Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, August 12, 2005

American Psychological Association wants ethical torture?

American Psychological Association apparently wants to justify ethics loopholes permitting doctors to assist with interrogations.

We argue that this is an absurd position. It should be rejected.

If the APA membership fails to reject such a proposal, there should be a move to establish a competing industry association to compete direct with the APA for membership, leadership, and the public confidence.

At this juncture, the APA has a weak foundation for continued public confidence.

We call for more effective state level oversight of the APA is needed. APA asserts they have membership standards. It would be appropriate to review whether the APA's 501(c)(3) compliance standards have been met.

Please forward your concerns with the APA to your state level legislators and grievance boards. It may be just a matter of time before the APA calls for doctor-patient records to be released to the government in the name of "doing their civic duty."

The legal community needs to speak. The American Bar Association needs to weigh in to evaluate to what extent the APA is engaging in unauthorized practice of law; and tow what extent the public is damaged when APA members are asserting they have the right to allegedly violate industry standards in allegedly supporting unlawful torture.


Ethical torture? Some would like to walk down that path.

There's been a debate over psychologists involvement at Guantanamo interrogations.

Those in favor say that behavioral scientists have always been involved in assisting law enforcement; that studies must be done to evaluate the interrogators; and that their goal is to establish guidelines that guide psychologists to support these activities in an ethical way.

Those in opposition rely primarily on the disconnect that mental health professionals cannot be expected to both provide in mental health while taking action to undermine people's mental well being.

Clearly, those who support psychologists assisting interrogators have a large number of compelling arguments. Moreover, the proposed actions in no way match that which the Nazis did. Indeed, psychologists are assisting the state in ensuring that criminals are brought to justice and society is preserve. Indeed, it is fitting that those with expertise come forward to assist the state in protecting the nation's freedoms and liberties which are under attack.


APA can be confusing. There are two APAs, and they have opposing views. Ref

  • AMY GOODMAN: "The American Psychiatric Association says that mental health professionals should not engage in interrogation, should not be involved in any way."

  • AMY GOODMAN: "The American Psychological Association does not agree with this."

    Clarification: APA in the piece below refers only to the American Psychological Association, in that it is "supporting ethical involvement of psychologists in interrogation."

    Back to reality

    Let's review the above arguments. There are a number of problems.

    First, the psychologists are attempting to ethically do something that is not ethical. That is impossible. We need not consider the remainder of their arguments, but for the sake of discussion we shall review all their arguments.

    Second, notice that the psychologists are attempting to suggest that "professionals" should be brought forward to assist the community. This is problematic.

    When we use the term "professionals" and "assisting" in the name of the community, we need to look at the larger issue of what is going on.

    During an interrogation, the state [accusatory body] is putting a suspect [target, defendant] under the spotlight.

    The problem with the "reliance on professional assistance" that the psychologists are using, is that they reserve the "right to provide professional assistance" to the state, but say nothing when it comes to addressing the issue: "Why are we involved in interrogations where the defendant has been deprived of a professional assistant like an attorney?"

    The psychologist have no answer. They merely look at the issue in terms of mental health an information gathering [state interest], and completely ignore the issue related to the constitution and the right to remain silent [defendants rights] which are supposed to be preserved by the state, and the defendant is supposed to have the right to counsel.

    IN other words, what the psychologists are doing is selectively applying "their interest in supporting the state" by using an argument about professional assistance, while at the same time Denying that same privilege to the individual who the psychologist is supposed to serve.

    Moreover, it is absurd to suggest that "gathering information is in the public interest" when the means to gather that information is both , relies on professional expertise to the state, but hinges on denying the defendant the right to similar professional expertise.

    What does this mean?

    At first glance, I would argue that the psychologists have, through their actions, implied that they believe that anyone who is accused of a crime is not able to have professional assistance; rather, the psychologists have apparently taken the position that anyone accused is guilty, deserves to be interrogated, and that those so accused deserve to be manipulated to get information, while at the same time being deprived of the same professional assistance which the psychologists are asserting the individual is not entitled.

    Bluntly, I believe the American Psychological Association is engaging in unauthorized practice of law. They are asserting that they have a superior right to access interrogations than do attorneys; and they are making legal arguments about the "merits" of assisting one party, while denying those same "rights to professional assistance" to the accused.

    But let's not stop there. The other trap the psychologists have fallen into is that they appear to be condoning "support for interrogations" even when that action is outside the American law.

    Again, the psychologists would ask that the world submit to "their view" of the law, and that someone can "ethically support interrogations".

    There's a problem with this argument. First, the psychologists cannot answer "how did they arrive at the legal conclusion that the interrogations were lawful" nor have they answered "how do we ensure that the proposed government interrogation is consistent with international law."

    Again, the psychologists have stepped out of their primary zone of expertise, and would have the public believe that "their view of the law" prevails over the courts. Specifically, the psychologists have no answer to the dilemma of "what to do" when the proposed state actions/interrogations are in contravention to the Geneva Conventions.

    In the case of GITMO, some have asserted that the prisoners are not entitled to the protections. Small problem: There are people being held who are not guilty, have not been accused, and had nothing to do with terrorism: They were simply picked up, sold to the Americans as bounty, and the Americans have continued to harass them for going on four [4] years.

    They are either guilty, or they are not. But the American government would have us believe that "they're getting intelligence." Sure, you can get all kinds of information from people if they believe by talking they'll avoid punishment.

    And what are they psychologists doing? They're saying that despite no charges and treatment of people in contravention to the laws of war, that they'll "go along" with that interrogation.

    The psychologists have shown that they are willing to change their ethics in order to get a paycheck. That is noteworthy. We make no claim that they are Nazis or war criminals. Yet.

    However, it is disturbing that at the very time this nation is increasing the number of medical prescription drugs, that we have medical "professionals" talking about how to ethically engaged in interrogations.

    I think the public should be alarmed. First, my concern is that the psychologists in asserting a "superior insight" into mental well being are at the same time showing that they are willing to take actions for their own interest, and deny the public the same right to professionals.

    This smacks of double talk. More bluntly, a "professional" association that engages in this type of double talk loses credibility.

    The psychologists have no answer when they are forced to explain how the "medical professionals" are supposed to divine some sort of

    Going forward

    There needs to be a method like the International Atomic Energy Commission [IAEC] that shows up, unannounced, and starts stripping the licenses of those individuals who engage in this unethical behavior.

    Second, the public needs to be advised that medical "professionals" have an "oversight" body that wants the membership to "ethically" support interrogations.

    Third, the public needs to know that the medical "professionals" are arguing that the state [plaintiff] has a superior right to access professional assistance, while they fail to similarly assert the same right of the public [defendant] to consult other legal professionals [legal counsel].

    Fourth, the failure of the psychologists to put this to bed shows that there is an internal battle going on. Who loses? Obviously, the patients. It appears the state [US government, plaintiff] has infected the psychologists with the notion that "this is appropriate" all the while denying other professionals [attorneys] the same access to clients [defendants].

    What you can do

    Share with your friends the convoluted arguments the psychologists are using. Then ask the public to closely examine to what extent, if any, these psychologits are using the same type of nonsense in their diagnosis and treatment.

    Those who are willing to cross the line on ethics could very well be the same "professional" are who prescribing medical drugs not on the basis of real client interests, but in the interests of "most appropriately" supporting the state's interest to keep people docile.

    Indeed, those who are most outraged by the American government are most likely to speak out. We've seen how people like Sibel Edmonds have been blacklisted, smeared, and accused.

    It is outrageous that pscyhologists are brought in to accuse the whistleblowers of "paranoia," all the while the people who are violating the law are avoiding sanctions.

    The American psychologists are worse than Nazis. They not only have "debates" about "how to ethically support what is not ethical," but they then expect the public to believe that such non-sense has no impact on their ability to diagnose, assess, or monitor patient progress.

    They've conditioned the American public to gladly embrace this absurdity, and then get upset when someone dares challenge them on their ethical breaches and alleged unauthorized practice of law.

    They've got the American population right where they want them: Forced to take medication to "keep quiet" about the abuses and ensure those who blow the whistle are smeared; and then turning around and justifying denying defendants the right to access professional assistance.

    As long as the American psychologists continue this non-sense, they should be treated just like the non-sense makers called "analysts" from Wall Street: Full of hot air, a threat to your personal safety, and not a source of reliable support.

    If you ever come across a psychologist, call your lawyer for a reality check. The psychologists may be dipping into their private prescriptions. They have close relationships with law enforcement.

    How much "experimental medication" [drug seizures] do the psychologists get from the law enforcement in exchange for their blind support of unlawful interrogations?

    Summary of the Concerns brought out in Democracy Now

    The facts are in. Why are we waiting to "gather more evidence" about the psychologists abuse during the interrogations. This sounds like more stonewalling.

    DoD is inappropriately creating "rules" permitting the psychologists to engage in unethical behavior. Psychologists have a duty to withdraw from these unlawful contracts in that they are supporting the deprivation of human rights and denial of defendants the rights to counsel.

    The current "oversight" by DoD is problematic. The evidence shows that the "close monitoring of the interrogations" is illusory. We have private contractors overriding DoD personnel. This is a "non accountability" issue. Wrong doing is occurring, but there's nobody accountable. Psychologists need to stay away from criminal enterprises.

    The issue isn't whether they should do this. The issue is why is the government credibly trying to argue that they can "ethically" do something that is not ethical? They have no legal or ethical foundation. We should not be surprised why those who witness this absurdity do not get more enraged. The Americans are rationalizing misconduct, then absurdly wonder, "Why are they attacking?" Americans are stupid for failing to see why their own behavior is fueling the outrage that inspires insurgent attacks in Iraq.

    Before we have any "studies," done on psychologists on "what happens when they do this to real people," these "studies" should be done on psychologists: Subject psychologists to the interrogations, and then assess "how those who are interrogating the psychologists deal with this." It is unethical to do studies using real people without their persmission. Moreover, the Bush Administration has shown that when it goes down an unlawful path, it will continue until someone shouts; then they'll go after those who dare speak out.

    We fail to see a credible basis to assert that this conduct is ethical in the APA's REPORT OF THE APA PRESIDENTIAL TASK FORCE ON PSYCHOLOGICAL ETHICS AND NATIONAL SECURITY Ref

    Look what they're doing: Legalizing what is unethical Discuss.

    America has a real problem when people start going down this slippery slope, all the while rationalizing it. What's going to stop this?

    How can western nations credibly go before the international community and ask for support in "war on terror," when these same government engage in the same abuses?

    Those who are fleeing torture will be surprised, like Sibel Edmonds, when they land in American and find out that this nation commits the same kinds of abuses. There are people around the globe who are trying to avoid problems. What is to be said for their hope when "the last hope they have" turns out to be a sham?

    The problem is fueling itself. What sense is there to send money to assist torture victims when the countries collecting those funds are engaging in those practices?

    Here's some other background on other interviews done.

    Wilks has been in the news.

    APA wants to do more studies. Perhaps foundations should shut off funding, and exercise their audit-rights to review where the grant money is being used.

    Looks like its time to have a review of the APA: What alternative psychologits associations can be created that will effectively offer credible enforcement of ethical standards? We appear to be having the same kind of rationalization in the medical field that we've seen in the analysts-auditor-consulting field. These conflicts need to be eliminated; vulnerable patients [defendants] are not having this information disclosed to them; while at the same time they are denied the right to counsel. Why isn't the American Bar Association speaking out when another association is taking action that undermine the legal access of attorneys to clients?

    The big picture is that the American government engages in abuse. And then when it fails to take action or respond to threats, it then finds a scapegoat. In other words, because the Americans are incompetent, they then justify ethical lapses to shift the burden of their incompetence onto someone else. The medical community in America is willing to go along with this non-sense.

    There should be no surprise why the Americans continue to face stiff opposition in Iraq, waning support for the war in Iraq, and greater contempt by the American population for this non-sense "war on terror." All the American government has to do is look into the mirror, and it will see exactly the reason for the outrage: The stupidity, incompetence, and lack of accountability of the American leadership.

    This is a legitimacy issue and deserves more votes of no confidence and a withdrawal of all support for American contract efforts, programs, and any other activity the lawless Americans are engaged.

    One thing the APA likes to talk about is the "moral high ground" or "serving the high ground." Well, there's a high ground that they're ignoring: It's called the Constitution. Under the Constitution, the laws of war and Geneva Conventions and laws against torture are included. But the APA would have us believe that they are lawyers have a superior understanding of the laws of war and "know best" when it is "OK" to support activities that amount to unlawful torture.

    Why is the APA supporting activities and interrogations by a government that has already demonstrated it does use Rendition to take innocent people out of places and subject them to harassment? The APA has no answer.

    APA likes to talk about "assisting vulnerable children" if there is a problem. Well, why isn't the APA thinking bout the "vulnerable defendant"? Answer: Defendants aren't paying the bill. So the real issue is: If the US government can pay APA personnel enough money, they'll "go along" with "whatever"? Apparently.

    There's a key term that Lifkin uses, "socialization to atrocity". This is another way of saying that we're going down a slippery slope. Look at the abuses in Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and then Iraq. What happened? The senior commanders faced no consequences. The problem with "socialization of atrocity" isn't just in the APA, but in the US government.

    Where is the Congress when it comes to "rules of capture"? Apparently, Congress is deferring to the "experts" as the APA who say it's "OK" to engage in this kind of treatment. Why don't we send the Congress home, and call this what it is: George Bush's medical tyranny -- the same non-sense from Wall Street brought into America's living rooms.

    This is a legal issue: "what are the conditions in which a psychologist may engage in these activities in an ethical manner". It is inappropriate for the APA to debate this issue as if it were a "policy", when the real issue is: Why does the APA get to "debate" this issue, all the while denying the right of the suspect [accused, defendant] to have a parallel power/right to get legal advise?

    The APA is not a legal entity and should not be providing legal advice to the public.

    The APA needs to decide: Is it going to serve the state, or is it going to serve the public? The APA is siding with the state. Thus, from this day forward we need not consider whether someone who is or is not a member of the APA as an appropriate counterparty in transactions: They are no longer independent.

    Because if the APA is willing to "serve the state," then what is going to happen to patient-doctor confidentiality? The APA is already saying they want to find reasons to have "whatever the state wants to be ethically justified," so are we not to expect that the APA would at some point seek a way to "ethically justify" giving patient records to the government in the name of "serving the public interest"?

    Again, the objective of a client in going to a doctor is to get help; not to allow that access to be corrupted or used as a state-tool. By intervening and meddling in private affairs, the state is dissuading people from seeking assistance from both the medical and legal professions. This does little to move the population toward solutions, improvement, or a civil society.

    Rather, the state is saying that those who have the wherewithal to consider issues and debate them with their doctor or attorney, suddenly lose that right to privilege simply because they dared open their mouth. This is not acceptable. We are here to commonly move together to advance the public good under the umbrella of the constitution.

    if the government is going to interfere with those private contract rights, and muddy the waters on what constitutes "good order" or "advancement," then why do we need the government? It no longer serves the interests of the people. The people retain the sovereign right; and the state cannot presume that it "is above" or "acts in that interests" of those it is designed to serve; while at the same time corrupting the rules and ensuring they only apply to some, but not the state; or that the rights and privilege intended to be enjoyed by individuals are reserved only for the state, and if individuals exercise those rights they are then targeted as "suspicious."

    This is absurd!

    It turns the entire state-constitution-individual relationship upside down. Again, if the state is acting in concert with the constitution, then there would arguably be little reason for the state to act: The respect for the rule of law would not incite people to fight an unlawful invader, nor would it require anyone to speak out in opposition to something that is not wrong.

    But there is a wrong: The government violates the laws; it takes inappropriate action; and then it asks the APA to go along with that abuse.

    With this convoluted logic, I fail to see how anyone would want to go see a psychologist. They appear to be people who are rationalizing absurdity and non-sense. Who needs that?

    Watch what they do, not what they say

    Benkhe says, "under no circumstances is it in any manner permissible for a psychologist to engage in, to support, to facilitate, to direct or to advise torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

    However, Wilks counters with, "could I ask why the A.P.A.'s presidential report then specifically recommends that psychologists should be involved in research into interrogation techniques?"

    In other words, APA is asserting a "nice standard," but then going out of its way to figure out how to support something that degrades people; while at the same time denying the target of that interrogation the right to legal counsel. According to the APA, the state has a superior right to professional advice; yet the APA wants the world to believe that it cares about the Constitution.

    Thank you, APA for the "fair warning" on where your loyalties lie: Not with the rule of law, nor with the client, nor with their ability to get access to legal counsel, nor with asserting the rule of law, but it serving the state.

    How soon will it be before the APA issues guidance on "what ethical rules need to be rewritten to permit psychologists to break confidentiality rules in the name of serving the state interest in breaking down the public accused on the basis of hearsay"? I think we're already at that point.

    Translation: APA you're not reliable as an effective counterparty. You've shown that you're willing to cross the line on your own ethics. Why should I recommend anyone seriously go to a psychologist that is a member of an organization that fails to understand what ethics are? They are there as guides to follow, not as loopholes or firey rings to dive through.

    Wall street analysts and the American Psychological Association members: They both like to assert "how important" they are; but can you really trust them to follow the spirit of their ethics? Apparently, they have to be closely monitored by the very people who are vulnerable.

    We need lawyers! To go after the APA and ensure that the vulnerable are not take advantage of. How soon will the lawsuits be brought against APA members; and then while they run tot he White House saying, "Oh, we can't put up with this; we need to be given immunity."

    "Hay, no problem with that," George says. "Here's your get out of jail free card. Go get some more information."

    "Oh, thank you, master," grovels the APA poodle.

    Looks like we need the Federal Courts to step in and provide some adult leadership to the APA.

    Military doctors like to whine, "Oh how can you say this." The reality is the military doctors knew what was going on, failed to report it, and continued to serve. Where were the resignations?

    I don't see anything. SO the credibility issue is with the "professionals" who failed to remove themselves from the alleged criminal conspiracy to deprive others of their rights. What's the APA's response to this; and where is their general counsel when it comes to a credible legal defense?

    Last time I checked, Sibel Edmonds has a $10M civil tort action against the FBI for their inappropriate conduct. How many in the US government know about the abuses, but have been smeared by APA-certified people in order to "get whistleblowers to shut up"?

    How much money does the APA get from the US government to do research?

    How are APA members rewarded if they smear whistleblowers by calling them, "paranoid"?

    The idea of a constitution is to bring people together. If this constitution becomes some sort of means to abuse people, why should anyone bother working for the government?

    You don't think that the "certain problems" the US government has with "retention" and "recruiting" have to do with the abuses which Sibel Edmonds had to endure? Yes. The American government is full of idiots. And they do not like to face reality. They get paid to rewrite history.

    Beware all! If you associate yourself with Americans, you could be smeared simply because you use your mind. Look to the Whistleblowers. They are smeared in order to distract attention from the abysmal leadership in the Senior Executive Service.

    American Bar Association: Here's where I allege that the APA is engaging in UPL. They state, "psychologists have an absolute ethical obligation never to violate any United States law".

  • How is the APA arriving at this definition of "ethical obligation"?

  • What standards will be used?

  • Are they specific?

  • Is the APA credibly overseeing its members?

  • How effective are the oversight policies?

  • Is the APA in a position to know whether the "US government version of the law" is consistent with the Geneva Conventions?

  • What "standards" is a psychologist using when they individually decide, on their own, without consultation with lawyers, whether the proposed state action does or doesn't violate the law?

  • How can the APA say it "follows the law," when the US state action is in contravention to the Geneva conventions; and the APA is a party to the interrogator by their presence?

  • Why is the APA asserting it has the "Right" to decide and judge when US government actions do or do not violate the law and "will make that determination" [paraphrasing]; but then turn around and consent to be a part of interrogations where personnel are deprived of their right to counsel?

    The APA should refrain from making legal issues and arguments, especially in cases where it has no legal foundation to justify actions which are contrary to its own membership agreements.

    We would welcome a review by the Internal Revenue Service to review whether the APA's current "membership standards" are consistent with the apparent 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

    We fail to see who the APA's current positions are consistent with heir own guidelines; nor in how they can credibly demonstrate, in the apparent vacuum of non-compliance with their own industry standards, that they can retain any foundation that they have membership rules that they are enforcing; or justify to anyone that they have a serious approach to existing, clearly promulgated ethics rules.

    Because if the APA isn't adequately enforcing its rules, then the issue is whether it can sustain its 501(c)(3) status as a tax-exempt organization.

    Either the APA has rules and they are enforced; or those rules are not. Either way, the issue becomes one of "how can the APA survive as an entity" when it apparently has rules that it is willing to waive; and apparently has rules that it does not enforce; and has rules that it fails to assert when the state comes knocking on the door?

    There's no sense talking about "rules of conduct" when those rules are not effectively enforced, much less followed at all times.

    If the APA is going to talk about "making valuable contributions by professionals" [paraphrasing], and the need to have a "contribution" to interrogations, it remains unclear why they are not asserting the right of the American Bar Association to have a similar seat at the table when it comes to suspects.

    Thus, I find the following quote interesting, in that it says the APA has a contribution to make for the state; but makes no mention of the valuable contribution of lawyers to the suspects:
    We believe that psychologists are experts in human behavior, and that as experts in human behavior, psychologists have important contributions to make to information gathering and interrogation processes when they do so within strict ethical guidelines

    Supposedly the APA is about "supporting the rule of law." Where's the APA when it comes to ensuring that the accused "right to counsel" is preserved?

    The APA is silent on whether the rule of law applies to suspects; they only assert that when the state comes calling, it's the job of the APA to find a loophole to justify their involvement.

    APA needs to review the matters. They need to explain why they want a role for their own professionals; while at the same time asserting that "the rule of law" is what they are about, all the while suspects are denied the right to counsel.

    Perhaps the Internal Revenue Service has an interest in the APA's position. We would hope that the rules and ethics are enforced, not simply given lip service.

    Then against why expect the IRS to do anything. The FBI and CIA got shut down prior to 9-11; and the SEC wasn't called in about Enron until too late.

    Oh, that's right. We'll probably have to have someone like Elliot Spitzer save us from the APA. God knows the Congress and Federal government won't act until there's a foregone disaster on their hands.

    The disaster has arrived. Gitmo personnel have been tortured. APA personnel are finding loopholes to justify their continued involvement.

    PRINCESS LEAH: "Help us, Elliot Spitzer, you're our only hope!"