'Gitmo doctors hide abuse docs'
Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:6AM
Interview with Andy Worthington, author of the Guantanamo Files, London
A new study reveals that Guantanamo Bay doctors and psychologists are concealing records of extreme abuse of the prison inmates on top of providing fodder for torture techniques.
Doctors and psychologists could be held accountable for refraining to report cases of abuse in the US Naval prison on the leased Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, said author of The Guantanamo Files Andy Worthington in a Tuesday interview with Press TV, adding that the US detention camp officials implemented torture techniques according to psychological methods.
The following is the transcript of the interview.
Press TV: Do these reports come to a surprise to you at all?
Worthington: Well, no it doesn't. These kinds of stories have come out of Guantanamo for years. It's something I'm glad to see is still being reported.
When it comes to medical personnel - psychologists and psychiatrists - being involved in the kinds of procedures that took place in Guantanamo for many years, it's absolutely disgusting that that's happened.
These are people who really should have said no, gone home and resigned from the military rather than taking any part in these things. Of course, some of the people that were involved were outside contractors.
The whole process is playing on people's phobias, and what were perceived as people's weaknesses was designed by psychologists who had been working, actually, in US military schools teaching US personnel how to resist torture if they were captured abroad; it was reverse engineered and used at Guantanamo in real life on prisoners which was a really shocking thing to do. But these are the kinds of things that have happened.
Over the years, the prisoners at Guantanamo - the released prisoners - have spoken about medical abuse under the Bush administration. So when people were ill they would not receive treatment unless they cooperated with interrogators.
One of the things I hope people are noticing in these WikiLeaks disclosures on the Guantanamo documents is how many false statements are made by people.
Getting people to cooperate with interrogators was not necessarily to tell the truth. It was getting them to make any kind of statement that could be used. As we're seeing in these documents, there are a number of alarming informants in Guantanamo's history that have repeatedly made statements from their fellow prisoners which have, subsequently, been untrue.
Press TV: Obviously, you mentioned you were glad that this sort of thing was being reported and coming out. But these sorts of things were being reported for quite a while now, especially since Obama has promised on closing Guantanamo. Do such reports make any difference or further the case of anyone being held responsible for torture in Guantanamo?
Worthington: The primary aspect of the Wikileaks documents is the military's own assessment of how significant the prisoners are. So there is going to be very little in there about the torture of prisoners.
What I think is important is that what we're seeing in some cases in these documents is the confirmation on the part of the US military that certain prisoners were, for example, sent to other countries to be tortured before they were sent to Guantanamo. This is something that's been very obvious from research over the years, but it's not something that the Bush administration ever accepted had happened.
What I've seen already in a few of the files is mentions of prisoners being sent to Jordan where the Jordanians operated a secret torture prison on behalf of the CIA; and also to Egypt.
For those people who are concerned about holding senior Bush administration officials accountable for what they did in the war on terror, these provide other small pieces of evidence that will be useful for ongoing attempts to hold people accountable.
Of course, it's very difficult because there's no willingness within the United States to go ahead with anything. We seem to be relying to pawn other countries trying to pursue cases against senior Bush administration officials or lawyers. The problem there is that the United States isn't cooperating. There is a recent case that was brought in Spain where a Spanish judge actually dropped a case in the end when the [US] Justice Department refused to cooperate at all.
I don't think people should give up. The crimes that were committed by the Bush administration need to be addressed properly. This may be something that takes a very long time but if that's the case it has to be done. I don't think there's really any other solution.
I think President Obama, by allowing this to go unchallenged, has actually created a climate in the United States where the supporters of torture feel kind of reinforced in their belief that it's justified and acceptable; whereas, of course, it's not. It's not only unprotected but it's illegal.