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Hypocritical Oath: Psychologists and Torture

Posted on Jun 5, 2007

By Amy Goodman

First, do no harm. This tenet of medicine applies equally to psychologists, yet they are increasingly implicated in abusive interrogations, dare we say torture, at U.S. military detention facilities like Guantanamo. While the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association both have passed resolutions prohibiting members from participating in interrogations, the American Psychological Association refuses to, despite the outrage of many of its members.

    Now, with the declassification of a report by the Pentagon’s inspector general detailing psychologists’ role in military interrogations, the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services announced it will investigate.

    Leonard Rubenstein, executive director of Physicians for Human Rights, says such an “investigation into the development of torture techniques by the United States” would be “very significant. ... It should get into ... the use of psychologists in the development of the techniques, what is happening now, and how this can be avoided in the future.”

    Two years ago, after a leaked report from the International Committee of the Red Cross criticizing the role of health professionals in U.S. interrogations, the American Psychological Association formed its Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS). There were nine voting members. Six of them were connected to the military. At the time, the identities of the panelists were secret. The PENS panel endorsed the continued participation of psychologists in military interrogations.

    Of the three nonmilitary voting members, one, Dr. Michael G. Wessells of Randolph-Macon College, resigned, and another, Dr. Jean Maria Arrigo, recently called for the PENS report to be annulled. “I’m an oral historian, maybe even before a psychologist, and I always take notes. And I was told very sharply by one of the military psychologists not to take notes.” She took notes anyway. She archived the group’s entire e-mail list-serve, including months of e-mails from before and after the sole two-day PENS meeting. She went on: “I came later to realize that the entire report had been orchestrated. I no longer felt bound by that confidentiality agreement.” She recently handed over all her materials to the Senate Armed Services Committee. The third, Dr. Nina Thomas, told me: “I don’t think I was, in fact, critically aware of what Morgan Banks’ role was at the time of the meetings themselves. I knew the outline of his background, but I didn’t know the meaning of his background. So it disturbs me.”


Square, Site wide
    Col. Morgan Banks, as Mark Benjamin of first reported, is “the senior Army Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape psychologist, responsible for the training and oversight of all Army SERE psychologists, who include those involved in SERE training. He provides technical support and consultation to all Army psychologists providing interrogation support.” Another task-force member, Capt. Bryce Lefever, served at the Navy SERE school from 1990 to  ‘93, then became the “Special Forces Task Force psychologist to Afghanistan in 2002, where he lectured to interrogators and was consulted on various interrogation techniques.”

    Also included was R. Scott Shumate, who was the chief operational psychologist for the CIA’s counterterrorism center until 2003. He then became head of the Pentagon Counterintelligence Field Activity’s Behavioral Sciences directorate, overseeing psychologist participation in the interrogation process at Guantanamo.

    SERE (pronounced SEER-ee) includes sensory and sleep deprivation, isolation, cultural and sexual humiliation, “stress” positions (like forced standing), extended subjection to light, loud noise, extremes of heat and cold, and “waterboarding,” wherein subjects have their face covered with a cloth that then has water poured over it, giving the feeling of suffocation. The goal of SERE is to train U.S. military members to resist torture they might experience if captured. As first reported by Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, the SERE techniques were “reverse engineered.” In other words, they were used against the prisoners.

    The upcoming APA Annual Convention, taking place Aug. 17- 20, promises to be hotly contested. An unknown number of members are withholding dues. Some have quit. Physicians for Human Rights’ Rubenstein summed up:

    “Even the army surgeon general’s report ... said it was the role of psychologists to tell interrogators when to increase the pressure, how to exploit vulnerabilities. So I think we really do have to end this as a nation, not just as professional associations. ... We’re talking about ... ending complicity in torture by a profession that has an enormous amount to contribute to the good of humanity and should not be involved in the destruction of people.”

    Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 500 stations in North America.

  © 2007 Amy Goodman

  Distributed by King Features Syndicate


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By psychology career, May 30, 2011 at 2:23 am Link to this comment

Psychologists are human and are often seduced and or hold beliefs that do not support the essence of their position. The hold a position of power and a requirement of this is to treat people with the intention of healing and or learning from the human behavior.

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By squirrel, June 25, 2010 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment

CDR Gary Hoyt of the Navy played a big role in torture procedures.  He is licensed
in Virginia.  Encourage all to file complaints.

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By John Roco, May 18, 2010 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I address Senator Daniel K. Inouye, his chief of staff, Patrick DeLeon, and waterboarding in my next program on how the American Psychological Association changed its Ethics Code to the Nuremburg Defense for torture: John Roco for Senator, Episode 3, Length: 0:28: Juan Roco Campofrio, 5/19/2010 Wed 11:00 am, Channel FOCUS Channel 49 on OLELO. If not near a TV you can watch it from anywhere real time on the internet (if not in Hawaii you must calculate Hawaii real time) on:

Just click the icon for ‘FOCUS 49 livestream’ on the right hand side of screen

Thank you,

John Roco
a candidate for U.S. Senate for Hawaii

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By Dennis, August 9, 2007 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Investigations do not solve real time crimes being committed by the President and Vice President”
If the United States of America when it comes to violating the Constitution of the United States and United Nations Resolutions as we the American people already know they have done so because they have the money and support of the Republican party and the lawyers behind them in order to protect them, otherwise they would have been impeached already because they illegally invaded another sovereign nation and took out the president of another country illegally. And the State Department has no authority to be telling American Presidential Candidates to shut up about thier illegal war over religion that they’re involved in.

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By Jennifer Kaupp, August 9, 2007 at 12:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Op-Ed piece published in Santa Cruz Sentinel on June 17, 2007

The members of the Monterey Bay Psychological Association feel compelled to speak out, unequivocally and without further delay, against the unethical, immoral, and illegal practices taking place in military prisons around the world. As psychologists, we would like to stand with all those who have protested the use of psychologists as consultants to torture, degradation, cruelty and/or inhumane treatment of military prisoners.

In its structured examination of the ethics of this practice, the APA Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) Task Force took a small step in the right direction. However, in the intervening time, we do not believe that the APA leadership has gone far enough in identifying and denouncing the misuse of psychological theory and practice in military interrogations and on rendition teams. 

Both the APA and the CPA have asked for member psychologists’ input. We find that the response from the APA leadership does not represent us as psychologists, and is in fact detrimental to our profession. Within the context of ongoing media reports of cruel, inhumane, and degrading practices used in military interrogations and on rendition teams, the APA’s focus on responsibilities to society rings hollow. To participate, even as consultants, in unethical practices under the guise of protecting the general social welfare is simply wrong. As an organization, the Monterey Bay Psychological Association believes that the APA Ethics Code is clear in its prohibition of the use of torture, and clear that psychologists should have no part in this aspect of military operations. Further, we recognize the dilemma of military psychologists forced to choose between their role as psychologists and their role as military officers. 

We fervently believe that if we do not speak out against practices that violate human rights and dignity, we are complicit in those practices. We would hope that the APA administration understands the fundamental admonition in the APA Ethics Code to Do No Harm, and continue to question their current interpretation.

Jennifer Kaupp, Ph.D.
Santa Cruz, CA
President, Monterey Bay Psychological Association,
Co-chair, Contemporary Issues in Psychology Forum

Jon Girvetz, Ph.D.
Past President, Monterey Bay Psychological Association
Co-chair, Contemporary Issues in Psychology Forum

Junell Silver, Ph.D., Diane Bridgeman, Ph.D., Meg Sandow, Ph.D., and
members of MBPA Contemporary Issues

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By cyrena, July 30, 2007 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

#90962 by CitizenDefender on 7/30 at 7:45 pm

•  The American Psychological Association with its 148,000 group membership needs to be re-evaluated as a valid group of professionals. If they endorse this kind of activity by their members then they have no function in the field of Medicine.
“I think [Mitchell and Jessen] have caused more harm to American national security than they’ll ever understand,” says Kleinman.
THANKS, citizendefender, this gives us all, specifically us laypeople, an efficiently concise description of just HOW awful this torture is, which is why it is condemned/prohibited by the highest laws of the land. The ‘whole” land.

And yes, they’ve already done the damage, so any individual member, or any organization of professionals who have participated in, or even simply looked the other way when others have participated in this “program” should be re-evaluated before they can practice their profession.

As an aside, I’ve come to have serious layperson concerns about what I see as actual “damage” perpetrated by so-called professionals in this field, even here among us in the ordinary folks. We have (it seems) too many people who have gravitated to the field,  (psychiatry/psychology/medical social work/etc) because of their own personal issues. On the face of it, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But, it can turn out to be, when those issues become blurred between personal and professional, and they start screwing up their own patients, and giving them mental problems that they didn’t have before. And, while we don’t conceive it as “torture” at that level, the results can be the same.

So yeah, I’m for having them ALL re-evaluated, and re-licensed, and have them re-state they’re Hippocratic Oath…FIRST, do no HARM…

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By CitizenDefender, July 30, 2007 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

Psychologists who participate in the Interrogation through torture fostered by the CIA should be barred from future practice and lose their professional license.

The Senate Armed Services Committee should investigate this use of torture.

Psychologists James Elmer Mitchell, Bruce Jessen of Mitchell Jessen & Associates, LLC located in Spokane, WA. aided the CIA’s use of reversed SERE tactics. Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape (SERE) tactics are based on studies of North Korean and Vietnamese efforts to break American prisoners. SERE was intended to train American soldiers to resist the abuse they might face in enemy custody. However, using this form of torture causes a splintering of an individual’s personality. The use of SEER will result in multiple personality disorder which is a type of permanent psychological damage.

Sleep deprivation, white noise, prolonged isolation, painful body positions and total control over the victim’s bodily functions creates an overwhelming stress on the individual. The person develops uncontrollable anxiety and there is loss of self-esteem and a total collapse of identity. Negative hallucinations often accompany this torture technique leading to the individual craving reassurance from whoever is present. The observer then obtains a “false” confession which to date does not provide an accurate transfer of memory since the individual has been made delusional.

The American Psychological Association with its 148,000 group membership needs to be re-evaluated as a valid group of professionals. If they endorse this kind of activity by their members then they have no function in the field of Medicine.

“I think [Mitchell and Jessen] have caused more harm to American national security than they’ll ever understand,” says Kleinman.

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By Dennis, July 2, 2007 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As anyone will tell you:

It’s not the average person that’s the insane one it’s actually the psychologists and psychiatrists.
To my understanding George W.anker Bush has a psychological degree but it seems that he got it out of a Cracker Jack box.

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By scott evans, June 21, 2007 at 4:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

tortue;passed down from generation to generation,from the human tribe to the human race right to this very moment;where moments pass by at approximately .576 of a mile 1/60th of a second,the same rate earth orbits the sun.hard to believe? simple facts of our reality we were never taught;:torture!.western judeo christian theology slave morality right wing conservitive neo-CON phantasies dream was better than anyone elses,right?.yes thats right theyre right&right;.nowadays pretty much everything that we see and hear in the media IS the right and left,the grey between it;OF the right.

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By mir, June 15, 2007 at 2:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For crying out loud!
The point here is abour WAR and the way it corrupts people and professionals!!!

Get a grip…
Open your eyes and see the essense of things.
Any other subject is irrelevant here.

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By cyrena, June 11, 2007 at 7:15 pm Link to this comment

Sorry Hypocrisy Now, but while I don’t know Amy Goodman “personally”, I’m pretty certain that she is not funded by the CIA, and that she is also well aware of the fact that the CIA has perpetrated most of the torture that has occurred during the Dick Bush Regime. I’m not sure why she didn’t mention it in this piece, but my guess would be because she’s talking about the horrors of the medical profession actually contributing to this torture. She wasn’t writing about the CIA, at least not THIS time.

But, there’s plenty of info available on this leison between the Cheney Administration and the renewed practice of torture and rendition. Cheney has fought long and hard to keep the CIA from being subject to the laws. He and Rumsfeld have always pushed this torture thing, and have long argued that the CIA should be exempt from any of the laws that prohibit torture. So, that much is old news.

The fact that there have actually been MEDICAL professionals involved in this, is what her point is. As a profession, they have to renounce this, and do it very loudly.

There is actually a great deal of information

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By Thomas Carlisle, June 11, 2007 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Torture is evil. Anyone involved in torture is evil including the president and vice president of the United States and any of its’ cabinet members, Joint chiefs of staff, generals, officers, enlistees, contract workers, and finally citizens of these United States who BLINDLY say things like; “my country right or wrong”, or “support our troops"etc.
T.W.Carlisle RN

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By Verne Arnold, June 10, 2007 at 4:45 am Link to this comment

#76633 by DR on 6/09 at 12:00 pm

To Humble Servant:
“The fallacy in your argument is that you equate the destruction of an embryo with the killing of a human being. It’s pretty safe to say that most of us pro-choice people would disagree. So we don’t think doctors kill babies when they perform abortions.”

You put an interesting spin on this.  But, your gleaming generalities and stereotypes not withstanding, what you say is not true.
I am pro-choice, but personally anti abortion. I do not have the right to tell anybody what is right or wrong for “them” on this issue.
Reason dictates that once a sperm and an egg from two human beings have joined and divided in the dance of life, it is a human life.  It certainly is not an Amoeba or a dog or a monkey!  I submit any other explanation is rationalization and denial.  It is absurdist intellectual delusion to argue this further.  We all have to make decisions in our lives and then we are obliged to take full responsibility for those decisions.  For those living in the real world; these things are serious

#76060 by Spiky-Haired Yogurt Girl on 6/07 at 10:17 am

“Is it comparable to abortion?  In some ways yes, in some ways no.  Depends on whether there some things you will not do to human flesh.”

Back on point…I agree.  In my world, torture by Americans can never be justified.

We have fallen far.

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By Marjorie L. Swanson, June 10, 2007 at 2:56 am Link to this comment

Anyone that still believes that the medical profession has any standards is delusional enough to need professional help. The cozy relationship between the medical community and big pharma shows quite clearly where their interests lay.

Aiding and abetting in torture is just one more step along the path that some have decided to take.

The “Right-to-dictate-their-beliefs-to-others” crowd shows up and immediately tries to equate abortion and torture. Off topic of course and name-calling as usual. And for any “Right-to-dictate-their-beliefs-to-others” Winger to call hypocrisy is simply hysterical. Self-righteous and delusional as well as mean-spirited.

Nice article Amy. Enjoyed reading more about what “our” country is doing in “our” name.

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By DR, June 9, 2007 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Humble Servant:

The fallacy in your argument is that you equate the destruction of an embryo with the killing of a human being. It’s pretty safe to say that most of us pro-choice people would disagree. So we don’t think doctors kill babies when they perform abortions.

We tend to see the process of conception and birth as a continuum, starting with undifferentiated cells, which no more resemble a human life as an amoeba does, and ending at some point with a human child. At which point do you draw the line? I’m happy enough stating that I simply don’t know, nor do I believe that it is necessarily possible to do so. You, on the other hand, have decided by fiat that “Life begins at conception”, with no evidence whatsoever, since that would require you first to define the word “Life” in precise, verifiable terms.

On the other hand, you anti-abortionists (for you are CERTAINLY NOT pro-life, just pro-“unborn-life”[sic]) usually think nothing of the indiscriminate killing in war; I heard very few of you (although there were a very few) screaming bloody murder as your president decided to prematurely end the lives of countless Iraqis in the name of… In the name of what, again?

Conservative hypocrisy…

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By Verne Arnold, June 8, 2007 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

#76269 by G.Anderson on 6/07 at 10:45 pm

Being one rather lacking in the fine points of intellegence; would you care to extrapolate on your statement?

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By Hypocrisy Now!, June 8, 2007 at 10:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Amy Goodman is so exercised about torture, why isn’t she critizing the CIA?

Because they fund her.

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By G.Anderson, June 8, 2007 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

To be cursed by the Devil is to trully be blessed…

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By Expat, June 8, 2007 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

#76269 by G.Anderson on 6/07 at 10:45 pm

That comes close to the most incredible statement I have ever read!

You sir, are beyond comprehension…beyond contempt!

I’ll leave it to others to savage your being!

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By G.Anderson, June 7, 2007 at 11:45 pm Link to this comment

Luckily, for the prisoners, psychology is more shamanistic than science, more of a belief than a reality. We in the west believe in psychology, for many it’s a kind of religion that’s replaced our devotion to other symbolic systems, but non Western societies give it little credence. 

That psychology, has a difficult time, treating anything without the patients cooperation, should be a cause for hope, for those that view, the above situtation with moral outrage.

It’s doubtful that under these curcumstances, what is being done is little more than mumbo-jumbo,just another example of a failed experiment on mankind, that began a little over a hundred years ago.

Unfortunately, for all psychologists, these acts are daming of the profession like nothing else could be.

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By mojo, June 7, 2007 at 11:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Finally, . . .  So following that logic, only those that have been tortured can weigh on the morality of torture.  ” What a total moron you are.  I hope you never bred.  We have enough children on the short buses.” 
You’ve added another entry to “You just might be a liberal hypocrite”

Well, MAN,  YOU’ve just proven for sure, you ARE a first class-ass neo-conservative HYPOCRITE.  You ‘hope I haven’t bred’!  . . .  because I’m a moron.  Well, well, well.  You and your conservative hypocritic buddies better create adequate SOCIAL SERVICES for all the disabled people like me. What hypocracy to quote the Hypocratic oath and to feign ‘compassionate conservatism’.

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By Humble Servant, June 7, 2007 at 8:03 pm Link to this comment

Yo Mojo,

Finally, someone playing the moral equivalency card.  So following that logic, only those that have been tortured can weigh on the morality of torture.  Everyone else, shut up, because Mojo doesn’t think you have a right to say anything. 

Your logic that abortion is equivalent to miscarriage is like me saying murder is equivalent to dying of old age.  What a total moron you are.  I hope you never bred.  We have enough children on the short buses. 

Yes, doctors have nothing to do with miscarriages.  They do have everything to do with murdering innocent babies. 

I’ve added another entry to my “You just might be a liberal hypocrite” 

If you whine on about doctors assisting with torture, and at the same time defend doctors that kill unborn babies, you just might be a liberal hypocrite.

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By JMPhD, June 7, 2007 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From the APA office of Public Affairs (edited for length):

First and foremost, APA has a clear and unwavering position against torture and other forms of degrading, inhuman or cruel treatments.  This prohibition stands under all circumstances including the threat of war or terrorism – no exceptions. recently as August 2006, the APA has reiterated its unequivocal position that torture is always and under all circumstances unethical.

We have all been chagrined to read about instances of abusive interrogation techniques such as waterboarding and sexual humiliation. If a psychologist was involved in such actions, it would constitute a violation of the APA Ethics Code. The Association stands ready to adjudicate such instances.

The editorial you mention, “Hypocritical Oath: Psychologists and Torture” contains numerous factual errors and omissions about APA’s work on ethics and interrogations. 

Over the past 20 years, APA has made no less than five statements regarding its absolute, unequivocal and emphatic prohibition against torture.  The 2006 Resolution states that psychologists must work in accordance with international human rights instruments relevant to their roles.  The editorial makes no reference whatsoever to these statements, or even as much as acknowledges them.

Regarding what the editorial states about Dr. Morgan Banks and SERE techniques, Jane Mayer states in a July 2005 article (New Yorker Magazine) that Morgan Banks required graduates of SERE training to sign a statement promising not to apply the program’s counter-resistance methods to U.S.-held detainees. 

The editorial states that the members of the PENS Task Force were “secret.”  Again, this statement is simply false.  The names and biographical statements of the task members were provided to the Council of Representatives (approximately 165 individuals) shortly after the Task Force was named, several weeks before the Task Force met in June of 2005.  At no point were any restrictions placed on the further dissemination of this information, which was also posted on an APA division website well before the Task Force met.

The editorial fails to mention that in the fall of 2006 the president of APA signed onto a letter drafted by Physicians for Human Rights that explicitly called for the prohibition of techniques discussed in the editorial, such as stress positions, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation and overload, induced hypothermia, and waterboarding. 

To summarize, we believe there exists strong support for a common goal:  ethical interrogations that leave no room for abusive or harmful techniques.  Where there has been much debate is about the best strategy to achieve this goal.  APA has chosen a strategy of engagement coupled with our on-going and forceful stance against all forms any torture and other abusive treatment.

APA has made a decision that the most effective way to promote our philosophy of ethical interrogations is to stay engaged and therefore have an opportunity to influence the creation of policies that safeguard detainee rights and welfare.  We are encouraged by the new Army Field manual which came out in September and which directly and explicitly identifies and prohibits abusive interrogation techniques.

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By NETTIE, June 7, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve worked in the field for over 37yrs. and all I can say to anyone with a professional degree in the HUMANITIES and are LICENSED, is SHAME, SHAME.  You apparently have none and so, act in a shameless manner.  You should be stripped of your license and never allowed to practice anything again.  May you never find restful sleep.  30 yrs. spent alone, living in rags on a mountain top and dependent on others for a few meagre crumbs, would not wipe this stain from your soul.

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By Spiky-Haired Yogurt Girl, June 7, 2007 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

There was a time, I believe, when torture was a topic which would unite just about everybody against it: liberal, conservative, secular, religious.  It was the kind of thing which divided “who we are” from “who we are not.”  We’re the side that doesn’t torture.  We’re the good guys.

Now it seems there are two sides on torture. On the one hand, the “absolutists” who want to abolish it. On the other hand, the “realists” who, while not enthused about it, would not blame those who, in desperate circumstances, resort to it.  They want to keep it open as an option.

Is it comparable to abortion?  In some ways yes, in some ways no.  Depends on whether there some things you will not do to human flesh.

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By Expat, June 7, 2007 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

#75589 by Steve Hammons on 6/05 at 4:27 pm

“However, psychology can obviously be abused and used for evil purposes that are outside the bounds of human decency. Torture “seems” to cross this line.”

There is no humann decency, no limit to the ability of us humans to rationalize the most despicable behavior.  The veneer of civilization is indeed thin and is in fact a myth.

Unfortunately, there is no act or behavior that is outside the realm of human nature.  We in fact, are incapable of acting in an unatural way.  Everything we do is within our nature, everything.

That doesn’t mean we can’t form groups that support our idea of what human decency should be.  That’s why we form social groups.  But it’s all arbitrary and somewhat self fullfilling.

Maybe food for thought…..........or not.

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By johnny Doughey, June 7, 2007 at 12:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

American medicine is changing along with the rest of our moral fiber.
One example:  According to the VA, it is perfectly ethical to send DSM lV diagnosed mentally ill service members back to Iraq while teszting their prescription medication because they are volunteers, whereas with draftees, it was considered unethical.
As you can see, we can now send mentally ill to their death in good conscience… just another incidence of supporting our troops…

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By David, June 6, 2007 at 11:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wow ... it amazes me that people can speak so strongly about things which they know nothing about.  And clearly Amy Goodman knows exactly nothing about the APA.

1) Psychiatrists are very different from Psychologists (words can sound the same but mean different things) Psychiatrists are Medical Doctors and do take the Hippocratic Oath.  Psychologists have PhDs and conduct scientific research, they do not have patients, cannot proscribe medicine, and are not at all part of the “Mental Health Industry”.

2) Psychological Counselors are not Psychologists.  These two professions have NOTHING to do with one another.

3) So what do psychologists do?  There are two main fields:

Social Psychology which studies how individuals and groups interact and try to understand how people are motivated.

Cognitive Psychology / Cognitive Neuroscience:  These people study how the brain works, how memory works, how information gets encoded in the brain and the causes and possible treatments of diseases/malfunctions of the brain (autism, phantom limb syndrome, Hemi-neglect, etc ...)

None of this has anything to do with actively supporting or promoting torture.  It’s like asking the NFL to say that none of their members should support the declawing of cats ... get your facts straight before you attack someone, otherwise you seems to be just as biased and ridiculous as FOX news.

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By mojo, June 6, 2007 at 7:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You, humble servant ? Yo, you . . . . If you are so in tune with your Creator then how do you explain that in the infinite Wisdom of this Creation there exists a phenomenon called a “MISCARRIAGE” or sometimes called “spontaneous abortion”.  Is it God’s way of telling us “that the Universe must NOT go on ?”  All old cultures (including native Americans) also know plants (given to us by a “Higher Being”) which promote menses after conception. “Doctors” have nothing to do with these terminations of pregnancies. They are not-so-simply, a fact of NATURE.

Furthermore, you of the “moral high ground” how do you explain a distraught mother of four: hanging herself and her four daughters (the youngest of whom, at eight months, survived).  It is called desperation . . .  and post-partum depression. 

Since you consider yourself eligible to weigh in on this debate, how many hours have you been in labor ?
Did you EVER willingly risk your life for another ?  Did you hemorage ?  Did you ever give up your interests (bike-riding, skiing, skating, etc.;  YOUR VERY CAREER for months at a time, so that another human being could start learning to crawl.  Did you ever commit the most selfless act in the world and let another being live rather than live your OWN life ?

No, I didn’t think so . . . .

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By also interested, June 6, 2007 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hey humble servant [and you’re clearly neither], it’s an act of intellectual terrorism to equate abortion with torture.

equate torture with the life lead by the unwanted child of a single mother;
with the life lead by any child in the child welfare system
the lives lead by the uneducated and uninformed and essentially uneducatable—gifts that seem to arrive with unwanted children.

Hey dude: it takes CARE—lots of it—to raise a human being. It takes money, time, love and effort.
and those characteristics are hard enough to find with parents who WANT the child.

I think that when humble servant carries his [and he is clearly a male] first child to term, THEN he has something useful to say on the subject.  Otherwise, he should live up to his log-on identity and keep his mouth closed.

Humility begins with the understanding of when you have something relevant to continue and when you don’t.

Any MAN’s opinion on abortion is purely garbage.


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By Molly, June 6, 2007 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a physician, I am just sickened by the thought that some think it is “OK” to use their training and knowledge of the human system to abuse others.  No matter what political purpose you think you are serving it is not ok to torture or cause death or near death experiences.  It is also not “OK” to purposely ignore the science behind drugs pushed by the pharmaceutical industry and blindly use everything a drug rep blithely pushes on you and your patients without asking lots of hard questions.

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By Humble Servant, June 6, 2007 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

I sorta agree with the so-called mojo that you cannot compare abortion with torture.  How can anyone, especially the compassionate left, think that brutally murdering an innocent baby, is less important than torturing a terrorist suspect. 

Those that support the pro-death position of abortion ever consider about thinking outside the liberal talking points?  Almost all baby murders occur out of convenience of the mother, not her health, incest, or rape.  However, that’s all you can goose-step to.  You use the same logic that the average German used during Hitler extermination of the Jews.  BTW, the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margerat Sanger, had the same beliefs in eugenics as Adolf.

Once again you humble servant pointing out the hypocrisy of the left.

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By jeanruss, June 6, 2007 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t think most people know that the phrase “first do no harm” has been removed from a doctor’s oath for a while now. It probably couldn’t survive the use of chemotherapy, as it causes quite alot of harm, permanent harm.

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By Hypocrisy Now!, June 6, 2007 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hi Amy,
You sweet little upstanding left gatekeeper you! How nice of you to point out what no one would disagree with—that the APA condones torture. Of course this is bad, and it is good of you to point out. But so often you miss the big picture or you distort it, so I feel compelled to point out a few problems. Why indeed should anyone listen to you. Or truthdig, for that matter. You’re a joke.


Note the chart at the end of this article—it shows how Democracy Now is funded by the CIA:


Democracy Now Inc.‘s Hearst/King Features Connection

by Bob Feldman

Democracy Now Productions Inc. claims to be an anti-corporate alternative to U.S. corporate media conglomerates like the Hearst Corporation. Yet Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman recently entered into an apparent business relationship with the King Features subsidiary of the for-profit Hearst Corporation, wherein King Features will distribute the former Pacifica Radio network host’s print tie-in colum. The Hearst Corporation, coincidentally, also publishes a magazine Popular Mechanics, which supports the official government version of what happened on September 11, 2001. Following is an excerpt from the wikipedia site which indicates the relationship between King Features and the Hearst Corporation media conglomerate.—bob

“King Features Syndicate, a print syndication company owned by The Hearst Corporation, distributes about 150 comic strips, newspaper columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games to nearly 5000 newspapers around the world. King Features Syndicate is a unit of Hearst Holdings, Inc., which combines the Hearst Corporation’s cable network partnerships, television programming and distribution activities and syndication companies.”

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By Christopher Robin, June 6, 2007 at 10:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers”
                  - Carl Jung

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kelt65's avatar

By kelt65, June 6, 2007 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

Psychologists are responsible, along with Capitalists, for the creation of consumerist society. Anyone wondering about this issue should see Adam Curtis’ excellent documentary series “Century of the Self”, which is a free download from the BBC.

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By still confused, June 6, 2007 at 5:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry guys - I always need this explained to me. Is there nothing we can do to try to extract information out of people? Is that important at all? Should we just ask them nicely 3 times and then send them home?

We need ideas about how to deal with this crazy world.

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By Verne Arnold, June 6, 2007 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

P.S.  This is not to be construed as critical of Amy Goodman…good article…needs saying!
I love

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By Verne Arnold, June 6, 2007 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

Well, when you consider the Nazis of WWII modeled their medical experiments on the late 19th and early 20th century medical experiments conducted in our very own mental institutions; it’s hardly surprising it’s still going on today.  Now we can justify using it on our “non-legal (illegal) enemy combatants” at gitmo.  Come to think of it, I think we invented germ warefare…smallpox infected blankets to our native population.
This (A Hypocritical Oath: Psychologists and Torture) should not come as a surprise and shame on you if it does!

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By cyrena, June 6, 2007 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

Thanks Amy Goodman, for the update. An excellent report. The APA has to totally repudiate this in the strongest manner, or lose all legitimacy as the imporant group of professionals they are.

The “First do no harm” oath is one that we all can subscribe to.

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By R. U. A. Human, June 6, 2007 at 12:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Shrinkdom’s history of malevolent paternalism isn’t news.

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By QuyTran, June 5, 2007 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

Could we compare Bush/Cheney’s Guantanamo concentration camp to Saigon’s pre-1975 tiger cases ?

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By mojo, June 5, 2007 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for the very enlightening commentary, Amy.  Is she the same Amy Goodman who is on Democracy NOW ?  And is she Ellen’s daughter.  Brilliant ! 
Thank GOODness there are psychologists who are concerned and aware of their colleagues complicity in such immoral practices conducted in secret prisons. 
The Medical Profession in general, seems to be less and less concerned with assisting humanity but more and more excited about monetary recompense for services rendered, no matter for what reason. 

The so-called “humble servant’s” comments regarding the comparison of a Doctor who terminates a pregnancy and one who participates in torture of “would-be terrorists” is abominable !  Doctors who MUST, out of concern for the health and well-being of a mother, (therefore) inextricably,  the health and well- being of a potential human life, can’t be compared to Psychologists who SADISTICALLY torment a living, breathing, thinking, human being. Appallingly,  most recently considered for release, is a 20 yr old who was taken to Guantanamo as a 14 yr old child.  What has become of the USA ?

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By Hammo, June 5, 2007 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

The study and application of psychology in our daily lives, including defense and intelligence matters, can be very helpful.

Psychology can help us understand human behavior and change it for the better. It can help us accomplish many positive objectives successfully. Psychology can also yield interesting and enlightening discoveries about human consciousness.

However, psychology can obviously be abused and used for evil purposes that are outside the bounds of human decency. Torture seems to cross this line.

Related to this topic are the articles below:

“Emerging discoveries in human consciousness”

-  -  -

“Unconventional Human Intelligence Support: Navy SEAL’s report”

-  -  -

“Make love, not jihad: PSYOP, OSINT efforts should tackle repression of romance”

-  -  -

“Intelligence, psychology and human heart: All are needed for success in war and peace”

-  -  -

“Iraq War Psychology: Exploring hearts and minds of U.S. officials, press, profiteers”

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By James Yell, June 5, 2007 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is an attempt to equate torture with abortion. The fact is the Bible makes a clear distinction between the fetus and a born child. It recognizes that society has a vested interest in the adult woman, more than the unborn. Said another way it recognizes the death of the pregnant woman as murder, but the loss of the fetus as an act which will be fined.

In course of pregnancy nature (or God, if you will)will cause a spontaneous abortion without intervention by mankind.

Saying this I am not saying that any time in the pregnancy is ok to abort. If the wish is there it should be done within days of the conception. Some anti-abortion rights people think others don’t notice that the road blocks they are constructing are not to reach an agreement with the women involved but an attempt to create a conflict, where with immediate intervention there would be no conflict. In any case it is the women who are most likely to have to deal with the 18years of raising children and the poverty that it can bring to low income household, the lack of support by society and even the father of the resulting pregnancy.

I believe that many calling themselves “Right to Life” are also amongst those most likely to oppose social services, which lead a rational person to believe they are only trying to preserve the prenancy to punish the woman, even if the need is from result of rape or health issues of the pregnant woman. But, again I am on the side of the woman to make her own decision, as the physicality of it effects the women and not the men, it should be their decision alone.

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By James Yell, June 5, 2007 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Abortion is a separate issue from torture. The Bible itself makes a distinction between the born and the unborn. It is no kindness to force a pregnancy for many reasons. The natural course of pregnancy often leads to natural abortion for reasons of the bodies needs.

Saying that I am not advocating not setting limits on its use and in fact believe it only on demand in the very early stage of conception, which doesn’t deal with a fetus, after that perhaps a review, but it would have to be done immediately as every day changes the developement level.

As the Humble Servant post doesn’t reveal if he wants to force pregnancy without providing social services I can not say if he is being honest in his point about abortion. I think too many of those who carry on about the fetus, only wish to force pregnancy on the woman as a punishment, even when it was result of rape. No I don’t believe Humble Servant has a point at all.

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By Humble Servant, June 5, 2007 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

Once again, I am confused by the blaring hypocrisy here.  It is evil for psychologists to particpate in torture; however, we hail as heros those doctors that kill millions of unborn babies in the name of “choice.”

Which is more important to me?  The life of an innocent unborn baby or the psychological well-being of the suspected terrorist???  Hmmm.

The liberal would say the psychological well-being terrorist.
Your humble servant says the life innoccent, unborn baby.

As always,
Your humble servant

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By GW=MCHammered, June 5, 2007 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Behavioral/Mental Health Care Industry is so dysfunctional you’d think PENS would have their hands full just getting our homeland pdocs to diagnose and prescribe correctly much less communicate with each other about a shared patient. What a mess.

And I’d bet real USDs that Bush can’t keep it together ‘til the end of his term. The closer accountability looms, the further off the edge he’ll slip. Maybe when he plummets, PENS will use their helpful techniques on the prez - talk about an Ethics and National Security problem!

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By Michael Boldin, June 5, 2007 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment

I’m disgusted every single time I hear one of these torture stories, but it’s good that Truthdig continues to report on this.  I can only hope that as more people read about the horrors that our government is engaged in, then more will strongly oppose it.

Torture, in all its forms, is repugnant to a free society.  It’s morally depraved and there’s not a thing in the Constitution that authorizes these people to engage in it.

Some further reading if you’re interested:

“Should the US Military be Allowed to Use Torture?”

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