Flak over APA's stand on US torture

In Protest of APA Torture Stance, Author Returns Award
by Stephen Soldz

Published on Sunday, August 26, 2007 by

For several years, psychologist members of the American
Psychological Association (APA) have been fighting to
change the APA’s policies allowing psychologists to
participate in interrogations widely reported to be
abusive. As the association’s 2007 Convention opened
last week, the American Civil Liberties Union called
upon the APA to stop psychologists’ participating in
abusive interrogations:

“The history of torture is inexorably linked to the
misuse of scientific and medical knowledge. As we move
fully into the 21st century, it is no longer enough to
denounce or to speak out against torture; rather, we
must sever the connection between healers and
tormentors once and for all. As guardians of the mind,
psychologists are duty bound to promote the humane
treatment of all people. We strongly urge the APA to
adopt the strongest possible stance and issue a
moratorium on the participation of its members in
abusive treatment.”

At the convention the APA decisively rejected this
call, as well as that of hundreds of APA members at a
rally and in numerous debates on the issue. The APA’s
Council of Representatives rejected, by an
approximately 85% to 15% vote, the simple statement

“Be it resolved that. the roles of psychologists in
settings in which detainees are deprived of adequate
protection of their human rights, should be limited as
health personnel to the provision of psychological

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