Friday, August 15, 2008

Psychologists and torture -- the APA saga

When the US government started using psychologists in interrogation techniques against terrorism suspects at Guantanamo, the members of the American Psychological Association expected some sort of condemnation from their professional organisation. Instead they argued about whether psychologists had actually been present and essentially avoided discussing the issue. Eventually a task force of members was set up to investigate the ethics of psychology and interrogation, but it turned out that most of the members of the task force were part of the military. The report was denounced by the non-military members and since then some anti-torture resolutions have been established, but they are full of exploitable legal holes, not to mention the fact that they haven't applied these to a single case, even though there have been some high-profile obvious cases of psychologists being involved in interrogation.

This month a lot is happening in the APA, as general elections are being called. It'll be interesting to see how it unfolds.

More info from The Boston Globe and Mind Hacks.

1 comment:

Nick said...

At the workshop I was at early this week, we spent a bit of time talking about a similar phenomena that is occuring with the American Anthrolpoligical Association in regards to Anthropologists working on the "Human Terrain Systems" in Iraq and Afganistan. It's a good time for Applied Ethics, the unfortunate part being that it's because many, many fields are going through crises of faith as they suffer from the creeping securitisation this world is experiencing.

I'll put something up on this a little later, I think.