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Doctors of the Dark Side on - The Best Documentaries... Instantly On Demand

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Waterboarding, sleep deprivation, walling, sensory deprivation and sexual humiliation are all torture tools that have been used in US-controlled military prisons. Post 9/11 they are standard practice for the CIA, with the horrific Abu Ghraib photos providing only the most extreme example. But in the shadows the men who implemented and covered up the torture have remained hidden; the physicians and psychologists. With incredible high-quality reconstructions this film reveals how they have facilitated some of the worst atrocities of the war on terror.

A bright white light flashes on and off incessantly. A phone rings and rings. A prisoner is kept in a cage, completely deprived of sleep through these stimuli. "Captured terrorists may be subjected to a wide range of legally sanctioned techniques designed to psychologically dislocate the detainee." This is what the CIA special guidlines for Medical Services says: guidelines the Obama administration have approved. The prisoner shouts wildly and incontrollably. The guidelines also highlight the key role medical staff are to play in these techniques. "Appropriate medical and psychological personnel must be on site during all detainee interrogations employing enhanced techniques." As Leonard Rubenstein from John Hopkins University points out in relation to the shocking pictures of terrible prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib, "Doctors weren't complicit, they were the centrepiece of torture".

"From Hippocrates to now, the standard for the healing professions has been simple: that the obligation is first and foremost to the patients well-being. Torture shatters that covenant", argues Nathaniel Raymond, the head of Physicians for Human Rights. So how did they become the cornerstone of a world superpower's torture regime? As Raymond McGovern, a retired CIA analyst, points out, "To warp a person, a professional doctor, into doing this kind of thing really is quite a trick. The sad thing is it is so easy with group mentalities."

Mohammed Jawad was detained for an alleged involvement in a grenade explosion, though he was later released without charge. While at Gitmo his interrogator became alarmed when Jawad, a teenager at the time, started talking to a wall. He asked a psychologist to check on his mental state. The psychologist said of him, "He appears frightened and it looks as if he could break easily if he were isolated...Make him as uncomfortable as possible. Work him as hard as possible".

The list of torture cases and different techniques overseen by medical practitioners during the US War on Terror is endless and yet not one of them has been investigated officially. Truly shocking considering the level of evidence in the public domain relating to their involvement in torture. As one human rights lawyer points out, they had it in their power to change the very frightening direction the treatment of prisoners has gone in. "If you took the health professionals out, the system as we know it would have come to a grinding halt."


  • 1.  redactieDP 04 Dec 2013 11:27


  • 2.  redactieDP 05 Dec 2013 20:49


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  • 4.  lfburris 21 Jan 2014 22:50

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