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University of Minnesota

United States Military Medicine in War on Terror Prisons

Iraq- Operation Iraqi Freedom - OIF   Afghanistan- Operation Enduring Freedom - OEF  Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - GTMO


No One Shall be Subjected to Torture or to Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
   -Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948



Large Investigations

Policies and Directives




Health Care & Neglect

Witness & Silence





Orientation and Notes

Large Investigations Index
Policies and Directives Index
Medcom - Medical Command Index
Deaths Index
Interrogations Index
Health Care & Neglect Index
Witness & Silence Index
Contact Information

The purpose of this website is to promote scholarship of medical activities, ethics and policies pertaining to POW facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and at Guantanamo Bay that are managed by the United States Department of Defense and its intelligence agencies.


Large Investigations

White House and Cabinet

Department of Defense



News and Links

Press Release 2007

Guantánamo and Its Aftermath:
U.S. Detention and Interrogation
Practices and their Impact on
Former Detainees

-November 2008 

Archive of Documents on the U.S. Use of Torture


This site is a library of government documents pertaining to the roles of Armed Forces Medical Personnel who worked in US Armed Forces prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo Bay from 2001 to 2006. This archive does not address matters pertaining to military medicine on the battlefields or medical care to unimprisoned people. It is restricted to documents addressing medical activities and is not a compilation of all documents pertaining to the War on Terror prisons.

Many of these documents and events are discussed and set into context in "Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity, and the War on Terror" Random House, 2006 by Steven H. Miles.

This website is organized into Archives and Indexes.

The Archives contain PDF images of government documents organized by the authoring agencies. Prefixes identifying the agency precede most, but not all, page numbers. These include:

  • DODDOACID - Army Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Defense
  • DOD - Department of Defense
  • MEDCOM - Medical Command of the Department of Defense
  • DETAINEES - FBI interrogation notes

The Archives may be viewed with the free Adobe © viewer. Many of these documents are images rather than searchable text. To avoid disaggregating poorly sorted source PDF documents, the Archives retained the blocks of documents as they were made available.

The Indexes are Microsoft Excel sheets that cross-link topic areas to the databases. These contain a limited number of variables that are searchable. They also reference page numbers in the Archives, using the official pagination when possible and the PDF pagination when not possible. See the Notes sections for comments and conventions relevant to particular Indexes.

Case numbers

Each identified prisoner in the Deaths Index has been assigned a unique case number which is used in all the indexes to facilitate creating complete files on prisoners.

Large Investigations Index

This index includes investigations, which the Defense Department has commissioned of the prison system. Notes highlight the medical content of these investigations, which should be read in their totality. The only independent investigations are a leaked report by the International Committee of the Red Cross and a United Nations investigation. Physicians for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, and the Committee for Constitutional Rights, as well as numerous media sources have also produced investigations and posted documents related to the prison medical system. Interested parties should search for such material as it falls out of the scope of this website of government documents.

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Policies and Directives Index

The policies and directives cited in this Index pertain to the medical care of prisoners or to the involvement of medical personnel in intelligence or clinical activities. They are arranged from the President down the chain of command to the various theaters and bases.

The Archives section entitled, “White House and Cabinet? includes the subset of policies from the White House, Department of Justice, and from the Secretary of Defense and his immediate staff (such as the Undersecretary of Defense for Health).

More comprehensive policy archives may be found in:

Greenberg KJ, Dratel JL (eds). The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005

George Washington University
Pace Law School


MEDCOM - Medical Command Index

These are medical records, mostly from Iraq, that include death certificates, autopsy reports, and largely unexplored clinical records compiled by prison medics and in hospitals serving prisoners. Some MEDCOM documents are referenced from the Deaths, Interrogation, and Health Indexes. Medical policies are found in the Policy documents. The MEDCOM clinical records only include a few pre- and post-interrogation exams; most remain classified.

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Deaths Index

All deaths of Prisoners of War are a matter for military medical personnel because those personnel are responsible for the medical care of such persons while they are alive and for performing autopsies and completing death certificates after death.

This Index is incomplete because the Department of Defense remains in violation of Article 120 and 121 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War in not supplying a complete list of all prisoner deaths and death certificates and investigations. US government documentation of prisoner deaths is particularly deficient in the deaths of children (e.g., Case 22), women (e.g., Case 21), “ghost? prisoners who died in secret CIA centers (e.g., Case 19, 89, 11), or many of the numerous deaths due to hostile fire into prisons. This Index includes all deaths that can be identified in death certificates, autopsy reports, investigations, and other documents.


This list does not:

  • address the status of the estimated 150 persons who the CIA has taken to other countries for imprisonment in a process called extraordinary rendition. It is credibly reported that many of these persons have been tortured. All of these persons should be presumed dead until the United States names these persons, produces evidence of their well being and allows human rights organizations to confirm the information.

  • include deaths of persons at the point of capture prior to imprisonment or during transport from one prison to another.

Classification of Deaths

In civilian law, homicide is the killing of one human being by the act or omission of another. The Defense Department uses a restrictive definition: "death resulting from the intentional (explicit or implied) or grossly reckless behavior of another person or persons." I have described deaths as homicide or suicide.  Keeping Prisoners of War in a facility that is exposed to enemy fire violates the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War and Army doctrine. I have not used the Defense Department category of death due to “Natural Causes? (although some prisoners did so die) because military investigations were often incomplete for reasons discussed in Oath Betrayed.   


All dates are date-of-death to facilitate cross linking files and identifying cases when some files omitted a prisoner’s name. When a death date is not known it is either given as a year or month, or year.

Document Types

These include Death Certificates, Autopsies, E-Mails, Notes, Investigations, and Trial Transcripts. Where no government document exists, I give the organization identifying the death. Sometimes the index lists several copies of a document, such as a Death Certificate, in order to display all available copies of documents which vary in content or in degrees of redaction.

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Interrogations Index

This Index contains documents describing medical or psychological involvement in designing or monitoring coercive interrogations. It includes case material and e-mails. A set of FBI documents describe how the FBI tried to persuade the Army to use its Behavioral Analysis Unit instead of the harsh approach overseen by the Defense Department’s Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCTs). This index is sorted by place and then by type of medical involvement. Interrogation policies for clinicians are in the Policies Index.

Health Care & Neglect Index

This Index, sorted by location and then by issue, contains Defense Department documents pertaining to singular incidents and single prison inspections. Readers should approach this topic by reading the general assessments of the prison medical system in the Army Surgeon General, Mikolashek, and Ryder reports. Health policies are in the Policies Index.


Witness & Silence Index

This Index, sorted by location and then by issue, consists of Defense Department documents relating to allegations and findings that medical personnel did not document abuse, silently witnessed abuse, did not report abuse, lost records that were relevant to an abuse investigation, or were complicit in abuse. It also includes the few reports of medical personnel reporting abuse. Readers should also look at the relevant portions of the Army Surgeon General’s investigation of the abuse reporting system.

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Contact Information

Corrections, suggestions, additional documents (with information for authentication) should be sent to: Steven Miles, MD, Center for Bioethics, N504 Boynton, 410 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455-0346.



Many sources have been used to create this archive. The ACLU has created an immense website of many but not all the available documents pertaining to US detainees overseas. Some of these documents have come from news organizations and many have been taken from the website of the Department of Defense.

Financial support for this website comes from all of the donors who so generously support the Human Rights Library. Contributions to this website are welcomed. This particular section of the Human Rights Library was made possible by a Grant from the University of Minnesota’s Office of Public Engagement.



Citations to this website should read:

United States Military Medicine in War on Terror Prisons. Eds. Steven Miles, Leah Marks. Human Rights Library of the University of Minnesota, 2007. 

Citations to individual documents should use a standard citation for the document and then note its location within this website, using the URL for the specific document.

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Leah Marks - Web Editor
University of Minnesota, Law School
Human Rights Library


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