Ellen Goodman in the Boston Globe has a thought-provoking perspective on the Democratic race:
The female style – modeled by a man
By Ellen Goodman
On Tuesday, I got a sarcastic e-mail from a Hillary supporter. She forwarded a crack made by Howard Wolfson, Clinton’s media man, about Obama. “Senator Clinton,” he scoffed, “is not running on the strength of her rhetoric.” To which my friend added: “Unfortunately.”
By evening, the Wisconsin blowout was serious enough that the posters in last-chance Ohio read: “We’ve Got Your Back Hillary.” Clinton’s speech sounded ominously shopworn: “One of us is ready to be commander in chief . . . One of us has faced serious Republican opposition in the past.”
These are disheartening days for Hillary supporters. Not just because of the string of losses but because of the kind of loss.
This was nothing if not a careful campaign. Neither the strategists nor the candidate had illusions about the hurdles that would face the first woman president in American history. They knew women have to prove and prove again their toughness. They knew women have to prove and prove again their experience.
They began as well by framing Clinton as the establishment candidate. But then the establishment became “the status quo” and the historic candidacy became “old politics.” She even got demerits for experience.
Something else happened along the way. If Hillary Clinton was the tough guy in the race, Barack Obama became the Oprah candidate. He was the quality circle man, the uniter-not-divider, the person who believes we can talk to anyone, even our enemies. He finely honed a language usually associated with women’s voices.
Does this transmutation resonate with women who have tried to become CEOs of lesser enterprises than America Inc.? Women of Hillary’s generation were taught to don power suits and use their shoulder pads to push open corporate doors. In the 1970s, the lessons on making it in a man’s world were essentially primers on how to behave like men. As University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee political scientist Kathleen Dolan says, “They had to figure out a way to go undercover. They could only be taken seriously if they filled the male model with XX chromosomes.”
But the next generation of advice books urged women to do it their own way. The old stereotypes that defined women as more compassionate and collaborative were given a positive spin. They were framed and praised as women’s ways of leading.
Today’s shelves are still full of titles – from “Seducing the Boys Club” to “The Girl’s Guide to Being a Boss (Without Being a Bitch)” to “Enlightened Power” – that tell us to act like a man or act like a woman. But in many ways, the transformative inspirational, collaborative, “female” style has become more attractive. Especially to a younger generation. And – here’s the rub – especially when it is modeled by a man.
Dolan sees Obama as “the embodiment of the gentle, collaborative style without threatening his masculine side.” But she adds, “He’s being more feminine than she can be. She is in a much tighter box.”
This too is a bit like what’s happened in business. Whatever advice they follow, women are still only 3 percent of the CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. Meanwhile, it’s become more acceptable for a man to take an afternoon off to watch his kids play ball than for a woman.
Ilene Lang heads Catalyst, which surveyed more than 1,200 senior executives in the United States and Europe. This research calculated the tenacity of double binds and double standards. It showed how hard it still is for a woman to be seen as both competent and likable. And it led her to the conclusion that “What defines leadership to most people is one thing. It’s male.”
As for the Obama style? “Both men and women are much more likely to accept a collaborative style of leadership from men than from women. From women it seems too soft,” she adds ruefully.
Hillary was quite right that she needed to be seen as the experienced, competent, commander in chief. Obama was quite right about the country’s desire to reach across boundaries and beyond divisiveness.
We have ended up in a lopsided era of change. After all, how many of us wanted to see male leaders transformed from cowboys to conciliators? Now we see a woman running as the fighter and a man modeling a ‘woman’s way’ of leading. We see a younger generation in particular inspired by ideas nurtured by women, as long as they are delivered in a baritone.
So, has the women’s movement made life easier? For another man?
Those of us who lived through and participated in the 1960′s and early ’70′s antiwar movement know that one of the most important aspects of those movements was the growth of the antiwar movement among active duty GIs. Most demonstrations were led by active duty soldiers, every base had its antiwar coffee house and newspaper. “Fuck the Army!” was all over the place. And discipline fell to the point where the brass knew that it was get out or get out of the way.
A friend stationed in Nam aroung 1971 described being assigned to pick up litter on the base. As he’s walking around, he smokd and three down a cigarette butt. His ergeant yelled “Pick that up!” As he tells it, he just looked at the Srage and said “F***You!” the Sergeant glowered back in rage, but kept his mouth shut, knowing that to say anything, much less discipline the soldier for insubordination, was to risk danger. an army in that shape cannot be kept in an unpopular war indefinitely.
“The honest truth is that if the American people knew what was going on over there everyday, they would be raising their voices too. They would be saying, ‘Hey, bring those guys home,” Sgt. Selena Coppa said.
Coppa blames lawmakers in Washington for filtering the facts on the war in Iraq. She said there’s no real end in sight.
“There is a cost to this war. This war is being paid in American blood, in my soldier’s blood. And that is not okay,” Coppa said.
“We lost really good friends, really good leaders who died in Iraq. From my perspective, it didn’t make any sense, we didn’t ccomplish anything, and I talked to a lot of other soldiers who feel the same way,” Fort Hood soldier Casey Porter said.
Ronn Cantu is between Iraq deployments. He feel a need to use the opportunity to speak out:
“I honestly thought I might not live through my second tour, so I
thought, you know if I’m going to die anyway, I need to say the
things I need to say,” Cantu said.
Watch the story:
IVAW Fort Hood posts a banner — “IVAW is pro-soldier, but antiwar.”:
The Associated Press (via the New York Times) reports that the Iraqi government intends to imprison the most helpless and destitute, supposedly to protect a few of them from being exploited as suicide bombers by terrorists. This article was sent to me by a friend whose accompanying comment says it all:
Quite remarkable from many points of view. Does anyone seriously think that Iraq has institutions capable of caring for the people being rounded up, as opposed to throwing them into rudimentary camps (basically prisons) of some kind? Or that the Iraqi and US governments care anything about these people? So, it’s now illegal to be homeless or mentally disabled? But the article makes it all sound so benign (except that some silly advocates for the mentally ill seem to have a little problem with it). Truly disgusting. Also, didn’t I just see an article in the paper about how some Iraqi official announced that al-Qaida in Iraq has already been driven out of Baghdad?
Here’s the article:
Iraq Orders Police to Round Up Beggars
by The Associated Press
BAGHDAD (AP) — The Iraqi Interior Ministry ordered police on Tuesday to begin rounding up beggars, homeless and mentally disabled people from the streets of Baghdad and other cities to prevent insurgents from using them as suicide bombers.
The decision, which elicited concern from advocates for the mentally disabled, came nearly three weeks after twin suicide bombings against pet markets. Officials said those blasts were carried out by mentally disabled women who may have been unwitting attackers.
The U.S. military and the Iraqi government have claimed that Sunni insurgents led by al-Qaida in Iraq are increasingly trying to use Iraq’s most vulnerable populations as suicide bombers to avoid raising suspicions or being searched at checkpoints that guard access to many markets, neighborhoods and bridges in the capital.
The people detained in the Baghdad sweep will be handed over to social welfare institutions and psychiatric hospitals that can provide shelter and care for them, Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said.
”This will be implemented nationwide starting today,” Khalaf told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
”Militant groups, like al-Qaida in Iraq, have started exploiting these people in the worst way to kill innocent victims because they do not raise suspicions,” Khalaf said. ”These groups are either luring those who are desperate for money to help them in their attacks or making use of their poor mental condition to use them as suicide bombers.”
However, it is not clear that such people would be safe in psychiatric hospitals. American and Iraqi troops recently detained the acting director of the al-Rashad psychiatric hospital in eastern Baghdad on suspicion of helping supply patient information to al-Qaida in Iraq.
The U.S. military has linked the insurgents’ willingness to use women or children as suicide bombers with their attempts to bounce back from losses in recent U.S.-led offensives.
The military said this week that attacks across Iraq have dropped more than 60 percent in the year since a joint campaign to cut down their influence began last February. But U.S. commanders have warned that al-Qaida in Iraq is a resilient foe and acknowledged they have been unable to stop the group’s signature suicide attacks.
While concrete barriers have reduced the effectiveness of car bombings in the capital, a series of suicide attacks by female bombers has deepened concern.
Women often aren’t searched at checkpoints because of a dearth of female guards. As a result, police said 1,000 female officers will be deployed among the pilgrims massing in the Shiite holy city of Karbala for a major pilgrimage next week.
The Iraqi claim that mentally disabled women were used in the Feb. 1 pet market bombings was met initially with skepticism. Iraqi authorities said they based the assertion on photos of the bombers’ heads that purportedly showed the women had Down syndrome, and did not offer any other proof.
However, the director of the Ibn-Rushd psychiatric teaching hospital in central Baghdad, Dr. Shalan al-Abboudi, said that one of the pet market bombers, a 36-year-old married woman, had been treated there for schizophrenia and depression, according to her file. Refusing to identify her, he said she received electric shock therapy and was released into the custody of an aunt.
The U.S. military said it understood the Interior Ministry intends to transfer those taken into custody to the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry.
”We are aware of the Ministry of Interior’s efforts to try and protect homeless and mentally impaired citizens from becoming the unwitting victims of al-Qaida in Iraq,” Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, a military spokesman, said in an e-mailed statement.
It was not clear how the plan could be implemented in a capital city of more than 5 million people who have grown used to maintaining a low profile and often hiding their identity during nearly five years of bloodshed.
The targets could include women shrouded in traditional Islamic black robes and headscarves who sit on the pavement of public squares or roam around the stalls of open-air markets to beg for money.
Laurie Ahern, the associate director of the Washington, D.C.-based Mental Disability Rights International, expressed concern that Iraqi authorities might be casting ”an awful wide net.”
She noted that insurgents were recruiting women and children in increasing numbers — but said no one should suggest detaining them.
”To round up a group of people based on a disability … I’m not sure that’s the best way to handle the situation,” Ahern said in a telephone interview.
Ahern added that given the traumas of the U.S.-led invasion and subsequent violence, many Iraqis could be considered mentally vulnerable.
Khalaf was not more specific about how police would choose their targets. He said beggars and homeless people 18 years or older would be placed in the custody of the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry, while people with mental problems would be taken to psychiatric hospitals.
He also said those determined to be professional beggars would be prosecuted.
Mohammad Hadi, a 28-year-old Finance Ministry employee, welcomed the idea of clamping down on the street people.
”If they were left free, the terrorists might exploit their condition for attacks,” he said. ”But while I am happy with the Interior Ministry’s campaign against such people, I do believe that police must respect their human rights and take them to a safe, comfortable place.”
Associated Press writers Sinan Salaheddin and Saad Abdul-Kadir in Baghdad and Raphael G. Satter in London contributed to this report.
Anyone who’s published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal knows that the peer review process has many flaws. But one of them is not that a drug company can use reviews to undermine research questioning its products. According to an article by the Editor-In-Chief in the new Science, drug company Phizer is attempting a body blow against the integrity of the peer review process by subpoenaing journal reviews to aid its defense in lawsuits. Evidently they hope to use the reviews to discredit certain studies.
At Science, We editors love our reviewers and know that our editorial colleagues elsewhere do too. After all, the process of scientific publication depends on the volunteer services of thousands of experts all over the world who willingly provide, without compensation, confidential and candid evaluations of the work of others. Because all of us in scientific publishing depend on reviewers, we’d better try to keep them at it, happy, and secure. But the following case, involving a lawsuit, a drug company, and the company’s assault on the confidential files of a journal, is a bad news story.
The drug company Pfizer is being sued in various jurisdictions on product liability grounds. Plaintiffs are claiming that its products Celebrex and Bextra cause cardiovascular and other injuries. Pfizer asserts that in some cases plaintiffs are making use of published papers from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). So it wants to dig though the confidential reviews of those papers in search of something to strengthen its defense. The company served NEJM with a series of subpoenas to which the journal replied, claiming several privileges in support of its refusal to comply.
Now Pfizer’s lawyers have filed a motion to compel NEJMto produce the files, which will be heard by a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. (Full disclosure: I have filed an affidavit with the court supporting NEJM.) The motion is interesting in terms of its revelations about what Pfizer knows about the process of scientific publication and what it regards as the “public interest.” For example, the motion states: “The public has no interest in protecting the editorial process of a scientific journal …” Say what? Doesn’t the public want access to credible biomedical science? If not, what was the open-access movement all about? Do medical advocacy groups really have no use for knowledge that might help their members?
Does confidentiality count for anything to the scientists who serve the journal? Well, if confidentiality is compromised, Pfizer’s attorneys state with breezy assurance, that won’t be a problem for authors: “It is unreasonable to conclude,” they say in their motion to compel, “that scientists and academics will stop submitting manuscripts to NEJM if it complies with this subpoena.” Perhaps. But what about reviewers, who are explicitly promised confidentiality? And what about other journals? If this motion succeeds, what journal will not then become an attractive target for a similar assault?
Viewed in the larger context, this is really a conflict between competing interests. One is the public’s interest in a fair system of evaluating and publishing scientific work–one that offers high confidence in, though not an absolute guarantee of, the quality of the product. Pfizer dismisses this with a wave of the hand, a strangely inconsistent position given the enthusiasm with which it and other drug companies seek to have their own research validated by the very system of scientific publication that Pfizer’s motion decries and would undermine. On the other side, there is a private interest in gaining information that might protect a corporate defendant against a plaintiff’s attack. Without questioning the legitimacy of the latter, it is surely fair to ask whether fulfilling that need should trump the public interest.
An approach often taken in such cases would examine the prospective weight of what defendant Pfizer hopes to find; in other words, is it worth it? What Pfizer’s motion says on that score is: “Scientific journals such as NEJM may have received manuscripts that contain exonerating data for Celebrex and Bextra which would be relevant for Pfizer’s causation defense.” That’s a pretty frank admission that this is a fishing expedition in which Pfizer hopes it “may” find something to help its defense by exposing a reviewer’s comment. Is that an adequate basis for justifying prospective damage to the public interest? We don’t think so, and we suspect our prospective reviewers won’t think so, either. But if efforts of this kind were to succeed, the sad day might come when Science would have to add a firm caveat emptor to its instructions for peer reviewers.
Valtin, over at Daily Kos, tells the horrifying story of the Saudi woman sentenced to be beheaded for being a witch! This in the 21st century. Alas, this execution is not unique, but part of a pattern of brutality by the Saudi state.
As Human Rights First reports, as quoted by Valtin, the conviction is based on a “confession” extracted by brutal beatings:
The legal basis for this decision includes the statement that witches “are not given the opportunity to repent, because witchcraft is not eradicable by penitence”….
…the accused was unable to challenge any of the witnesses against her: the witnesses did not testify in court, but gave written statements, and the judge kept her in the waiting room during sessions when evidence was presented….
Fawza Falih spent 35 days in detention at the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) after her arrest on May 4, 2005 (25/3/1426). Her detention there violated a 1981 royal decree prohibiting the CPVPV from holding and interrogating suspects at their centers. She asserted in her appeal that she was beaten during her interrogation, naming one official of the governorate. Her appeal states that she lost consciousness during one beating and was treated at the hospital. She asserts that fellow female prisoners bandaged her wounds. Human Rights Watch spoke to a relative who was allowed to visit her for the first time after about 20 days in CPVPV detention, following her hospital treatment, and saw marks from beatings on her back. There would thus have been ample evidence to indicate that her confession was coerced.
I leave it to my readers to decide what it means in 2008 that to save an innocent woman’s life one must write to a King. If you do write to HRH King Abdullah bin Abd al-’Aziz Al Saud, at Royal Court, Riyadh 11111, Saudi Arabia, please be polite and save your political points for elsewhere. Ask for justice and mercy.
Later, as you reflect upon the state of our world, pray to whatever god you like for the same upon all of us. Upon one innocent woman’s head lies the destiny of us all.
On Monday I wrote about the unprecedented attempt by Bank Julius Baer to censor the Wikileaks.org web site by having a San Francisco judge issue a restraining order telling the web site’s domain name registrar to stop Wikileak.org from pointing to its actual IP address, 18.104.22.168. This was the first known instance of a court shutting down an entire web site. One Kafkaesque feature of this omnibus order is that the court order and other materials were ordered to be emailed to Wikileaks. But with the domain name Wikileaks.org abolished, no mail sent to them could get to anyone.
Two days after my article, the New York Times finally covered the Wikileaks censorship effort and concluded:
Judge White’s order disabling the entire site “is clearly not constitutional,” said David Ardia, the director of the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard Law School. “There is no justification under the First Amendment for shutting down an entire Web site.”
The narrower order, forbidding the dissemination of the disputed documents, is a more classic prior restraint on publication. Such orders are disfavored under the First Amendment and almost never survive appellate scrutiny.
Since the controversy broke Monday, this censorship has become a major topic in the news and on the web. after all, the shutting down of an entire web site threatens all citizens who use or rely upon the web for disseminating and obtaining a diversity of otherwise unobtainable information. A new blog site, http://wikileak.org/, has been created:
to discuss the ethical and technical issues surrounding the WikiLeakS.org project, which claims to be developing an “uncensorable” version of WikiPedia, for “mass document leaking” and whistleblowing.
While I have no direct knowledge of who is behind this new site , I assume it is tongue-in-cheek when it goes on to state:
This blog is not yet affiliated with the secretive and media manipulative WikiLeakS.org project, but the issues for discussion remain important, regardless of whether or not WikiLeakS.org ever overcomes its technical, legal, ethical and funding problems.
At this point they have a detailed analysis of the second restraining order against Wikileaks in which they argue that it is so broad that it may actually ban virtually all internet activity by the bank, Bank Julius Baer, that brought the suit! Read it and see for yourself.
The order was issued, allegedly because Wikileaks had obtained bank documents that, according to Wikileaks:
“allegedly reveal secret Julius Baer trust structures used for asset hiding, money laundering and tax evasion.”
Wikileaks has made a discovery potentially shedding light upon the bank’s motives in the case. Bank Julius Baer was about to launch a $1 billion IPO, and that the press attention and increased regulatory scrutiny flowing from it may well scuttle this deal. After all, it’s hard to launch an IPO when there are suggestions in the press and the blogosphere that your profts may be due to money laundering. It may turn out that this restraining order was an act of self destruction by Bank Julius Baer with few parallels. As a Wikileaks press release explains [not being a profesional journalist, I can actually quote their press release instead of paraphrasing and pretending I did the reporting myself]:
Wikileaks has discovered Bank Julius Baer was preparing to take their US operation public via an a billion dollar IPO. They filed the prospectus with the SEC on Feb 12, a mere three days before convincing Federal court Judge Jeffery White to order total censorship of the transparency site.
“We are an asset management company that provides investment management services to institutional and mutual fund clients. We are best known for our International Equity strategies, which represented 92% of our assets under management as of September 30, 2007.” They were going to call the business “Artio” (ticker symbol ART, to be listed on the NYSE). Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch were to underwrite the IPO according to Bloomberg.
So the last thing they needed was to be the subject of a New York Times story and all over the world press, associated with money laundering. Now the deal goes under a microscope. Their underwriters have to take a second look and the SEC may have questions. Julius Baer will probably have to file a “material event” 8-K report with the SEC. Newspaper and magazine reporters will be looking at Baer. The question will be raised that the rather high returns Baer reports may be achieved via money laundering.
All this is happening in a down market, in which it is hard to do an IPO and in which investors are very sensitive to unexpected risk. The whole deal may evaporate, or be repriced downward.
Attempting to censor Wikileaks was a very, very expensive mistake for Baer.
Meanwhile, the struggle against this censorship and prior restraint has suddenly become a central front in the battle to preserve freedom of speech for those without the millions to pay for it. We should all stand prepared to assist in any ways requested.
And remember that, while Wikileaks.org no longer points to it, Wikileaks still exists. Just past its IP address , 22.214.171.124, into your web browser, or go to http://www.wikileaks.cx/, or any of dozens of other cover names. Let the leaks continue!
The Reisner campaign for APA President seems to be arousing grass-roots enthusiasm. Psychologist Jim Andrikopoulos wrote and is circulating his own endorsement statement. [You can also read his PENS critique here.]:
There have been accounts in the press and in major medical journals (Lancet, JAMA and NEJM) of health care professionals, including psychologists, being involved in interrogation of suspected terrorists where torture is being used. As a result of this the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have issued policy statements forbidding their members from participating at all in the interrogation of terror suspects. It is important to emphasize that we are not talking about position statements regarding the use of torture, which all organizations, including the American Psychological Association, condemn and forbid. The issue at hand is if psychologists should be present during interrogations or advise interrogators?
Due to pressure from APA members, a resolution was put before the APA Council of Representatives that would have banned its members from participating in interrogations. This was voted down. This now puts us at odds with the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association, not to mention a host of other organizations (British Psychological Society, World Medical Association, American Anthropological Association, and the Australian Psychological Association) some of who have more strongly worded statements than does APA.
I have spent more time researching this issue than I would have liked and have amassed some 40 documents. There is more to this story than I can relay in this e-mail. I plan to post a one or two page reference document. There are some statements and actions by the APA leadership that can only be described as Kafkaesque. This includes a media censorship incident that I mention only because it is more funny than frightening since it happened during an APA town hall meeting. In the meantime, I have prepared and attached a two-page commentary on an APA Presidential task force (see attached PENS document) that was convened to address the role of psychologists in national security-related activities.
Corrected nomination ballots for APA President are being mailed out Wednesday, February 13, 2008. One of the people asking for our nomination for APA President is Steven Reisner who wants to correct this problem. Please consider placing him first on your ballot. I have attached his nomination statement.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS E-MAIL AND THE ATTACHMENTS TO PSYCHOLOGISTS IN YOUR DEPARTMENT, STATE AND LOCAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATIONS, COLLEAGUES, OR ANY PSYCHOLOGY LISTSERV THAT YOU BELONG TO. ENCOURAGE THOSE THAT YOU E-MAIL THIS TO, TO DO THE SAME.
The Swedish Journal of Psychology has covered the APA-interrogations controversy. It includes an overview article by the Journal’s editor, Eva Brita Järnefors and answered to question posed by her to APA and myself. The APA questions were answered by Rhea Farberman. I also answered a set of questions. With permission, I will post all three articles. My original response was too long and was cut by the editor. I will thus post my original response after my published response. The original of all three articles is available as a pdf here.
Here is an article on the APA-interrogations issue from the Swedish Journal of Psychology. Along with this the Journal also published responses to questions posed to the APA and to myself. I have posted the three pieces. The original of all three pieces, in Swedish and English is available as a pdf here; all three can also be accessed in html from here.
U.S. psychologists accused of participating in torture: A Swedish view
by Eva Brita Järnefors
U.S. psychologists have developed brutal interrogation methods that have been used at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo, in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in secret prisons run by the CIA. The fact that psychologists have also taught these techniques and participated in interrogations of detainees has created deep divisions among the members of the American Psychological Association, APA.
We have all seen the brutal photographs from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, which were widely publicized in April, 2004. Among other things, the pictures showed blindfolded, naked prisoners forced to form human pyramids, while laughing prison guards used dogs to scare them.
Since then, more information has leaked in the U.S. press concerning abuse and torture in U.S. prisons for suspected terrorists. This information shows that the methods used at Abu Ghraib formed part of a policy that had been sanctioned at the highest political level. U.S. president George W. Bush has declared these prisoners to be “unlawful combatants,” as opposed to “lawful combatants,” and maintains that they therefore cannot be counted as prisoners of war and thus are not covered by the rules of international law. On December 2, 2002, former U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld signed a document allowing the use of a number of violent methods in connection with interrogations at the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay.
Information regarding the involvement of U.S. psychologists in these torture practices has also leaked to the media and subsequently been officially confirmed. On May 18, 2007, the U.S. Department of Defense declassified a comprehensive investigation into brutal prisoner abuse, the so-called OIG Review. (1) The report was produced in August, 2006, but was not made public until a year later. This report shows that psychologists have played a leading role in the development and introduction of the brutal interrogation methods – methods that have been used at Guantánamo, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in secret CIA prisons, so-called “black sites,” located in a number of different countries.
The brutal treatment of suspected terrorists has affected a number of professional groups in the United States, and their respective professional organizations have decided that their members are not allowed to participate in interrogations of suspected terrorists. Decisions to that effect have been made by the professional organizations of medical doctors, nurses, anthropologists, and translators. The American Psychological Association, APA, is the only major professional organization of health workers that has not completely distanced itself from these interrogations.
A movement of opposition has emerged within APA against the continued participation of psychologists in these interrogations. Steven Reisner, PhD, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, explained on the television/radio program Democracy Now! why psychologists should not take part in interrogations: “I think, without any question, it is clear that if a psychologist participates in the interrogations or supervises the interrogations or supervises the conditions in an arena where there are no human rights and no due process, that that psychologist is contributing to the violation of human rights. And so, there should be an absolute prohibition.” (2)
Some members of APA have left the organization in protest. One of them is psychologist and writer Mary Pipher, PhD. At the same time as she resigned her membership, she also returned the award she had been given by APA for her books. Three of her books, among them Reviving Ophelia, have been New York Times bestsellers. In her letter to then APA president Sharon Brehm, she writes that: “I do not want an award from an organization that sanctions its members’ participation in the enhanced interrogations at CIA Black Sites and at Guantánamo,” and continues: “The behavior of psychologists on these enhanced interrogation teams violates our own Code of Ethics (2002) in which we pledge to respect the dignity and worth of all people, with special responsibility towards the most vulnerable. I consider prisoners in secret CIA-run facilities with no right of habeas corpus or access to attorneys, family or media to be highly vulnerable. I also believe that when any of us are degraded, all of human life is degraded.” (3)
The investigation carried out by the Department of Defense corroborates earlier reports in the press concerning the use of the SERE program (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape) against suspected terrorists. The official purpose behind this program is to train U.S. military personnel in methods of avoiding capture and, in case they do get captured, of avoiding breakdown following torture in the form of, e.g., waterboarding and protracted isolation. Since 2002, the reverse purpose has been to train U.S. military personnel in the use of these torture methods so as to enable them to practice them themselves. The authority responsible for the SERE program is the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which is part of the Department of Defense.
The work of developing brutal interrogation methods began in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. The objective was to elicit information from captured suspected terrorists regarding the planning that had preceded the attacks. The torture methods have been used both to break down prisoners mentally, and to deter others from engaging in terrorism, but also as a political demonstration of power.
Two psychologists, James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, have been identified by the U.S. press as the primary authors behind the reverse SERE program of brutal interrogation methods. They were originally involved in work with SERE at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where U.S. Special Forces are trained. Following September 11, 2001, they also did contract work for the CIA and in due course set up their own consulting firm, Mitchell, Jessen, and Associates, in Spokane, Washington, employing some 120 personnel. Together they developed the interrogation techniques, trained military personnel in SERE courses, and took part in interrogations at various prison sites under the supervision of the CIA. The official responsible for their CIA-related activities during the years 2001-2003 was psychologist R Scott Shumat, chief psychologist at the CIA Counter Terrorism Center at Fort Bragg. (4, 5)
The interrogation techniques applied involve both physical and psychological abuse. Methods that have been described include protracted isolation and extreme sensory deprivation, long periods of forced insomnia, constant loud sounds and/or strong light, use of hoods, forced nudity, stressful body positions, use of dogs to intimidate and threaten, exploitation of phobias, sexual and cultural humiliation, physical abuse, extreme heat (hyperthermia) which may result in alterations of consciousness and brain damage, or extreme cold (hypothermia) which may result in states of confusion and loss of consciousness, threats to hurt or kill, and waterboarding, a method that exposes the prisoner to simulated drowning. (1, 4)
These interrogation methods are not allowed by the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit both physical and psychological torture and abuse. Personnel that have gone through the SERE training program have testified that prisoners who were subjected to the above-mentioned treatments were later found to suffer from depression, psychosis, and suicidal ideation. At Guantánamo, several detainees have made suicide attempts and some have succeeded in taking their lives. (7, 8 )
The SERE tactics came to Guantánamo in 2002. The authors of the DoD review write that a SERE psychologist conference was held at Fort Bragg on September 16 of that year. The participants consisted of interrogation personnel and the Army Behavioral Science Consultation Team from Guantánamo. The latter team includes psychologists and health professionals. One of the hosts of the conference was psychologist Colonel Morgan Banks. He was the second psychologist in command of training and supervision of all SERE psychologists in the U.S. Army.
The review states further: “The JTF-170 [i.e., Guantánamo] personnel understood that they were to become familiar with SERE training and be capable of determining which SERE information and techniques might be useful in interrogations at Guantánamo. Guantánamo Behavioral Science Consultation Team personnel understood that they were to review documentation and standard operating procedures for SERE training in developing the standard operating procedure for the JTF-170… .”
The OIG investigators add: “Counterresistance techniques were introduced because personnel believed that interrogation methods used were no longer effective in obtaining useful information from some detainees.”
These brutal interrogation methods were then put to use in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.
The OIG investigators hold the SERE psychologists responsible for the use of physical and psychological coercive methods and recommend that the use of these methods be discontinued.
In 2005, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported that brutal interrogations were being held at Guantánamo and that psychologists were involved in these. APA responded by setting up a committee of psychologists that was assigned the task of reviewing the organization’s ethical guidelines concerning torture. The group was given the name of Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security, PENS. This group proposed clarifications of the ethical guidelines, but it did not question the continued participation of psychologists in the interrogations.
A barrage of criticism was directed against this Task Force by members of APA. Psychologist Jean Maria Arrigo, who had been a member of PENS, later distanced herself from it. She told Vanity Fair about the work carried out by the group. Among other things, critics deplored the fact that six out of nine of the group’s members with voting rights came from military organizations or from the CIA, and that most had some form of connection to Guantánamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. (4, 5)
Three psychologist members of the APA Task Force held leading positions within SERE when the organization shifted to the reverse purpose of training military personnel in interrogation techniques. One the three was SERE psychologist Colonel Morgan Banks, mentioned above. The Task Force also included Colonel Larry James who, in January, 2003, was engaged as chief psychologist for the Joint Intelligence Group at Guantánamo. The third SERE psychologist on the Task Force was Captain Bryce Lefever. In 2002, he trained interrogation personnel in Afghanistan. Yet another psychologist member of PENS was R. Scott Shumate, who as mentioned earlier was responsible for the activities of SERE psychologists Mitchell and Jessen. The Peace Psychology Division of the APA writes that he has “interviewed many renowned individuals associated with various terrorist networks.” (6, 8 )
Two months prior to the annual APA convention on August 18, 2007, in San Francisco, the Department of Defense published the OIG report. A number of psychological associations and renowned psychologists then signed an open letter to APA president Sharon Brehm. In the letter, they called upon her to support a resolution demanding an immediate end to psychologists’ participation in military interrogations. The initiators of the open letter were psychologists and psychoanalysts Stephen Soldz and Steven Reisner. Members of APA demonstrated and argued for a comprehensive ban on psychologists’ participation in interrogations, but their resolution was rejected. (9)
The Board of the APA put forward its own resolution, in which the organization takes a stand against torture and other inhumane and humiliating treatments or punishments of detainees. In the resolution, nineteen different methods are defined as unethical interrogation techniques. The text refers to the APA Resolution Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which was passed in 2006. (10) Similarly worded paragraphs are to be found in the U.S. Constitution and in the United Nations Torture Convention. APA adds that torture and other forms of cruel treatment are likely to produce unreliable and/or false information.
On its web site, APA has published a number of “frequently asked questions” concerning the organization’s stance in regard to the role of psychologists and the use of torture and violence during interrogations. Here, it says that members of APA have a professional and moral responsibility to try to stop abuse and to report incidents of violence to the appropriate authorities. The APA Ethics Committee “will investigate, under well-established procedures, any allegation that a member has violated APA’s strict prohibition against engaging in torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or reporting relevant information.”
As to why APA has not gone so far as to prohibit psychologists from taking part in military interrogations, the organization states: “APA has affirmed that psychology has a vital role to play in promoting the use of ethical interrogations to safeguard the welfare of detainees and facilitate communications with them.” (11)
The cooperation between U.S. psychologists and the U.S. military and intelligence services began as early as the 1940s. Psychologists were involved in developing interrogation techniques in Vietnam and other countries during the 1960s, and also in a number of countries in Latin America during the 1970s and 1980s. The ties between APA and the U.S. military are traditionally strong. APA, which is the biggest psychologist organization in the world, counts 148,000 members. The members join different APA societies that are organized according to professional fields. The 19th such subdivision, the Society for Military Psychology, was formed in 1945.
The issue of torture has recently gained prominence at the highest political level. Democrats in the U.S. Senate have requested a public inquiry after it surfaced that the CIA had destroyed videotapes from two interrogations of members of al Qaeda. Democratic senators had previously requested to see these recordings. U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey has been forced to order an investigation into the matter. The CIA is suspected of concealing and withholding evidence showing, among other things, that waterboarding has been used during the interrogations. The tapes were recorded in 2002 and destroyed in 2005. One of the al Qaeda prisoners is said to be Aby Zubaydah. (12)
The day after the news about the videotapes broke, Stephen Soldz wrote a commentary in which he called attention to the probable fact that Abu Zubaydah, according to journalist Katherine Eban in Vanity Fair, was tortured by psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. (13)
The discussions within APA regarding whether or not psychologists should take part in military interrogations, will continue. At the end of 2007, several psychology departments at U.S. colleges and universities had adopted resolutions criticizing APA’s stance on the matter.
Eva Brita Järnefors
Translated by Tor Wennerberg
1) Review of DoD-Directed Investigations of Detainee Abuse (18 maj, 2007) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Department of Defense
2) Goodman, A (August 17, 2007) Dissident Members Challenge American Psychological Association on Role in CIA Interrogation, Torture, Democracy Now!
3) Pipher, M: Letter to APA: www.ethicalapa.com
4) Benjamin, M (June 21, 2007) “The CIA’s torture teachers,” www.salon.com
5) Eban, K (July17, 2007) Rorschach and Awe, Vanity Fair
6) Soldz, S, Reisner, S, Olson, B (June 7, 2007) “A Q &A on Psychologists and Torture,” Counter Punch.
7) (January 25, 2005) “23 Detainees Attempted Suicide in Protest at Base, Military Says,” New York Times.
8 ) Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict and Violence, Peace Psychology Division 48 of the APA, www.apa.org/about/division
9) Soldz, S, m fl (2007) “Open letter to the President of the American Psychological Association,” ZNet, www.ipetitions.com/petition/Brehm
12) Shane, S, Mazzetti, M (December 30, 2007) “Tapes by CIA Lived and Died to Save Image,” New York Times.
13) Soldz, S (December 7, 2007) “Did destroyed CIA tapes show psychologists torturing? Did APA dodge a bullet?” OpEdNews.
Eva Brita Järnefors is a journalist and the chief editor of the Swedish Journal of Psychology. She has worked at the journal for 19 years. The journal belong to the Swedish Psychological Association.
“That psychologists have prevented abuse against detainees is a fantasy”
-If one truly wants to promote ethical interrogations, transparency is the solution, says Dr Stephen Soldz, psychologist, psychoanalyst and Professor at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is one of the proponents for change who want APA to prohibit psychologists from being engaged in military interrogations.
The 2007 APA convention rejected your resolution suggesting a ban on psychologists´ involvement in military interrogations. Why, do you think, did the delegates not support this standpoint?
- Most members of APA Council trusted the organization’s leadership on this issue. They accepted claims that psychologists had played a major role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical, and effective” as the repeated APA mantra – taken directly from the Pentagon’s instructions to the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams – claimed. The reality is, however, quite the opposite. Psychologists were among the key creators of the techniques used in the Bush administration’s regime of torture and abuse.
- There is no public evidence that any psychologist took steps to end abuse ordered or condoned by their commanders. This fantasy, that psychologists regularly acted to prevent abuse, is connected with the fantasy that U.S. abuse was the exclusive result of rogue interrogators, the famous “bad apples.” The reality is that it was widespread, systematically designed, and ordered or condoned by those in command, going up to the top of the U.S. administration.
- Further, the profession of psychology has strong links going back decades with the U.S. military-intelligence establishment. The military, Veterans Administration, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other intelligence institutions are among the largest employers of psychologists and sources of research funding. There are also strong personal ties between APA leadership and that of the military-intelligence establishment. The APA leadership feared, as did some Council members, that taking a strong position against participation in detainee abuse could endanger those relationships.
How can the psychologists promote ethical interrogations if they do not stay engaged in these activities?
- Why assume that psychologists have any special role in promoting ethical interrogations?
-If one truly wants to promote ethical interrogations, transparency is the solution. The Abu Ghraib abuses became public only when photographs appeared. If one truly aimed to reduce abuse, it would only require cameras in every detention center and videotaping of every interrogation, with independent access to the tapes. Instead, the Defense Department reaction after Abu Ghraib was to order all cameras removed from detention centers.
- Further, we need independent human rights monitors in the detention centers, with full access. The independent monitors need the right to report publicly on abuses they witness. Of course this is “utopian.” But this is no more utopian than the fantasy that psychologists have any unique qualities that will lead them, any more than anyone else, to risk their careers and oppose abuse. Psychologists, with all we’ve learned about the powerful effects of settings upon individual behavior, should be the first to recognize this truth.
What will be your next step in this question?
- Proponents of change in APA policy are engaged in a number of initiatives. One realm of action is occurring at the state level. The California Senate is considering a bill that would request that health providers licensed in the state be removed from any direct role in interrogating “enemy alien” detainees. Initiatives to pass similar bills in other states are currently in various stages of development.
- In thinking of the future, it is important to remember that the struggle to change APA policy is simply part of a larger struggle against the torture being utilized, and defended by the U.S. government.
- We need a truth and reconciliation process to make public the details of these abuses and to explore the institutional and moral changes needed to prevent their recurrence. As part of this process, the health professions must come to terms with their professions’ roles in U.S. abuses. We need a committee of prominent members of the varied health professions, psychology included, along with human rights advocates, attorneys and others to work to synthesize the information in the public record about the role of these professionals in detainee and other abuses committed by our government. This committee should also explore systemic and institutional changes necessary to deter recurrence of collaboration in future governmental abuses. Ideally, this committee would be created by the major professional associations acting in concert with human rights organizations. Such a step would signify important movement in helping psychology and the other professions come to terms with this shameful episode in our history.
Eva Brita Järnefors
Swedish Journal of Psychology
Here are my complete responses:
The 2007 APA convention rejected your resolution suggesting a ban on psychologists´ involvement in military interrogations. Why, do you think, did the delegates not support this standpoint?
This question can be answered at several levels. At one level, of course, we failed to get the votes. We failed to convince a majority of Council members, the body of elected APA members who are to represent all other members, to vote against the leadership. But why?
Most members of APA Council trusted the organization’s leadership on this issue. They accepted claims that psychologists had played a major role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical, and effective” as the repeated APA mantra – taken directly from the Pentagon’s instructions to the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams – claimed. The reality is, however, quite the opposite. Psychologists were among the key creators of the techniques used in the Bush administration’s regime of torture and abuse. An extensive record of journalistic reports and official documents demonstrate that psychologists designed, conducted, and standardized the abusive techniques used in the U.S. detention facilities.
Rather than come to terms with the role of psychologists in U.S. abuse, it was easier for all concerned to believe that psychologists actually prevented abuse. While one psychologist – Michael Gelles – did take actions to report abuse, he was not in one of the chains of commands perpetrating the abuses, and, in fact, was supported by his commanders. There is no public evidence that any psychologist took steps to end abuse ordered or condoned by commanders. This fantasy that psychologists regularly acted to prevent abuse is connected with the fantasy that U.S. abuse was the exclusive result of rogue interrogators, the famous “bad apples.” The reality is that it was widespread, systematically designed, and condoned by those in command, going up to the top of the U.S. administration. APA Council members have continued to accept these fantasies.
Attempts to clarify matters at Council were impeded by the APA leadership’s use of parliamentary maneuvers to change the resolution being voted upon until the last moment. Thus, despite the moratorium resolution being on the table for an entire year, many critics, first saw the draft of the resolution that was voted upon after the Council meeting where the vote took place had started. Such maneuvers impeded successful attempts to organize.
APA Council members also fell victim to a well-orchestrated rumor campaign to spread fear among the profession that a ban on psychologists participating in the human rights abuses in U.S. detention centers would lead to future bans on a wide range of professional activities in prisons, police departments, and even corporations and other large institutions.
Further, the profession of psychology has strong links going back decades with the U.S. military-intelligence establishment. The military, Veterans Administration, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other intelligence institutions are among the largest employers of psychologists and sources of research funding. There are also strong personal ties between APA leadership and that of the military-intelligence establishment. The APA leadership feared, as did some Council members, that taking a strong position against participation in detainee abuse could endanger those relationships. To the contrary, after 9-11, the APA participated in variety of activities to demonstrate that psychology was a willing and able partner in the administration’s “Global War against Terror.” Thus, closed, invitation-only conferences were held jointly with the CIA, the FBI, and the Department of Justice. Discussions included such topics as the recognition of deception, the use of drugs in interrogations, and the gathering of intelligence that the person being interrogated might not know he or she has. Psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, later reported in the New Yorker, Salon.com, and Vanity Fair to have been the prime movers in designing CIA torture in the so-called “black sites,” participated in one of these conferences.
Finally, APA leadership was able to get its way because the voting APA Council, although elected, is, to a degree, an exclusive club. Often the same individuals get elected to Council from one division after another, thus maintaining stability of membership. There is great pressure not to rock the boat among Council members. Thus, a Council member was accused by a former APA President of slander simply for circulating a published magazine article naming Mitchell and Jessen as torturers. In many cases, we critics have been unable to find a single Council member willing to take the heat and circulate our statements on the Council listserv. Last year a former APA President circulated an attack on a dissident member of the APA’s task force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS; a task force that was secretly dominated by psychologists from the chains of command accused of perpetrating detainee abuse). When we penned a response to the attack, the President refused our request that she circulate it to Council; not one Council member was willing to distribute it and most members of Council thus saw only the attack on the dissident member—not the response. Given the monopoly of communication exerted on Council, it is, perhaps not surprising that most Council members accepted the position of the APA leadership.
How can the psychologists promote ethical interrogations if they do not stay engaged in these activities?
The way this question is framed is biased. Why assume that psychologists have any special role in promoting ethical interrogations? The historical record would argue the converse. Why would one turn to the profession that helped design the torture to keep it ethical? This question too is based on the fantasy that the abuse is the result of the actions of individuals and can be prevented by individuals. Again, the abuse at U.S. detention facilities is systemic, having been authorized at the highest levels of the administration. Military and intelligence psychologists are fighting hard for increased recognition for their work in these institutions. They would thus appear to be among those least likely to risk their recognition and livelihood by exposing systemic abuse. In addition, intelligence professionals have characterized scientists and health professionals as among the most highly manipulable.
If one truly wants to promote ethical interrogations, transparency is the solution. The Abu Ghraib abuses became public only when photographs appeared. If one truly aimed to reduce abuse, it would only require cameras in every detention center and videotaping of every interrogation, with independent access to the tapes. Instead, the Defense Department reaction after Abu Ghraib was to order all cameras removed from detention centers.
Further, we need independent human rights monitors in the detention centers, with full access. The International Committee of the Red Cross, while conducting admirable work, cannot play this role, as their reports are secret. The independent monitors need the right to report publicly on abuses they witness. Of course this is “utopian.” But this is no more utopian than the fantasy that psychologists have any unique qualities that will lead them, any more than anyone else, to risk their careers and oppose abuse. Psychologists, with all we’ve learned about the powerful effects of settings upon individual behavior, should be the first to recognize this truth.
It is also important to recognize that the concept that psychologists “promote ethical interrogations” comes from the instructions to precisely those psychologists who were first reported to have participated in abuse at Guantanamo. Thus, Col. Morgan Banks wrote in a draft of his instructions to the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams that their mission was to “Provide psychological expertise and consultation to assist command in conducting safe, legal, ethical, and effective interrogation and detainee operations.” These instructions were distributed to the PENS task force and this phrase, that psychologists keep interrogations “safe, legal, ethical, and effective,” has appeared in the PENS Report and other APA materials ever since. Surely we should be skeptical that those widely reported to have perpetrated interrogation abuses are a serious force to “promote ethical interrogations.”
What will be your next step in this question?
Proponents of change in APA policy are engaged in a number of initiatives. Hundreds, if not more, are withholding dues from an organization they see as supporting unethical policies. Many, including a number of our most prominent psychologists, have resigned entirely. Several college and university psychology departments have passed resolutions opposing APA policy. Efforts of these kinds will only increase if APA policy doesn’t change, leading to a decline in strength of the organization as many U.S. psychologists decide to affiliate elsewhere.
To its credit, the APA, in its 2007 Convention, banned psychologist participation in 19 specific torture (or cruel, inhuman, or degrading, to use the legal jargon) techniques. Unfortunately, the resolution contained loopholes that would allow continued use of some of those techniques in certain circumstances. These loopholes led Salon.com reporter Mark Benjamin to wonder, “Will psychologists still abet torture?” For three months after the convention the APA deflected all attempts to clarify these “loopholes.” After an onslaught of negative publicly, a statement was finally issued in November acknowledging the “unclear or insufficient” language. We hope that the APA leadership is sincere and look forward to working with the APA to close these loopholes and unequivocally ban these techniques. Of course, closing these loopholes does nothing to resolve psychologists’ shameful role in facilitating the Bush administration’s illegal and abusive detention policies at Guantanamo, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the CIA’s secret black sites. To participate in interrogations at these sites in any way is to abet their illegality.
Another realm of action is occurring at the state level. The California Senate is considering a bill that would warn health providers, psychologists included, licensed in that state that they may face future indictment should they participate in torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment. More importantly, it would request that the Defense Department and the CIA remove all California licensed health providers from participating in interrogations. The APA, along with the state psychological association, is currently working to gut the bill while claiming to support its “intent.” Their strategy is to insert the words “that involve torture,” so that the state requests only that California health providers “participating in any way in prisoner and detainee interrogations that involve torture” be removed from interrogations. Since the Defense Department and CIA insist that they never engage in “torture,” the APA’s proposal would make the resolution meaningless. Fortunately, as of this writing, their efforts have not succeeded and the original resolution was unanimously approved in committee. Initiatives to pass similar bills in other states are currently in various stages of development.
In thinking of the future, it is important to remember that the struggle to change APA policy is simply part of a larger struggle against the torture being utilized, and defended by the U.S. government. In order for these dark times to be transformed, the U.S. public needs to come to terms with the abuses committed in our name. We need a truth and reconciliation process to make public the details of these abuses and to explore the institutional and moral changes needed to prevent their recurrence. As part of this process, the health professions must come to terms with their professions’ roles in U.S. abuses. We need a committee of prominent members of the varied health professions, psychology included, along with human rights advocates, attorneys and others to work to synthesize the information in the public record about the role of these professionals in detainee and other abuses committed by our government. This committee should also explore systemic and institutional changes necessary to deter recurrence of collaboration in future governmental abuses. Ideally, this committee would be created by the major professional associations acting in concert with human rights organizations. If they fail to act, concerned members of the profession may need to undertake this initiative independently. Such a step would signify important movement in helping psychology and the other professions come to terms with this shameful episode in our history.