Friday, September 19, 2008

Zubayda story update: the American Psychological Association, in an 8,792 to 6,157 vote (59 to 41 percent), decided Sept. 17 “to prohibit consultation in the interrogations of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or so-called black sites operated by the Central Intelligence Agency overseas” (Benedict Carey, New York Times, A23). The decision “may help to settle a long debate within the profession” over the fact that APA-affiliated psychologists, such as Mitchell and Jessen, “have helped military and C.I.A. interrogators evaluate detainees, plan questioning strategy and judge its psychological costs.”

The APA’s “ethics code, while condemning a list of coercive techniques adopted in the Bush administration’s anti-terrorism campaign,” Carey adds—adopting their terminology, if I may add, such as coercive and anti-terrorism, “has allowed some consultation ‘for national security-related purposes.’” What are these purposes related to national security? We never find out. But, again, one must ask: What could conceivably be considered to be related to national security by this administration, in any possible, law-bending and law-breaking way? Everything.

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