CIA made doctors torture

This video about the USA says about itself:

CIA Torture Dr. Gets Contract

15 Oct 2010

The government keeps rewarding contracts to private security firms like Blackwater, despite the murder, fraud, drugs, and prostitutes, as if there’s no one else available to do the job. And today famed psychologist Martin Seligman, whose theory in many ways was the inspiration for the CIA’s interrogation program during Bush. But it turns out earlier this year the Army awarded a contract to the University of Pennsylvania where Dr. Seligman works. Mark Benjamin investigative reporter with explains the bases of the CIA’s torture process that was inspired by Seligman.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

CIA made doctors torture suspected terrorists after 9/11, taskforce finds

Doctors were asked to torture detainees for intelligence gathering, and unethical practices continue, review concludes

Sarah Boseley, health editor

Monday 4 November 2013

Doctors and psychologists working for the US military violated the ethical codes of their profession under instruction from the defence department and the CIA to become involved in the torture and degrading treatment of suspected terrorists, an investigation has concluded.

The report of the Taskforce on Preserving Medical Professionalism in National Security Detention Centres concludes that after 9/11, health professionals working with the military and intelligence services “designed and participated in cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment and torture of detainees“.

Medical professionals were in effect told that their ethical mantra “first do no harm” did not apply, because they were not treating people who were ill.

The report lays blame primarily on the defence department (DoD) and the CIA, which required their healthcare staff to put aside any scruples in the interests of intelligence gathering and security practices that caused severe harm to detainees, from waterboarding to sleep deprivation and force-feeding.

The two-year review by the 19-member taskforce, Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror, supported by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession (IMAP) and the Open Society Foundations, says that the DoD termed those involved in interrogation “safety officers” rather than doctors. Doctors and nurses were required to participate in the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike, against the rules of the World Medical Association and the American Medical Association. Doctors and psychologists working for the DoD were required to breach patient confidentiality and share what they knew of the prisoner’s physical and psychological condition with interrogators and were used as interrogators themselves. They also failed to comply with recommendations from the army surgeon general on reporting abuse of detainees.

The CIA’s office of medical services played a critical role in advising the justice department that “enhanced interrogation” methods, such as extended sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which are recognised as forms of torture, were medically acceptable. CIA medical personnel were present when waterboarding was taking place, the taskforce says.

Although the DoD has taken steps to address concerns over practices at Guantánamo Bay in recent years, and the CIA has said it no longer has suspects in detention, the taskforce says that these “changed roles for health professionals and anaemic ethical standards” remain.

“The American public has a right to know that the covenant with its physicians to follow professional ethical expectations is firm regardless of where they serve,” said Dr Gerald Thomson, professor of medicine emeritus at Columbia University and member of the taskforce.

He added: “It’s clear that in the name of national security the military trumped that covenant, and physicians were transformed into agents of the military and performed acts that were contrary to medical ethics and practice. We have a responsibility to make sure this never happens again.” The taskforce says that unethical practices by medical personnel, required by the military, continue today. The DoD “continues to follow policies that undermine standards of professional conduct” for interrogation, hunger strikes, and reporting abuse. Protocols have been issued requiring doctors and nurses to participate in the force-feeding of detainees, including forced extensive bodily restraints for up to two hours twice a day.

Doctors are still required to give interrogators access to medical and psychological information about detainees which they can use to exert pressure on them. Detainees are not permitted to receive treatment for the distress caused by their torture.

“Putting on a uniform does not and should not abrogate the fundamental principles of medical professionalism,” said IMAP president David Rothman. “‘Do no harm’ and ‘put patient interest first’ must apply to all physicians regardless of where they practise.” The taskforce wants a full investigation into the involvement of the medical profession in detention centres. It is also calling for publication of the Senate intelligence committee’s inquiry into CIA practices and wants rules to ensure doctors and psychiatrists working for the military are allowed to abide by the ethical obligations of their profession; they should be prohibited from taking part in interrogation, sharing information from detainees’ medical records with interrogators, or participating in force-feeding, and they should be required to report abuse of detainees.

Since September 11, 2001 medical professionals under the direction of the CIA and the US Department of Defense were ordered to disregard the core “do no harm” principles of medical ethics in their dealings with detainees held by the US in the so-called “war on terror.” Health professionals were required to engage in practices which included “designing, participating in, and enabling cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment” of prisoners: here.


Exposed: American Doctors and Psychologists Engaged in Frightening Torture Programs Since 9/11: here.

Aboriginal Australians suffered from Ice Age

This video is called Discovery Channel, Prehistoric Predators of the Past, 1 of 3. What Killed the Mega Beasts part 1.

From Australian Geographic:

Ice Age struck indigenous Australians hard

By: Wes Judd

September 27, 2013

Population numbers plummeted due to harsh conditions at the peak of the last Ice Age, says a new study.

A NEW STUDY HAS revealed how indigenous Australians coped with the last Ice Age, roughly 20,000 years ago.

Researchers say that when the climate cooled dramatically, Aboriginal groups sought refuge in well-watered areas, such as along rivers, and populations were condensed into small habitable areas.

Professor Sean Ulm, lead author of the research at James Cook University in Townsville, says the vast majority of Australia was simply uninhabitable at this time. “Forests disappeared, animals went extinct; major areas of Australia would have been deprived of surface water.”

How humans coped with the last Ice Age

To understand how Aboriginal people responded to the conditions, a team of experts from Australia, England, and Canada used the radiocarbon dates of thousands of archaeological sites to study the distribution of people across the landscape over time.

The findings, published recently in The Journal of Archaeological Science, suggest that about 21,000 years ago, almost all people in modern-day Australia migrated into smaller areas, abandoning as much as 80 per cent of the continent.

“In Lawn Hill Gorge in northwestern Queensland, at the coldest point of the last glacial period, all of the stone, raw materials and food remains are exclusively from the Gorge area,” says Sean. “This indicated very limited or no use of the surrounding broader landscape.”

This massive consolidation had drastic effects on the population as well. “There was likely a birth rate decline of over 60 per cent,” says Alan Williams, a PhD student at the Australian Nation University who worked on the study. “It would have been very ugly.”

Can humans cope with climate change?

Sean says the next step would ideally be to study the resulting cultural shifts, however, this may prove to be difficult given that close to one third of what was Australia at the time of the Ice Age is now underwater. “By 10,000 years ago, sea levels were visibly rising, sometimes on a daily basis,” says Sean.

Extreme changes in the environment continued for thousands of years, and Aboriginal life readjusted in the process. Sean says this makes it unlikely that researchers will ever know the full societal ramifications of the Ice Age.

What the study does reveal, however, is that humans have withstood massive climate change on this continent in the past, and this might prove vital for preparing for future events.

“A lot of the current climate reports that we read about in Australia…their records only go back a couple of hundred years,” says Sean. “That’s a very short time span to base our model for future climate change on.”

Sean adds that, thanks to studies like this, archaeologists may soon have the potential to extend these data sets.

Neanderthal language, still today?

This video is called Neanderthal – BBC Documentary.

From World Science:

Neanderthals may have talked—even contributed to our languages, scholars claim

July 10, 2013

Courtesy of the Max Planck In­sti­tute for Psy­cho­lin­guis­tics and World Science staff

Ne­an­der­thal peo­ple may have pos­sessed lan­guage, and their words might even have con­tri­but­ed to the lan­guages of our spe­cies, two sci­en­tists pro­pose.

Though the sec­ond idea has yet to be tested, they add, ev­i­dence al­ready ex­ists for the first. Both pro­pos­als fol­low recent find­ings that Nean­der­thals interbred with an­cestors of mod­ern hu­mans.

Da­ta is quickly ac­cu­mu­lating that seems to in­di­cate that Ne­an­der­thals, close cousins to mod­ern peo­ple, were much more like us than im­ag­ined even a dec­ade ago, say re­search­ers Dan Dediu and Ste­phen C. Levin­son of the Max Planck In­sti­tute for Psy­cho­lin­guis­tics in Nij­me­gen, Neth­er­lands.

They ar­gue that mod­ern lan­guage and speech can be traced back to the last com­mon an­ces­tor we shared with the Ne­an­der­thals, roughly half a mil­lion years ago. A pa­per de­tail­ing their work ap­peared in the July 5 on­line is­sue of the jour­nal Fron­tiers in Lan­guage Sci­ences.

The Ne­an­der­thals have fas­ci­nat­ed schol­ars and the pub­lic alike ev­er since their dis­cov­ery al­most 200 years ago. In­i­tially thought to be sub­hu­man brutes in­ca­pa­ble of much be­yond prim­i­tive grunts, they were a suc­cess­ful form of hu­man­ity in­hab­it­ing vast swathes of west­ern Eur­a­sia for sev­eral hun­dred thou­sand years, in­clud­ing dur­ing harsh gla­cial per­iods.

It’s well es­tab­lished that they were our clos­est cousins, shar­ing a com­mon an­ces­tor with us around half a mil­lion years ago—probably the spe­cies Ho­mo hei­del­ber­gen­sis, Dediu and Levin­son say. But it has been un­clear what their men­tal ca­pa­ci­ties were, or why mod­ern hu­mans re­placed them—an es­ti­mat­ed 28,000 years ago—after thou­sands of years of co­hab­ita­t­ion.

Due to new palaeoan­thro­po­log­i­cal and ar­chae­o­log­i­cal find­ings and re­assess­ments of old­er da­ta, but es­pe­cially to the avail­abil­ity of an­cient DNA, we’ve started to real­ize that their fate was in­ter­twined with ours, the re­search­ers not­ed. And far from be­ing slow brutes, they added, their men­tal ca­pa­ci­ties and cul­ture were com­pa­ra­ble to ours.

Dediu and Levin­son re­view all these strands of lit­er­a­ture and ar­gue that es­sen­tially mod­ern lan­guage and speech are an an­cient fea­ture of our line­age dat­ing back at least to the most re­cent an­ces­tor we shared with the Ne­an­der­thals and the Deniso­vans, an­oth­er form of hu­man­ity known mostly from DNA.

Their in­ter­preta­t­ion of the am­big­u­ous, scant ev­i­dence con­tra­dicts the sce­nar­i­o usu­ally as­sumed by most lan­guage sci­en­tists, that of a sud­den and re­cent emer­gence of mod­ern­ity—pre­sumably due to one or very few muta­t­ions. In­stead, the re­search­ers fa­vor a sce­nar­i­o of grad­u­al ac­cu­mula­t­ion of biolog­i­cal and cul­tur­al in­nova­t­ions.

The new pic­ture would push back the ori­gins of mod­ern lan­guage over ten­fold, from the often-cited 50 or so thou­sand years, to around a mil­lion years ago. That’s some­where be­tween the ori­gins of our ge­nus, Ho­mo, some 1.8 mil­lion years ago, and the emer­gence of Ho­mo hei­del­ber­gen­sis. A ge­nus is a biolog­i­cal clas­sifica­t­ion that em­braces a num­ber of spe­cies.

Giv­en that ar­chae­o­log­i­cal and ge­net­ic da­ta shows mod­ern hu­mans spread­ing from Af­ri­ca mixed with Ne­an­der­thals and Deniso­vans, then just as we car­ry around some of their genes, our lan­guages may pre­serve traces of theirs, the sci­en­tists added. The idea, they ar­gued, is test­a­ble by com­par­ing the struc­tur­al prop­er­ties of Af­ri­can and non-Af­ri­can lan­guages, and by com­put­er sim­ula­t­ions of lan­guage spread.

New finds demonstrate: Neandertals were the first in Europe to make standardized and specialized bone tools – which are still in use today: here.

Resourceful Neanderthals in France – Popular Archaeology: here.

Neanderthal and Denisovan retroviruses in modern humans: here.

Did Mexicans Inherit Diabetes Risk from Neanderthals? Here.

Women in British science, new research

This video from Ireland says about itself:

Reflections on women in science; diversity and discomfort: Jocelyn Bell Burnell at TEDxStormont

Apr 4, 2013

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell inadvertently discovered pulsars as a graduate student in radio astronomy in Cambridge, opening up a new branch of astrophysics — work recognised by the award of a Nobel Prize to her supervisor. She is now a Visiting Professor in Oxford.

From Kingston University in London, England:

Unearthing the hidden women of science and inspiring the next generation

08 May 2013

A group of historians and scientists is about to embark on a major project to scrutinise the role of British women in science. It will focus on finding and assessing the careers of scientific women who may not have received credit or recognition for their work. The £33k project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run jointly by Kingston University, University of Liverpool, the Royal Society and the Rothschild Archive London, aims to examine how women were involved in scientific societies between the years 1830 to 2012 and look at how that can inform policy today.

It will involve the establishment of a network of academics to gain a better understanding of how historical perspectives might impact future education policy making. Recent statistics show that only a third of science, technology, engineering and maths students in Britain are female and just 11 per cent of senior positions in science are held by women.

“Women’s unequal participation in science subjects at all levels, both in education, academia and in industry, is currently receiving close attention from policy makers, educationalists and social commentators,” project leader Dr Susan Hawkins, a senior history lecturer from Kingston University, said. “Part of the purpose of our work will be to closely examine data on women in science in the 19th and 20th Centuries. The hope is that by looking at women’s relationship with science in the past, we can pinpoint ways to encourage young women to participate more fully in the subject.”

There was a wealth of historical information which could open a window into the past but it was often dispersed across different archives, Dr Hawkins, who originally trained as a scientist, explained. “Through the network we hope to identify where these archives are and what revelatory material they may contain.” Part of the project will involve a shadowing scheme which will allow researchers studying the history of science to spend time alongside a female scientist in the laboratory, gaining an understanding of how science works today and the challenges faced by women in the field.

The network will be organised around a series of events, including three workshops, a two-day international conference to be held at the Royal Society in May 2014 and an exhibition open to the public. The first workshop will aim to identify archives that may contain information on women in science. It will concentrate on two groups of women – those whose work was recognised by the scientific community of their time and those who, despite producing work of high standard, were not. “The intention is to look at the characteristics that link the two groups of women and also to find out what set them apart,” Dr Hawkins added. Another workshop will focus on identifying possible oral history projects.

“The final workshop will pull together the findings from the first two events and allow us to make recommendations to government on future projects to help increase female participation in science,” Dr Hawkins said.

The issue of the representation of women in science has dominated headlines in the media in recent months. According to a report in last month’s Independent newspaper, female professors account for 5.5 per cent in physics, 6 per cent in chemistry and maths and just 2 per cent in engineering. This has prompted growing calls for better representation of women in science both in universities and in industry – a sentiment also echoed by Kingston University’s new Chancellor American playwright and author Bonnie Greer. “It is crucial that women continue to take up the study of science and maths as historically women have been kept out of these professions, so who knows what genius has been lost?” she said recently. “When you think of all the big problems that are out there waiting to be solved, every ounce of human intelligence is needed.”

Things were extremely tough for women in science in the past and they often did not receive proper recognition, according to Dr Hawkins. “It was a real struggle. For instance, the Royal Society didn’t accept female fellows until as late as 1945,” she said. “There were women in the scientific field but they really had to fight to be recognised, independent of any men they might have been working with.”

Guests from around the world will attend a launch event for the project at the International Congress for the History of Science Technology and Medicine to be held in Manchester in July.

Arabic, other poetry and music

On 7 April 2013, there was a poetry and music afternoon.

Part of it was a celebration.

Because in 1613, so 400 years ago, Leiden University established one of Europe’s first chairs of Arabic language and culture.

When I entered, Gerdi van der Poel read one of her poems about capitalist society.

After her came Hans Roest. He read his poems in public for the first time ever. One of them was about a tulip.

Then came Roel Weerheijm, born in Middelburg, later in Utrecht.

This is a video about Roel Weerheijm at a poetry slam.

Then, Erwin Mulder from Amsterdam.

Then, yours truly; with poems on the Iraq war, the Yugoslavia war, a bee-eater, a beetle and an umbrella.

Then, Peter Brouwer‘s poems.

Then, poems by A.C.G. Vianen, living in Eindhoven now.

And Leiden poet Paul Groenendaal.

After a pause, Jos van den Broek, presenting his new book.

Petra Sijpesteijn

Then, Petra Sijpesteijn, Professor of Arabic Language and Culture; about the four hundred years of Arabic at Leiden University.

After Ms Sijpesteijn, Ali Rida Rizek from Lebanon read an Arabic poem by a Palestinian poet.

Petra Sijpesteijn then translated that poem into Dutch.

Tijs Huys told an Arabic fairy tale.

Rian Evers sang Arabic songs.

Finally, after another pause, Peter Brouwer, yours truly, and the other poets who had already read their poems, had their second chances.