Blogger Valtin at Daily Kos provides background on the relations between the American Psychological Association and the military. In particular, he elucidates the role of Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, who was invited to address the APA’s Council of Representatives this past August, allowing him a forum to defend psychologist participation in interrogations. [Only under protest was an opponent of participation invited.]
As Valtin tells it:
Another recent intervention by the military was at the August 2006 APA Convention in New Orleans. Army Surgeon General, Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley, was invited to address the APA’s Council of Representatives. We don’t know what he said there, but we do know that due to protests from APA critics, an opposing voice was also allowed at the last minute, Dr. Steven Reisner, Senior Advisor and faculty at the International Trauma Studies Program at New York University. He debated APA President Koocher back in June 2006 on matters related to psychologist and torture.
Kiley was a very interesting choice for APA. As Army Surgeon General, he is one of the main apologists for U.S. interrogation policy, especially as it concerns use of medical personnel. Here he is at a Defense Dept. briefing back in July 2005. He is defending the use of mental health personnel in Behavioral Science Consultation Teams at Guantanamo Bay and various prisons in Iraq. (For more on these BSCT teams, see Jane Mayer’s New Yorker expose, “Deadly Interrogation”). Here’s Kiley’s whitewash to the press:
GEN. KILEY: We interviewed 11 psychologists and psychiatrists who were serving in roles of what we now are teaming the BSCT teams. And the sense of their interviews was that they clearly understood that they were not healthcare providers, that they were consultants to the interrogators. And every single one of them, to one extent or another, voiced a sense of responsibility to ensure the welfare of detainees during the interrogation process.
Q Did you find any evidence to support or deny the allegations in the New England Journal that caregivers, not BSCT team members, but caregivers were sharing that type of either physical or psychological information in order to give interrogators a hint as to how they might get more out of people?
GEN. KILEY: We did not find any indication of that in our assessment. The interrogators and the BSCT team members have a firewall — if we can use that term — between them and medical records. And in our assessments with the BSCT team members, we found no evidence that we were — that there was a passing of clinical information that would be used in a detrimental way to torture.
In McCoy’s A Question of Torture, McCoy notes that a July 2005 survey of detainee medical care found the BSCT teams lacked clear guidelines, and “recommended the Army stop using psychiatrists and physcians to iassist in interrogation”. McCoy’s narrative continues (p. 184):
Rejecting these recommendations… Lieutenant General Kevin C. Kiley, the Army’s surgeon general, said they found, “no evidence of systemic problems in detainee medical care,” praised the military’s worldwide treatment for detainees, and deferred assessment of the BSCT teams to “more studies.” In defense of his position that the role of these behavioral teams is “safe, legal and ethical,” Kiley cited the APA task force report (PDF), noting that it reminded members to maintain “an ethical view of their duties. But it doesn’t prohibit them from assisting in interrogations.”
Thus do APA internal documents and resolutions make themselves into the very heart of Pentagon policy-making. [Formatting changed]
Valtin goes on to call for expelling the APA’s Military Psychology Division, an idea that, however improbable, certainly bears consideration. Any serious reform of APA will necessarily involve careful investigation and consideration of its long-standing connections to the national security state.
1 comment September 3rd, 2006