Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thanks to All Supporting Campaign to Pressure APA on Interrogations

Voltaire began his campaign to stop torture practices left over from the days of the Inquisition when he was already well into his 70s. I'm only in my 50s, so I figure I have a lot of catching up to do. (Of course, our torture practices are left over from our own version of the Inquisition... the Cold War.) I have a link to yet another new letter from a psychologist to the Sharon Brehm at the American Psychological Association (APA). It was posted over at Stephen Soldz's Psyche, Science, & Society.

Dear Dr. Brehm:

You have an opportunity to make things right.  You have an opportunity to restore integrity to the APA with respect to its activities that have supported the immoral, illegal, and unethical interrogations of innocent human beings in U.S. detention centers around the world.

I ask you to push APA toward prohibiting psychologists' involvement in the interrogations of detainees happening in Guantanamo and other detention centers.

I ask you to remove the "Nuremberg" defense (Standard 1.02) from our Ethical Principles.

I ask you to let the world know by your actions that psychologists are not a bunch of barbarians; that we truly care and are compassionate and strive to be healers not destroyers of human psyches.

What will you say to your children, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren when they ask you what you did to stop the torture of human beings  in U.S. detention centers?

What would you say to the children of the detainees who have been tortured under the guidance of psychologists?

Do you have the compassion and courage to stop this evil?

Art Eccleston, Psy.D.

For those of you who don't know yet, Sharon Brehm is the new President of the American Psychological Association (APA). The APA remains the only health-care related association that continues to allow its membership to participate in national security interrogations such as occur or did occur at Guantanamo Bay Naval Prison, at Abu Ghraib, Baghram, and numerous other sites.

The interrogations that took place, and continue to take place at these prisons, are notorious for using techniques of psychological torture that require the participation of medical and mental health personnel. We have a special opportunity to squelch the participation of psychologists, who have been crucial to Pentagon and CIA staffing at interrogation sites, and slow down, if not stop much of the torture practices the U.S. is undertaking. How? By supporting the moratorium being promoted by APA membership to stop participation in national security interrogations abroad. For more on the hows and whys behind this campaign, read the original call here.

Much thanks to all who have promoted and helped circulate this call to action. I intend to keep the pressure on all the way to the APA convention in San Francisco this August. If you want to know more how to help, e-mail me at sfpsych at gmail dot com. (Spelled out because the spam situation is getting out of hand.)

Write or call the APA:

American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242
(800) 374-2721
(202) 336-5500

Write and call, now. Let them know how upset you are.

Send an email to the Public Affairs Office of the APA, expressing your outrage:

Phone the Ethics Office directly at (202) 336-5930 or use APA's toll free number (800) 374-2721, extension 5930, and give them a piece of your mind.

And finally, write to the President of the APA, Dr. Sharon Stephens Brehm. Be nice, be polite, but be firm (this is true for ALL communications).

Dr. Brehm has a web page, Ask the President. Follow the link to leave an email message directly for her.

If we apply enough pressure, it might make the APA stand up and take notice. Don't forget to write your congressman/congresswoman and senator, too!


We don't have to be powerless. We aren't helpless. Write, call, email today. Copy this diary's URL and send it to your friends.

I want to see APA inundated with thousands of messages saying "Stop torture. Stop psychologist participation in coercive interrogations.

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