Some academics and medical personnel have been complicit in the torture and other abuses of prisoners. Medical professionals have been part of the teams that have overseen the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo and helped with the force-feeding inflicted on them. Meanwhile psychiatrists have helped in the design and implementing torture practices.
You would think that their professional ethical guidelines would prevent such things and being part of programs that harm people would be such a serious violation that they could lose their licenses. But sadly the professional organizations representing these fields have often shown themselves to be willing to compromise their principles in order to accommodate the government.
Cora Currier reports that the American Psychological Association is belatedly launching an investigation into their own role in the Bush torture program.
The top professional organization for psychologists is launching an independent investigation over how it may have sanctioned the brutal interrogation methods used against terror suspects by the Bush administration. The American Psychological Association announced this week that it has tapped an unaffiliated lawyer, David Hoffman, to lead the review.
In 2002, the American Psychological Association (APA) revised its code of ethics to allow practitioners to follow the “governing legal authority” in situations that seemed at odds with their duties as health professionals. Many argue that the revision, as well as a task force report in 2005 that affirmed that the code allowed psychologists to participate in national security interrogations, gave the Bush administration critical legal cover for torture.
The APA has since removed the just-following-orders excuse from their code, disavowed the 2005 report, and gone to lengths to distance themselves from the controversy.
But it reopened last month, when New York Times reporter James Risen’s book “Pay Any Price” revealed e-mails from the files of a deceased CIA contractor, Scott Gerwehr, showing close contact between the intelligence establishment and leadership at the APA. The emails centered particularly on the 2005 report and suggested that members of the Bush Administration were involved in its conception and drafting.
Let’s see if this report is anything more than a whitewash, an attempt to salvage the reputation of their profession after being involved in blatant violations of human rights.