Secret CIA Document Shows Plan to Test Drugs on Prisoners

Thanks to an ACLU victory in federal court, we know much more about how CIA doctors violated the medical oath to “do no harm.”

One of the most important lessons of the CIA’s torture program is the way it corrupted virtually every individual and institution associated with it. Over the years, we have learned how lawyers twisted the law and psychologists betrayed their ethical obligations in order to enable the brutal and unlawful torture of prisoners.

Now we’ve won the release of a 90-page account of the CIA’s Office of Medical Services role in the CIA torture program — a secret history written by the top CIA medical official, whose identity remains classified.

The history reveals that CIA doctors were hunting for a “truth serum” to use on prisoners as part of a previously secret effort called Project Medication. The CIA studied records of old Soviet drug experiments as well as the CIA’s notorious and discredited MK-Ultra program, which involved human experimentation with LSD and other drugs on unwitting subjects. The CIA doctors involved in Project Medication wanted to use Versed, a psychoactive drug similar to some of those used in MK-Ultra, on prisoners.

Image of declassified document

The CIA ignored lessons from its own history. After MK-Ultra was shut down, the CIA director testified in 1977, “It is totally abhorrent to me to think of using humans as guinea pigs.” But decades later, the agency decided to experiment on humans again, testing pseudoscientific theories of “learned helplessness” on its prisoners.

While Project Medication never got off the ground, CIA medical professionals remained critical participants in experimenting with torture. Just like the government lawyers who tried to give unlawful torture a veneer of legality, the secret history reveals that CIA doctors were “indispensable” to the effort of “legitimizing the program.”

Image of declassified document

Perhaps the most striking element of the document is the CIA doctors’ willful blindness to the truth of what they were doing. CIA doctors decided that waterboarding actually “provided periodic relief” to a prisoner because it was a break from days of standing sleep deprivation. Similarly, CIA doctors decided that when a different prisoner was stuffed into a coffin-sized box, this provided a “relatively benign sanctuary” from other torture methods. CIA doctors described yet another prisoner — who cried, begged, pleaded, vomited, and required medical resuscitation after being waterboarded — as “amazingly resistant to the waterboard.” Incredibly, CIA doctors concluded that the torture program was “reassuringly free of enduring physical or psychological effects.”

The truth is that CIA torture left a legacy of broken bodies and traumatized minds. Today, with a president who has vocally supported torture and a new CIA director who was deeply complicit in torturing prisoners, it’s more important than ever to expose the crimes of the past. Recognizing the roles played by the lawyers, doctors, and psychologists who enabled torture is critical to making sure it never happens again.

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Anonymous

When are the names of these so called professionals going to be released?

Anonymous

There could also be a constitutional “separation of powers” issue. Executive branch officials are supposed to strictly follow Congress and state legislatures “prescribed” range of penalties. Congress and state legislatures can’t legally enact legislation that violates the U.S. Constitution. For example: assuming it’s constitutional, if Congress or a state legislature prescribed an x number of years and an x amount of fines for a certain violation of statute, an agency can’t add cruel & unusual punishment on top of the prescribed penalty. The Executive Branch would be trespassing onto the powers of the other two co-equal branches.

Anonymous

Great we have snowflakes determining Monday night how terrorists should be treated. You should of said that to those in new York that died... see how they react when you say the day we are attacked on home soil that we should treat them good. This stupid generation of kill our enemies with love need to be involved in warfare. CIA and ICE and whoever should use whatever force needed to get the job done...including those here that are unpatriotic... who should be deported.

Anonymous

Good thing your not in charge. though I am no snowflake and certainly would favor torturing those who commit genocide I as a human find that thought process to be acted upon a complete and utterly demented mind. To actually do that would be no better than the other. Furthermore, let us then go and line up all the relatives of those members of the military and the few civilians who were involved in the murdering and genocide of all the Native American people who occupied America long before. Over 100 million slaughtered and over 250,000 children abducted from their families and forbidden to speak their language, forced to take a "christian" name and then placed in homes that were to integrate them into society as newly formed and forced ways were upon them. That is one example of many so I say to you that it is your kind of thinking, unpatriotic who should be deported. For anyone who is against the American way of living, truly free, and not causing deprivation upon your neighbor without the "due process" of our judicial system should immediately be deported. And after reading your comment above, clealy defines that unstable mind that would immediately act upon thought without providing the due process of innocent until proven guilty. So maybe you should move?

Anonymous

The term "suspect" means "doubt" - there has to be a discovery process to "test" the evidence and witness testimony. More than 86% of the so-called "Worst of the Worst" have been released without any charges whatsoever. You can accuse anyone of anything, that doesn't make it true. You have to not only test the evidence but place the accusers and witnesses under oath (risk of prison for lying). 9/11 was gravely serious, the response was largely a fraud against American taxpayers.

Anonymous

Guess Ronald Reagan was a snowflake using your measuring stick. Reagan wanted anyone promoting torture and cruel treatment to be criminally indicted by each nation's justice department - including the U.S. Department of Justice!

Anonymous

No. Someone should have said that to the powers that be in the U.S that have gone all over the world killing, plundering, robbing, torturing & committing any and every atrocity imaginable before the chickens finally started coming home to roost. And, after the U.S arbitrarily killing over 1,000,000 over the next several years, & in the process creating ISIS. This "stupid" reason will give us more of the same while we self-destruct morally & ethically. Patriotism: "The last refuge of a tyrant". The "snowflake" title assigned to people who prefer peace to war is nothing less Than the last feeble effort of a feeble mind trying to express itself.

Anonymous

The Judicial Branch carries the primary burden of fixing this practice. This practice definitely crosses the "Judicial Review" out-of-bounds line. Judges and the Roberts Court have a duty to provide checks & balances on the political branches.

Anonymous

The very real and disturbing fact of this overall is a tyrannical government doing as they please when they please all behind closed doors. And the very real and already done fact that these same style and or other techniques have and continue to be used on Americans by their government. Including but limited to experiments conducted on large scales of the general population all for what? National security? Rethink that excuse. Had our government no been lying and killing and pulling shady scams on other nation we may have well been respected opposed to hated as we are today. Fact is, just don't be greedy self serving thugs desiring money and power and be legit forthright business professionals and government leaders and the world as a whole would be better off. It is a given there will always be a bad guy but that does not justify our current governments roll as one of those bad guys. Furthermore the longer we allow elected officials to remain in their positions the more likely they will succumb to the human instinct of greed and power and that is the beginning of how dictators are formed. Shorten office terms, limit total amount of positions by an individual and do our duty as Americans and be more upfront and involved proactively in each elected officials entire term of service. Keep them in check always. Do not assume they are always doing our bidding because look where that thought process has led us to today. The Constitution and letters from our founding fathers warned of this and designed our founding documents to protect us from it, but we the people have to "act" on it and not allow the government to "ever" think they have more power than those they govern.

Anonymous

Nazi tactics predating Trump

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