US Torture Program Secretly Supported by World's Most Prestigious Psychology Organization

By R. Siva Kumar - 01 May '15 12:51PM
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CIA's infamous torture program was secretly supported by the American Psychological Association, the organization that publishes the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," which is considered the "Bible" of diagnosing psychiatric and psychological conditions. The latest disturbing facts were unvieled by health professionals and human rights activists in a new report. These findings are extremely important as the human torture program played a huge role in the legal justifications for the Bush administration's practices, according to Business Insider.

It was in 2003 that the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib were revealed through pictures that highlighted shocking mistreatment, physical and sexual torture.

To show their treatment of "suspected terrorists" in a better light the Bush administration roped in the American Psychological Association to put together an "ethical framework".

"The APA secretly coordinated with officials from the CIA, White House and the Department of Defense to create an APA ethics policy on national security interrogations which comported with then-classified legal guidance authorizing the CIA torture program," the report, titled "All the President's Psychologists," concludes.

Many emails exchanged between psychologists as well as officials reported that contractors "are doing special things to special people in special places," one CIA employee wrote to an APA psychologist.

By conducting interrogation programs in the presence of health officials, the Justice Department tried to show that their "interrogation was done safely.".

On the other hand, Rhea Farberman, a spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association, denied that the group had coordinated its actions with the government. There "has never been any coordination between A.P.A. and the Bush administration on how A.P.A. responded to the controversies about the role of psychologists in the interrogations program," she said, according to nytimes.

The Abu Ghraib photos has made many of the healthcare officials uneasy.

"In 2004 and 2005, the CIA torture program was threatened from within and outside the Bush administration," Stephen Soldz, a professor with the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis and lead author of "All the President's Psychologists," told the New York Times. "Like clockwork, the APA directly addressed legal threats at every critical juncture facing the senior intelligence officials at the heart of the program. In some cases the APA even allowed these same Bush officials to actually help write the association's policies."

Hence, the APA may have allowed the "torture program" to continue. As the Associated Press reports, one of the senior managers at CIA who had been caught for "abusive behavior" was then shifted to another senior position in the drone strike program, according to sputnik.

Reports claim that the US government seemed to be more inclined to rope in the APA rather than other healthcare groups, as that organization was "more willing to play ball".

"[The APA] clearly supports the role of psychologists in a way our behavioral science consultants operate," Dr. William Winkenwerder, former assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, told reporters in 2006, explaining the Pentagon's preference to employ psychologists at Guantanamo Bay. "The American Psychiatric Association, on the other hand, I think they had a great deal of debate about that, and there were some who were less comfortable with that," he said.

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