Please welcome Nathaniel Raymond, director of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)‘s campaign against torture — CHS

With the recent revelations from the ICRC report, the ongoing release of OLC memoranda and the most recent release of the Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture, the pressure is mounting for accountability, including for those legal and medical professionals involved:

The SASC report is the latest and most comprehensive account of the Bush Administration’s regime of torture and the central role health professionals played. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), Chair of SASC, is calling for the Department of Justice to review the report and pursue any evidence of criminal wrongdoing, a move that PHR supports.

“The Senate Armed Services Committee confirms what we have long known—health professionals were the agents that spread the virus of torture,” said Nathaniel Raymond, Director of PHR’s Campaign Against Torture which brings together thousands of health professionals who oppose torture in all circumstances. “Now is the time for those who violated our laws and our values to be held to account.”

PHR is renewing its call to Congress and the White House to immediately create a non-partisan commission to investigate the Bush Administration’s use of torture, with a specific focus on the role that psychologists and medical professionals played in its design, justification, supervision, and use.

As the details spill out, again and again two names keep appearing — James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. But it wasn’t just those two. There were medical professionals involved in all aspects of these policies, from their initial development and inception, to overseeing and potentially participating in the interrogations themselves. 

And that participation led to this sort of twisted, unsupported policy:

At the direction of an accompanying psychologist, the team planned to conduct a psychic demolition in which they’d get Zubaydah to reveal everything by severing his sense of personality and scaring him almost to death.

PHR has been on the forefront of calling out the ethical and medical ramifications of this, as well as detailing the physical, mental and legal implications of torture by physician complicity.

The question now is: will there be true accountability for these actions? Or are we to be forever haunted by the ghosts of justice at Nuremberg?

It’s an honor to have Nathaniel Raymond here today — his work along with PHR’s has been an example of speaking out against the darkness time and time again. They should be commended for it.

As with all live chats, please stay on-topic and refrain from invective or threats on this difficult subject so that we can have a thorough discussion. Take any off-topic chatter to prior threads. 

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

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