Torture - What President Bush voted for and why Jeffrey Kaye opted out of the American Psychological Association
Jeffrey Kaye is a psychologist active in the anti-torture movement. He works clinically with torture victims at Survivors International in San Francisco, CA. As "Valtin," he regularly blogs at Daily Kos, Docudharma, American Torture, Progressive Historians, and elsewhere.
Jeffrey Kaye resigned in January from the American Psychological Association, and his letter is available here - it is necessary to read it in full but some excerpts give sufficient support to his belief that :
The sordid history of American psychology when it comes to collaboration with governmental agencies in the research and implementation of techniques of psychological torture is one that our field will have to confront sooner or later. In a larger sense, the problems presented here are inherent in a larger societal dilemma regarding the uses of knowledge.Briefly his objections to the objections to APA policy and practices were:
1. APA's position on non-involvement in torture allows psychologists to work in settings that do not allow the basic right of habeas corpus.
In addition to practices of humane confinement as delineated in the Conventions of the Geneva Protocols and various international documents and treaties.
2. " ......relegating various modes of psychological torture (sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, isolation) and the use of drugs in interrogations to something less than outright prohibition in recent APA position papers"
He points out that recent APA clarifications of its position are treated as something requiring less than direct organizational expression.
3. APA continues to propagate a position that it knows is false: that psychologists operate in interrogation settings to prevent abusive interrogations.
He points out that the work of Zimbardo, and his famous Prisoner Experiment, is often cited and twists the representation of this research by making psychologists a quasi-police force monitoring abusive interrogations. He maintains (quite rightly) his research shows human beings are readily susceptible to abusive behavior based upon contextual factors.
4. APA has shown little interest in the many revelations regarding psychologist participation in torture, or in psychologist research into abusive or coercive interrogations. Excepting only a brief period in the late 1970s, when widespread and public exposure of CIA mind-control programs raised considerable scandal, APA has shown little inclination to confront the history of psychologist participation in such research, nor of its own institutional role in this research.
5." ......recent APA activities, such as the joint CIA/Rand Corporation/APA July 2003 workshop in the "Science of Deception," point to questionable current participation in unethical practices and illegal governmental activities. I queried relevant actors and APA leaders as to what actually occurred at this workshop, which the APA Science Directorate described as discussing how to use "pharmacological agents to effect apparent truth-telling behavior." Also considered was the study of "sensory overloads on the maintenance of deceptive behaviors." Workshop participants were asked, "How might we overload the system or overwhelm the senses and see how it affects deceptive behaviors?" I never received any answer from relevant APA personnel, including the current director of ethics, about what went on at this workshop."
Read this and the links to fully understand what President Bush was allowing when he vetoed the Bill enforcing the standards of the US Field manual for interrogation.
...and Goya's Sleep of Reason is out of focus on purpose ...