APA Fiddles While Psychology Burns | Psychology Today

Hawaiian Mind Games: APA Fiddles While Psychology Burns | Psychology Today.

Here is an article by Eidelson and Soldz about the American (sic) Psychological Association’s continued collusion in abusive practices at the Guantánamo Bay prison camp in an occupied corner of Cuba.  Ironically enough the Polynesian Hawaiian islands were colonised by the USA in the 19th Century.  Here is a section of this excellent article:-

“As has been reported many times over the past decade, psychologists designed, implemented, supervised, researched, and provided ethical cover for abuses committed by the CIA and U.S. military. As a result, the APA has faced repeated calls to take action to prevent future abuses by members of the profession. But rather than engaging in a careful evaluation and reconsideration of the ethics of psychologists’ involvement in national security settings, the Association’s leaders have instead responded, over and over again, with little more than empty talk and feeble resolutions devoid of any real significance. And true to form, last week the APA successfully enacted one of the most vacuous of these recurring exercises.”
read more:  web version or  pdf version

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‘Guantanamo Nightmare’: Roy Eidelson on UnitedStatesian Psychology and Torture

from Counterpunch via Southern Psychologies (thanks Desmond)
“Roy Eidelson, clinical psychologist, president of Eidelson Consulting and member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, published a fascinating essay in the latest edition of Counterpunch (available online here). It’s a cautionary tale for psychology: a futuristic, distopian vision of a discipline so entangled with the military machinations of the US army that the APA has moved its headquarters to Guantanamo Bay… The opening paragraph reads as follows: ‘It was June 2025, and balloons, streamers, and fanfare celebrated the grand opening of the American Psychological Association’s new headquarters and museum at the former Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre in [an illegally occupied corner of] Cuba.    …….. read more.

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Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian.
Why is this relevant to libpsy.org?   Because the torture and counter-insurgency methods developed by the USA in Vietnam and perfected in Central America were later exported to Iraq and Guantanamo.  This investigation traces some of the lineage.  For psychology there have been at least three developments from this.
1)  The Central American context of conflict, counter-insurgency, torture and impunity led to Martín-Baró’s proposals on liberation psychology, and of course his own death was the result of this terror complex.
2)  The development of work on the recovery of historical memory, social-psychotherapeutic approaches, use of testimonies,  commemoration, etc. in various locations in Latin America also has its roots in this nexus.  These ideas are also of interest in other locations such as Turkey with its own legacy of State terror.
3)  The “APA controversy” on the involvement of organised psychology and military psychologists in interrogation and torture again comes from this latest phase of the US use of organised terror.
Congratulations to the Guardian and BBC Arabic service for this investigation.

Of related interest, see this article by Victoria Brittain:  Shadow Lives
How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women and Children

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Psychologists’ Collusion in Ongoing Illegal Detentions

“Today, there are clear indications that psychologists continue to be involved in the detention and interrogation of detainees at Parwan/Bagram. Such activities stand in direct contravention of APA policy based on a 2008 petition resolution. Approved through a member-led referendum, this resolution prohibits psychologists from working 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” (or if they are providing treatment for military personnel).”

Read the full article on Counterpunch. by TRUDY BOND, ROY EIDELSON, BRAD OLSON AND STEPHEN SOLDZ  10/01/2012

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Campaigning to annul the APA’s infamous PENS report which legitimated collusion in abusive interrogations

From Coalition for an Ethical Psychology

A Call for Annulment of the APA’s PENS Report
Over the decade since the horrendous attacks of 9/11, the world has been shocked by the specter of abusive interrogations and the torture of national security prisoners by agents of the United States government. Although psychologists in the U.S. have made significant contributions to societal welfare on many fronts during this period, the profession tragically has also witnessed psychologists acting as planners, consultants, researchers, and overseers to these abusive interrogations. Moreover, in the guise of keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective,” psychologists were used to provide legal protection for otherwise illegal treatment of prisoners.

The American (sic – PL) Psychological Association’s  (APA) 2005 Report of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (the PENS Report) is the defining document endorsing psychologists’ engagement in detainee interrogations. Despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive interrogations, the PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged.

The PENS Report remains highly influential today. Negating efforts by APA members to limit the damages – including passage of an unprecedented member-initiated referendum in 2008 – the Department of Defense continues to disseminate the PENS Report in its instructions to psychologists involved in intelligence operations. The Report also has been adopted, at least informally, as the foundational ethics document for “operational psychology” as an area of specialization involving psychologists in counterintelligence and counterterrorism operations. And the PENS Report is repeatedly cited as a resource for ethical decision-making in the APA Ethics Committee’s new National Security Commentary, a “casebook” for which the APA is currently soliciting feedback.

Equally troubling, the PENS Report was the result of institutional processes that were illegitimate, inconsistent with APA’s own standards, and far outside the norms of transparency, independence, diversity, and deliberation for similar task forces established by professional associations. Deeply problematic aspects include the inherent bias in the Task Force membership (e.g., six of the nine voting members were on the payroll of the U.S. military and/or intelligence agencies, with five having served in chains of command accused of prisoner abuses); significant conflicts of interest (e.g., unacknowledged participants included the spouse of a Guantánamo intelligence psychologist and several high-level lobbyists for Department of Defense and CIA funding for psychologists); irregularities in the report approval process (e.g., the Board’s use of emergency powers that preempted standard review mechanisms); and unwarranted secrecy associated with the Report (e.g., unusual prohibitions on Task Force members’ freedom to discuss the Report). These realities point to the impossibility and inadequacy of merely updating or correcting deficiencies in the PENS Report.

We the undersigned organizations and individuals – health professionals, social scientists, social justice and human rights scholars and activists, and concerned military and intelligence professionals – therefore declare that the PENS Report is illegitimate. We call upon the American Psychological Association to take immediate steps to annul the PENS Report. At the same time, in our own efforts, we aim to make the illegitimacy of the PENS Report more broadly known within our communities.

Note: An accompanying background report that provides additional detailed documentation in support of this call for annulment is available HERE.

Media Contact: Stephen Soldz | Email: ssoldz@bgsp.edu | Phone: 619-663-5840

***Click Here to Sign the Petition***

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