The American Psychological Association (APA) at its meeting in San Diego, CA this weekend for its annual convention was presented with a letter to APA President Goodheartdetailing APA’s complicity and failure to act in ethics scandals involving psychologists who aided the U.S. government’s torture program. Hundreds of innocent Americans, alleging that the government torture program includes covert torture of innocent persons in the U.S., have requested advocacy from ethical psychologist groups and other human rights groups yet to respond.
To investigate “war on terror” crimes including torture, Senator Leahy has called for a U.S. Truth Commission but asks if Americans are ready for truth. (See videos below)
The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology that wrote the letter to APA “charges that the APA has been directly complicit in supporting and empowering psychologists to develop, research, supervise and/or implement the Bush-era interrogation program with impunity.
“This complicity includes APA involvement in the cases of three psychologists – James Mitchell, John Leso, and Larry James – against whom ethics complaints have recently been filed with state licensing boards,” according to the coalition statement released Friday. (See the Coalition’s text of complaint availablehere in pdf)
APA complicity goes back to 2002 when the association amended its ethics code, protecting psychologists involved in government sponsored torture according to the Coalition. This time period coincides with dramatic escalation of U.S. “Targeted Individual” reports of counterintelligence signature style persecution, harassment, non-forced break-ins, black-listing, death threats plus attempted and some completed targeted killings called WDS, Whistleblower Death Syndrome. If only half of these reports are valid, ethical psychologists today are exposing only the tip of the public supported, state-sponsored torture experiment iceberg.
Rudimentary data about self-identified targeted individuals (SITIs) plus anecdotal reports indicate that since 2001, an influx of innocent, injured citizens have been lodging complaints with law enforcement; national and international human rights organizations; elected officials; and media about their experiencing covert, cruel and inhumane treatment.
“This influx was one stated reason that in 2006, then Georgia Congressperson Cynthia McKinney called to reopen the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Cointelpro investigation with House Resolution 1026.
‘A look back at the Nixon era Tom Charles Houston plan, referred to as ‘fascist’ by Congressional investigators, shows us it is being implemented in full since 9/11. Congress has a responsibility to open oversight hearings into the new abuses as well as their historical context, and to acknowledge and give relief to its victims then and now,’ stated McKinney in the 2006 Washington press release.”
The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology is calling for an independent, impartial, outside investigation to study the APA’s collusion in the U.S. torture program. Furthermore, the Coalition calls on the APA to write letters in support of state ethics complaints against APA members Larry James and John Leso, and to initiate an APA ethics investigation of Larry James.
The Coalition insists that the Association fully implement the member-passed referendum withdrawing psychologists from sites in violation of or outside of international law, specifically Guantánamo and Bagram Air Base.
The Coalition letter to Goodheart details evidence of APA torture complicity:
* Former APA President Joseph Matarazzo was on the board of Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, the firm that reportedly designed and implemented the CIA’s torture program. * APA has failed to adjudicate an internal ethics complaint against member Larry James, president of the Military Psychology Division, and has failed to support state ethics complaints against James and Leso, both of whom are accused of participation in abuses at Guantánamo. * The APA ethics complaint against Leso, filed in August 2006, is perhaps the longest-unadjudicated complaint in APA history. * APA hosted confidential conferences together with the CIA and RAND Corporation in 2003 and 2004 at which James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, CIA consultants and torture psychologists, were among the attendees. The 2003 conference discussed such “enhanced interrogation” techniques as use of drugs and sensory overload. * A former top APA official, Russ Newman, while married to a Guantánamo Behavioral Science Consultant, was allowed to exert major influence on an APA ethics task force implicitly determining whether his wife’s activities were ethical. * That same task force was dominated by military-intelligence psychologists, a majority of whom had served in chains-of-command accused of participating in detainee abuse. * APA has actively undermined the 59% of voting members who voted to withdraw psychologists from Guantánamo, Bagram, and other detention sites operating outside of or in violation of international law.
Since 2006, the Coalition and allies have urged APA policy changes through: open letters (often with other psychological and human rights organizations); a campaign of withholding APA dues and mass resignations; an election campaign for APA President; and a member-passed referendum withdrawing psychologists from sites in violation of or outside of international law.
The Coalition works to restore psychology to its ethical foundation that supports social justice and human rights. It has led efforts to remove psychologists from torture and abusive interrogations. While the Coalition’s latest action of charges against APA is a commendable step, it could learn important secrets of the US torture program from Targeted Individuals.
Until psychologists recognize that the U.S. torture program is not limited to overseas detainees and some facilities in the U.S., but also includes covert domestic in-home torture of targeted persons resembling CIA-military torturous non-consensual human experimentation, victims of this criminal activity have nowhere to turn for help according to their self-support group emails. The bulk of TI email discussions relate to their desperation to survive and gain ethical psychologists and human rights groups to help advocate for them.
PHR has called on both Pres. Obama to direct AG Eric Holder to launch a criminal investigation of alleged illegal human experimentation, plus Congress to convene a joint select committee to investigate the matter.
“Sadly, despite the ever-mounting evidence, as of February 2010, Rubenstein and Xenakis report that ‘no agency — not the Pentagon, the C.I.A., state licensing boards or professional medical societies — has initiated any action to investigate, much less discipline, these individuals.'” (See: Psychologists for an Ethical APA, Online: http://www.ethicalapa.com/)
The Independent reports that a UK investigation evealed that doctors are gagged and become targeted individuals if they try exposing wrongdoings, a possibility of the same occurring in the U.S. according to credible Targeted Individuals’ anecdotal reports. According toThe Independent:
“Campaign groups claim that NHS [National Health Service] managers sometimes resort to intimidatory tactics to deter medics from coming forward, while others that break cover can face years of expense and uncertainty before their cases reach court. The result, they say, is that doctors accept the gagging clauses in order to protect their careers and avoid legal wrangling.
Since 1996, the North American Freedom Foundation (NAFF) based in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee has been educating the public about debilitating long-term effects of US government human experiments and related crimes and human rights violations.
Kathleen Sullivan, MSW with NAFF has commented,“In 2004, we posted information about our concerns that the same methods previously been used on US and Canadian citizens were now being used to brutally break the minds and wills of Iraq War detainees.
“In June, NAFF began developing a US Truth and Reconciliation Commission to give US and Canadian survivors the chance to tell what they’ve also suffered,” stated Sullivan.
Truth Commissions can grant perpetrator amnesty in return for testimonies.