232482 New developments in U.S. policy concerning torture: The legacy of complicity

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 1:24 PM - 1:42 PM

Leonard Rubenstein, JD , Center for Public Health and Human Rights, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
The record of participation of physicians and psychologists in torture has become ever more abundant. It is now clear, moreover, that participation extended beyond advising interrogators on methods and medical monitoring of torture; it included advice on the impact of interrogation methods to support legal justifications for it. What is less understood is the mechanisms by which health professionals were recruited to participate in torture and rationalized their conduct. This paper will explore these mechanisms, which include establishment of separate lines of reporting, manipulation of ethics to recast complicity in torture as protection of detainees, and isolation from the larger medical community. The paper will then identify a pathway to reform, which addresses roles of the military concerning command structures, training, accountability mechanisms, and roles of the larger medical community in reaffirming key values.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the mechanisms of participation of health professionals in torture. Discuss how ethical principles were manipulated and compromised as health professionals became engaged in torture.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have extensively studied and written on the subject.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.