Sunday, August 19, 2007

APA Fails on Torture Question

Just got home from a full day at the convention. I'm too tired to write up a full diary/analysis of the APA's voting on the torture issue.

I'll try to get something up tomorrow night. Meanwhile, bottom line, nothing much changed. APA psychologists will still staff detainee prisons that don't allow human rights, like habeas corpus. On the other hand, psychologists are banned from participating in SERE-style torture, like waterboarding, mock executions, sexual humiliation, etc. But CIA techniques like sensory deprivation and isolation and sleep deprivation are not "prohibited" conditions when they are used as part of detention conditions, and not as part of the "interrogation process".

I would note these are my first impressions of the situation, and the implications of this latest APA torture resolution are partly unclear. The text was dropped on the APA Council of Representatives (who do the voting) less than 24 hours before the vote. The initial speaker from the division of APA that represents military psychologists, and who had helped craft the so-called anti-torture resolution, got a short laugh when he admitted that council members hadn't even time to read the resolution fully before having to vote upon it.

"Don't worry," the military psychologist rep told the crowd. "You can trust us."

There are lots of angry and disappointed people, 200 of whom filled a boisterous town meeting later that day. (Who says psychologists can't be passionate and committed, or at least some of them?)

I'll have more to say later...

1 comment:

student said...

Thanks for the update. Most unfortunate.

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