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Berwick-Linked Advocacy Group Spearheaded ‘Torture’ Campaign against American Officials

Obama has appointed Donald Berwick, a board member of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), to head Medicare. While participating in an EU-funded project on “documenting” torture charges, PHR took aim at America.

by
John Rosenthal

Bio

July 28, 2010 - 12:00 am
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In 2005, the European Commission awarded a follow-up grant of another nearly €900,000 to the IRCT. As indicated on the IRCT website, Physicians for Human Rights remained one of four principle partner organization collaborating on the follow-up project, now known as the “Prevention through Documentation Project.” According to European Commission data, the EU grant accounted for nearly 70% of the costs of the follow-up project.

In 2008, the European Commission awarded yet another grant to the IRCT for what appears to be a continuation of the same project. The new grant totaled over €1.4 million (or over $1.8 million at current exchange rates), representing 80% of costs. The official subject of the new grant, as listed in the European Commission’s “Financial Transparency” database, is the “Use of Forensic Evidence in the Fight against Torture.” But as can be seen here, the IRCT continues to treat the project under the general heading of “prevention through documentation,” the same head under which it has collaborated with Physicians for Human Rights.

IRCT documents reflect the same exceptionally broad conception of “torture” as is on display in Physicians for Human Rights reports. For example, the IRCT website currently features an item on “Nudity as Torture Method.”

Other ongoing or recently concluded IRCT projects include an EU-funded project on “Preventing torture within the fight against terrorism.” In the context of what the IRCT describes as “the so-called ‘war on terrorism,’” the project aims to “target … local and international media” in order to increase public awareness of the alleged “torture and ill-treatment” of terror suspects. The IRCT’s partner organization in the latter project is the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). In 2007, the FIDH attempted to have torture charges brought against former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in France. (On EU-funding of FIDH, see my contemporary report here.)

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John Rosenthal writes on European politics and transatlantic security issues. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook here.
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