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Roy Eidelson is a psychologist who studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings. He is president of Eidelson Consulting, a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology.
Complicity: Psychology and War on Terror Abuses (2 comments)
While all Americans should be disturbed by findings leaked from the Senate report on the CIA's brutal post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, our nation's psychologists should be especially troubled by this one: "Two contract psychologists devised the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and were central figures in the program's operation."
Monday, March 10, 2014
Misplaced Priorities at the APA: Expediency over Ethics
The American Psychological Association recently decided to forgo disciplinary action against Guantanamo psychologist John Leso. This case illuminates in full measure the APA’s disturbing post-9/11 decision to embrace the burgeoning U.S. “war on terror” national security agenda at the expense of our profession’s do-no-harm ethical principles.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Cartoon: APA Weighs the Evidence
The Ethics Office of the American Psychological Association recently closed a longstanding ethics complaint against Dr. John Leso without taking any disciplinary action -- despite extensive documentation of his involvement in cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment at Guantanamo. I offer my perspective in the form of a cartoon.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
If Not Now, When? -- APA Fails to Sanction Psychologist in Guantanamo Torture Case (1 comments)
Because Dr. Leso’s documented actions at Guantanamo so clearly violated psychological ethics and because this abuse of psychological expertise was undertaken at the behest of governmental authorities, this APA case represents a landmark test of the independence of psychological ethics and professional standards from governmental and institutional pressures.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Psychologist Group Raises Concerns about APA Ethics Decision (2 comments)
A letter from Psychologists for Social Responsibility raises key questions about the American Psychological Association's disturbing decision to close an ethics complaint against Guantanamo military psychologist John Leso without formal charges, despite his documented involvement in brutal detention and interrogation operations.
Friday, January 24, 2014
Psychology's Newest Joke: Not Very Funny (1 comments)
Yet again, on matters of torture, ethics, and accountability the world's largest psychological association has taken a step in the wrong direction.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
A Psychologist's Deceptions about Prison Abuse in California
The head of California's prison system, where a hunger strike is now entering its ninth week, is a psychologist with over thirty years of training and experience. But despite belonging to a profession that prioritizes the promotion of human welfare, Dr. Jeffrey Beard has chosen to repeatedly misrepresent the seriousness and legitimacy of the striking prisoners' concerns.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Hawaiian Mind Games: APA Fiddles While Psychology Burns (1 comments)
Psychologists designed, implemented, supervised, and provided ethical cover for CIA and U.S. military "war on terror" abuses. As a result, the APA has faced repeated calls to take action to prevent future abuses by members of the profession. But APA leaders have responded with empty talk and feeble resolutions. Last week's vacuous exercise was the latest example.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
A Psychologist's Guantanamo Nightmare
This glimpse into an imagined dark future reflects the failure of psychology's leaders to adequately defend the profession's ethical commitment to doing no harm. What has already happened cannot be changed, but there are alternative paths forward. The most promising one for my profession requires dedicated and unflinching efforts directed toward accountability and reform.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Psychologists and Torture: Accountability Still Awaits (1 comments)
The Constitution Project's Task Force Report on Detainee Treatment documents that psychologists were involved in the design and implementation of interrogation techniques that constituted torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. A serious and thorough accounting is long overdue and indispensable in order to restore the ethical foundations of the profession.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Guantanamo and the APA: Where Accountability Goes to Die (2 comments)
Dozens of prisoners at Guantánamo -- the vast majority innocent of any terrorist involvement -- are now starving themselves to death. Many have suffered not only from indefinite detention, they have also been the victims of horrific physical and psychological abuse often rising to the level of torture -- at the hands of individuals who have never been held accountable.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Neuroscience, Special Forces, and Ethics at Yale (1 comments)
Controversy recently erupted over a proposed DoD-funded center for operational neuroscience that would have brought U.S. Special Forces to Yale for interview training. Many questions remain unanswered, and the episode brings much needed attention to the morally fraught and murky terrain where partnerships between university researchers and national security agencies lie.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Torturing the Truth and Whitewashing Hell (3 comments)
The controversy continues regarding retired military psychologist Larry James, who is seeking an executive director position at the University of Missouri. At last week's open forum on the campus, he responded to questions about his role in the detention conditions and interrogation practices at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. His answers deserve closer examination.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
The Torture Debate Echoes: An Army Psychologist's Job Search
A controversial finalist in the search for a new division executive director at the University of Missouri's College of Education is a retired Army colonel and military psychologist who held positions of authority during stints at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Ethics First: A Response to Our Critics (3 comments)
Greater awareness, engagement, and guidance are urgently needed in order to prevent ethically fraught aspects of national security psychology from undermining our profession's most noble aspirations.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Dr. Frankenstein and the APA's Decade of Monstrosities (3 comments)
There is no shortage of arenas where the tale of Frankenstein -- of science unmoored from values, of ambition unrestrained by conscience -- resonates today. One that stands out for many psychologists is the APA's ongoing embrace of "war on terror" opportunities that have placed U.S. psychologists at the center of coercive interrogations and other human rights abuses.
Monday, June 11, 2012
The Army's Flawed Resilience-Training Study: A Call for Retraction (3 comments)
Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, a mandatory resiliency program for all U.S. soldiers, has been heavily promoted by the Army as an urgently-needed response to increasing rates of PTSD and suicide among troops exposed to combat. Unfortunately, we have found that the research evaluating the program is deeply flawed and that the empirical evidence does not support the over-hyped claims that have been made about CSF's effectiveness.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Protecting Psychologists Who Harm: The APA's Latest Wrong Turn (7 comments)
A repackaging and renaming strategy of illusion and deception characterizes the APA's latest gambit to both protect and disguise the role of psychologists as purveyors of harm. Meanwhile, a key question remains unanswered: When, if ever, should psychologists engage in coercion, deception, and manipulation?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Psychologists' Collusion in Ongoing Illegal Detentions (4 comments)
As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners at Guantanamo Detention Center, several thousand miles away sits another United States detention facility, less well-known but with a history perhaps even more gruesome.
Dismantling the Master's House: Psychologists and Torture (1 comments)
Professional psychology has made valuable contributions to national security through collaborative efforts with government agencies -- and it will undoubtedly continue to do so. But does anyone truly believe that crucial determinations about psychological ethics should ever be guided by the views and agenda of the Secretary of Defense or the Director of the CIA? Today, a grassroots campaign is underway to address this problem.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
A Thought Experiment About Psychological Ethics (1 comments)
Despite psychologists' involvement in abusive national security interrogations, the APA's PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists help to keep interrogations "safe, legal, ethical and effective." The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology is leading a petition campaign calling for annulment of the highly influential PENS Report. As part of this effort, a "thought experiment" letter was recently sent to APA's governing body.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Psychologists and Torture: Video and Petition
Psychologists have acted as planners, consultants, researchers, and overseers to abusive interrogations of national security detainees. Concerned psychologists and human rights advocates have initiated a petition drive calling upon the American Psychological Association to annul its "PENS Report," a key document promoting the view that psychologists are needed to keep such interrogations "safe, legal, ethical, and effective."
No Place to Hide: Torture, Psychologists, and the APA (4 comments)
The role that psychologists and the American Psychological Association (APA) have played in the context of detainee abuse and torture is a pressing concern for everyone committed to human rights. In this 10-minute video, I provide a brief, timely overview of what has unfolded over the past several years and where things stand today.
Monday, May 11, 2009
How Americans Think About Torture--and Why (14 comments)
In recent weeks, new revelations about the harsh interrogation and torture of detainees during the Bush administration years have made headlines and stirred controversy. The positions of prominent advocates and opponents on each side are clear. But what do we know about how the American people in general have come to view the use of torture by the U.S. government?
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
On the Road to Change: The Psychology of Progress (3 comments)
Any difficult journey towards an important goal needs to be measured from dueling psychological perspectives-one focused on the past and the other focused on the future. Progressives will be challenged by these divergent perceptions as we work for a more just society.
Monday, October 13, 2008
How To Sell An Indefensible Status Quo (1 comments)
How is it that our country's powerful and self-interested defenders of the status quo so consistently succeed at suppressing popular outrage and combating calls for broad-based, progressive social change?
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Martians and Election Day (1 comments)
Martians did not really invade the U.S. on October 30, 1938 (Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds), and McCain-Palin are not really reformist agents of positive change--but will we be fooled?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Anchors for Progressives (2 comments)
The "anchoring effect" in psychology has important implications for how progressives should approach policy debates in this election season.