Disgruntled factions are pursuing a deceptive and self-protective campaign aimed at discrediting the recent Hoffman Report, which documented extensive and compelling evidence of collusion between leaders of the American Psychological Association and Department of Defense officials. The latest entry comes from the leadership of the APA's military psychology division.
Following a seven-month investigation, an independent report revealed extensive collusion between the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense in support of psychologists’ involvement in coercive war-on-terror interrogations. Now a campaign is underway to discredit that report, and to turn the APA away from much needed accountability and reform.
Last week’s convention witnessed an unprecedented victory for advocates calling for the APA to prioritize psychology's do-no-harm ethics in national security settings. But attendees have returned home still uncertain as to whether the APA's leadership will persevere in pursuing a course of transparency, accountability and reform – after a decade of collusion and cover-up.
In Toronto this week, APA leaders will face members’ confusion and rage during Council governance meetings, a three-day teach-in organized by Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and open town hall meetings. Can this soul-searching be channeled into fruitful reforms, not just to the organization, but for the future of the field? A lot is at stake in the days ahead.
My new commentary in the peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Social and Political Psychology offers a thorough examination of the seemingly inexplicable decision by the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Office not to pursue action against psychologist John Leso – despite his documented role in the abusive treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
It is reasonable to expect that the soon-to-be-released Hoffman Report will provide further evidence of grave collusion between the American Psychological Association and government agencies involved in the torture and abuse of war-on-terror detainees. This is an opportune time for the APA’s leadership to commit to specific actions if this indeed proves to be the case.
Milton Strauss was a member of the American Psychological Association for almost fifty years. His recent resignation is further evidence that the APA’s leadership has failed its members and the profession.
As they wait for an investigator’s report, APA leaders claim that they’ve already refuted allegations of collusion in the Bush Administration’s abusive “enhanced interrogation program.” Such pretense is a disservice to APA members, to the profession as a whole, and to the public at large.
Amid mounting evidence that the American Psychological Association colluded with the CIA in protecting the Bush Administration’s abusive “enhanced interrogation program,” it appears that someone has been steadily removing valuable, relevant content from the APA website. Perhaps it’s true after all: idle hands are indeed the devil’s workshop.
Last week’s release of previously undisclosed emails provides further evidence of the American Psychological Association’s extensive and secret involvement with the CIA and White House in crafting ethics policies that permitted psychologists to participate in abusive “war on terror” detention and interrogation operations.
APA leaders have an abysmal track record when it comes to meaningful action that runs counter to the Pentagon’s own policies on detention and interrogation operations. Time and again in these situations, the APA has trumpeted its commitment to psychology’s do-no-harm ethics but then retreated into the shadows when those principled words required principled actions.
There have been many allegations that the American Psychological Association colluded with the Bush Administration to support the use of psychologists in abusive detention and interrogation operations. APA’s standard response has followed the CIA’s unofficial motto: “Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations.” But now an investigation is finally underway.
In their joint discounting of government-sponsored brutality, Cheney’s torture tolerance and Obama’s torture tolerance-lite represent a formidable front against calls for criminal prosecutions and justice.
The APA’s salvation begins with letting go of its stubborn denials of any connection to the Bush Administration's program of torture and abuse, its self-righteous assertions that it has always prohibited psychologists from participating in torture, and its false assurances that it will take assertive action against any members implicated in detainee mistreatment.
The president of the American Psychological Association has responded to the Senate report on CIA torture with a letter in the New York Times. Dr. Kaslow wrote that she was “outraged, saddened and pained that two psychologists allegedly devised and engaged in brutal interrogation methods.” I certainly share those feelings, but Dr. Kaslow should also widen her gaze.
This week’s long-awaited Senate report provides gruesome details of the torture and abuse that took place at black site prisons as part of the CIA’s brutal post-9/11 detention and interrogation program. The key involvement of two psychologists in designing and implementing the program raises broad issues and unanswered questions for the profession of psychology.