Doctors group demands investigation of alleged medical experiments in Bush-era interrogations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Several civil liberties groups are demanding the White House investigate whether doctors conducted medical experiments on terror detainees during harsh interrogations led by the CIA under the Bush administration.

Physicians for Human Rights filed a legal complaint Wednesday with the Health and Human Services Department. The group was joined by other nongovernment organizations, including Amnesty International USA.

Using long-declassified documents, the physicians' group released a report Sunday claiming doctors monitored terror suspects during waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, and forced sleep deprivation, in what they contended amounted to illegal experimentation.

The author of the report, Nathaniel Raymond, said the declassified documents had never been examined with an eye on laws, including the Nuremberg Code, which was used to ban Nazi Germany's medical experimentation.

According to the physicians' report, "Medical personnel were required to monitor all waterboarding practices and collect detailed medical information that was used to design, develop and deploy subsequent waterboarding procedures."

The group also said information was gathered on the pain inflicted when various interrogation techniques were used in combination. Raymond claims the purpose was to see if the pain caused violated Bush administration definitions of torture, rather than to safeguard detainees' health.

The report said that medical personnel also monitored sleep deprivation, with sleepless stints from 48 hours to 180 hours — again to make sure it did not cause prolonged physical and mental suffering under the definitions used by the Bush administration.

The CIA said there was no medical experimentation and pointed out that the interrogation program had been investigated already several times.