Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Guantanamo human experimentation conspiracy theorist refuses to admit to bogus claims

As noted the other day, Truthout published a bogus report claiming a Paul Wolfowitz directive paved the way for involuntary experimentation on Gitmo detainees. Report coauthor Jeffrey Kaye addressing criticisms with a wordy and misleading response:
You are most mistaken about what you feel was ignored. We specifically addressed the prisoner of war prohibition. In earlier and much longer drafts, we had a mention and link to the 1983 version of the document, signed by Weinberger, but cut it along with a lot of other interesting material, for sake of length. Nevertheless, you appear to have missed our whole discussion of this in the article, where we note that the reference to prisoners other than POW was linked to the Bush administration taking POW status away from the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and how the HHS definition of prisoner allowed wiggle room for the use of experimentation on "prisoners" that would otherwise be denied for use on POWs.

Furthermore, you mention the provision of the need for informed consent in section 4.1 of the Wolfowitz directive. True enough, but you fail to mention that that provision can be WAIVED, per section 4.2.2, by the heads of the various DOD components, without need for consent by the subject or their legal representative. This is totally different from the Weinberger directive, which makes no such waiver, and in fact states (Section 2 (e) of the 1983 doc) that no human subject research can even be initiated without all necessary approvals and informed consent of the subject.

You furthermore ignore the entire history of the lax oversight of the human subject protections that we briefly enumerated, the statements of experts in the field we offered, and the accounts of government sources in the article that specifically linked the Wolfowitz directive to a secret experimental program at Guantanamo.

In summary, your account of our article is incomplete and misleading. I urge you to read it again, and I would be happy to argue or discuss the finer points or differences you might have.
Note that Kaye refers to section 4.2.2 as allowing the right of consent to be waived but does not quote from the section. That's because section 4.2.2 in no way allows experimental interrogation:
4.2.2. Consistent with 10 U.S.C. 980(b) (reference (b)), the requirement for prior informed consent under paragraph 4.2. or subparagraph 4.2.1. may be waived by the Head of a DoD Component with respect to a specific research project to advance the development of a medical product necessary to the Armed Forces if the research project may directly benefit the subject and is carried out in accordance with all other applicable laws and regulations, including 21 CFR 50.24 (reference (j)).
The Truthout report is bogus; that's all there is to it.

4 Comments:

Blogger Jimbo said...

Heard the familiar voice of a truther on John Faine this morning.

8:47 AM  
Blogger Wylie Wilde said...

Why don't we just hack off their heads with a blunt blade and yell out "Akerman Rules!" or something and put it up on Al Jezzera TV? We might even get Robert Manning to see some nuance in our actions. Or better yet - just feed them Samboy chips - then put them in the hot sun - and then ask them to drink the water from "I Love Israel" coffee mugs.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Minicapt said...

"... the Bush administration taking POW status away from the Taliban and Al Qaeda ..."
In the first lace, the story-tellers did not read their reference material. This would indicate that "Report co-author Jeffrey Kaye" is a practicing prevaricator.

Cheers

8:01 AM  
Blogger Valtin said...

J F Beck writes:

"Note that Kaye refers to section 4.2.2 as allowing the right of consent to be waived but does not quote from the section. That's because section 4.2.2 in no way allows experimental interrogation:

" 4.2.2. Consistent with 10 U.S.C. 980(b) (reference (b)), the requirement for prior informed consent under paragraph 4.2. or subparagraph 4.2.1. may be waived by the Head of a DoD Component with respect to a specific research project to advance the development of a medical product necessary to the Armed Forces if the research project may directly benefit the subject and is carried out in accordance with all other applicable laws and regulations, including 21 CFR 50.24 (reference (j))."

The position that that what the experiments were concerned "experimental interrogation" is not what we wrote. There are aspects to interrogation that were used as the basis for experiments. The use of experimental interrogation was referenced in the article by various other sources, who saw the SERE reverse-engineered interrogation techniques as experimental in nature, viz interrogation effectiveness.

We specifically noted the experiments our sources told us were on "deception detection" and biological markers of stress, such as coritsol readings.

The language in 4.2.2 was added after OMB complained about the changes in the law that the Wolfowitz directive implemented, 10 USC 980 (all this is in the article, but Beck never refers to it, of course). One could make the argument that the kinds of research done was ultimately to "help" the prisoners by shortening interrogation time, having better monitoring for uncontrollable levels of stress, etc.

As a former official in Haynes's office told us, and we quoted:

"'A dozen [high-value detainees] were subjected to interrogation methods in order to evaluate their reaction to those methods and the subsequent levels of stress that would result,' said the official."

Also, one must take into account other aspects of our admittedly complex story. For instance, there was a two year gap after the Wolfowitz directive was issued when the compliance officer in charge of protections did not implement the necessary oversight procedures. This is in our article, too.

We cannot say with 100% certainty exactly what took place. But we believe there is more than enough reason to call for an investigation into these matters.

The part J F Beck references in 4.2.2 is important, and I'm glad the question was brought up. Again, for fear of belaboring the points with our readers, we did not bring every piece of evidence we had to the plate. Mr. or Ms. Beck may wish to consider section 5.1.6. of the Wolfowitz directive, where the Director of Defense Research and Engineering is granted essentially blanket powers for waivers of informed consent or any other protections.

It reads that DDR&E "May grant exceptions to policy under this Directive if justified by special circumstances and consistent with law." Since the governing laws were changed to allow waivers, and since the Director determines if these circumstances are special or comply with the law, the protections put into place for human subjects are eviscerated. As I'm sure Beck knows, the purpose of IRBs is to establish there are such protections, and that's why representatives of the affected group (in the case of prisoners) are supposed to be on an IRB. If your waive consent or IRB, then those protections are gone.

In the end, I hope interested readers look at our story as well as Beck's criticisms and decide for themselves.

11:56 PM  

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