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Diary    H2'ed 5/3/09

Psychologists for an Ethical APA calls for American Psychological Association investigation and resigations

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Psychologists for an Ethical APA has sent to following letter to the American Psychological Association's President and CEO, joining the call, initiated by Psychologists for Social Responsibility last week, for an independent investigation of "psychologists and psychological organizations" [read "APA"] complicit in abuse:

Psychologists for an Ethical APA
242 West 101 Street, Apt # 1
New York City, NY 10025

James H. Bray, Ph.D.
American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4242

April 30, 2009

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Dear Dr. Anderson

Psychologists for an Ethical APA want to thank you for your timely public response to the recent release of the four Office of Legal Counsel memos identifying the participation of psychologists in the interrogation and torture of U.S. detainees. However, we believe far more needs to be done to even begin addressing the alarming implications of these memos for our profession. There is no more important time for us to join together, to speak out, and to take swift action to remediate the abuses and violation of human rights by any members of our profession who participated in these interrogation practices.

Members of Psychologists for an Ethical APA have been involved for the past four and a half years in gathering information and advocating for the end of unethical or illegal actions on the part of psychologists involved in military interrogations. This culminated in the drafting and then eventual passage by the membership of the referendum on psychologist participation in illegal detention centers, as mentioned in your press release. We offer any additional support we can provide to help you take the necessary steps to ensure that psychologists adhere to the highest standards of ethical behavior. In particular we believe that the fullest, quickest, and strictest investigations and sanctions should occur for all those who have violated the ethics of our profession as well as domestic and international law.

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In addition we request that you take the following immediate actions:

• The complete implementation of the APA referendum against torture.

• Modification of Code 1.02 so that no resolution of a conflict between ethics and law or a governing legal authority may compromise ethical standards.

• Rescind the PENS Task Force report and its associated policies.

• On behalf of the APA call for an independent investigation of psychologists and psychological organizations involved and indirectly complicit in activities that culminated in the treatment of detainees that is now known to have been torture.

• Require the resignation of any APA official and/or staff member who either facilitated or consistently denied the involvement of psychologists in the abuse or torture of detainees.

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We look forward to your response and to working together to end the inhumane activities engaged in by members of our profession, many of whom have unquestionably engineered, endorsed, or enforced the torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment of detainees in national security detention centers.

Yours truly

On behalf of Psychologists for an Ethical APA
Dan Aalbers
Ghislaine Boulanger, Ph.D.
Martha Davis, Ph.D.
Diane Ehrensaft, Ph.D.
Ruth Fallenbaum, Ph.D.
Ryan Hunt, Ph.D.
Brad Olson, Ph.D.
Frank Summers, Ph.D.

See the call for an investigation from Psychologists for Social Responsibility.


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Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and is President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He was a psychological consultant on two of (more...)
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