Thursday, September 18, 2008

Give the psychologists a frickin' medal

Apparently the psychologists have figured out that it's unethical to assist in torture. According to the New York Times:

Members of the American Psychological Association have voted to prohibit consultation in the interrogations of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or so-called black sites operated by the Central Intelligence Agency overseas.... The vote, 8,792 to 6,157 in a mail-in balloting concluded Monday, may help to settle a long debate within the profession over the ethics of such work.

8,792 to 6,157? So only 2,635 more psychologists think it's wrong to assist in torture than think it's just fine?

I bet Dr. Octopussy was one of the 6,157.

A member of ABCT posted to the listserv:

I thought ABCT people might be interested in this news.

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008


WASHINGTON -- The petition resolution stating that psychologists may not work in settings where "persons are held outside of, or in violation of, either International Law (e.g., the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions) or the US Constitution (where appropriate), unless they are working directly for the persons being detained or for an independent third party working to protect human rights" was approved by a vote of the APA membership. To become policy, a petition resolution needs to be approved by a majority of those members voting.

Per the Association's Rules and Bylaws, the resolution will become official APA policy as of the Association's next annual meeting, which will take place in August 2009. At that time, the APA Council of Representatives will also determine what further action may be necessary to implement the policy.

The approval of the petition resolution represents a significant change in APA's policy regarding the involvement of psychologists in interrogations. The petition resolution limits the roles of
psychologists in certain defined settings where persons are detained to working directly for detainees or for an independent third party to protect human rights, or to providing treatment to other military personnel.

This new petition resolution expands on the 2007 APA resolution, which called on the U.S. government to ban at least 19 specific abusive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, that are regarded as torture by international standards. The 2007 resolution also recognized that "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can result not only from the behavior of individuals, but also from the conditions of confinement," and expressed "grave concern over settings in which detainees are deprived of adequate protection of their human rights."

APA will continue to call upon the Department of Defense and Congress to safeguard the welfare and human rights of detainees held outside of the United States and to investigate their treatment to ensure the highest ethical standards are being upheld.

I couldn't resist snarking.

What's interesting is that more than 6,000 psychologists approve of using their clinical skills in the service of torture. Which, by the way, has been proven ineffective as a means of eliciting useful, accurate information.

I don't have statistical, evidence-based proof at my fingertips, but this article is pretty convincing.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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