DOCTORS OF THE DARK SIDE
Written by Mark Jonathan Harris
DISCLAIMER CARD This film has disturbing content.
Viewer discretion advised
DISCLAIMER CARD Edited for television
THREE ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS MILES (V.O)
The Abu Ghraib pictures raised the question, where were the doctors while this was going on?
MILES (O.S.) Either they directly witnessed the abuse or they witnessed the consequences of it.
ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS OF BLOOD ON FLOOR
MILES (V.O.) Why hadn't they protested?
RUBENSTEIN (V.O.) Here doctors
RUBENSTEIN (O.S.) weren't complicit. They were the centerpiece of torture. They were enablers. They were facilitators. They were authorizers.
TWO ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS
RAYMOND (O.S.) From Hippocrates to now, the standard for the healing professions has been simple. That the obligation is first and foremost to the patient's interest and well-being. Torture shatters that covenant.
ABU GHRAIB DOG THREATENING PRISONER
NARRATOR How have American physicians and psychologists come to sanction and
implement torture in our military prisons? And why haven't they been held accountable for their actions?
TITLE GRAPHIC WITH PAINTING OF DOCTOR, GUARDS AND DETAINEE
FADE TO BLACK
FORMER ACT II
TITLE CARD: PROVIDING LEGAL COVER
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ADDRESSES A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS
BUSH (O.S.) Tonight we are a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom...
TONY BLAIR CUTAWAY
BUSH (O.S.) Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done. [AUDIENCE CLAPPING]
CONGRESSIONAL AUDIENCE CLAPPING CHANGES TO
US BOMBING OF AFGHANISTAN.
NARRATOR Less than three weeks later, U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in retaliation for the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States.
AMERICAN TROOPS WITH CAPTIVE AFGHANS.
NARRATOR In a radical new policy, the Bush Administration declared Afghan prisoners "enemy combatants" no longer protected by the Geneva Convention. Before 9/11 prisoners of war were interrogated according to the Army Field Manual that followed the Geneva Convention. The new interrogation methods involved torture.
DICK CHENEY (V.O.) We have no alternative but to meet the enemy where he dwells.
DICK CHENEY AT FORMAL DINNER OCTOBER 2001
DICK CHENEY (O.S.) We must, and we will, use every means at our disposal to ensure the freedom and security of the American people.
MITCHELL AND JESSEN PHOTOS
NARRATOR Two psychologists contracted by the CIA were among the first to introduce abusive interrogation techniques. Drs. James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen were experts in SERE survival training. They adapted the SERE torture regimen for use on detainees.
CAPTURED POWS, VETERANS BEING INTERVIEWED (from former ACT I)
NARRATOR The experience of American POWs in Korea led the United States to develop a program to train soldiers how to survive torture if captured.
NARRATOR The program was called SERE.
KEARNS (O.S.) The psychologists were there so that ..If someone actually was having difficulty, some kind of psychological breakdown, that then we could stop, do a time out and actually bring the psychologist in so they could talk people through. Dr. Bruce Jessen was the chief of psychology at the Air Force's survival school. What we were doing was resistance to interrogation training. It was for the benefit of our own forces.
MITCHELL AND JESSEN PHOTOS
KEARNS (V.O.) Seeing that these people actually were the architects behind the torture program, it just ...It made me physically ill.
STILL OF PRISONER BEING ESCORTED. STILL OF PRISONER IN OUTDOOR CAGE. ABU GHRAIB PICTURE OF MAN IN HOOD ON BOX.
NARRATOR The brutal methods organized by psychologists Mitchell and Jessen for CIA interrogators came to be called "enhanced interrogation techniques." These techniques were soon adopted by army interrogators at Guantanamo with the help of a psychiatrist and a psychologist. From there they were exported to Afghanistan and Iraqi detention sites. The program became so widespread, it was only a matter of time before the world knew that the United States was torturing detainees.
RUBENSTEIN (O.S.) As torture became more and more controversial, and the lawyers were more and more under pressure to find a justification for these methods,
they turned to doctors for an opinion on whether they imposed severe pain, mental or physical pain or suffering, which is the legal definition of torture...
MOTION GRAPHIC OF PAGES FROM DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS
NARRATOR In 2009, the Special Review of the enhanced interrogation program by the CIA Office of Inspector General was declassified over the fierce objections of the intelligence agency.
CU OF OMS GUIDELINES FRONT PAGE, OTHER DOCUMENTS
NARRATOR Special guidelines from the CIA Office of Medical Services were also declassified. The critical role of doctors in the enhanced interrogation program can be traced through these documents and the memos of the Office of Legal Counsel. The CIA doctors and the legal counsel lawyers described the enhanced techniques in such detail that their instructions could be the script for a training video for doctors assigned to detainee interrogations.
STAGED SCENE: GUARD WITH DETAINEE ON ELEVATOR. Lower third text: "CIA Office of Medical Services Guidelines, p.7"
FEMALE INSTRUCTOR (V.O.) Captured terrorists may be subjected to a wide range of legally
sanctioned techniques designed to psychologically dislocate the detainee, maximize his feelings of vulnerability and helplessness and reduce or eliminate his will to resist our efforts to obtain critical intelligence.
STAGED SCENE: GUARDS TAKE OFF DETAINEE'S HOOD AND DOCTOR EXAMINES HIM. Lower third text: "CIA Director Authorization. 2003"
MALE INSTRUCTOR (V.O.) Appropriate medical and psychological personnel must be on site during all detainee interrogations employing enhanced techniques. The use of each specific enhanced technique must be approved by headquarters in advance.
CELL STILL FADES TO STAGED SCENE OF PRISONER ALONE IN CAGE. STROBE LIGHT ON PRISONER, PRISONER ROCKING IN CELL WHILE ANNOYING CELL PHONE RINGS
PRISONER ROCKS SOME MORE AS RINGING CONTINUES
NARRATOR The CIA learned from mind control experiments and tortures used by totalitarian regimes that several days of sleep deprivation is a powerful way to break a prisoner down.
XENAKIS (O.S.) My reading is for most people who've been subjected to that, they will have psychotic-like thinking, will be very disorganized and I think very unreliable in terms of what they say. And It really is kind of very harsh and very cruel to try to keep people awake.
3 GROUP GRAPHIC. PHYSICAL ASSAULT/EXTREME PHYSICAL STRESS/EXTREME PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS.
NARRATOR In the government memos, enhanced interrogation techniques fall roughly into three groups: methods that involve physical
assault...those that can induce dangerous levels of physical stress...and those that can psychologically debilitate the prisoner. Methods are combined to increase the pressure. This also increases the severity of the abuse.
INSTRUCTOR AT TABLE IN FRONT OF WATERBOARD Lower third text: Office of Medical Services Guidelines, pp. 10, 16, 17
MALE INSTRUCTOR (O.S.) The doctor is responsible for keeping the detainee alive. He checks that the blood pressure and heart rate are not dangerously high and measures the blood oxygen level with this pulse oximeter. After prolonged exposure to cold water, he may check the body temperature
in case of hypothermia. When there are more than 15 applications of the waterboard in a 24-hour period, he has to do careful medical assessments after the later applications. In the rare cases when a prisoner is difficult to resuscitate, the doctor has to perform an emergency tracheotomy.
RAYMOND (O.S.) Physicians for Human Rights believes that the safety officer fallacy takes physicians from being healers to being calibrators of harm... They serve as a sort of gasoline on the fire because interrogators think that they can go harder because there's a health professional there, that they can push the detainee closer to the edge because there's a safety net there in the form of the health professional to catch them.
FEMALE INSTRUCTOR (O.S.) The CIA Office of Medical Services instructs the doctor to keep
thorough, systematic records. "In order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations, it is important
SLOW SCAN OF WATERBOARD, Lower third text: Office of Medical Services GuIdelines, p. 7.
FEMALE INSTRUCTOR (V.O.) that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented.
How long each application and the entire procedure lasted. How much water was used, realizing that much splashes off. If the naso or oro pharnyx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, and how the subject looked between each treatment."
MCGOVERN (O.S.) So to warp a person. To warp a professional, a doctor for example, into doing this kind of thing, really is quite a trick. The sad part about it is it's so easy, that these group mentalities and all the kinds of things that you can manipulate the people into doing against their better instincts.
STAGED SCENE: WALLING. Lower third text: Legal Counsel Bybee Memo, 2002, p. 2
MALE INSTRUCTOR (V.O.) For walling, a flexible false wall will be constructed. The idea is to create a sound that will make the impact seem far worse than any injury that might result from the action.
RUBENSTEIN (O.S.) They turned to the doctors. They basically said, we determine that severe pain means it's very intense and of long duration and sometimes violent. Could you tell us, doc, does this method meet that threshold?
And not once according to the legal documents or the medical memos, not once did the doctors ever say, "No, you can't do this."
STAGED SCENE: WATERBOARD UPRIGHTING ACTION
NARRATOR The CIA had special equipment built for the enhanced techniques. The waterboard was built so that the interrogators could swing the detainee upright in an emergency.
STAGED SCENE: DOCTORS INDICATES TIME LIMIT, GUARD PUTS
PRISONER IN BOX
NARRATOR Cramped confinement boxes came in small and large sizes
STAGED SCENE: GUARD THEN SITS ON BOX AND KICKS IT
CARD: "These boxes have not proved particularly effective as they become a safe haven offering a respite from interrogations." Lower third text: CIA Office of Medical Services Guidelines, p. 14
RUBENSTEIN (O.S.) We've had a lot of debate about torture in this country and whether it's ever justified. I think it's never justified in part because as we've seen that once you start down the road of torture, it never stops and gets worse and worse and worse.
STAGED SCENE: DOCTOR CHECKS HEART RATE. INTERROGATOR AND GUARD PREPARE DETAINEE FOR WATERBOARDING. Lower third text: CIA Office of Medical Services Guidelines, p. 16
DOCTOR Keep going.
MALE INSTRUCTOR (V.O.) Most seriously, for reasons of physical fatigue or psychological resignation, the subject may simply give up, allowing excessive filling of the airways and loss of consciousness...An unresponsive subject should be righted immediately.
SOUNDS OF THE WATERBOARD, DOCTOR TAKING NOTES, DETAINEE FEINTS, GUARDS FLIP WATERBOARD T VERTICAL. DOCTOR COMES TO AID
TITLE CARD: HIDING THE EVIDENCE
STEPHEN MILES SPEAKING FROM PODIUM. WITH CUTAWAYS OF UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA MEDICAL SCHOOL STUDENT AUDIENCE.
MILES (O.S.) Today doctors are essential to torturing regimes. Half of all torture survivors report seeing a doc supervising their torture. The doc keeps alive the ones who are supposed to be kept alive. The doc devises methods of torture such as shock, such as cold, such as isolation or psychological stress that does not leave wounds that can be interpreted as evidence. The doc uses the bureaucracy of the modern state to conceal the medical records, to falsify medical records, and to falsify death certificates.
NEWSPAPER HEADLINES ABOUT ABU GHRAIB.
MILES (V.O) It was clear that the abuse had been quite extensive and involved very large numbers of prisoners
MILES (O.S.) ... and also involved really extraordinary levels of gratuitous violence.
MILES GOING TO STUDY WITH DOCUMENTS, EXAMINING HIS FILES.
MILES (V.O) I decided, given the gravity of the issues, to be extremely conservative in my approach. I wouldn't use witness accounts, I wouldn't use lawyers' statements. I wouldn't use press accounts. I would only use first source government documents. As it happened, the ACLU was conducting a gigantic set of lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain government records. They put these documents up on a website. I read somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 80 thousand pages. Once you start getting that many documents, it's possible to cross link events. The story of the Ice Man for example.
MILES (O.S.) That story resides in about 15 different documents. And until you put them all together, you can't see the extraordinary narrative because this guy was picked up at his home by Navy Seals. There was a huge fight at his home.
AMERICAN FLAG BEHIND BARBED WIRE. EXTERIOR IRAQ PRISON, EXAM ROOM PHOTO, CELL PHOTO, ENTRANCE OF ABU GHRAIB, .
MILES (V.O). They took him to a Navy Seals base. He was naked. It was November. He said, "I feel like I'm gonna die," and the interrogator said to him "you're gonna wish you were dead." A medic watched as they worked him over in something called the Romper Room. Then they took him to Abu Ghraib. He said, I can't breathe, to the entry people, but was not given a physical exam. The Seals turned him over to the CIA. The CIA took him into a shower room and
DRAWING OF NAKED DETAINEE TIED TO WINDOW BARS
MILES (V.O.) they had the guards tie his hands behind his back and they hoisted them up. When you hang somebody backwards by their wrists, it prevents the lungs from expanding. And when you add to that broken ribs, and a sandbag over the head, it makes breathing even more difficult. The final cause of death was asphyxiation.
MILES (O.S.) Then they called the guards back in and the CIA guy told the guards, "Look, he's faking it. He won't talk and he keeps slumping down." Well, the guards tried to lift him up. He was dead weight. In fact, he was dead.
PHOTO OF CELL WITH BLOOD ON FLOOR. PICTURE OF PAPPAS.
MILES (V.O.) The CIA freaked out at this guy being dead. They called intelligence commander Pappas who came in and said, "I'm not going down for this...What did you do to this guy?"
STILL OF BODY PACKED IN ICE
MILES (V.O.) So they sent one of their lieutenants off to grab some ice and they packed him in the body bag. And then the guards had their photo shoot.
STILLS OF GUARDS GIVING THUMBS UP OVER THE BODY
MILES (O.S.) The next thing that happened was in the morning they had to get him out of the shower room and they had to take him through the prison cell block...
DRAWING OF MEDIC WHEELING PATIENT WITH IV
MILES (V.O.) ...so they called in a medic who put an IV in his arm and wheeled him out, saying he was sick. The narrative of where his autopsy was done, who did it...and why the death certificate was suppressed is still classified.
PICTURE OF JAMADI'S BODY W/ THUMBS UP SHRINKING IN SIZE AND FADING INTO SAME PICTURE HELD BY AL-JAMADI'S FAMILY
NARRATOR Although the United States was obligated to return his body to the al-Jamadi family, he was buried in an unmarked grave. His family learned what happened to him through the Abu Ghraib photos.
HEADLINES ABOUT AL-JAMADI CASE. STILL OF HIS BODY IN ICE.
NARRATOR The world knows Mr. al-Jamadi as the body defiled by Abu Ghraib guards. The press focused on who tortured him and whether officers would be prosecuted for his murder. One fact is rarely noted. Mr. al-Jamadi's fate was sealed by two medics, a doctor and a medical command responsible for his health care according to the Third Geneva Convention ratified by the United States.
GRAPHIC OF WEBSITE COLUMN NAMING CASES STARTING WITH JAMADI. GFX OF GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS.
NARRATOR The number of doctors involved in detainee abuse is unknown, but in declassified government documents, the al-Jamadi case is just one among many involving medical complicity and cover up of torture.
MILES (O.S.) The pathologists working for the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology collectively, systematically, and uniformly suppressed death reports in U.S. prisons in Afghanistan and Iraq to the extent that they ever became aware of them, in the CIA rendition prisons as well.
IRAQIS OUTSIDE PRISON. PEOPLE SPEAK ANGRILY TO CAMERA IN ARABIC (WITH ENGLISH CAPTIONS)
IRAQI MAN (AP) Subtitles: They have been detainees here since last July. Nobody knows what cave they're in. Nobody can reach the detainees. The Americans dominate the detainee.
MILES (O.S.) Secret deaths in prisons alienate populations profoundly. And, in fact, when you look in Iraq and what happened after the Abu Ghraib experience including the death of Jamadi came out, what happened was that support for our presence in Iraq dropped from around 70% to around 20%.
IRAQI MAN TEARING UP CARD. MAN STANDING IN FRONT OF WALL OF ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS. IRAQUIS IN STREET WITH FLAG, WAVING GUNS
MILES (V.O.) We lost the moral authority that we had in Iraq. We lost the Iraq people in a way that radically transformed the Iraq military and political landscape.
MILES (O.S.) Then, of course, the ultimate folly of all this was that according to military intelligence, 85% of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib were entirely innocent or ignorant of any insurgency activity whatsoever.
TITLE CARD: BREAKING THEM DOWN
GUANTANAMO: FLAG WAVING, PRISONERS BEING LED BY GUARDS,
OFFICERS ENTERING COMPOUND
NARRATOR Under pressure to obtain useful intelligence, the Department of Defense established Behavioral Science Consultation Teams, made up of both psychiatrists and psychologists, to advise interrogators on strategy after observing interrogations on TV monitors like this.
VIDEO OF KHADR INTERROGATION lower third: interrogator from Canada, detainee's home country
KHADR He said it's healthy. I can't move my arm. I requested medical for a long time. They don't do anything about it.
INTERROGATOR No, I mean they look like they're healing well to me. You know I'm not a doctor but I think you're getting good medical care.
KHADR No I'm not. You're not here.
BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE CONSULTATION TEAM GRAPHIC
NARRATOR The purpose of the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams or BSCTs, helped interrogators exploit the physical and emotional vulnerabilities of the detainees. These doctors were pulled out of clinical services and thrust into the role of consultants without any experience with interrogation.
STAGED SCENE: PRISONER IN CHAINS BEING LED INTO ISOLATION CELL
NARRATOR According to the Guantanamo Standard Operating Procedures, on arrival each detainee is isolated for four weeks and allowed contact only with interrogators and the Behavioral Science Consultants
GUARD Step up. Turn.
PORTERFIELD (V.O.) Human beings are social. We're creatures that thrive on communication with others and connection with others.
PORTERFIELD (O.S.) So when you deprive somebody of that you automatically start raising risk factors for the kinds of reactions, for reactions such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicidality in sort of more extreme cases, and psychosis, even, in more extreme cases.
HEADLINES: MARK BENJAMIN, KATHERINE EBAN, JANE MAYER
NARRATOR Investigative journalists were among the first to expose some of the techniques recommended by the Behavioral Science Consultants.
JANE MAYER INTERVIEW FROM DEMOCRACY NOW
JANE MAYER (O.S.) There was one plan in particular that a detainee's lawyer described to me in which the detainee was told that a psychiatrist had monitored the amount of toilet paper he was allowed. He was only allowed seven squares a day and that was actually an improvement over earlier when the psychiatrist according to these sources had taken away all of his toilet paper. Each detainee had kind of a psychological assessment and a plan kind of created for interrogating him depending on his weakness and vulnerabilities.
GTMO DETAINEE BEING WALKED IN WHITE TOWEL
ALLEN KELLER (O.S.) f As a doctor that has been evaluating and caring for torture victims from all over the world for over 15 years, the individuals that I examined who'd been detained at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo are among the most traumatized, scarred, both physically and psychologically...MOST
KELLER (O.S.) CONT. were not terrorists. They were individuals who were picked up in