Friday, August 13, 2010

Aug. 22 NYC Panel Discussion on Psychologist Participation in CIA/Pentagon Torture

The following is a press release from Patricia Davis, announcing an important discussion in NYC on torture and the participation of psychologists in its planning and implementation. The discussion will follow the performance of Davis's award-winning play, Alternative Methods. As the show's website explains, "Set in Iraq in 2007, Alternative Methods explores indefinite detention, learned helplessness, and the deep involvement of psychologists in torture." The plot tells the story of an Iraqi doctor who is detained, suspected of treating an Al-Qaeda leader. "With the clock ticking, interrogators must quickly get the doctor to reveal where the safe house is. Susan, a young interrogation psychologist, witnesses severe acts of torture that still yield no intelligence. She takes matters into her own hands."

The event couldn't be more timely, as around the country human rights groups are filing licensing complaints against psychologists who have been identified as involved in torture. These actions will go nowhere without real public support. Already, the complaint against Major John Leso, a military psychologist associated with the torture of Mohammed Al Qahtani, has been turned away by the NY State Office of Professional Discipline because it claimed it lacked jurisdiction. I'll be writing more about this outrageous action quite soon. In the meantime, one can study the complaints filed against the former chief psychologist at Guantanamo, Col. (ret.) Larry James, and former SERE instructor and CIA contract psychologist, James Mitchell.

I hope everyone in New York City will turn out for this important event. It's evident Patricia has done her homework. Her work on torture is well-researched. Her advocacy webpage includes a discussion on Barack Obama's black site prison at Bagram, and the ongoing use of psychological torture, such as solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and more in the Army Field Manual's Appendix M.

From the press release:
Panel Discussion on the Involvement of Psychologists in Torture

A panel discussion on the involvement of psychologists in torture will be held on Sunday, August 22, at 3:00 PM in the Red Room Theater, 85 East 4th Street, NYC. The discussion will follow the 1:00 PM performance of Alternative Methods at the First Floor Theater at La MaMa, 74A East 4th Street. The panel will feature the full cast of Alternative Methods, director Josh Liveright, playwright Patricia Davis, plus three experts on torture: Michael Otterman, human rights consultant and author of American Torture and Erasing Iraq: the Human Costs of Carnage; Steven Reisner, Ph.D, an eminent psychologist who has led his field in opposing the involvement of psychologists in torture and calling for accountability; and, Nathaniel Raymond, director of Physicians for Human Rights’ Campaign Against Torture and the organization’s lead investigator into the role of health professionals in American interrogation policy. Other experts will be announced as they are confirmed.

In addition to the August 22 performance, Alternative Methods will be performed at LaMama as part of the New York International Fringe Festival on: Sunday, August 15 at 8:15; Friday, August 20 at 5:30 PM; Wednesday, August 25 at 8:15 PM; and Saturday, August 28 at 9:45 PM. The play just finished a successful run in Washington, DC, at the Capital Fringe Festival, where the Washington City Paper called it “very well written and performed . . . very successful.“ The DC Theater Scene called the play “interesting and thought-provoking,” commended the “outstanding, all-equity cast,” and selected the play for its Social Consciousness Award.

Written by Patricia Davis and directed by Josh Liveright, “Alternative Methods” features Hend Ayoub, Charlie Kevin, Julie Kline, John Greenleaf, and Alok Tewari. See for more information.

No comments:

Search for Info/News on Torture

Google Custom Search
Add to Google ">View blog reactions

This site can contain copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.