In-processing of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, 2002.US Navy
The American Psychological Association (APA) has approved a ban on psychologists’ involvement in national security interrogations.
The group approved its new ethics guidelines Friday in Toronto. The APA adopted the plan in the wake of 542-page independent investigation (PDF) that discovered psychologists worked with the Central Intelligence Agency to help silence dissent over harsh interrogation tactics being employed by the Bush administration (including torture). What’s more, the report found that APA officials colluded with military officials to adopt APA ethics rules in order to allow psychologists to be a part of tortuous interrogations in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Psychologists’ involvement in torturous interrogations aided the President George W. Bush administration’s assertions that the techniques, such as waterboarding, were legal. That’s because having psychologists involved in interrogations helped the Justice Department draw up secret legal opinions saying that harsh interrogations were OK—and not torture—since health officials were taking part.
In a 2010 interview, for example, Bush said: “Another technique was waterboarding, a process of simulated drowning. No doubt the procedure was tough, but medical experts assured the CIA that it did no lasting harm.”
According to Friday’s resolution, psychologists “shall not conduct, supervise,…