Kommentar

Det amerikanske militære tar inn psykologisk ekspertise for å assistere forhørsledere. Psykiatre og psykologer har siden desember 2002 deltatt i egne team som rådgir forhørslederne om svakhet ved fangen, som kan utnyttes til å presse informsjon av ham. Avsløringen har vakt oppsikt og til dels sterke reaksjoner blant fagfolk.

Saken blir kjent fordi to forskere har fått intervjue leger som har arbeidet på Guantanamo. Artikkelen er lagt ut på websiden til the New England Journal of Medicine.

New York Times har for sin del fått snakke med forhørsledere, mot streng anonymitet:

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, in the hopes of making them more cooperative and willing to provide information. In one example, interrogators were told that a detainee’s medical files showed he had a severe phobia of the dark and suggested ways in which that could be manipulated to induce him to cooperate.
….
Several ethics experts outside the military said there were serious questions involving the conduct of the doctors, especially those in units known as Behavioral Science Consultation Teams, BSCT, colloquially referred to as «biscuit» teams, which advise interrogators.

«Their purpose was to help us break them,» one former interrogator told The Times earlier this year.

The interrogator said in a more recent interview that a biscuit team doctor, having read the medical file of a detainee, suggested that the inmate’s longing for his mother could be exploited to persuade him to cooperate.

Pentagon forsvarer

En Pentagon-talsmann kommer med et forsvar som må betegnes som heller tynt: de opptrer ikke som behandlende helsepersonell, men som konsulenter på atferd.

Bryan Whitman, a senior Pentagon spokesman, declined to address the specifics in the accounts. But he suggested that the doctors advising interrogators were not covered by ethics strictures because they were not treating patients but rather were acting as behavioral scientists.

Forbud
Den Amerikanske psykiatri-foreningen har eksplisitte forbud mot denne type aktivitet. For psykologene er det mer uavklart. Foreningen har nedsatt en komite som ser å problemet.

Pentagon har nylig utstedt nye retningslinjer og de forbyr helsepersonell å delta i forbudt praksis. Men de kan delta i lovlige forhør.

The guidelines include prohibitions against doctors’ participating in abusive treatment, but they all make an exception for «lawful» interrogations. As the military 2_kommentartains that its interrogations are lawful and that prisoners at Guantánamo are not covered by the Geneva Conventions, those provisions would seem to allow the behavior described by interrogators and the medical journal.

Artikkelen i New England Medical Journal er skrevet av

Dr. M. Gregg Bloche, who teaches at Georgetown University Law School and is a fellow at the Brookings Institution, and Jonathan H. Marks, a British lawyer who is a fellow in bioethics at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities.

Forfatterne er sterkt kritiske til anvendelsen av leger og psykologer og mener de lett vil komme til å bryte internasjonale konvensjoner.

Pasient-konfidensialitet blir en illusjon. Hvis en forhørsleder ønsket å se fangens medisinske historie, var det bare å snakke med en av legeteamet, sier en forhørsleder til Nytimes.

Interrogators Cite Doctors’ Aid at Guantánamo

Doctors and Interrogators at Guantanamo Bay