Psychologists Aided Torture Program: Report

American Psychological Association details behavior in new report
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2015 4:00 PM CDT
Psychologists Aided Torture Program: Report
This 2003 file image obtained by the Associated Press shows an unidentified detainee standing on a box with a bag on his head and wires attached to him at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq.   (AP Photo/File)

Accusations have been flying for a while now about the role of the American Psychological Association in justifying US interrogation techniques now considered to be torture. So much so that the group's own board commissioned the most extensive review to date about its work with the CIA and Pentagon in the years after the 9/11 attacks. Result? "The collaboration was much more extensive than was previously known," reports the New York Times, which obtained a copy. In one example, the report found that two former presidents of the group served on an advisory panel for the CIA, and one delivered an assessment that sleep deprivation wasn't torture. The same person "held a small ownership stake in a consulting company founded by two men who oversaw the agency’s interrogation program."

In another case, the group's ethics director worked with a military psychologist on the association's policy statements about interrogations, and later got a Pentagon contract to train interrogators. The report concludes that the ethics office “prioritized the protection of psychologists—even those who might have engaged in unethical behavior—above the protection of the public.” It also says that when the CIA's own health officials raised objections to interrogation techniques, the APA helped "blunt dissent within the agency." The board is expected to act on the report's findings soon, which could mean getting rid of officials named within. The full report is here, via the Times. (More torture stories.)

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