The APA reiterates their swiss cheese prohibition on torture

In August the American Psychological Association adopted an official position that allowed professional psychologists to work at detention facilities like Guantanamo — but not participate in torture. The policy was rife with swiss cheese loopholes. As a result there were protests from psychologists across the country that the APA should have the same absolute prohibitions on participation in torture that American medical doctors and psychoanalysts have. [See earlier posts on the resolution passed by the faculty at Earlham college]

But now, the APA confronts this situation by simply sending a letter to President Bush that says they really, really, really are opposed to torture (insert metaphorical foot stomp here) — and refers in circular fashion to their earlier swiss cheese statement prohibiting torture as if anything had really changed.

Furthermore the letter from APA President Sharon Stephens Brehm contains a troubling offer

to work with your Administration and the Congress to develop policies on interrogation that provide ethical and effective means to elicit information to prevent acts of violence.

Sounds like swiss cheese still. A loophole that would allow APA members even more opportunities to be co-opted into participation in torture — purely for research, of course. Lest we forget, there were those who used that excuse in Hitler’s Germany — and Stalin’s Russia — and perhaps today’s CIA.

An extended discussion of this matter and a copy of the entire letter from Sharon Brehm can be found at

Explore posts in the same categories: Earlham college, Interrogation, Pyschological torture, Torture, waterboarding

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