Research Fellow Kelli Stout will observe military commission proceedings this week in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Kelli will send updates whenever possible, and they will be available here. Please subscribe and check back daily for Kelli’s reports from GTMO.
On today’s Underreported segment on the Leonard Lopate show, Professor Denbeaux discussed why administration of the drug to detainees (at five times the regular dosage) is controversial.
SETON HALL LAW REPORT SHOWS U.S. MILITARY ROUTINELY ADMINISTERED CONTROVERSIAL DRUG TO DETAINEES IN GUANTÁNAMO BAY
Findings suggest detainees were unnecessarily dosed with a medication known to induce hallucinations, paranoia and psychosis.
Seton Hall University School of Law’s Center for Policy and Research has issued a report, Drug Abuse: An Exploration of the Government Use of Mefloquine at Guantánamo documenting the medically inappropriate use of a dangerous pharmacological treatment on Guantánamo Bay detainees.
According to the report, the U.S. military routinely administered mefloquine, a controversial malaria treatment, at five times the standard prophylactic dose. Mefloquine, even at the standard dose, is known to cause adverse side effects such as paranoia, hallucinations, aggression, psychotic behavior, memory impairment, convulsions, suicidal ideation and possibly suicide.
The prophylactic dose of mefloquine is 250 mg. On arrival at Guantánamo, as a matter of standard operating procedure, detainees received 1250 mg of mefloquine. The larger dose of mefloquine was administered without taking a patient history of any kind.
Dr. G. Richard Olds, tropical disease specialist and founding Dean of the Medical School of the University of California at Riverside, commented on the long-lasting effects of the drug: “Mefloquine is fat soluble, and as a result, it does build up in the body and has a very long half-life. This is important since a massive dose of this drug is not easily corrected and the ‘side effects’ of the medication could last for weeks or months.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, and the U.S. military concedes, that malaria is not a threat in Guantánamo. For that reason, U.S. military personnel and contractors are not prescribed any prophylactic anti-malarial medication.
“Mefloquine was administered to detainees contrary to medical protocol or purpose,” commented Professor Mark P. Denbeaux, Director of the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research. “The record reveals no medical justification for mefloquine in this manner or at these doses. On this record there appears to be only three possible reasons for drugging these men: gross malpractice, human experimentation or ‘enhanced interrogation.’ At best it represents monumental incompetence. At worst, it’s torture.”
Dean Olds concluded, “In my professional opinion there is no medical justification for giving a massive dose of mefloquine to an asymptomatic individual. I also do not see the medical benefit of treating a person in Cuba with a prophylactic dose of mefloquine.”
Professor Stephen Soldz, Director of the Center for Research, Evaluation, and Program Development, Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, added, “For years there has been an almost complete lack of transparency regarding medical practices and procedures at Guantánamo. The military has failed to provide credible explanations for its procedures. Detainees and their attorneys have been denied access to their own medical records, an egregious ethical violation. All health providers should join the call for Guantánamo to respect fundamental rules regulating medical ethics everywhere.”
The report, Drug Abuse: An Exploration of the Government Use of Mefloquine at Guantánamo, may be found HERE.
TruthOut.org published an article independent of the Seton Hall Law report. Read it HERE.
Seton Hall University School of Law, New Jersey’s only private law school, and a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, is dedicated to preparing students for the practice of law through excellence in scholarship and teaching, with a strong focus on clinical education. The Center for Policy and Research enables students to gain practical experience while engaging in research and analysis that promotes respect for the rights of individuals worldwide. The students examine primary sources pertaining to national security law and practices of the U.S. government, as well as the reliability of forensic evidence for criminal investigations and prosecution. Seton Hall Law is located in Newark, NJ and offers both day and evening degree programs. For more information, visit http://law.shu.edu.
Andy Worthington points out the hypocrisy of Jeff Sessions and Charles Bond.
Seton Hall Law Review Symposium: National Security Policy and the Role of Lawyering: Guantanamo and Beyond
Date of Symposium: Thursday, October 28, 2010
The broad focus of the Symposium will be to discuss preventive detention and the future of United States national security policy. As the United States prepares for the closing of Guantánamo Bay detention center, the country still faces the challenge of balancing national security and individual rights. Controversy continues to plague U.S.-run prisons abroad, such as Bagram in Afghanistan; at the same time, the country has yet to resolve critical questions surrounding the scope of executive detention authority in the “war on terrorism,” leaving the future of U.S. detention policy uncertain. We hope to discuss the mark Guantánamo has left on the United States and explore the future of preventive detention from the standpoint of lawyers, scholars, policymakers, the media, and former detainees.
Visit http://law.shu.edu/lawreviewsymposium for the schedule, the full list of speakers, and registration information. CLE credit is available.
The New York Times is reporting that Physicians for Human Rights has issued a report concluding that the CIA conducted experiments in torture using GTMO detainees as subjects. Read the story here.
More to come as this story develops.