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
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.
This is the text of the lecture given by Mark Burton, recipient of the 2013 British Psychological Society award for promoting equality of opportunity, at the BPS Annual Conference, Harrogate, Yorkshire, 10th April, 2013. The title is Responding to contemporary crises: an ethical action framework. Maybe it doesn’t quite offer such a framework, but the lecture does try to explore some of the factors that make this necessary. It focuses in two contemporary crises, recent scandals in health and social welfare and the ecological crisis of climate change. It introduces the concept of ideology-action-structure complexes and links the hegemonic ones to the overall ideology-action-structure complex of coloniality, introduced from 1492. It contrasts professional ethical codes with the liberation ethics of Enrique Dussel and draws on Maritza Montero’s characterisation of the new liberatory and decolonising social science paradigm, adding an emphasis on the role of the public intellectual. A more extended treatment of some of the themes can be found in the working paper: The mess we’re in.
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.
“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).”