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Friday, May 01, 2015

Eerie report about the Psychological Association observing torture

"...secretly coordinated with officials from the C.I.A."

This Newsmax report is chilling. It's hauntingly reminiscent of the sickening experiments performed on Holocaust victims.

Psychologists are the first professionals to stand up and defend confidentiality, while protecting patients' rights.  Therefore, I find this report particularly concerning, because we must count on psychologists to support our good mental health, rather than become involved in experiments to undermine our well being.

Report: Psychological Association Collaborated to Justify Bush-era Torture Policy  Thursday, 30 Apr 2015 
By Drew MacKenzie

The American Psychological Association (APA), secretly monitored the torture of prisoners following the 9/11 terror attacks during the President George W. Bush administration, according to a new report.

The report, by a group of health professionals and human rights activists, found that the administration received the American Psychological Association's (APA) input in an effort to justify the interrogations both ethically and legally, according to The New York Times.

With information gleaned from emails, it says the group's psychologists collaborated with the prisoner abuse at the same time as the Bush administration faced criticism when the program became public in 2004, following the release of graphic torture photos of inmates by U.S. soldiers at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.

"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 report concludes.

The fact that psychologists were monitoring the interrogations was pivotal to the Bush administration, because it allowed the Justice Department to claim in secret court hearings that the program were not tantamount to torture, the newspaper reported.

The "rendition, detention and interrogation" program was eventually ended, and last year the Senate Intelligence Committee released a damning report that alleged the interrogations had been ineffective and abusive, the Times stated.

However, the CIA says the Senate report is "one-sided."

After learning of the new report, Rhea Farberman, a spokeswoman for the psychological association, denied that the group had ever collaborated with the government to justify the torture program during the Bush era.

There "has never been any coordination between APA and the Bush administration on how APA responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program," she said.

The Bush administration preferred psychologists to psychiatrists or other health professionals to monitor its interrogations, partially because the APA supported the notion that psychologists should be involved in the program, a senior Pentagon official said publicly in 2006, according to the Times.

At the time, Dr. William Winkenwerder, then the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said the APA "clearly supports the role of psychologists in a way our behavioral science consultants operate."

While explaining to the press the reasons that the Pentagon preferred psychologists to psychiatrists to monitor the program at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Winkenwerder added: "The American Psychiatric Association, on the other hand, I think had a great deal of debate about that, and there were some who were less comfortable with that."  (Julie's note: Hello?  "....less comfortable" is a gross understatement!  "First do no harm"!)

In Julie's opinion, the world doesn't need psychologists to tell us how torture effects people or how ineffective it is in extracting truth from its victims.  Bush-era (aka "Cheney") torture tactics will outlive any, and all of the information and mis-information obtained by these extraordinary tactics.

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