Prisoners inside the U.S. military’s detention center at Guantanamo Bay were forcibly given ”œmind altering drugs,” including being injected with a powerful anti-psychotic sedative used in psychiatric hospitals. Prisoners were often not told what medications they received, and were tricked into believing routine flu shots were truth serums. It’s a serious violation of medical ethics, made worse by the fact that the military continued to interrogate prisoners while they were doped on psychoactive chemicals.
That’s according to a recentlyÂ declassified reportÂ (.pdf) from the Pentagon’s inspector general,Â obtained byÂ TruthoutÂ after a Freedom of Information Act Request. In it, the inspector general concludes that ”œcertain detainees, diagnosed as having serious mental health conditions being treated with psychoactive medications on a continuing basis, were interrogated.” The report does not conclude, though, that anti-psychotic drugs were used specificallyÂ forÂ interrogation purposes.
An unnamed detainee told the inspector general he was given unidentified red and blue pills while traveling to Guantanamo from Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2002.Â ”At the time they said it was some candy,” he said. After eating the ”œcandy,” the prisoner said he felt like in a ”œstate of delusion” for several days.
At least one detainee, so-called ”œdirty bomber”Â Jose PadillaÂ was tricked into believing he was injected with a ”œtruth serum” during anÂ interrogation, possibly a form of LSD or PCP. In reality, it was a flu shot. Still, it’s a ”œserious breach of medical ethics,” Georgetown University law professor and health policy specialist Gregg Bloche toldÂ Truthout. ”œIt undermines trust in military physicians and it’s an unfair insult to the integrity of the vast majority of military doctors, who quite rightly believe that this sort of thing is contrary to their professional obligation,” Bloche said.
The military’s response has been muted. A Pentagon spokesman refused to comment toÂ TruthoutÂ as ”œdoing so might not only compromise security,” but added that the military’s operating procedures ”œare ”˜living’ documents, subject to regular change and updating.” The inspector general report noted comments from Guantanamo’s former medical commander that drugs were giving ”œto help control serious mental illnesses,” and that the practice was approved by an ethics committee.
But did they consent? (No.) Did the medics consult the prisoners’ medical background before administering drugs? Were prisoners still under the effect of the drugs during interrogation? The report concludes: very likely.
At this point nothing less than organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death can shock me.