Wednesday, July 06, 2005

NYT: "Psychologist Warned on Role in Detentions" (Neil A. Lewis)

The American Psychological Association, responding to reports that some of its members may have advised officials on how to conduct harsh interrogations of detainees, issued a report Tuesday telling its members of the ethical dangers of such activities.
The report by a group convened to study the ethical boundaries for psychologists at places like the detainment center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, concluded that it was acceptable to act as behavioral consultants to interrogators of the prisoners from Afghanistan who are held there.
The report said the psychologists should not use a detainee's medical information "to the detriment and safety of an individual's well-being." It also said that psychologists serving as consultants to interrogations involving national security should be "mindful of factors unique to these roles and contexts that require special ethical consideration."
The report thus appears to avoid explicit answers to questions as to whether psychologists may advise interrogators on how to increase stress on detainees to make them more cooperative if the advice is not based on medical files but only on observation of the detainees.

The above is from Neil A. Lewis' "Psychologists Warned on Role in Detentions" in this morning's New York Times. It's sad to know that the APA can't make a finding with regards to the actions of their own members. Did those participating in the report just sit calmly in their chair saying, "Very interesting. And then what?" Were they all Freudians?

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