July 30th, 2008
Please join us. This is an issue for all concerned citizens, not just psychologists. All are welcome.
Come join Boston Psychologists for an Ethical APA
Rally at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention
Protest Psychologists’ Involvement in Abusive Interrogations and Illegal Detention
Where: Plaza at front entrance of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St., Boston
When: Saturday, August 16th, 12:00-2:00
Voice your outrage at the APA’s continued acceptance of psychologists’ participation in Bush administration interrogations and detention centers where human rights and international law are continually violated. “There is no right way to do something wrong.”
This issue is of increasing concern to all citizens but of particular importance to us as psychologists because it violates our primary ethical obligation to “Do No Harm.” Our complicity in the current administration’s “privileged” war on terror is now well-documented.
Psychoanalysts for Social Responsibility (Div. 39 S9)
Coalition for an Ethical Psychology
Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR)
Psychologists for an Ethical APA
Monterey Bay Psychological Association
Physicians for Human Rights
[More being added]
Entertainment by two Jazz-Blues performers:
Marlene del Rosario
We look forward to seeing you there on Saturday, the 16th.
Psychologists for an Ethical APA Calls for Protest Outside APA Convention
“A government is not the expression of the will of the people, but rather the expression of what the people will tolerate.”
We as psychologists and American citizens have become aware that our government has adopted torture and the denial of human rights for detainees as official policy. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, rendition and CIA “black sites” have irrevocably entered our language and consciousness. Waterboarding, sexual and religious humiliation, and denial of habeas corpus have become symbolic of a climate of disdain for human rights and human decency that has infected our government and been absorbed into our social fabric.
During the last several years, we have also become aware that psychologists have played central roles in the Bush regime of torture and detainee abuse. As has been documented by numerous journalists and official government reports, psychologists helped develop, implement, standardize, and disseminate abusive interrogation techniques that have led to torture. Other psychologists responsible for treating detainees, along with other health professionals, failed to act against abuses being committed upon those they were ethically obliged to heal and protect. Given the central role of our profession in perpetrating and abetting these abuses, the rest of us who represent the field bear a special responsibility to do all we can to stop the abuses and voice our objection.
Our professional association, the American Psychological Association, has failed us. While we expectantly listened for a clear moral voice opposing complicity with our government’s abuses, the APA engaged in a pattern of denial, deceit and distraction in support of its policy keeping psychologists engaged in interrogations at detention centers where human rights and international laws have been grossly and systematically violated. When we needed an ethics policy that underscored the importance of ethical behavior, the APA created a revised code which allowed the following of unethical laws and regulations, and which removed protections for research participants when permitted by law or government regulation. When we needed deep ethical discussion, the APA appointed an ethics task force dominated by military-intelligence psychologists, most of whom served in precisely those interrogation settings under debate. When we needed clear statements condemning ongoing U.S, government abuses, the APA passed resolution after resolution condemning “torture” and “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” while failing ever to condemn, or even acknowledge, the ongoing abuses. When we needed action against those psychologists participating in abuses, we received denial after denial and delay after delay, making a continual mockery of ethics enforcement. And when we needed to indicate to the world that psychology was a profession with the highest ethical standards, the APA alone, of all the major health professions’ organizations, not only allowed continued participation in interrogations, violating the centuries-old “do no harm” ethical standards for health professions, but kept silent on known harms.
Last February, over six years after the first reports of US torture and abuse in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and later, Iraq, surfaced, the APA finally unambiguously condemned participation in 19 specific interrogation techniques. While this is a laudable, if long-delayed, first step, it is not enough.
Ø We must forever remove psychologists from detention centers where human rights and international law are violated; to do otherwise is to collude in those abuses.
Ø We must change our ethics code to no longer allow members to follow unethical laws or orders and to restore protections for all research participants.
Ø We must reevaluate the nature of the ties between the APA and the military-intelligence establishment to avoid participation in future unethical government activities.
Ø We must, in collaboration with other health professions, set up a Truth process to create a public record of the roles of psychologists and other health professionals in torture and other detainee abuse, and to recommend ethical, policy, and structural changes to reduce the likelihood that psychologists and other health professionals will collaborate with future abuses.
We call upon all APA members, psychologists, other health professionals, and citizens concerned with fundamental threats to human rights to let the Association know the time is long past due for real change. Please join us on the 16th of August to speak with a common voice against torture and for a return to an ethical psychology and an ethical American Psychological Association.
“A profession is not the expression of the will of its members, but rather the expression of what these members will tolerate.”
Psychologists for an Ethical APA
Let the APA leadership know that we will not tolerate collaboration with detainee abuse. Psychology must once again become a profession based upon fundamental ethical principles.