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Guantanamo doctors aided interrogators, paper reports

Indianapolis Star | June 24, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Military doctors at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have aided interrogators in conducting and refining coercive interrogations of detainees, including providing advice on how to exploit fears, according to new, detailed accounts given by former interrogators.

The accounts, in interviews with The New York Times, come as mental health professionals are debating whether the doctors -- psychiatrists and psychologists at the prison camp -- have violated professional ethics codes. The Pentagon and mental health professionals have been examining the ethical issues involved.

The former interrogators said the military doctors' role was to advise them and their fellow interrogators on ways of increasing psychological duress on detainees, sometimes by exploiting their fears, to make them more cooperative and willing to provide information. In addition, the authors of an article published by The New England Journal of Medicine this week said that their interviews with doctors who helped devise and supervise the interrogation regimen at Guantanamo showed that the program was explicitly designed to increase fear and distress among detainees as a means to obtaining intelligence.

The military refused to give The Times permission to interview medical personnel at the isolated Guantanamo camp about their practices, and the medical journal did not name the officials interviewed by its authors. The handful of former interrogators who spoke to The Times about the practices at Guantanamo spoke on condition of anonymity; some said they had welcomed the doctors' assistance.

Pentagon officials said in interviews that the practices at Guantanamo violated no ethics guidelines, and they disputed the conclusions of the medical journal's article, which was posted on the journal's Web site on Wednesday.



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