“High-Value Detainee” Abu Zubaydah Blinded By the Bush Administration


The story of Abu Zubaydah has fascinated me for many years — since I was writing my book The Guantánamo Files, specifically, and, in my journalism, since I first wrote extensively about him in my April 2008 article, The Insignificance and Insanity of Abu Zubaydah: Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Confirms FBI’s Doubts. Since then, I have returned to his story repeatedly, in articles including Abu Zubaydah: The Futility Of Torture and A Trail of Broken Lives and Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah? (in 2009) and Abu Zubaydah: Tortured for Nothing, The Torture of Abu Zubaydah: The Complaint Filed Against James Mitchell for Ethical Violations, In Abu Zubaydah’s Case, Court Relies on Propaganda and Lies and New Evidence About Prisoners Held in Secret CIA Prisons in Poland and Romania (in 2010), and Algerian in Guantánamo Loses Habeas Petition for Being in a Guest House with Abu Zubaydah and Former CIA “Ghost Prisoner” Abu Zubaydah Recognized as “Victim” in Polish Probe of Secret Prison (this year).

As the supposed “high-value detainee” for whom the CIA’s torture program was specifically developed, and who, after John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee wrote and approved the notorious torture memos of August 1, 2002, was waterboarded 83 times, Zubaydah is pivotal to any assessment of the CIA’s torture program, and what makes his story particularly poignant — while reflecting awfully on the Bush administration’s supposed intelligence — is the fact that it should have been clear from the very beginning to the CIA, and to senior Bush administration officials, up to and including the President, that Zubaydah was not , as touted, the number three in al-Qaeda, but was instead the mentally damaged gatekeeper of a military training camp — Khaldan — that was only tangentially associated with al-Qaeda, and was, in fact, closed down by the Taliban, after its emir, another notorious “ghost prisoner” named Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, refused to bring it under the command of Osama bin Laden.

In the wake of WikiLeaks’ recent release of classified military documents relating to the Guantánamo prisoners (the Detainee Assessment Briefs, or DABs), my friend and colleague Jason Leopold had an excellent story out yesterday on Truthout, which, in essence, analysed why, in the photo of Abu Zubaydah available in the documents, he is wearing an eye patch, when, in the few photos available from before his capture, he clearly had both his eyes.

The results of this investigation, which involved limited statements made by one of Zubaydah’s attorneys, Brent Mickum, who is prohibited through draconian classification procedures from discussing almost anything about his client, are cross-posted below, and they provide, I believe, another chilling example of the manner in which physical mutilation — as found, for example, in the unnecessary amputations of various Guantánamo prisoners’ limbs — as well as physical experimentation in general (which has been admirably chronicled by Jason and the psychologist and blogger Jeff Kaye — see here and here), played a major part in the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” and must, one day, be regarded as part of the process whereby the Bush administration was knowingly involved in crimes against humanity.

Why Did US Medical Personnel Remove High-Value Detainee Abu Zubaydah’s Eye?
By Jason Leopold, Truthout, May 18, 2011

Shortly after he was captured in March 2002 at a safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan, following an early morning raid jointly conducted by the CIA, FBI, Pakistani police and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Abu Zubaydah woke up at a black site prison in Thailand and discovered that his left eye had been surgically removed.

Zubaydah, who is wearing an eye patch in a photograph included in his Guantánamo threat assessment file released by WikiLeaks last month, apparently never consented to the medical procedure and to this day has no idea why it was done, according to one of Zubaydah’s attorneys.

“I can tell you that Abu Zubaydah has no explanation for the loss of his eye,” said Brent Mickum, who has represented Zubaydah since 2007. “He continually wants me to make inquiries to try and determine the circumstances for which he lost his eye, but no one has been forthcoming.”

Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee captured in the “war on terror” whom the Bush administration had falsely claimed helped plan the 9/11 attacks and was the “No. 3” person in al-Qaeda, was shot in the leg, groin and stomach with an AK-47 during the March 28, 2002, raid. He allegedly attempted to evade capture by trying to jump from the rooftop of his safe house to the roof of a neighboring house. But the wounds he sustained did not include injuries to his eyes, face or head, according to intelligence officials and photographs of Zubaydah taken as he lay unconscious in a pool of blood, teetering on the brink of death, following the raid.

Retired CIA officer John Kiriakou, who was the head of counterterrorism operations in Pakistan and led the team involved in Zubaydah’s capture, told Truthout recently that Zubaydah “had both eyes” when the suspected terrorist was escorted from a Pakistani hospital to a Gulf Stream jet a day or so after the raid where a trauma surgeon from Johns Hopkins University the CIA tapped to perform surgery on the suspected terrorist was waiting.

So, what happened?

A US counterterrorism official, responding to a query from Truthout, said, “Zubaydah had a preexisting eye condition when he was captured” and “American medical personnel treated the condition, [but] he ultimately lost the eye.”

The revelation stands as the first piece of new medical information related to Zubaydah’s case to surface in years.

But Mickum doesn’t believe the government is being truthful.

“It is patently false to state Zubaydah lost his eye due to a preexisting condition and that is belied by the evidence that I have from [Zubaydah], which I can’t discuss due to the government’s protective order,” said Mickum. “My client had two good eyes before he was seized. I’m aware of no information from my client, the government or any other source that he had a ‘preexisting eye condition.'”

The counterterrorism official did not respond to follow-up questions about what Zubaydah’s pre-existing condition was, when the surgery to remove his eye took place, who performed it and where it was done, whether officials at the CIA signed off on the procedure, whether measures were taken to try and save Zubaydah’s eye and whether the CIA or any other intelligence official told Zubaydah why his eye was being removed.

Evisceration or Enucleation?

Dr. Jonathan Macy, who runs the Macy Eye Center in Los Angeles and is an associate clinical professor of ophthalmology at UCLA and the University of Southern California, said the “indications for removal of an eye include trauma, infection, pain, tumor and sympathetic ophthalmia,” where a piercing injury to one eye results in inflammation of the uninjured eye.

“If the eye is removed primarily at the time of trauma, the indication is a blind eye that cannot be put back together,” Macy said. “An alternative scenario would involve primary repair of the ruptured globe and the subsequent development of infection or pain in a blind eye.”

Macy added that “removal of eyes is done with either evisceration or enucleation.”

“Evisceration is usually the preferred procedure,” Macy said. “With evisceration, the contents of the globe are removed, but the outer wall, or sclera of the eye in retained. A silicone ball implant is inserted within the sclera to create volume. The volume within the orbit allows proper fitting of a prosthesis. When the whole globe must be removed, that is an enucleation.”

But Macy said it is unknown which procedure Zubaydah underwent because the counterterrorism official would only say that “he ultimately lost the eye.”

A 1998 passport picture of Zubaydah, which for years was the only photograph available, shows him wearing a pair of glasses and what appears to be a shadow or scar over his left eye, possibly the result of a shrapnel wound he suffered a decade prior to his capture.

Macy said in that photograph Zubaydah’s “left orbit may have already contained a prosthesis,” but Macy did not take a position as to whether that was the case.

“When one eye is normal and the other eye has a prosthesis, they rarely appear symmetrical,” he said. Zubaydah’s “eyes look slightly different from one another, but not to any marked degree.”

Macy also viewed the photograph of Zubaydah lying unconscious that was taken immediately following the raid and said Zubaydah’s eyes appears to be “fine.”

“I do not see any see any cuts or big lacerations and no cuts around the face or nose,” Macy said.

Regarding the counterterrorism official’s account about Zubaydah’s pre-existing eye condition and the circumstances that led to his left eye being removed, Macy said the scenario is conceivable.

“If the eye had suffered significant direct trauma, there are usually signs of injury to the surrounding skin,” Macy said. “The photos don’t show collateral damage. Therefore, the official explanation is very plausible.”

“Rather than perforation causing infection, an infection of the cornea may lead to perforation of the globe,” Macy added. “In this case, as there is a claim of a preexisting condition, [Zubaydah] may have suffered a previous corneal ulcer that thinned and weakened the globe. He may have had a bacterial infection or herpes of the cornea. This is almost always a unilateral process. Such infections may be severe enough to perforate the eye, rendering it blind. The offending agent must be removed, leading to evisceration or enucleation.”

Zubaydah’s medical records would likely explain the pre-existing eye condition, but those files are classified. The government has refused to share Zubaydah’s medical files with his legal team, all of whom have top secret clearance, because it contends that doing so would amount to a violation of the detainee’s privacy rights, an assertion that Mickum said is “so ludicrous that it is not even laughable at this stage.”

Mickum said Zubaydah now wears a prosthetic eye, but it sometimes irritates him so he takes it out and instead wears the eye patch.

Shrapnel Wound

The only known pre-existing condition that may have affected Zubaydah’s eye was the shrapnel wound to his head he suffered from a mortar attack while “on the front lines” in Afghanistan fighting Soviet forces a decade prior to his capture, according to the government’s classified Detainee Assessment Brief released by WikiLeaks.

That file says Zubaydah “stated he had to relearn fundamentals such as walking, talking and writing; as such, he was therefore considered worthless to al-Qaida.”

Last year, the government finally admitted in court documents [PDF] that Zubaydah’s diaries seized during the raid of the safe house “indicate that he suffered cognitive impairment from a shrapnel injury for a number of years.”

But when former Justice Department attorney John Yoo prepared one of the August 2002 torture memos, authorizing the CIA to subject Zubaydah to ten brutal torture techniques, which included waterboarding and repeatedly slamming him into a wall, Yoo wrote: “Zubaydah does not have any pre-existing mental conditions or problems that would make him likely to suffer prolonged mental harm from your proposed interrogation methods.”

“Through reading his diaries and interviewing him, you [CIA] have found no history of mood disturbance or other psychiatric pathology … ‘thought disorder’ … enduring mood or mental health problems,” Yoo wrote.

One of the interrogation memos Yoo drafted for the Department of Defense (DoD) that was used by military personnel and contractors conducting interrogations at Guantánamo and other prison facilities operated by the DoD stated that “gouging” a prisoner’s eyes out was arguably legal under the president’s executive powers unless “specific intent” to harm the prisoner could be proven [See Part One (PDF) and Part Two (PDF) of that memo].

“Infected Eye”

Details about Zubaydah’s eye appear to have first surfaced in a 2008 FBI Inspector General’s Report [PDF] that contained details of his interrogation conducted by CIA contractors, which former FBI special agent Ali Soufan, identified in the report by the pseudonym “Thomas,” said amounted to “borderline torture.”

In the report, the then-FBI Inspector General Glenn Fine said Soufan’s colleague, FBI special agent Steve Gaudin, identified by the pseudonym “Gibson,” disclosed to his fiancé in 2002 or 2003 that he accompanied Soufan to the black site prison in Thailand to “interview a notorious terrorist.”

Soufan had interrogated Zubaydah at the CIA’s black site prison in Thailand in April 2002, before CIA contractors took over, and had tended to his wounds.

Gaudin’s fiancé at the time, identified in the report as “Morehead,” “stated the terrorist was missing an eye. [Gaudin] told [the FBI during an interview into the matter] that Zubaydah had an infected eye, sometimes wore an eye patch and eventually got a glass eye,” which seems to indicate that Zubaydah’s eye may have already been removed by the time both agents arrived at the black site in April 2002.

Truthout tried to reach Gaudin’s ex-fiancée to determine if Gaudin disclosed additional information to her about Zubaydah’s eye and his medical condition in general, but she did not return emails or voice mail messages left on her cell phone.

Daniel Freedman, who works as director of strategy for policy and analysis at Soufan’s consulting firm, The Soufan Group, said Soufan confirmed that Zubaydah had a “preexisting eye condition.”

“I checked with [Soufan] and the [counterterrorism official’s] account is correct,” Freedman told Truthout in an email.

Neither Freedman nor Soufan elaborated.

Kiriakou, who wrote a book about his tenure at the CIA and the capture of Zubaydah, said, “I now recall that when [Zubaydah] first opened his eyes, his left eye was cloudy, like it had a significant cataracts film over it.”

“Zubaydah spent most of the time with his eyes closed and I just forgot about it,” said Kiriakou, who was surprised to learn Zubaydah’s eye had been removed. “It looked like a really bad cataract. I was with him about 48 hours when the plane came. I do not recall the Pakistani doctors paying any attention at all to his eye. They were so focused on his wounds that they didn’t pay any attention to anything else.”

Zubaydah Blames Interrogators

Zubaydah seems to be under the impression that he lost his eye as a result of abusive treatment.

During his Combatant Status Review Tribunal hearing, Zubaydah said the interrogators subjected him to “months of suffering and torture, physically and mentally, they did not care about my injuries that they inflicted to my eye, to my stomach, to my bladder and my left thigh and my reproductive organs.”

The counterterrorism official also said that any suggestion that Zubaydah “lost the eye while being captured or as a result of interrogation would be flat wrong.”

But other detainees’ claimed there were attempts to gouge out their eyes.

In a recent interview with the Guardian, Omar Deghayes said a Guantánamo guard “pushed his fingers inside my eyes” and blinded him in his right eye.

“I didn’t realise what was going on until the guy had pushed his fingers inside my eyes and I could feel the coldness of his fingers,” Deghayes told the Guardian, explaining that the incident took place when he protested a policy that called for detainees to walk around without pants. “Then I realised he was trying to gouge out my eyes.”

Shaker Aamer, the last British detainee who remains imprisoned at Guantánamo, told his attorney he also experienced similar treatment. Aamer said naval military police brutally tortured him for two and a half hours on June 9, 2006, “gouged his eyes” and “held his eyes open and shined a Maglite in them for minutes on end, generating intense heat,” during a brutal two-and-a-half hour beating on June 9, 2006, after he refused to provide his captors with a retina scan and fingerprints [Note: This was the same night that three other prisoners reportedly died by committing suicide, a questionable event that was analyzed by Scott Horton, based on new information from former soldiers, in an award-winning article for Harper’s Magazine last year].

Mickum said the loss of Zubaydah’s eye and the government’s rationale that it was the result of a “preexisting eye condition” only raises additional questions about Zubaydah’s treatment.

“The only way to rule out that anything nefarious took place is to look at Zubaydah’s medical records,” Mickum said. “Until that occurs, the jury is way out and the government is not entitled to any credibility. They’ve lied consistently starting with the fact that they said Zubaydah was never tortured. The only inference one can draw is that he lost his eye as a result of mistreatment by the government and that he received poor medical treatment in the aftermath of his injury.”

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

62 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Greg Burton wrote:

    Organ harvesting. The Israelis do it.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Jason Leopold wrote:

    Thanks so very much, Andy!!!!!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Good work! It sounds like he lost his eye as a result of torture/and or neglect. What’s more, I think doctors would have to be complicit in this case. Pretty harrowing stuff.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    This sounds like one of those cases where the more rationalizations doctors or investigative “specialists” try to make, the worse they sound.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghaliyaa Haq wrote:

    reposted too

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Jason. That’s very kind considering that it’s your article! And thank you everyone for the comments, and to those of you who’ve shared it.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Joe Anbody wrote:

    Andy thanks for posting this and all you do – I shared this post on my wall

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbi Montano wrote:

    Jason are you saying you think he lost his eye due to something that happened while he was in Guantanamo or they failed to provide him adequate medical attention or both? I’m a little unclear?

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbi Montano wrote:

    or that the injury was so severe that there was no other choice but to remove his eye?

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Barbi, they tortured him. But who can say for certain if they won’t even release medical records to his lawyer. Certain “interrogation methods” okayed by the Bush administration include applying pressure/gouging eyes, stress positions (Palestinian torture, waterboarding (drowning.)) In other words all the little euphemisms disguise how lethal these “iinterrogation methods” are. And none of this is unusual. I suspect 100s of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan if not 1000s have been subjected to torture. There’s the Afghan cab driver, Dilawar. Manadel Al-Jamadi and at least 100s more who were probably killed by torture.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mui.
    When I read Jason’s article, what alarmed me was the possibility that the removal of his eye, like many of the amputations at Guantanamo — of fingers, of limbs — was done not because it was necessary, but as the outcome of a mindset that was dedicated to behavior that was both barbaric and clinical. And that I find terrifying …
    By the way, for more on Dilawar, killed in Bagram, see my article here:
    And for the story of Manadel al-Jamadi, the “iceman” in Abu Ghraib, see Jane Mayer’s article:

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    It’s detective work, in other words, and the medical records are crucial. I hope Jason keeps up the good work.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    because the Iraqi body Count has listed prisoners who died as late as Feb. 2011 of torture. So it’s kind of crucial to expose if we want to save some lives.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbi Montano wrote:

    Thanks I didn’t understand exactly, that’s just disgusting.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Saima Ahsan wrote:

    this is horrible!

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Andy. I read this, perhaps a bit quickly, but two things caught my attention.
    1) Yoo’s statement that a harsh procedure is ok if the subject is ‘not likely to suffer prolonged mental harm from your proposed interrogation method.’ I think Yoo is either ignorant or deliberately ambiguous. Take PTSD. It need not be contracted *right after* mistreatment. It can occur much later, when some stressor brings back strong memories of the mistreatment. It is then called ‘delayed PTSD,’ ‘late onset PTSD’, or something like that. Does Yoo not know this?
    2) Gouging eyeballs ‘arguably legal’? That is in itself disgusting, and I wonder if is true without further description. But then Yoo appears to state that it’s *not* arguably legal when ‘specific intent’ to harm a prisoner could be proven. Well, this is contorted language that I don’t understand. Let me see. Gouging is ok when an interrogator *does not* have a specific intent to harm a prisoner?? So that intentionally gouging can be done without (specific) intent to harm? Andy et al, this is either an evasive way of permitting gouging, or nonsense (gouging without intent to harm whereas gouging is clearly a cause of harm. I have no idea what Yoo is saying, but fear he is intentionally sounding muddled so as to permit torture. It’s so weird that I don’t quite know what I am saying now.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Yoo is a scumbag, George. They all are.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Mui. Of course he is. But I’m a philosopher and a logician, and I wanted to show just how crappy these texts and quotes are.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    You’re also more polite than me George, And I mean it in a good way

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Thanks Mui. The only deviation from staidness was my word ‘crappy,’ since that what this is. Seriously though, If I could confront Yoo in court, then I would ask him to explain exactly what he meant, and would also ask if he knew about delayed onset PTSD.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Andy, my thought was that they injured him badly and let it get to the point past repair. Too many limbs are amputed at Camp Bucca, Camp Charlie, Camp Remembrance, Camp Cropper, etc. There is some cruelty in it. I think you”re right in that. I think they let him get very very sick or abused him so badly.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbi Montano wrote:

    Sounds like a bad horror story, and how is it possible that Bush can do this? That is a power that was given to a President?

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Denise Dobyns wrote:

    the only thing that it is proper to gouge in medicine are whiteheads and blackheads. it could be viewed as torture with lovely results. prisoners do not ever an organ or tissue donor make!

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    But I could be wrong, because they do weird things with drugs at the Camps in Iraq. Yes, Barbi, if you check out ACLU’s detainee deaths pdf, there are people who were amputed (legs, both) and buried and that was blamed on fellow inmates.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbi Montano wrote:

    Who would agree to carry that out?

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Mui. You are most likely right about the scenario.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbi Montano wrote:

    I feel sick now

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Well in one case, Al Jamadi, it was the Navy Seals who beat him (probably beyond repair) and then the CIA or contractors had a turn at torture.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Denise Dobyns wrote:

    i was a nurse in a fed detention center. i left since there was no real nursing.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Denise. That’s horrid, but expected.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Denise Dobyns wrote:

    negligence by omission

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    None of this seems normal, what goes on in torture camps

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Denise. That’s what it might be, at the very least. If not, it was gouging by intent. Both are bad.

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Denise Dobyns wrote:

    not a dermatologic procedure. it is a joke. lol. but this torture is far from a procedure. either hurting by intent or omission is a violation of basic human rights.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Excellent discussion, my friends. I was fascinated, George, to see you grappling with John Yoo’s extraordinary mangling of the law in the revolting torture memos. It’s always hard, I think, to separate the cynicism in the memos from Yoo’s evident enthusiasm for torture.
    For those who want to know more, these are the two torture memos of August 1, 2002:
    And this is my analysis of what torture is, and why Yoo’s attempts to redefine it are so fatally flawed:

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Another possibility is that the “gouging” went too far and 1) the torture was obvious so they took the eye out and/or 2) the eye was past repair. Messing with the eyes can mess with the head though. So I wonder if that ends up being “cosmetic,” taking the eye out to conceal torture.

    I swear, I read something somewhere like more than a few times where they took extra measures to conceal torture, at least from other prisoners.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Denise Dobyns wrote:

    above all do no harm. the oath we med profs take. this is a clandestine house of horrors and noone wants to take the fall.

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Denise. Let me ask you a quick question about that. Do American or European MDs still take that Oath? I think I heard that Dutch doctors no longer are asked to do that.
    PS. Well, you just said that *you* did.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    George, I come from a medical family and I can tell you it was important to them. In fact they had me memorize parts of it by grammar school (yes, they wanted me to be a doctor, but I was bad at math.)

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Thanks Mui. I needed to know that. I think I heard that Doctors in Holland (I think it was there) might not need to take the Oath in future, because it is outdated somehow. I don’t know what that meant, but I *do* know that many medical aspects of the “New Care System” in Holland would violate that oath.

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger (in response to 34, above):

    Andy, I’d love to get Yoo in court. I can deflate such things quickly.

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Thanks Andy. George, I think the medical professionals I’ve known throughout my life hold the Hippocratic oath in reverence. However, they think the whole system is screwed up with insurance etc. I thought there was an abortion part of the oath, but that’s not considered relevant. The main part is completely relevant. still. I wouldn’t be surprised if conservative types are pushing across the internet the idea that the Hippocratic Oath is outdated, and only lay people consider it relevant. In fact, I’ve seen that. That gets on my nerves because it’s not my experience *at all*.

    The biggest part, George, is getting past that DC Circuit and all those conservative judges. They’ve formed firewalls, from the sounds of it.

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Mui. Perhaps where you live, but not in the Netherlands, where there is a weak oath that commits a doctor to very little and is open to evasive readings in several ways.

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Okay great, do you think there are industry people behind all this in the Netherlands? Because I think that’s the case in the US.

  45. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Yes. I not only think, I know several. There is also competition between hospitals, so that one does not get referred to the hospital that gives the optimal treatment. And there are secret age limits and caps on treatments set by the private insurers. At this moment the Netherlands is the only EU country whose healthcare system is managed by the insurers in collusion with the gov. I consider this a threat to the EU.

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    That’s depressing, George. Is Sweden better?

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Yes, but getting worse, partly under Dutch influence and partly because the PM, F. Reinfeldt, is a rabid free-marketeer.
    PS. I was the first Dutch citizen to get such knowledge into print. I succeeded only because I know one major columnist personally, and the main political-intellectual blogger believes me.

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    ‎*sigh* Nothing like a free-marketeer./s They’re the bane of this country, the US as well.

  49. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger ‎wrote:

    Andy. Way off topic. In the UK, the NHS is under threat as you know. The main private contractor to DWP ia ATOS ORIGIN, a combination of Dutch and French consultancy firms. ATOS ORIGIN just bought the UK and Dutch divisions of consultancy firm KPMG, which helped set up the horrid Dutch system. I wonder what this all means, but it bodes no good for the NHS. The ideologue of KPMG, who is now in the UK, stated that the NHS must be ‘shown no mercy’ in the coming ConDem cuts, and KPMG is prepared to help ATOS ORIGIN behave that way.

  50. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    I hate that term “iceman” Al-Jamadi. They give these murdered prisoners nicknames, and I have a feeling they think its funny.
    I’m going to take time out. Have a good one, George. Sad and interesting discussion.

  51. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    You too, Mui. Andy, if you wish I can send you links to all this. I have done so to several anti-cut activists.

  52. Andy Worthington says...

    David J. Clarke wrote:

    I just want to close my eyes until the horror goes away…when will this injustice be revealed for what it is?

  53. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    I am at the end of 51 comments because this story made me feel so ill. I believe we have to stare this in the face, George, and make sure we do something to stop this kind of thing – by chucking out all the trash who think this is OK. I include Obama

  54. Andy Worthington says...

    Shahla Nuh wrote:

    Sharing of medical files being a “violation of the detainee’s privacy rights”! What about all the other rights…right of dignity, right to keep his eye, right to be treated like a human being?? Disturbing and sad indeed.

  55. Andy Worthington says...

    AniTa Hernan wrote:

    Bastard Bush and his evil cronies have this power..how scary that they have been able to do all these terrible things…

  56. Andy Worthington says...

    Ann Alexander wrote:

    Omar Deghayes lost his sight in one eye in Guantanamo too.

  57. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you again, my friends. I share your disgust, David, Willy, Shahla and AniTa.
    You’re right, Ann, about Omar losing his eyesight in Guantanamo and I suspect he’s not the only one, although no one has done a thorough survey of the released prisoners, to ascertain the injuries they sustained. It’s something that should happen one of these days.
    And George, on the only slightly off-topic discussion of health cuts and privatization (the same kind of monsters are in charge), please do send me links. I understand competition, and the need for it to some extent, but keeping amoral or immoral profiteers away from the NHS as much as possible is of great importance to me.

  58. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    Good Andy. I have three or four. All but one are crucial. I’ll send them this evening or tomorrow. Keep up the good work.

  59. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    I’ll add to that. They should have the right to medical treatment, the right not to be tortured, the right to refuse fraudulent “medical treatment” .. . . (this is an open ended list.)

  60. Andy Worthington says...

    Vicki S. Nikolaidis wrote:

    omg where is humanity?

  61. Ten Years of Torture: On Anniversary of Abu Zubaydah’s Capture, Poland Charges Former Spy Chief Over “Black Site” « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] 2008 and 2011 alone, he experienced more than 300 seizures. At some point during his captivity, the CIA removed his left eye. His physical pain is compounded by his awareness that his mind is slipping away. He suffers […]

  62. People's Blog for the Constitution » The US and our hunger for torture says...

    […] 2008 and 2011 alone, he experienced more than 300 seizures. At some point during his captivity, the CIA removed his left eye. His physical pain is compounded by his awareness that his mind is slipping away. He suffers […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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