The American Psychological Association's refusal to condemn psychologists who participate in illegal government torture of suspected terrorists has driven a deep rift into the organization, with many prominent members quitting in protest. Metafilter has a good roundup of links to various positions from within the APA.
Since 2004 there have been numerous reports in the press and
from official sources of psychologists playing central roles in the design,
implementation, and translation of abusive interrogation techniques into standard
operating procedures 2. The same sources have implicated psychologists in the misuse
of detainee medical information to make interrogation techniques more effective in
individual cases. The issue at hand is not whether the APA condemns torture and
prohibits participation in torture. The issue is whether the APA endorses psychologists’
participation in the types of detainee abuses that have been sanctioned by the US
government and practiced by psychologists in the Department of defense (DoD) and
the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Although APA leadership has issued statements
against torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment (not unlike the Bush
Administration), it has never straightforwardly condemned psychologists' participation
in these government-sanctioned, but abusive interrogation techniques and detention
conditions. When the APA leadership has commented on psychologists known to have
violated torture statutes, it has merely denied that those implicated were APA
members. In cases where those implicated were, in fact, APA members, the
organization has remained silent.
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