[act-ma] Reminder: APA demo, noon Saturday !

Amy Hendrickson amyh at texnology.com
Fri Aug 15 07:45:54 PDT 2008


Final reminder of the Rally tomorrow noon!

Call from Nancy Murray, ACLU
Below, Stephen Soldz, One of the Rally Organizers, News Release


 Protest Psychologists' Participation in Torture

We now know that psychologists have helped to develop infamous U.S.
 government torture techniques.
 Other professional associations, such as the American Medical
 Association and the American Psychiatric Association, have clearly
 condemned the participation of their members in these activities -- but
 the American Psychological Association has not. Instead, its leadership
 has hedged, and the association has not taken action against a single
 psychologist involved in developing these appalling methods of
 interrogation. You can learn more on our blog
http://www.massrightsblog.org/2008/08/join-us-sat-aug-16-for-anti-torture.html

 *Please join us to protest the A.P.A.'s complicity with the government's
 torture regime:*

    Anti-torture rally at American Psychological Association convention
    Saturday, Aug. 16, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
    Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
    Plaza at front entrance
    415 Summer Street

Via Subway (MBTA Red Line): 
Exit at the South Station stop, and go up one flight of stairs. Take the MBTA Silver line SL1, SL2 or SL3 to the World Trade Center stop.
Take the elevator up to Level 2. Take a left onto World Trade Center Ave, and the BCEC will be directly infront of you.



 The ACLU of Massachusetts is co-sponsoring this rally to let the
 American Psychological Association leadership know that collaboration in
 government-sponsored torture must not be tolerated. Psychology must once
 again become a profession based upon fundamental ethical principles.
 Meanwhile, you can also learn more about the U.S. government's latest
 abuses of power, by reading our new Civil Liberties Update
  Nancy Murray
 Education Director


>From APA Rally organizer, Stephen Soldz:

"In the absence of ethical leadership from the APA, a referendum to remove psychologists from sites in violation of international law has been proposed by members; ballots went out to the membership last week and are due back in mid-September.
 
In a recent letter in support of the referendum, Bryant Welch, a clinical psychologist, attorney and former long-time APA official, said: "In the eyes of the world psychologists are being seen as aiders and abettors of torture. The damage to the profession grows day by day, and the shamefulness of it reflects on all of us, whether we like it or not."  
 
In his closing argument delivered today before the military commission in the case of U.S. v. Jawad, Maj. Frakt said: " What has this country come to when a licensed psychologist, a senior officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, someone trained in the art of healing broken hearts and mending broken minds, someone with a duty to do no harm, turns her years of training and education to the art of breaking people, to the intentional devastation of a lonely, homesick teenage boy?" 
"
=====================================
I was scheduled to testify at the Guantánamo Military commission yesterday. At the last moment the testimony was canceled. Here is a Press Release from the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and Psychologists for an Ethical APA explaining why. This was on the front page of the New York Sun  and Daily Kos this morning. Much more press coverge is coming.

***NEWS RELEASE***
from
COALITION FOR AN ETHICAL PSYCHOLOGY
PSYCHOLOGISTS FOR AN ETHICAL APA 
 
Military Psychologist Invokes Right to Remain Silent at Guantánamo Hearing, Refusing to Testify About Abusive Treatment of Detainee 
 
Psychologists and Human Rights Groups to Rally Saturday Against American Psychological Association's Controversial Torture Policy 
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, August 14, 2008
 
CONTACTS:   Emily Whitfield,  emily at emilywhitfield.org  
                        Stephen Soldz, soldz at bgsp.edu
 
BOSTON - A military psychologist who recommended isolation torture techniques on a Guantánamo detainee today invoked her right not to incriminate herself, refusing to testify in the case of Mohammad Jawad.  
 
Her testimony was sought by defense attorney Maj. David Frakt in a hearing on his motion to dismiss charges based upon government misconduct in using prolonged isolation, sleep deprivation, and other torture techniques against his client in an attempt to make him more pliable in interrogations. Following a month-long isolation, apparently recommended by the military psychologist, Mr. Jawad - who entered Guantánamo as a teenager -- attempted suicide.
 
The psychologist's testimony would have marked the first time that a member of the secretive Behavioral Science Consultation Team (known as BSCT or "biscuits") had been called to testify in a detainee hearing. The BSCT program has been highly controversial among psychologists and other health professionals.  The psychologist invoked her rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the military equivalent of the 5th amendment right against self-incrimination/right to remain silent.
 
"The fact that the BSCT Psychologist now apparently recognizes that her conduct was criminal in nature is very significant," said Maj. Frakt.  "We have alleged, based on classified government records that the BSCT psychologist's recommendation led directly to the illegal abuse and inhumane treatment of Mohammad Jawad. This invocation of the right to remain silent seems to confirm that."

"The evidence in this case confirms our worst fears, that military psychologists are working to break down detainee's psyches," said Dr. Stephen Soldz, an expert psychologist who had been called by Maj. Frakt to testify that the BSCT psychologist had violated the professional credo of "Do no harm."
 
"Today's developments only confirms our view that a full accounting of the shadowy BSCT program is long overdue," he added.  Dr. Soldz is a psychoanalyst, psychologist, and faculty member at Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. 
 
The news comes on the eve of a rally against torture to be held this Saturday outside the Boston Convention Center where the American Psychological Association, the largest group of its kind, is meeting this weekend.  The APA has come under increasing fire for its refusal to ban its members' participation in Bush administration coercive interrogations and torture, as the AMA and the American Psychiatric Association have done. 
 
 "The continuing silence of the APA on member involvement in torture is telling," Dr. Soldz said. "No APA leader or official has ever uttered one word critical of actual U.S. abuse, or of the role of psychologists and psychological expertise in that abuse. They continue to stonewall on disciplining any psychologists who participated, despite promises to investigate."

At Saturday's rally, psychologists speaking out against the policy will be joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International, and American Friends Service Committee and hear songs from "Raging Grannies" and local musicians. 
 
The torture issue is of increasing concern to all Americans, APA members say, but of particular importance to psychologists because it violates their primary ethical obligation to "Do no harm."  As has been documented by numerous journalists and official government reports, psychologists helped develop, implement, standardize, and disseminate abusive interrogation techniques that have led to torture. 
 
Ignoring this evidence, the APA has repeatedly claimed that psychologists aiding interrogations keep those interrogations "safe, legal, and ethical."  Dr. Soldz said that the actions of the BSCT psychologist in Jawad's case, typical as they appear to be of the BSCT program, show the falsity of APA's claim. Rather, BSCTs use their psychological expertise "to identify weaknesses in detainees that can be exploited to break them down psychologically and render them dependent upon the interrogators," he said.
 
In the absence of ethical leadership from the APA, a referendum to remove psychologists from sites in violation of international law has been proposed by members; ballots went out to the membership last week and are due back in mid-September.
 
In a recent letter in support of the referendum, Bryant Welch, a clinical psychologist, attorney and former long-time APA official, said: "In the eyes of the world psychologists are being seen as aiders and abettors of torture. The damage to the profession grows day by day, and the shamefulness of it reflects on all of us, whether we like it or not."  
 
In his closing argument delivered today before the military commission in the case of U.S. v. Jawad, Maj. Frakt said: " What has this country come to when a licensed psychologist, a senior officer in the U.S. Armed Forces, someone trained in the art of healing broken hearts and mending broken minds, someone with a duty to do no harm, turns her years of training and education to the art of breaking people, to the intentional devastation of a lonely, homesick teenage boy?" 
 
For more information go to: 
 
http://psychoanalystsopposewar.org/blog/index.php?s=boston+rally
 
www.ethicalapa.com
 www.reisnerforpresident.org
 
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