For Immediate Release
CCR Endorses New Report Showing Evidence of Bush Administration Human Experimentation on Men in CIA Secret Detention
Today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following
statement in response to a new report by Physicians for Human Rights
(PHR), Experiments in Torture: Human Subject Research and Evidence of
Experimentation in the ‘Enhanced' Interrogation Program. Download the
report at http://phrtorturepapers.org.
Physicians for Human Rights has produced a powerful analysis of
declassified documents which provide evidence that doctors and officials
performed human experimentation and research on individuals in CIA
detention, in violation of the Nuremberg Code. From calibrating sleep
deprivation to refining waterboarding practices, the released documents
indicate that health professionals illegally experimented on individuals
in CIA secret detention. Looking at the evidence through this lens
opens new and important avenues for the prosecution of torturers,
particularly health professionals implicated in the creation of the
The health professionals monitored and adjusted various methods such as
waterboarding, sleep deprivation and the combined use of "enhanced"
interrogation techniques as interrogators performed them repeatedly on
individuals in the CIA's secret detention program. Part of the health
professionals' work appears to have been researching the individuals'
susceptibility to severe pain. By doing so, the health professionals
appear to have used their medical expertise to attempt to immunize
interrogators from future criminal liability by allowing interrogators
to claim they did not to cross the line of "severe physical and mental
pain." The health professionals helped in the effort to provide legal
cover for U.S. torture practices.
The Center for Constitutional Rights represents a number of men who are
or were detained by the United States, including men who died in the
custody of the Department of Defense at Guantánamo under suspicious
circumstances and whose families have brought an action against in the
United States in al
Zahrani v. Obama.
CCR has long called for accountability for torture. CCR joins PHR's call
for the Attorney General to engage in a criminal investigation of
illegal human experimentation and research on men in CIA detention, and
further calls for investigation into possible experiments performed on
men in military detention at Guantánamo and elsewhere, as well.
CCR also demands that the new intra-agency interrogation unit that was
disclosed in February 2010 explain the nature of the "scientific
research" it is conducting to improve the questioning of suspects. The
current government may attempt to take advantage of ambiguity in
Appendix M of the Army Field Manual, added by the Bush administration
and left in place by the Obama administration, to justify the ongoing
use of some "enhanced" interrogation techniques such as sleep
deprivation in the new interrogation guidelines. Any ongoing unlawful
human experimentation to "perfect" such techniques must immediately
It is critical that we scrutinize forwarding-looking practices and
policies as well as those of the recent past.
CCR has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for the last eight years -
sending the first ever habeas attorney to the base and sending the first
attorney to meet with an individual transferred from CIA "ghost
detention" to Guantanamo. CCR has been responsible for organizing and
coordinating more than 500 pro bono lawyers across the country to
represent the men at Guantanamo, ensuring that nearly all have the
option of legal representation. In addition, CCR has been working to
resettle the approximately 30 men who remain at Guantánamo because they
cannot return to their country of origin for fear of persecution and
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.