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News :: Human Rights
IRAQ: White coats smeared with blood...
20 Aug 2004
Doctors working for the United States military in Iraq, collaborated with interrogators in the abuse of detainees at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison: Whatever happened to the Oath of Hippocrates ?

"I swear by Apollo the physician, and Aesculapius, and Hygeia, and Panacea, and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment, the Oath of Hippocrates"*


by Henk Ruyssenaars

FPF - We know 'president' George Bush is not an avid reader, but maybe some Newspeak-briefer this morning can read to him a short of the article - on the abuse of prisoners covered up by american doctors - from his own newspaper: 'The Daily Texan'*: In a scathing analysis of the behavior of military doctors, nurses and medics, University of Minnesota professor Steven Miles calls for a reform of military medicine and an official investigation into the role played by physicians and other medical staff in the torture scandal.

Professor Miles "cites evidence that doctors or medics falsified death certificates to cover up homicides, hid evidence of beatings and revived a prisoner so he could be further tortured. The medical system collaborated with designing and implementing psychologically and physically coercive interrogations," Miles said in this week's edition of Lancet. [*below]

The Nazis, Vietnam or Latin America: all the same ?

Not only on the rooftop, but also on the seventh floor of the 'journalists-hotel the Caravelle' in Saigon, [] during the Vietnam war, there was a small bar, where one sometimes could meet foreign doctors, which came to Vietnam to study wounds inflicted by modern - bloody inhuman - warfare.

Shooting pigs...

Having some kind of peace in their own countries - like Swedes, Germans, Australian and Dutch doctors I met there, they could practise their skills on the battlefield, instead of at home on a test range maltreating live - but sedated, they said - pigs, which they shot at.

And I remember that in the little Caravelle-bar we discussed ethics, and a book I had read years before which had had a huge impact on me as a young reader.

It was published in Germany soon after the Nuremberg medical trial already in 1947, and was called "Medizin ohne Menschlichkeit"*

Known in English as "Doctors of Infamy: The Story of the Nazi Medical Crimes," this book was a report by the two official observers of the doctors' trial appointed by the Federal Chamber of Physicians of Germany, Dr. Alexander Mitscherlich and Dr. Frederick Mielke.

Despite the presence of thousands of physicians in Germany, many senior distinguished clinicians and researchers, the only two people the profession could find to serve as "official" observers, were a young untenured lecturer in psychiatry, Mitscherlich, and medical student, Mielke.

Mitscherlich and Mielke's report was a remarkable documentation of the atrocities perpetrated by medicine as documented by the doctors' trial.

The original German language report entitled "Das Diktat der Menschenverachtung" was published in Germany in 1947.

In 1949, 10,000 copies of the book were printed by the Federal Chamber of Physicians of Germany. However, it would appear that none of these volumes were ever distributed.

There were no book reviews. There were no letters. Mitscherlich recalled that "it was as if the book had never been written."

But let's be optimistic: the fact that the story on the collaborating and abusing US -'doctors' even appears in Bush's Texan newspaper - and online too, for everybody to read - may this finally be some sign of recovery of the United States' media mental health ?

There is - by the way - an interesting study by a Dutch researcher called Alette Smeulers - from the 'Dept of Criminal Law and Criminology' at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, who has published about 'What transforms ordinary people into gross human rights violators ?'*.


One wonders how those followers of "The Angel of Death", Dr. Josef Mengele, ever could forget about Nuremberg ?

On May 24, 1943 Mengele became medical officer of the so-called Gipsy Camp, a part of Auschwitz-Birkenau (see Auschwitz concentration camp).

It was during his 21-month stay at Auschwitz that Dr. Mengele achieved infamy, gaining the nickname "Angel of Death." When rail-cars filled with prisoners arrived in Auschwitz II Birkenau, along with other doctors Mengele would frequently be waiting on the platform to select which of them would be retained for work and experimentation and which would be sent immediately to the gas chambers.

Despite international efforts to track him down, he was never apprehended and lived for 35 years hiding under various aliases. Since 1960 he lived in Brazil, until his death in 1979.

Mengele suffered a - what I call - 'practical stroke' while swimming in the ocean, and drowned.

And today even Bush - and his disgusting and belligerent Zionist cabal - should be able to know what we are talking about: how American doctors are implicated in torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners, as shown in many articles today, ans the US should stop "Teaching Torture":

The news service wrote about this: "The medical community is calling for an investigation into the role of US medical staff in the prisoner abuse that took place in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, according to two new journal articles and appeals from physicians' groups.

The abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the US-run prison sparked controversy in spring 2004 when photographs surfaced showing US soldiers grinning as they posed beside naked and injured prisoners.


The US military medical system "failed to protect detainees' human rights, sometimes collaborated with interrogators or abusive guards, and failed to properly report injuries or deaths caused by beatings," writes Steven Miles, a physician at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, US, in The Lancet.
Miles, along with the journal's editors, is calling for a full investigation of the role of medical staff after he scoured news reports and available government documents on the abuse.

Whistle blowing

Miles describes one interrogation in which medical staff left after reviving a prisoner who collapsed after a beating, allowing the abuse to continue. In another case, a medic inserted a catheter into the corpse of a detainee who died from torture to create evidence the prisoner was alive at the hospital.

And in another incident in November 2003, a surgeon listed "natural causes" as the cause of death of a man who actually died when interrogators put his head in a sleeping bag and sat on his chest. Six months later, the Pentagon ruled the death a homicide by asphyxia.

But crucially, doctors are concerned about what military medical staff did not do in an environment of physical abuse. "Where was their protest, where was their whistle blowing?" asks physician Michael Grodin, director of the law, medicine, and ethics program at Boston University, US.

He says doctors, despite their oath of care, have a long history of subverting their duties to patients in favour of other interests in "closed systems where there's no transparency", such as prisons.



Survive and evolve

Robert Jay Lifton, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School in Cambridge, US, discusses the dual loyalties military doctors face in a 29 July article in the New England Journal of Medicine (vol 351, p 415).

Lifton, who has written a book on the Nazi doctors, says they were able to commit murder and go about their normal lives by essentially forming a second self in a type of dissociation he calls "doubling."

He says this trait has ironically helped humans survive and evolve, but that it can lead to adapting to violent norms in certain "atrocity-producing" situations.

He writes that Abu Ghraib is one such situation, in which "doctors and other medical personnel were part of a command structure that permitted, encouraged, and sometimes orchestrated torture to a degree that it became the norm - with which they were expected to comply."

Various codes - from the Hippocratic Oath*, to the 1975 World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo, to the Geneva Convention - prohibit doctors from colluding in any way in torture.

"But I don't think under current practice physicians feel they have any such obligation," says Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights in Boston, US.

As well as calling for a full investigation of policies that led to detainee abuses, the group has drawn up a list of guidelines for medical professionals in organisations - including the military or prison service - that call for doctors to report any abuse they see and to refuse to participate in interrogations, torture, or the misuse of patients' confidential medical records", wrote The Lancet in vol. 364, p 725 and 637) - [andend]

But, what really is impossible to understand and one very cynical part of it is this: most of the people in the US on Gov't level, who have been pushing hard for the Iraq war, are part of 'the Jewish Cabal' in Washington and at the Pentagon.

It makes one start believing the worst of human nature and motives, that those people running the war have a sneering disbelief in human rights or morals.

Most American/Israeli warmongers, surrounding Bush and Kerry*, are jewish people, who should definitely know about the 'Mengeles' and this kind of abuse by 'doctors' in concentration and prison camps...

Some people apparently never learn...

Henk Ruyssenaars

All footnotes c.q. 'links' below.

Editor : Henk Ruyssenaars
The Netherlands
fpf (at)

The Dutch author worked for 4 decades for international media as foreign correspondent,of which 10 years - also during Gulf War I - in the Arab World and the Middle East.

Seeing that every bullet and every bomb breeds more terrorism !

Co-author of the book "Techno-Bandits", on high-tech smuggling [ Houghton Mifflin ].Guest-lecturer at the Departments of Journalism, at Stockholm University in Sweden, and Aarhus University - Denmark.

Evil triumphs when good men, women and journalists remain silent.

Help the troops come home: we need them to fight our 'governments': Url.:

* Kerry and his cabal:

"Army officials stated that a physician and a psychiatrist helped design, approve and monitor interrogations at Abu Ghraib." The Daily Texan -Url.:

*Lancet/New Scientist - Url.:
What transforms ordinary people into gross human rights violators ?'
Url.: [ also in PDF

"Teaching Torture":

Medizin ohne Menschlichkeit:

Oath of Hippocrates - Url.:

See also:

This work is in the public domain
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