Doctors of Abu Ghraib

United States Army medics have been accused of being complicit in the abuse of Iraqi inmates at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. In an article published in The Lancet medical journal yesterday, Dr. Steven Miles claimed some U.S. medical personnel ignored human rights standards and the ethics of their profession, informs KTOK. They failed to carry out their duties under the Geneva Convention and other human rights standards, which "adversely affected" the way the inmates were treated he concluded. Dr. Miles, from the University of Minnesota, called for a'comprehensive' inquiry into the role of the medics in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in the hope it might create a 'valuable legacy' from the scandal. Shocking photographs of U.S. guards at Abu Ghraib abusing Iraqi inmates first came to light earlier this year. The pictures created a crisis for President George Bush, undermined America's mission in Iraq and caused outrage in the Arab world, The pictures showed detainees hooded and shackled and being sexually humiliated. One showed a hooded Iraqi standing on a box, and attached to wires, believing he would be electrocuted if he fell. Another showed a female soldier holding a naked inmate by a leash around his throat. There were also allegations of abuse against prisoners in Afghanistan and the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. Dr. Miles said key failings of the U.S. medics at Abu Ghraib included the failure to maintain medical records, conduct routine examinations and to provide proper care for disabled or injured detainees. Death certificates and medical records were falsified, he claimed. Medical personnel were also used to help to design and implement psychologically and physically coercive interrogation techniques, he said. According to Peuters, U.S. military doctors working in Iraq collaborated with interrogators in the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, an article in the British medical journal The Lancet said on Friday. A U.S. military spokesman said the article was inaccurate, and a spokesman for an American physicians group said that if the accusations are true, the doctors and other medical personnel should stand trial. The Lancet report by University of Minnesota professor Steven Miles suggested that some doctors falsified death certificates to cover up killings and hid evidence of beatings, and one detainee who collapsed after a beating was revived by medics so that the abuse could continue. "Army officials stated that a physician and a psychiatrist helped design, approve and monitor interrogations at Abu Ghraib," Miles wrote, citing U.S. congressional hearings, sworn statements of detainees and soldiers, medical journal accounts and aid agency information. The Pentagon denied Miles' report. "The Department of Defense takes strong exception to these allegations and (Miles') wholesale indictment of the medical care rendered by U.S. personnel to prisoners and detainees," Army Lt. Col. Joe Richard said in response to questions. Richard said the Lancet article was inaccurate and based on "carefully selected media reports and excerpted (Capitol) Hill testimony and not first-hand investigative work or accounts." He added that investigations were under way into prison operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and if any transgressions of the Geneva Conventions or U.S. military regulations occurred, those responsible would be held accountable. The Washington Post reports that the US military's investigation into the abuse by US military personnel of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, headed by Maj. Gen. George Fay, will report that the incidents at Abu Ghraib weren't just the actions of a band of "rogue military police soldiers," but resulted from leadership failures that rise to the "highest levels" of the US military in Iraq. While the report will recommend new charges against 20 low-ranking soldiers, the Post reports, it will not, however, recommend any criminal charges against Army officers. Officials said the probe criticizes commanders for essentially failing to pick up the strong signs of abuse as they rose through the chain of command and for all but ignoring reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross detailing the abuse. The top command "shares responsibility for not ensuring proper leadership, proper discipline and proper resources," one defense official said. "Command should have paid more attention to the issue. Signals, symptoms of abuse weren't fully vetted to the top." Abu Ghraib's former commander, Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, is questioning the exonerating nature of the report.

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