Group Calls for Annulment of the APA’s Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics & National Security (PENS) Report

Angela Keaton, October 14, 2011

From Boiling Frogs:

Leading scholars and human rights groups from a range of fields — including psychology, medicine, law, military, and intelligence — have joined together in spearheading a broad-based effort to annul and delegitimize the American Psychological Association’s deeply flawed 2005 Report of the Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (the PENS Report). In a joint declaration the coalition states:

Despite evidence that psychologists were involved in abusive interrogations, the PENS Task Force concluded that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” With this stance, the APA, the largest association of psychologists worldwide, became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards that ought to be the benchmark against which professional codes of ethics are judged- the “do no Harm” standard.

Further, the coalition points out the inherent bias in the Presidential Task Force membership, where six of the nine voting members were on the payroll of the U.S. military and/or intelligence agencies, and five having served in chains of command accused of prisoner abuses. The group cites other significant conflicts of interest by the Task Force’s unacknowledged participants, such as the spouse of a Guantánamo intelligence psychologist and several high-level lobbyists for the Department of Defense, and direct funding for psychologists by the CIA.

The Coalition has launched a petition calling for the annulment of the APA’s PENS Report as part of their joint effort to remove psychologists from torture and abusive interrogations.




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