Experiments on the tortured

EXPERIMENTS ON THE TORTURED…. The list of gut-wrenching truths was already long. We know the Bush administration tortured people. We know the White House approved of the torture, and that White House lawyers rationalized the torture. We know the torture was illegal, and that the same acts have been prosecuted by U.S. officials in the past.

The fact that experiments were incorporated into the torture seems like a new one.

Medical professionals who were involved in the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogations of terrorism suspects engaged in forms of human research and experimentation in violation of medical ethics and domestic and international law, according to a new report from a human rights organization.

Doctors, psychologists and other professionals assigned to monitor the C.I.A.’s use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques gathered and collected data on the impact of the interrogations on the detainees in order to refine those techniques and ensure that they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration’s lawyers, the report found. But, by doing so, the medical professionals turned the detainees into research subjects, according to the report, which is scheduled to be published on Monday by Physicians for Human Rights.

The data collected by medical professionals from the interrogations of detainees allowed the C.I.A. to judge the emotional and physical impact of the techniques, helping the agency to “calibrate the level of pain experienced by detainees during interrogation, ostensibly to keep it from crossing the administration’s legal threshold of what it claimed constituted torture,” the report said. That meant that the medical professionals crossed the line from treating the detainees as patients to treating them as research subjects, the report asserted.

The CIA flatly denied that any of their “detention programs” included “human subject research,” but the report from Physicians for Human Rights seems to clearly document exactly that.

It’s worth emphasizing an observation that Adam Serwer noted: “According to PHR, these practices violate domestic and international prohibitions against involuntary human experimentation, most ominously the Nuremberg Code, which was put in place after the Holocaust.”

Of course, the real scandal is that Obama is like Spock and his White House asked a Senate candidate who applied for an administration job if he was still interested.

You see, torture and using detainees in medical research are defensible. “Chicago-style politics” is the real outrage.