The American Psychological Association Colluded On Justifying Torture

Illustration for article titled The American Psychological Association Colluded On Justifying Torture

A new report is accusing the American Psychological Association of secretly collaborating with the U.S. government to make a legal and ethical case for torture in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.


As the New York Times is reporting, the accusations are being made by six “dissident” health professionals and human rights activists who claim:

The A.P.A. secretly coordinated with officials from the C.I.A., White House and the Department of Defense to create an A.P.A. ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the C.I.A. torture program.


The authors of the report analyzed over 600 emails which purportedly show how the APA collaborated with the administration of George W. Bush to justify the torture of prisoners during interrogation.

“In 2004 and 2005 the C.I.A. torture program was threatened from within and outside the Bush administration,” Mr. [Stephen] Soldz [a clinical psychologist and professor at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis] said by email. “Like clockwork, the A.P.A. directly addressed legal threats at every critical juncture facing the senior intelligence officials at the heart of the program. In some cases the A.P.A. even allowed these same Bush officials to actually help write the association’s policies.”

This is the first report to investigate the association’s role in the interrogation program. In response, an APA spokesperson has denied the accusation, saying there “has never been any coordination between A.P.A. and the Bush administration on how A.P.A. responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program.”

Read more at the New York Times.

Photo: Photographers Mate 1st Class Shane T. McCoy -, Virin 020111-N-6967M-524/CC.


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Who is game to dig up info on these six and see who among them is connected to Scientology?

Also, is it such a bad thing that the government actually consulted psychologist to help with something they were going to do anyway? Let’s not kid ourselves here - the A.P.A. didn’t cause the U.S. government to torture. The government was already torturing people (and still is, very probably). So, if you ask me, if the choice is between “torture which follows the ethical guidelines created by health professionals” and “torture with no input from health professionals at all”, I take the first option anyday. Yes, the ideal would be no torture, but that’s not a debate that concerns the A.P.A.