APA Members Vote To Remove Psychologists From Torture Role

Against a leadership that spun, lied and collaborated with the Bush regime the membership voted 58.8% against being involved in the torture state. Full press release here @ Stephen Soldz’s blog. But as Valtin @ Invictus writes-

Insurgent Psychologists Win Key Anti-Torture Vote (excerpts)

One thing the resolution does not mean is an immediate pullout of psychologists from sites where human rights violations take place. Psychologists like U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Diane M. Zierhoffer, a former but now resigned APA member, still staff the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (BSCT) at Guantanamo and elsewhere. Lt. Col. Zierhoffer exercised her Fifth Amendment rights not to answer questions about her participation in the interrogation of controversial “child soldier” Guantanamo prisoner Mohammad Jawad. Her refusal to answer questions about her actions — Zierhoffer is accused of signing off on keeping Jawad in solitary confinement, despite his mental deterioration — was widely noted and condemned…

It is now incumbent upon APA as an organization to implement the policy voted upon by a notable majority of their membership via free election. The APA must notify all relevant parties — the Pentagon, the President, the CIA — that it is now the position of the APA that psychologists not be utilized at settings where detainees are not allowed rights such as habeas corpus, and where abusive conditions of detention and coercive interrogation are well documented.

More, the APA should communicate the new policy statement broadly to media, legislators and the public. This APA has previously promised to do. They must not be allowed to bury the will of the APA membership. Members who have been withholding their dues in protest of APA policy should wait to see if APA has any real intention of implementing this new policy.

I suspect that APA will continue to procrastinate, as they have done with the so-called ethics casebook called for multiple times over the years (last at the 2007 APA convention). (The deadline for submissions of suggestions for such an ethics casebook was recently extended until the end of 2008.)

The reason for all the delays? The APA is deeply enmeshed in the governmental apparatus of military and intelligence organizations, while also serving varied private consultation and “scientific” organizations, and academia, all under the auspices of serving the national security state. Hence, APA belongs to a wide-ranging set of special interests, which forms an extremely formidable opposition to those who would fundamentally change the policies and personnel responsible for the institution of a world-wide network of secret prisons and institutionalized torture.

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5 Responses to “APA Members Vote To Remove Psychologists From Torture Role”

  1. Jotman Says:

    I find this vote absurd. How could this resolution have passed?

    Why would a psychologist who sincerely opposed torture still belong to the APA in 2008? Have these psychologists no integrity?

    It’s as if the members of the gestapo had just voted to outlaw medical experiments.

    Me thinks the ten percent long would long ago have left the APA.

  2. harpymarx Says:

    “It is now incumbent upon APA as an organization to implement the policy voted upon by a notable majority of their membership via free election.”

    Well, I hope the leadership takes the vote seriously and tells Bush and the CIA to sod off. But has the APA got the backbone?

  3. RickB Says:

    Jotman- Well quite a few did leave or stopped paying dues but yes, awful example of how a society can be so easily corrupted, also the scandal of the leaderships role in containing dissent while conspiring with the Bush regime. Frankly I agree with Valtin, they will drag their heels and quite possibly this will not be really sorted until they are all removed (and in some cases charged). Also if you fancy having nightmares just think of the 40% who did not vote to stop involvement.

    Harpy- Well yes as above I think maybe the leadership have to be removed and obviously a lot of them have some real problems with basic morality & ethics, but that’s imperialism for you, society wide corruption that only ends when the empire ends.

  4. Jotman Says:

    Also if you fancy having nightmares just think of the 40% who did not vote to stop involvement.

    They are the ones who will be having the nightmares.


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