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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 a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, and the former executive director of Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania..
From Outer Space, Three Guideposts for the Resistance
For the Trump resistance, chronicles of aliens from outer space offer some surprisingly valuable guideposts about key psychological challenges that lie ahead: Beware Trumpian fearmongering, blind loyalists, and divide-and-conquer tactics.
Friday, March 17, 2017(1 comments)
The Sustaining Fires of Standing Rock: A Movement Grows
Regardless of the Dakota Access Pipeline's final disposition in the federal courts, Energy Transfer Partners and its cronies have unleashed a counterforce that may well exceed their comprehension and control. While digging for dollars they've awakened a movement that combines a long-overdue commitment to addressing the trampled rights of Native Americans with a reinvigorated call for climate justice and environmental action.
Tuesday, February 28, 2017(5 comments)
The Predatory Presidency
Predators in the wild aren't the only ones to use trickery, deception, and stealth as complements to brute force. To disguise the real impetus behind its recent executive orders, the Trump White House turns to sky-is-falling psychological mind games, warning us that these steps are necessary to protect the public from dire threats.
Monday, January 30, 2017(4 comments)
Bait and Switch: Psychology and Trump's Voter Fraud Tantrums
To fully understand Trump's complaints about "illegal voters," we need to recognize that voter fraud and voter suppression are opposite sides of the same coin. By promoting beliefs about the former, the groundwork is laid for pursuing the latter. In this way, tales of unlawful voting have long been a pretext for obstructing the voting rights of U.S. citizens.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017(3 comments)
Heart of Darkness: Observations on a Torture Notebook
Just in time for the Trump Administration's official embrace of brutality, we have another book defending torture: "Enhanced Interrogation" by psychologist James Mitchell. Although subtitled "Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America," Mitchell's implausible and self-serving account actually reveals much more about him than it does about the men he helped torture.
Standing Firm for Reform at the American Psychological Association
Abolitionist Frederick Douglass warned, "Power concedes nothing without a demand." Feminist Audre Lorde similarly advised, "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." Their words are worth remembering as we now witness a coordinated campaign of intimidation, deception, and obfuscation targeting the APA's recent efforts to right its ship and institute meaningful ethical reforms in national security contexts.
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
When Psychologists Deny Guantanamo's Abuses
Disgruntled factions are pursuing a deceptive and self-protective campaign aimed at discrediting the recent Hoffman Report, which documented extensive and compelling evidence of collusion between leaders of the American Psychological Association and Department of Defense officials. The latest entry comes from the leadership of the APA's military psychology division.
Thursday, October 29, 2015
Making a Choice: APA Reform or Business As Usual?
Following a seven-month investigation, an independent report revealed extensive collusion between the American Psychological Association and the Department of Defense in support of psychologists' involvement in coercive war-on-terror interrogations. Now a campaign is underway to discredit that report, and to turn the APA away from much needed accountability and reform.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
PsySR Supports Iran Nuclear Deal
In a statement released yesterday, Psychologists for Social Responsibility endorsed the Iran Nuclear Deal as an important and promising step toward greater peace.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Reflections on a Historic APA Convention and the Road Ahead
Last week's convention of the American Psychological Association witnessed an unprecedented victory for advocates calling for the APA to prioritize psychology's do-no-harm ethics in national security settings. But attendees have returned home still uncertain as to whether the APA's leadership will persevere in pursuing a course of transparency, accountability and reform -- after a decade of collusion and cover-up.
Monday, August 3, 2015
How the American Psychological Association Lost Its Way
In Toronto this week, APA leaders will face members' confusion and rage during Council governance meetings, a three-day teach-in organized by Psychologists for Social Responsibility, and open town hall meetings. Can this soul-searching be channeled into fruitful reforms, not just to the organization, but for the future of the field? A lot is at stake in the days ahead.
Friday, July 10, 2015
"No Cause for Action": Revisiting the Ethics Case of Dr. John Leso
My new commentary in the peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Social and Political Psychology offers a thorough examination of the seemingly inexplicable decision by the American Psychological Association's Ethics Office not to pursue action against psychologist John Leso -- despite his documented role in the abusive treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Commitments the APA Should Make Today
It is reasonable to expect that the soon-to-be-released Hoffman Report will provide evidence of grave collusion between the American Psychological Association and government agencies involved in the torture and abuse of war-on-terror detainees. This is an opportune time for the APA's leadership to commit to specific actions if this indeed proves to be the case.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Where Have All the Members Gone?
Milton Strauss was a member of the American Psychological Association for almost fifty years. His recent resignation is further evidence that the APA's leadership has failed its members and the profession.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Fugitive Facts Escape from APA Headquarters
As they wait for an investigator's report, APA leaders claim that they've already refuted allegations of collusion in the Bush Administration's abusive "enhanced interrogation program." Such pretense is a disservice to APA members, to the profession as a whole, and to the public at large.
Thursday, May 7, 2015(1 comments)
The American Psychological Association's Disappearing History
Amid mounting evidence that the American Psychological Association colluded with the CIA in protecting the Bush Administration's abusive "enhanced interrogation program," it appears that someone has been steadily removing valuable, relevant content from the APA website. Perhaps it's true after all: idle hands are indeed the devil's workshop.
Tuesday, May 5, 2015(1 comments)
The APA Relied on the CIA for Ethical Guidance
Last week's release of previously undisclosed emails provides further evidence of the American Psychological Association's extensive and secret involvement with the CIA and White House in crafting ethics policies that permitted psychologists to participate in abusive "war on terror" detention and interrogation operations.
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
The APA and Guantanamo: Actions, Not Words
The leaders of the American Psychological Association have an abysmal track record when it comes to meaningful action that runs counter to the Pentagon's own policies on detention and interrogation operations. Time and again in these situations, the APA has trumpeted its commitment to psychology's do-no-harm ethics but then retreated into the shadows when those principled words required principled actions.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Collusion? Where the APA Investigator Should Look
For years there have been allegations that the American Psychological Association colluded with the Bush Administration to support the use of psychologists in abusive detention and interrogation operations. The APA's standard response has followed the CIA's unofficial motto: "Admit nothing. Deny everything. Make counter-accusations." But now an investigation is finally underway.
Cast Into the Depths: Perilous Waters for the American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association's salvation begins with letting go of its stubborn denials of any connection to the Bush Administration's program of torture and abuse, its self-righteous assertions that it has always prohibited psychologists from participating in torture, and its false assurances that it will take assertive action against any members implicated in detainee mistreatment.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Dear Dr. Kaslow: I Too Am "Outraged, Saddened and Pained"
The president of the American Psychological Association has responded to the Senate report on CIA torture with a letter in the New York Times. Dr. Kaslow wrote that she was "outraged, saddened and pained that two psychologists allegedly devised and engaged in brutal interrogation methods." I certainly share those feelings, but Dr. Kaslow should also widen her gaze.
Friday, December 12, 2014(1 comments)
The Complicity of Psychologists in CIA Torture
This week's long-awaited Senate report provides gruesome details of the torture and abuse that took place at black site prisons as part of the CIA's brutal post-9/11 detention and interrogation program. The key involvement of two psychologists in designing and implementing the program raises broad issues and unanswered questions for the profession of psychology.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014(19 comments)
Building a Racially Just Society: Psychological Insights
Michael Brown's tragic death, the anguish of his family, and the turmoil in Ferguson, Missouri, are all salient reminders that the longstanding and seemingly intractable realities of unequal treatment, circumstance, and opportunity for African Americans -- and for other communities of color -- pose a difficult yet increasingly urgent challenge.
Thursday, October 23, 2014(6 comments)
James Risen vs. the American Psychological Association
Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter James Risen has a new bestseller, "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War." With access to previously undisclosed emails, he provides a disturbing account of collusion between the American Psychological Association and the CIA. The APA's response to the book fails to rebut Risen's key claims and evidence.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014(7 comments)
New Evidence Links CIA to APA's "War on Terror" Ethics
In responding to critics' concerns, the American Psychological Association's leadership has repeatedly denied any collaboration with the military or intelligence agencies that engaged in detainee torture and abuse. But where the truth actually lies just became much clearer with the publication of James Risen's new book, "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War."
Tuesday, August 12, 2014(2 comments)
Predators, Reapers, and Psychology's Do-No-Harm Ethics
Just as the American Psychological Association chose to embrace the Bush Administration's "war on terror" and its false claim that psychologists help to keep detention and interrogation operations "safe, legal, ethical, and effective," the APA appears comfortable -- at least in its silence -- with the Obama Administration's suspect claim that U.S. drone policy is "legal, ethical, and wise."
Tuesday, May 13, 2014(2 comments)
Complicity: Psychology and War on Terror Abuses
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(1 comments)
If Not Now, When? -- APA Fails to Sanction Psychologist in Guantanamo Torture Case
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(2 comments)
Psychologist Group Raises Concerns about APA Ethics Decision
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.
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(1 comments)
Hawaiian Mind Games: APA Fiddles While Psychology Burns
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(1 comments)
Psychologists and Torture: Accountability Still Awaits
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(2 comments)
Guantanamo and the APA: Where Accountability Goes to Die
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(1 comments)
Neuroscience, Special Forces, and Ethics at Yale
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(3 comments)
Torturing the Truth and Whitewashing Hell
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(3 comments)
Ethics First: A Response to Our Critics
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(3 comments)
Dr. Frankenstein and the APA's Decade of Monstrosities
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(3 comments)
The Army's Flawed Resilience-Training Study: A Call for Retraction
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(7 comments)
Protecting Psychologists Who Harm: The APA's Latest Wrong Turn
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(4 comments)
Psychologists' Collusion in Ongoing Illegal Detentions
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
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(1 comments)
A Thought Experiment About Psychological Ethics
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
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(14 comments)
How Americans Think About Torture--and Why
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(3 comments)
On the Road to Change: The Psychology of Progress
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(1 comments)
How To Sell An Indefensible Status Quo
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(1 comments)
Martians and Election Day
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?