Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A cruel mocking land where decency knows no home

The wingnuts were right - 9/11 did change everything - but not the way they couch it. Because of the insanity that has set in after that heinous attack, we have become something worse than what we were determined to defeat in the Cold War on ideological grounds.

Anything goes for Americans, and all other comers are less than human, bereft of rights and not entitled to dignity, subjected to treatment that would set up howls from every quarter if any country dared to subject any exceptional American to such treatment.

The next president needs to dissolve the Department of Homeland Security and all of the agencies that fall under that umbrella and return to the 9/10/01 status quo ante that served us quite well and even warned against the impending terror attacks over a month before they happened, only to be dismissed with a smirking "okay, you've covered your ass now."

The Washington Post has a long and sickening article on deportations in which people are sedated with dangerous psychotropic drugs normally used to control episodes of extreme psychosis and violence.
In a Chicago holding cell early one evening in February 2006, five guards piled on top of a 49-year-old man who was angry he was going back to Ecuador, according to a nurse's account in his deportation file. As they pinned him down so the nurse could punch a needle through his coveralls into his right buttock, one officer stood over him menacingly and taunted, "Nighty-night."

Such episodes are among more than 250 cases The Washington Post has identified in which the government has, without medical reason, given drugs meant to treat serious psychiatric disorders to people it has shipped out of the United States since 2003 -- the year the Bush administration handed the job of deportation to the Department of Homeland Security's new Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, known as ICE.

Involuntary chemical restraint of detainees, unless there is a medical justification, is a violation of some international human rights codes. The practice is banned by several countries where, confidential documents make clear, U.S. escorts have been unable to inject deportees with extra doses of drugs during layovers en route to faraway places.

Federal officials have seldom acknowledged publicly that they sedate people for deportation. The few times officials have spoken of the practice, they have understated it, portraying sedation as rare and "an act of last resort." Neither is true, records and interviews indicate.

Records show that the government has routinely ignored its own rules, which allow deportees to be sedated only if they have a mental illness requiring the drugs, or if they are so aggressive that they imperil themselves or people around them.

Stung by lawsuits over two sedation cases, the agency changed its policy in June to require a court order before drugging any deportee for behavioral rather than psychiatric reasons. In at least one instance identified by The Post, the agency appears not to have followed those rules.

As a medical professional, this sickens and disgusts me, and any medical person who has carried out this immoral and possibly illegal protocol should be in front of a professional review board to determine the status of their license and perhaps refer for criminal charges of assault.

Let me give an example - if I am on duty in the lab and the police bring in a person they have arrested for driving under the influence for a blood test to back up the breathalyzer, I have to have that patient's consent before I perform a venipuncture under a very specific set of protocols for collection of forensic evidence. If that patient refused to give consent, and I perform the procedure anyway - I would be criminally liable for assaulting that patient and could see jail time as a result. And in that instance, evidence is being collected for presentation at trial - nothing is injected which carries inherent risk of injury or death via a physiological reaction.

There is simply no way that the sedation protocol passes muster, I don't care what those sadistic thugs Yoo and Addington (you just know that those feckless thugs wrote the legal opinions that allow this apostasy) say about it.

Citizens should be pissed of, sure - but every single medical professional in the country should be contacting their representatives and senators, and our professional organizations as well. I don't like being made complicit in crimes against humanity - and when medical escorts are prohibited from carrying out follow-up doses during layovers on foreign soil because it violates human rights laws, what the fuck else could a reasonable person call it?

I hang my head in shame.

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