(NaturalNews) New revelations are surfacing regarding the American Psychological Association’s involvement in the CIA torture program during George W. Bush’s presidency. An independent report has just been released that includes emails and other evidence indicating close links and collaboration between the APA, Bush administration officials and CIA psychologists, especially after details of the Abu Ghraib torture controversy began reaching the public in 2004.
A group of “dissident health professionals and human rights activists” (as The New York Times describes them) compiled the report, which concluded that:
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.
Charges and evidence of the APA’s rumored deep ties with the CIA were made public in last year’s book by New York Times reporter James Risen entitled Pay Any Price. The book’s publishing prompted the APA’s commission of the independent review.
Risen’s book contains an email correspondence between Geoffrey Mumford, director of science policy at the APA, and CIA psychologist Kirk Hubbard, in which Mumford makes veiled references to CIA contractors James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.
“You won’t get any feedback from Mitchell or Jessen. They are doing special things to special people in special places, and generally are not available,” wrote Mumford.
The new report arrives at the same conclusion based on the same evidence and other newly-discovered emails: the Bush administration sought to use the APA to help “salvage” its interrogation and torture programs, which were coming under fire in the press and among the public at the time.
From a recent New York Times article reporting on the case:
The involvement of health professionals in the Bush-era interrogation program was significant because it enabled the Justice Department to argue in secret opinions that the program was legal and did not constitute torture, since the interrogations were being monitored by health professionals to make sure they were safe.
The APA has tried to distance itself from the controversy, but it is now clear that there was close cooperation at the time. In fact, in 2002, the association relaxed its ethics code to allow the participation of its psychologists, even when the “governing legal authority” instructed them to go against previous tenets in the code.
The APA’s involvement helped to “legitimize” the interrogation operations.
From the New York Times piece:
In early June 2004, a senior official with the association, the nation’s largest professional organization for psychologists, issued an invitation to a carefully selected group of psychologists and behavioral scientists inside the government to a private meeting to discuss the crisis and the role of psychologists in the interrogation program.
It is difficult to lie down with the CIA and come up smelling like a rose, and this collusion between America’s largest psychological association and a government agency that committed what many consider to be war crimes is a poor reflection on the profession.
One must be careful in drawing parallels to Nazi Germany, but when you have doctors actively participating in government-sponsored torture programs, it’s easy to start making comparisons.
What happened at Abu Ghraib and the other locations where the CIA tortured prisoners by waterboarding and other methods is a national disgrace that we have not yet fully come to terms with. Perhaps continued investigations such as this recent report will lead to those who were responsible finally being held to account, but I’m not holding my breath.
Written by Daniel Barker
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