The June 7, 2006 New York Times brings news that the United States Department of Defense has decided to give preference to using psychologists over psychiatrists as advisers to its interrogation teams at Guantánamo and other unnamed locations based on “a recognition of differing positions taken by their respective professional groups.” More specifically, The American Psychiatric Association unequivocally has adopted a policy stating that its members should not be part of these interrogation teams. The American Psychological Association has adopted a far weaker policy that, in practice, puts no constraints upon its members participating in interrogation, stating only that members consulting on national security interrogations should be "mindful of factors unique to these roles and contexts that require special ethical consideration." This position is taken in spite of considerable pressure from many members desiring the Association to state unequivocally that members should not participate in these interrogation teams in any capacity.
To see the petition click on the link below.
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now radio show, had a great show on June 16, 2006 during which she interviewed several people on this issue. You can listen to it streaming on line or download it. It is well worth listening to if you are interested in the issue of mental health professionals participating in interrogation and torture.
Should doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists participate in military interrogations? Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have adopted policies discouraging their members from being involved. But their counterpart, the American Psychological Association has not. We host a debate with APA president Dr. Gerald Koocher, Dr. Steven Reisner, an APA member who is calling on the group to take a stand against the practice and Dr. Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist who is a retired Brigadier General in the Army Medical Corps.
To go to the Democracy Now archive of this show to download the audio or read the transcript click on the link below.