the psychological psychopaths.

A ruling class does not sponsor a scientific tradition for intellectual enlightenment.  The specialized truths and techniques are contributed to the power system to develop military, business and ideological weapons that increase their power.  In social science as well as the natural sciences.  Especially in the US, an aging power system descending historically into barbarism.

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By KDelphi, September 5, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Jean Gerard—You are quite right about “Behaviorism” and its origins with animals experiments, ala B. F. Skinner and Pavlov, not to mention Harry Harlow’s monkeys who flew in the face of the selfishness of behaviorism by choosing a metal mother monkey covered with soft cloth over a metal mother monkey with a milk bottle on it.. But anyone who is a modern theorist abandoned the idea of “negative reinforcemtn” a long time ago, and indeed , it is illegal in most states . Further, it doesnt work!”

Positive reinforcement can be useful, but should never be substituted for a real relationship of trust and respect between a counselor and the person who has put their trust in them.

There is a school I read about where they are using shock belts on autistic kids (I used to work sith autistic kids and adults—you simply need to use a higher counselor/kid ratio and it costs money)
—so the “theory” still springs up and it does “make things quieter”—but, i say if you wish things to be “quiet” you are in the wrong field. Except for occasionaly going into a world of their own, if a room of people with autistic spectrum are quiet, youd better see if they are sick. People can be restrained, harmlessly, with the appropriate number of staff, but there are limits on that, to. All in all, if you are looking for a quiet job with well-behaving kids, go to a private school, I guess…

Massachusetts, NY and Illinois…coming to a US child Abu Gharib near you.

See, people think that the “torture ’ will just be used on someone other than The culture itself allows for torture and death in pursuit of profits and it wil not stop with “enemy combatants”, and the definitions of what the govt considers that to be are fightening. Obama is also caling for an indefinite detention center program, where you have no right to know what you are charged with.

Here is a petiton to sign, advocating AGAINST the use of shock therapy on autistic children—yes, I’ve heard some parents like it, and some parents like to keep their ,kids in a shed, too.


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By Irene, September 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They weren’t on ego trips, they were on a money trip. Most people have ’ their price’, there’s few people we know that we could call ’ persons with integrity’.

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By linkman, September 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I find this disturbing

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By mackTN, September 5, 2009 at 11:36 am Link to this comment

Cheney desperately tries to block this “unraveling” of the hidden agendas, knowing that he and Bush will have a legacy representing the dark days of democracy.  I wonder…if McCain had been elected would any of this information be leaking out…? 

Doctors, the health care industry, was vanquished long ago when HMOs were seized by insurance companies. Like our elected officials, they are purchased when needed.

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By Jean Gerard, September 5, 2009 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One problem here is the “belief” among some psychologists of the “behaviorist” school that punishment (called “negative reinforcement” or “aversive therapy”) can and should be used to change “undesirable” behavior. “Behaviorism” came out of early, rather simplistic, experiments with animal behavior done many years ago.Yet definitions of many of these words are still unclear and unrefined.  For instance, exactly how far toward “negative” can the “therapist” go?  How much of what the therapist does is based on “belief” and how much on fact?  Is behavior “undesirable” or is it inevitable, unavoidable, a natural consequence of previous experiences?  On and on, the theory is full of problems and unanswered questions.  It is in no way “scientific” or justifiable but almost purely assumptive, given the complexities of the human psyche. My take on the torture situation is that some psychologists were flattered to be called upon, and they let themselves betray their better instincts in favor of prestige, money or “experimentation.”  In any case, they made a big mistake and their licenses should be revoked at the very least.

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By Folktruther, September 5, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

Martha, it is not the far right conservatives that are conducting torture and rendition now; it is the party of Obama, Kucinich and Finegold.  The party that supports the War on Terrorism, the endless hot war that replaced historically the Cold War of the 20th century War on Communism.  It is the party of Liberal and Progressives that are torturing now.  Led by Obama, if only as a public relations figurehead.

Martha, if you are going to steal the oil reserves from Muslim countries, you have to intimidate and terrorize the population to prevent them from resisting.  As Israel does the Palestinians.  A war against populations REQUIRE torture, no matter who is in power.  And both the Gops and the Dems, who in policy are Gop-lite, if not in rhetoric, support the War on Terrorism, in practice if not in speeches.

It is quite true that there are only two major parties, but both are paid by the ruling class to oppose the interests of the people.  So a movement must arise that oppose BOTH parties along with the rest of the American power system.  The part of American history where it was possible to implement policies by supporting one party over another is over.  It is now in America a question of people against power.

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By Jim Yell, September 5, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nice to know that Dr. Mengele has not been forgotten. It is a comfort to know to what lengths profesionals will go to protect us from harm.

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By MarthaA, September 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

It is time to get back to the philosophy of 1st do no harm.  As a country we must not allow FAR RIGHT-WING CONSERVATIVE EXTREMISTS torturers back into government by never again allowing FAR RIGHT EXTREMIST CONSERVATIVES like Dick Cheney and the W. Bush administration to be selected into power in the United States, and the same goes for all CONSERVATIVES and Moderates in the Democratic Party, as the Democratic Party is suppose to be only LIBERALS for there to be balance between the Conservatives and the Liberals in only two political parties.

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By TAO Walker, September 4, 2009 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment

It is entirely gangster rules in your “civilized” virtual world, tame Sisters and Brothers.  The ‘basic rule’ is FEAR.  This is the essential nature of the CONtraption, “ it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be….”  You want something different?  Get together and get out of captivity.

The Way ‘out’ is NOT by overthrowing the cabal of your jailers-du jour, either, only to replace them with yet another ‘set’ .  It IS back into the Natural Organic Form of Humanity.  The Lakotah People call it Tiyoshpaye, which translates approximately into English as ‘Living Human Community.’ 

Right now, even as the damned thing is putting its terminal ‘squeeze’ on them, homo domesticus is desperately trying to figure-out how to keep the false comfort and degenerative CONveniences of “civilization” while getting rid somehow of its increasingly lethal ‘side-effects.’  This is the ultimate exercise-in efF-yoU-tility.

All this breast-beating over the ‘nazification’ of amerika makes about as much sense as complaining about the coldness of ice.  This has been a criminal enterprise from its inception, and the allo-pathic “medical profession” has always been among its chief enablers.  Neither will ever be anything else.  That its herds of erstwhile half-witting accomplices, a.k.a theamericanpeople, have lately become its principal ‘target-of-opportunism’ doubtless comes as quite a shock to most of ‘em….but nevertheless there it is.

The domesticated Peoples sure do need Medicine, but they will seek it in-vain from credentialed quacks and cure-all ‘drug’ pushers.  Look for it instead in us holocaust survivors among your free wild Turtle Island Relatives of all ‘kinds’....while we’re still around.  It will not be found any ‘place’ else.


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By WorkingClassDemocrat, September 4, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

I have spent 40 years working with physicians and there are many that are truly incredible, caring individuals.  On the other hand, a few are whores who went into the profession for money or personal aggrandizement.  And then, there are those dangerous few who are intoxicated by the headrush of power over life and death.  I think we have uncovered a sampling of the latter.

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By Folktruther, September 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

torture is NOT a delicate business; justifying it is. The APA that Robinson details as fighting torture in fact legitimated it for years.  Finally a pschologist, Price, helped form an election of pxchologists to defeat the notion that it was legitimate for pschologists to assist the US power system in tortuing prisoners.

The vote was 8000 to 6000, with six thousand psychoogists voting to permit torture.

The support of scholars and scientists for the Nazi regime was not an historical aberration.  The Educated are indoctrinated into an Elitism along with their specialized knowledge that emphasizes their career objectives over common decency. 

Most Educated medical professionals are emphatically NOT like KDelphi, whoi insists on humanity.  And the problem isn’t that they are only human.  On the contrary, they have been Educated to be inhuman.

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

I suppose that USAns think that such things would never be visited upon them, the ‘Merkin citizenry!

Anyone who knows much about the CIA knows that if this is condoned, it is only a matter of time.

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By bogi666, September 4, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

NAZI MEDICAL PRACTITIONER, Dr. Joseph Mengele must be smiling in his grave about the legacy he helped to usher in, socially acceptable and condoned torture. His protege’s are continuing Mengele’s work well and the American taxpayers should be proud for funding the continuation of Dr. Mengele’s work.

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By alexhidell, September 4, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess the famous Milgram experiment applies to psychiatrists and doctors too.  There are always a few who will obey ANY order from any authority figure.

In my life I’ve learned from the book The Harlot By The Side of the Road, in the chapter dealing with Zipporah who fought with God to save Mose’s life when God wanted to kill him, that God seems to respect those who wrestle with him/her.

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By KDelphi, September 4, 2009 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

There is no excuse. You can always work somewhere else to go into another field. I walked off of a job, due to treatment of clients, and it was remedied and I returned. If it hadnt been remedied, they knew I would have gone to our state licensing board (I actually did once and was offered a job there but decided to stay with my clients).

You might not be very popular with others following flawed protocal for awhile, but you are supposed to be there for those that cannot speak for themselves.

It is true that once a person is in custody, it is not longer a battlefield or defense of one’s life situation and many of these people never should have been held in any case.

The idiotic Bush delclaration (with both parties help) to call people “enemy combatants” effectively put them into legal and ethical limbo, in some people’s mind—that was the point. If they were considered “charge d with a crime” or POWs , their treatment should not have been open to so much question.

“Medical or scientific experimentation on prisoners of war violates the laws of war and and basic precepts of human rights. It is also a major breach of long-established medical ethics, including the Hippocratic oath, which stipulate that medical personnel must provide care to the sick and wounded and do no harm….

“That health professionals who swear to oaths of healing so abused the sacred trust society places in us by instigating, legitimizing and participating in torture, is an abomination,” states co-author Allen Keller, MD, director of the Bellevue/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture. “Health professionals who aided torture must be held accountable by professional associations, by state licensing boards, and by society. Accountability is essential to maintain trust in our professions and to end torture, which scars bodies and minds, leaving survivors to endure debilitating injuries, humiliating memories and haunting nightmares.”


“The memos noted CIA guidelines that require the presence of doctors and psychologists for some of these methods. But it is clear that the central role of medical personnel at the interrogations was to analyze the “success” of various forms of torture in breaking the resistance of prisoners to interrogators…

“Not only were health professionals involved in designing and monitoring the CIA interrogation program, they also played an indirect but essential role in the legal justifications for the program prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC),” the report notes. “The OLC was asked by the CIA whether certain techniques constituted torture under [US law] by causing ‘severe physical or mental pain or suffering.’ Since the OLC lawyers had no direct experience of the techniques, they necessarily relied instead on the judgment of health professionals. Yet, in a striking example of bootstrapping, they turned for advice about the pain caused by the techniques to the very health professionals who were implementing them.”

Do people want these war criminals practicing medicine or counseling people here (or anywhere else) after they have subjected people to violations that should send them to the Hague?

Maybe the Dems will just license them to practice with Medicaid or the “public option”, as they do at the VA or Medicaid now—drs do not have to be bd certified and you cannot sue!

So much for saving money with tort reform

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By Alex Hidell, September 4, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Naomi Klein wrote about the actions of Dr. Ewan Cameron, an noted psychiatrist, who did dirty work for the CIA.  I haven’t read Alfred McCoy’s book A Question of Torture yet but am sure it too gives a litany of physicians who have tossed their Hippocratic Oath in the circular file in exchange for the CIA lucre (probably drug money from their other fiasco, the global heroin trade that McCoy also wrote about).

No oversight or, as far as we know, Congressional approval, for ANY of these crazed and, yes, ILLEGAL, actions.  But hey, that’s par for the course with the CIA.

The CIA should get rid of that “I” in their acronym.  It has no place being there.

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By bane-richter, September 4, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Who is going to swallow the first line of this Post article?
Defense Contractors on their way to work in the morning? Garbage.  First do no harm doesn’t have anything to do with a Physician determing that someone is a “potential danger to themselves or others”. Powerful brain disabling psychotropics have long been given to “potential terrorists”, or the so-called mentally ill as treatment Inc. prefers. Robinson epitomizes creeping desensitization to outright violence. In history, it’s always a subtle transition. Add economic hardship, a population driven by fear, then it’s easier to justify burning people alive in an oven or an F-16 strike. At that point, you’ll find gainfully employed writers assembling something like the following:
“Incinerating the enemy is a delicate business. The aim is to alleviate the terrorist threat in an efficient manner —to inflict precisely enough pain and terror to send a subject into the afterlife with feelings of regret and sorrow. To calibrate the proper degree of heat, the executioner must have an accurate sense of how much agony the subject’s mind and body can tolerate prior to the liberty of death”

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By sduford, September 4, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Of course the risk of long-term physical or psychological harm never entered
these doctor’s mind. For Bush and his cronies these prisoners were non-white,
non-Christian, and non-American, therefore their lives were not worth more than
that of animals destined to slaughter.

As the previous commenter noted, these are good Christian-American moral

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drbhelthi's avatar

By drbhelthi, September 4, 2009 at 4:30 am Link to this comment

Having been a doctoral level psychologist in the
employ of the US “gummament” for more than a few
years, I can readily understand this “catch 22” for psychologists and physicians. Wanting to be of
assistance to ones homeland is “patriotic.”
Determining the point at which a “subject” undergoes psychological damage, in order
to preserve the subjects integrity, requires genuine expertise. A nice idea, but impossible.
Basic in consideration is how the “subject” landed
in confinement, and interrogation. A person in his
homeland, who is defending against a hostile invader is defending his homeland. When the invading force takes him as prisoner, transfers him to the homeland of the invading force, a foul has occurred. However, such “fouls” are disguised by the “gummament” of the invading force. NAZI Germany of the 1940s for example. Perhaps NAZI US 1950s-2000s, to be decided by history?
Since the takeover of the USA by the US/NAZI
organization, OSS/CIA in the 1950s, and sliding a
NAZI spy into the 41st US presidency, the US
citizenry no longer decides - if they ever did. The CIA disinformation program, with its black budget that not even the US congress can access, rules, with assistance of the zionists, who own/control the “Federal Reserve.”  The distortion that occurs in the midst of the process is cleared off only afterwards. Examplia gratia, the trials at Nuremburg of the NAZI war criminals who were selected by the US/NAZI government as scapegoats. A select few, such as Werner von Braun get to become heroes.
Perhaps, such will occur somewhere in Europe a few
years from now, against the US war criminals who
have invaded various countries without cause, in
order to capture their oil reserves - and
coincidentally murder a few million folk in the
process. That is, if the current NAZI-types dont blow us off the face of the earth - which the UFO folk foresee. It is clear to me that NAZI-types do not want to be “defeated” again, not an exclusive German trait.
Doctoral-level psychologists and physicians are
basically only human. However, attaining the
doctoral level usually overrides most naievete. Few want to be jobless. But some of us would rather be jobless than ethically compromised.

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By andrushka, September 4, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

Of course I suppose that God whispered in their ear that “it’s ok, my son (GWB) said so”.  I guess it’s part of those famous American values!

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