Statement by Steven H. Miles, M.D., Board member, Center for Victims of Torture, on joining the complaint filed with the Office of Human Research Protections regarding experimentation by the CIA on prisoners in U.S. custody.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Board member, Center for Victims of Torture On joining the complaint filed with the Office of Human Research Protections
Re: Experimentation by the CIA on Prisoners in U.S. Custody

“The report by Physicians for Human Rights compiles government documents showing how physicians and psychologists assisted in the development of abusive interrogations. They performed research on how to psychologically break prisoners and on how to use physically harmful forms of torture including waterboarding. These health professionals violated laws and medical ethics pertaining to the use of prisoners as research subjects dating back to Nuremburg and ratified by every U.S. administration since then. The abuse of prisoners and the coerced abusive research on prisoners is disturbing. Equally troubling is the fact that a research program by the United States’ government apparently signals its intention to refine and continue to use interrogational practices that are contrary to U.S. law, the Convention Against Torture, and the Geneva Conventions.

“As an organization committed to healing torture survivors and ending the practice of torture, the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) is appalled at the complicity of medical professionals in these practices. These revelations merit a comprehensive and independent investigation by the Office of Human Research Protections.

“CVT renews its call for an independent non-partisan commission to examine and report publicly on torture and cruel treatment of prisoners since September 11, 2001. Such a commission should be adequately funded and given subpoena power and a mandate to fully examine the facts and circumstances of such abuses and to recommend measures to prevent future abuses.

“Without such an accounting, this nation will remain at risk of repeating past mistakes and heeding misguided future calls to resort to torture.”


Dr. Miles is a board member of the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT). CVT is marking its 25th year providing rehabilitation for torture survivors and working to end torture. Dr. Miles is also a professor at the Center for Bioethics, Department of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School and author of Oath Betrayed: America’s Torture Doctors. His article, “Punishing Physicians who Torture: A Work in Progress,” was published in TORTURE Journal (

Experiments in Torture by Physicians for Human Rights link:

CVT is a nonprofit based in St. Paul with an office in Washington D.C. and projects in Africa and the Middle East. Visit



Brad Robideau
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