Disconnect between medical ethics and CIA torture: newspaper

Staff reporter

Questions have been raised about CIA's blurry line between torture and human experimentation after a newspaper report made public a previously classified document.

The Guardian published the document, guidelines to human experimentation.

CIA doctors helped revive Abu Zubaydah, the first terrorism detainee known to be waterboarded in CIA custody. Source: AAP


The Guardian says the guidelines give power to the spy agency's director to "approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research" even though no medical doctor has ever been appointed director.

The newspaper said CIA director George Tenet approved "abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding designed by CIA contractor psychologists".

CIA director George Tenet. Source: AAP

The 41-page guidelines show a tension between interrogation techniques and the agency's rules outlawing "research on human subjects" without their informed consent.

A former war crimes investigator for Physicians for Human Rights told the newspaper the CIA appeared to have manipulated the definition of human experimentation to ensure the torture program went ahead.

“Crime one was torture. The second crime was research without consent in order to say it wasn’t torture,” said Nathaniel Raymond, who is now a researcher with Harvard University’s Humanitarian Initiative.