Saturday, July 29, 2006

Psychologists To Assist In Military Interrogations

There could be a future civil war in America -that is, between members of the American Psychological Association over their role in military interrogations. An APA policy issued last year states that "while psychologists should not get involved in torture or other degrading treatment, it is ethical for them to act as consultants to interrogation and information-gathering for national security purposes." and it’s creating an uproar within their membership.


There is now an online petition with 1,300 signatures from APA members and other psychologists on it. Protest forums will be held at the APA’s convention in New Orleans next month.


There’s a few interesting tidbits in this Associated Press story. Check out this first passage:



News reports have said that mental health specialists who are helping U.S. military interrogators have helped create coercive techniques, including sleep deprivation and playing on detainees’ phobias, to extract information.


How come the U.S. military is using psychologists to do their dirty work instead of doctors? Consider the following item:



The American Medical Association last month adopted what many view as a stronger stand against physician involvement in prisoner interrogation, echoing a position held by the American Psychiatric Association, whose members are medical doctors. The U.S. military has indicated it will therefore favour using psychologists, who are not medical doctors and are not bound by the other groups’ policies.


That’s why the APA membership is in an uproar. So how come the leadership has changed its stance on assisting in military interrogations? Here’s what Salon.com had to say on Wednesday:



...six of the 10 people on the APA task force that drafted the psychologists’ policy have close military ties, including four who have worked at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib or Afghanistan.


Now it all makes sense. The Bush administration is not only changing the laws to suit their purposes, but like their PPO health plan they are choosing which health professionals to use to carry out their dirty work. We can only hope that the APA’s leadership comes to their senses by the time they convene in New Orleans on August 10th.

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11 Comments:

Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

I just saw the schedule and I'm willing to do 8:30 and 9:00 if you like.

I'm trying to save my energy for the "graveyard" shift. LOL

5:10 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

:) Cool - they're all yours.

This is another excellent post - where do you keep pulling these out from?

I guess psychiatrists aren't bound by the Hippocratic oath like doctors are.

Anyway, I join you in the hope that the APA changes its decision. Psychiatrists are a scary bunch, and prisoners minds are messed up as it is.

5:12 PM  
Blogger Marcella Chester said...

Great post. I had heard about the AMA's position on torture, but I hadn't heard about psychologists position on the subject. FYI I can take 9:30 if it isn't taken already.

5:21 PM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

I rely on news searches through Google News, JURIST, and other sources. However, I think I've mined the more recent stuff.

I'm taking the next three hours to eat, watch a little NASCAR and then I'll be back in a bit.

I do have to do my laundry at some point tonight after 10pm so I hope there will be others posting at that time.

Great job, everyone. This is fun!

5:22 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Marcella, it's yours.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Per said...

Well - the night is calling...I believe I'm only good for quotes now...whenever I think of something to write I remember where it's already written...so I'd feel more relaxed if you folks could tell me you're getting enough posts...

5:27 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Yes! I have finally finished the Dershowitz article. I never want to have to tell Word that Dershowitz is a real word again!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have some cereal.

5:29 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

per - we're alright for now. Overall, including the slots that people have requested but haven't yet come up, we have 32 posts.

But anyway, your quotes are good!

5:31 PM  
Blogger El Mas Chingón said...

If I run out of material, I can always make up some torture-themed political haikus like the ones I wrote while doing my launday.

BTW, it is a laundry night tonight.

5:55 PM  
Blogger The Heathlander said...

Yeh - I can try to think up some cool chants and slogans to shout at anti-torture rallys:

...oh crap. Nothing rhymes with torture.

6:01 PM  
Blogger De said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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12:33 AM  

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