Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Dosing the Inmates - Then and Now

In prison camps of the past, inoculating inmates against smallpox (Andersonville, 1864) or killing the lice that spread typhus (Auschwitz, 1943) has given rise to accusations that those running the camps were neglecting, experimenting on, or even murdering the beneficiaries of their attentions.

But at least those incidents were justified by the actual presence of the diseases being combated, even to the extent of raging epidemics. In 2002 in the prison camp operated by the United States in Guantanamo, Cuba, there has never been a case of malaria reported. Yet, ostensibly because some of the detainees came from areas with some incidence of malaria, all of the detainees have been subjected to inoculation with an anti-malarial that has such severe and frequent side effects that members of the US armed forces have quit the service rather than be subjected to it.

Furthermore, hundreds of contractor personnel at Guantanamo that come directly from places with far-higher rates of malaria than the places the detainees come from have not been inoculated with this anti-malarial, and possibly not with any other, either (nor have they been subjected to close physical examination for the presence of malaria).

The effects of the anti-malarial are literally torturous, but the information to be gained from the hundreds of subjects receiving it could be most useful to the politically well-connected producer of the vaccine, and perhaps medical science itself, if said producer honestly and fully shares the data arising from this torture-cum-experimentation being performed on America's hapless prisoners.

Some of this may sound familiar to students of prison camps past.

No comments: