Professional Integrity or Professional Liability?

APA Rules on Interrogation Abuse
Psychologists’ Group Bars Member Participation in Certain Techniques

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, August 20, 2007; A03
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 19 — The American Psychological Association ruled Sunday that psychologists can no longer be associated with several interrogation techniques that have been used against terrorism detainees at U.S. facilities because the methods are immoral, psychologically damaging and counterproductive in eliciting useful information.
Psychologists who witness interrogators using mock executions, simulated drowning, sexual and religious humiliation, stress positions or sleep deprivation are required to intervene to stop such abuse, to report the activities to superiors and to report the involvement of any other psychologists in such activities to the association. It could then strip those professionals of their membership.
The move by the APA, the nation’s largest association of behavioral experts, is a rebuke of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism policies. Many of the techniques deemed unacceptable have been widely reported to be used at military facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq and at various CIA detention centers.
But it also has practical effects. Psychologists who have their membership revoked can lose their license, since many state licensing boards require psychologists to be in good standing with the national association.


I guess we can expect, very quickly, to see psychological evaluators disappear from the sites of terrorist interrogations. Interesting that it took their professional association so long to come to a simple moral conclusion, proving perhaps that psychologists as well as regular folks were spooked into 9-11 syndrome.

* For more in-depth articles from Jim on Iraq War, check out

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