A new report by the watchdog group Physicians for Human Rights alleges Monday that the Bush Administration experimented on terrorism suspects during their enhanced interrogation program put in force starting in 2002.
The group’s review, which examined Bush-era documentation, asserts that the administration violated laws set up in the wake of the Holocaust to prevent medical testing on prisoners of war. (Nazi doctors sometimes experimented on their prisoners.)
The report states that, “Medical personnel were required to monitor all waterboarding practices and collect detailed medical information that was used to design, develop and deploy subsequent waterboarding procedures.” Notes the Associated Press:
For example, the report said, doctors recommended adding salt to the water used for waterboarding, so the patient wouldn’t experience hyponatremia, “a condition of low sodium levels in the blood caused by free water intoxication.”
The report interpreted that doctor-recommended practice of using saline solution as “Waterboarding 2.0.”
It also said information was gathered on the pain inflicted when various techniques were used in combination. Raymond said the purpose was to see if the pain caused violated Bush administration definitions of torture, rather than as a safeguard of the detainees’ health.
Medical personnel, the report said, also monitored sleep deprivation, with sleepless stints from 48 hours to 180 hours — again to make sure it did not cause prolonged physical and mental suffering, as per those Bush administration definitions, rather than to watch out for harm to the detainee.
“We’re not writing the indictment here,” author Nathaniel Raymond told the Associated Pres. “We’re seeing there needs to be a search warrant. If the White House does not act on this, it’s turning its back on something that could be perceived as a war crime.”
The CIA vehemently denied the allegations in the report.