Summary: Physicians for Human Rights calls for investigation into American Psychological Association’s Role in US Torture Programme

10th July 2015: SRT grantee Physicians for Human Rights today called for a criminal investigation into the American Psychological Association’s (APA) role in the torture of terrorism suspects. PHR’s call follows the release of a new independent report confirming that the APA colluded with the Bush administration to enable psychologists to design, implement, and defend a programme of torture.

The APA commissioned an independent review by David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor, in November 2014 after detailed allegations emerged in New York Times reporter James Risen’s book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. The book documented secret coordination between APA and US officials to support the spurious legal and ethical justification for the Bush administration’s torture programme, which relied on health professional monitoring of abusive interrogations to claim that they were “safe, effective, and legal.”

PHR have called for a federal commission into the role that the APA, individual psychologists, and other health professionals played in the torture programme, with full subpoena powers and the authority to refer individuals for criminal investigation and prosecution. In addition they echoed calls for the APA to initiate an independent analysis of the internal structures and processes that led to collusion, and to adopt policies prohibiting psychologists’ involvement in interrogations and other activities that are inconsistent with the profession’s “do no harm” ethic.

Donna McKay, PHR’s Executive Director, said, “The corruption of a health professional organization at this level is an extraordinary betrayal of both ethics and the law, and demands an investigation and appropriate prosecutions. Rather than uphold the principle of ‘do no harm,’ APA leadership subverted its own ethics policies and sabotaged all efforts at enforcement.”

Full press release from PHR’s website:

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