Papers and Reports on US Torture
Beginning in 2005, PHR published a series of reports and papers documenting investigations carried out since 2001 about the US government's authorization and use of extreme and abusive interrogation methods which could only be characterized as torture.
As evidence of US national security interrogation practices emerged, it became clear that psychologically abusive methods of interrogation were at the core of US intelligence gathering. Break Them Down, published by PHR in May 2005, was the first comprehensive review of the use of psychological torture by US forces, examining the devastating health consequences of psychological coercion and explaining how a regime of psychological torture was put into place in the US "war on terror".
Following the enactment of the 2006 Military Commissions Act, PHR united the legal expertise of Human Rights First with PHR’s medical expertise to issue the report Leave No Marks in August 2007, demonstrating that ten "enhanced" interrogation methods purportedly used by the CIA amounted to war crimes. The report demonstrated that interrogation techniques are likely to cause severe or serious physical and mental harm to detainees, and that the authorization of these techniques, whether practiced alone or in combination, may constitute torture and/or cruel and inhuman treatment, and may place interrogators at serious legal risk of prosecution for war crimes and other violations.
Broken Laws, Broken Lives showed the human consequences of harsh and unlawful US interrogation practices. This landmark report for the first time revealed and documented medical evidence confirming the first-hand accounts of the excruciating pain and continued suffering of men who, never charged with any crime, endured torture at US detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay.
Based on internationally accepted standards for clinical assessment of torture claims, the report documents practices used to bring about long-lasting pain, terror, humiliation, and shame for months on end. PHR-mobilized health professionals conducted intensive clinical evaluations of the men, resulting in this landmark analysis which illustrated the horrific physical and psychological impact of US interrogation and detention practices during the “war on terror” period.
Aiding Torture: Health Professionals' Ethics and Human Rights Violations Revealed in the May 2004 CIA Inspector General's Report
Aiding Torture, a white paper published by PHR in August 2009, examines specifics of the May 2004 CIA Inspector General's Report, which demonstrated that health professionals played a leading role in establishing an unethical medical premise upon which attorneys rationalized an illegal program of torture.
Experiments in Torture: Evidence of Human Subject Research and Experimentation in the "Enhanced" Interrogation Program
PHR's 2010 publication, Experiments in Torture, is the first report to reveal evidence indicating that CIA medical personnel allegedly engaged in the crime of illegal experimentation after 9/11, in addition to the previously disclosed crime of torture. In their attempt to justify the war crime of torture, the CIA appears to have committed another alleged war crime — illegal experimentation on prisoners. Experiments in Torture details the involvement of US military and intelligence health professionals in experiments on detainees captured by the US after September 2001. Those experiments observed and analyzed the physical and psychological impact on detainees of the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”