In brief: Court mulls probe of psychologists

THURSDAY, NOV. 25, 2010

New York – A court was asked Wednesday to force an investigation into whether an Army psychologist developed abusive interrogation techniques for detainees at Guantanamo Bay and should be stripped of his license.

The court petition, filed by the San Francisco-based Center for Justice and Accountability and the New York Civil Liberties Union, furthers human rights advocates’ efforts to spur probes of some psychologists involved in detainee interrogations. Critics argue that the psychologists’ activities amount to professional misconduct and that state regulators should look into the matter.

Last summer, the California center filed a complaint about John Leso with New York’s Office of Professional Discipline, which oversees psychologists. Leso is licensed in New York.

While leading a behavioral science consultation team at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 and 2003, Leso developed “psychologically and physically abusive interrogation tactics” based on Army survival strategies, said the complaint. The complaint said Leso wrote a memo promoting techniques such as exposing detainees to severe cold, depriving them of sleep and forcing liquids into them intravenously.

The agency declined in July to pursue a probe of Leso, saying his Army work fell outside its scope.

Court rules award is not excessive

Carson City, Nev. – The Nevada Supreme Court has upheld a $58 million judgment awarded to three women who claimed their breast cancer was caused by hormone replacement drugs made by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

In a unanimous ruling issued Wednesday, justices rejected arguments by the company that the damages awarded to Arlene Rowatt, Pamela Forrester and Jeraldine Scofield were excessive.

A Washoe County jury in 2007 initially awarded the women a combined $134.5 million, an amount later reduced.

Two of the women have since died, Forrester in 2008, Rowatt in 2009.


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