I have sent the following letter to incoming American Psychological Association President, Sharon Brehm, and to the new President-Elect (2008 President) Alan Kazdin (posted here with minor modifications).
Dear President-Elect Brehm [or Kazdin]
Congratulations on (very soon) becoming the APA President .
As the new President, I would like to make you aware of a letter I have sent to Dr. Anderson, explaining why I am not paying my 2007 dues in protest of APA’s position on participation in national security interrogations. The letter is pasted below my name. However, I have also posted the letter on a number of progressive websites, including Daily Kos [ http://www.dailykos.com/story/2006/11/28/748/22452 ], ZNet, OpEdNews, Dissident Voice, etc. I have also submitted it for publication in the APA Monitor.
I have published a series of articles on this issue, including, among others:
Psychologists, Guantanamo and Torture: A Profession Struggles to Save its Soul
Protecting the Torturers: Bad Faith and Distortions >From the American Psychological Association
I understand that these articles have been translated into Spanish and are widely distributed in Latin America, where APA’s position is especially disturbing to colleagues who suffered arrest, torture and worse under the US supported and trained military terror states of the 1970′s and 80′s.
I will have yet another article on this issue appearing in the next few days.
I communicate this because it is essential that you understand that this is an issue that will not go away. For many of us, it is a red line which we will not cross. The issue is irreparably damaging psychology’s reputation, in this country and around the world.
At the same time, it is important that to remember that the issue of participation in interrogations is simply a symptom of APA’s cozy relationship with the national security state, including the military, the CIA, and other institutions. Real reform requires an open public inquiry into the nature of these ties. Colleagues in South Africa and throughout Latin America have discovered the importance of Truth and Reconcilliation Commissions in helping their societies come to terms with torture, abuse, and the terroristic state. APA now finds itself is need of a similar coming to terms with its past. Nothing less will save the organization, or, perhaps, the profession of psychology, from being remembered as one of the more sordid forces in contemporary America society, one of those forces willing to close its eyes to the slide toward brutality and barbarism.
I hope as APA President you will lead the Association to confront these vital issues.
Thanks so much for your attention.
Stephen Soldz, Ph.D.
1 comment December 9th, 2006