If you’re unable to view the document in the Scribd applet, you can access it on Scribd HERE.
Why isn’t the American Psychological Association pursuing ethics charges against psychologist John Leso for abuses he helped carry out at the Guantánamo prison?
— by Yosef Brody
George Orwell wisely observed that our understanding of the past, and the meaning associated with it, directly influences the future. And as the unprecedented public feud between the CIA and Congress makes clear, there are still significant aspects of our recent history of state-sponsored torture that need examination before we put this national disgrace behind us.
Important questions remain unresolved about the U.S. torture program in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. And the four-year, $40 million Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture is unlikely to provide sufficient answers, even if it’s ever declassified and released.
For example, what will be done about doctors who helped create U.S. torture programs and participated in their implementation? And is there any evidence that cruel, inhuman, and degrading practices continue under official policy, even to this day?
The question of whether American health professionals previously involved in military torture programs should be allowed to quietly and freely continue their careers came to a head recently when it was revealed that the American Psychological Association (APA)refused to pursue ethics charges against psychologist John Leso.
According to official and authoritative documents, Dr. Leso developed and helped carry out “enhanced interrogation” techniques at Guantánamo Bay in 2002. Importantly, the APA hasn’t disputed Leso’s role in the interrogation of detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani, an interrogation that included being hooded, leashed, and treated like a dog; sleep deprivation; sexual humiliation; prolonged exposure to cold; forced nudity; and sustained isolation.
In a subsequent investigation, Susan Crawford, a judge appointed by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, characterized this treatment of al-Qahtani as “life-threatening” and meeting the legal definition of “torture.”
Over almost seven years, the APA — whose leadership has nurtured strong connections with the military and intelligence establishment — never brought the case to its full Ethics Committee for review and resolution. In defending this decision a few weeks ago, the APA board released a statement explaining that a handful of top people with classified military access had determined that there was nothing unethical about Dr. Leso’s actions and that the case should be immediately closed.
What exactly is the interest of the leaders of the world’s largest professional association of psychologists in blocking investigation into torture? And should psychologists who participated in torture have this dark chapter of their careers wiped clean without censure?
Ethical imperatives to “do no harm” and sanctions for psychologists who break the rules — from sleeping with patients to insurance fraud to not informing research subjects of their rights — exist not only to protect the public but also to provide clear guidance to professionals faced with moral dilemmas. Yet when considering ethical complaints, the APA apparently takes involvement in torture less seriously than these other transgressions.
If such ethical parameters are effectively nullified, what kind of future might we expect?
Here’s an equally important question: Has U.S. torture really ended? While the Obama administration made an early display of banning some of the worst techniques that had been given the official seal of approval under Bush and Cheney, such as waterboarding, the Pentagon continues to engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading practices.
As the lawsuit brought this month by Guantánamo prisoner Emad Abdullah Hassan in federal court makes clear, the force-feeding of hunger strikers there is continuing despite a military blackout since December on the number of inmates engaged in that protest. Human rights and medical organizations have widely denounced this brutal practice.
Before U.S. psychologists and other Americans tell ourselves it’s time to put our history of torture behind us, we should take a hard look in the mirror.
What does it mean for our society to allow health professionals who have been involved with torture to subsequently practice with impunity? Like all civilized societies, we must reckon with past and present truths — if we want to be in control of our future.
Yosef Brody is a clinical psychologist and president-elect of Psychologists for Social Responsibility PsySR.org. The cartoon by Roy Eidelson, APA Finds No Ethical Violations at Gitmo, a former PsySR president, is used by permission. Distributed via OtherWords.org
— by Vickie Rock, NV Rural Democratic Caucus, 2013-05-14
Have you been paying attention? The GOP doesn’t think so and they’re trying to pull the wool over everybody’s eyes with this “AP phone records” announcement, as though their fingerprints weren’t anywhere near this “fiasco.” Let me refresh your memory by referring back to a few items of note, that happened just about one year ago, when GOP legislators were up in arms about security information published in the media — by the AP — that was way too accurate for their comfort. In fact, were claiming treasonous breaches in security had been committed and that the security leaks led all the way to the White House. Thus, they were demanding that a special prosecutor be appointed and that maybe, just maybe, impeachment of Obama was in order for this egregious act :
“This administration cannot be trusted to investigate itself,” Sen John Cornyn (R-TX), said during a Capitol Hill press conference Tuesday. “You cannot investigate yourself and not have a conflict of interest.” Sen John McCain (R-AZ) declared: “I continue to call on the president to immediately appoint a special counsel to fully investigate, and where necessary, prosecute these gravely serious breaches of our national security.”
Here’s a couple of articles to refresh your memories:
Thirty-one GOP senators call for special counsel to investigate security leaks
— by Alexander Bolton, The Hill – 06/26/12 11:09 AM ET
“The numerous national-security leaks reportedly originating out of the executive branch in recent months have been stunning,” they wrote to Holder.
“If true, they reveal details of some of our nation’s most highly classified and sensitive military and intelligence matters, thereby risking our national security, as well as the lives of American citizens and our allies. If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it,” they wrote.
GOP lawmakers even went so far as to name just ‘who’ might be responsible — National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon. Among those signing the letter circulated by Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) were Senators: John McCain (AZ), Mitch McConnell (KY), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Kelley Ayotte (NH), Roy Blunt (MO), John Barrasso (WY), Saxby Chambliss (GA), Susan Collins (Maine), Jim DeMint (SC), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Marco Rubio (Fla.) and John Thune (SD).
GOP senators press Holder for special prosecutor into potential national security leaks
Published June 26, 2012, FoxNews.com
Fox’s take on just exactly ‘who’ might be at fault was a bit higher on the food chain, claiming that GOP senators were urging “AG Eric Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate whether the White House is responsible for national security leaks.”
Oh, and let’s not forget — the GOP’s letter to AG Eric Holder was sent right around the same time that the GOP-led House was “expected to vote on whether to hold him in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoena requests to provide more documents regarding the Justice Department’s failed Fast and Furious gun-tracking operation.”
Holder launches probe into possible national security leaks
— by David Jackson, USA TODAY, 2012-06-09 6:15 AM
AG Eric Holder Friday appointed two U.S. attorneys [Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, and Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland] to lead a pair of criminal investigations into possible national security leaks of classified information. For Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), that wasn’t quite good enough, he wanted a special counsel who could pursue impeachment, if they could snag enough evidence.
So now, advance forward to today, when some of the fruits of their demand for an investigation have reached fruition — and once again — they’re playing yet another game of “pin the blame on the donkey.”
Under sweeping subpoenas, Justice Department obtained AP phone records in leak investigation
— by Sari Horwitz, Published: May 13. 2013
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months’ worth of telephone records of journalists working for the Associated Press as part of a year-long investigation into the disclosure of classified information about a failed al-Qaeda plot last year. The aggressive investigation into the possible disclosure of classified information to the AP is part of a pattern in which the Obama administration has pursued current and former government officials suspected of releasing secret material. Six officials have been prosecuted, more than under all previous administrations combined.
You’d think the GOP would be jumping for joy. NOPE! They’re pissed that the Administration, particularly, that other black guy, you know, Eric Holder, actually managed to get the job done.
“We take seriously our obligations to follow all applicable laws, federal regulations, and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for phone records of media organizations,” said a statement from Bill Miller, spokesman for the office. “Those regulations require us to make every reasonable effort to obtain information through alternative means before even considering a subpoena for the phone records of a member of the media.”
The story at issue included details of a CIA operation in Yemen that foiled an al-Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012 to set off a bomb on an airplane headed to the United States. The April and May 2012 phone records of the reporters and editor of the story were among the material seized by the Justice Department.
But, those phone records aren’t all that were pursued in the leak investigation. Numerous senior government officials have been interviewed in connection with the investigation into the AP story. Among those questioned was John O. Brennan, who served as Obama’s counterterrorism adviser before becoming CIA director this year.
The GOP is hoping you won’t remember their fingerprints are all over this one. So now they’re going to jump up and down, screaming that journalists 1st Amendment rights have been rudely violated as a smokescreen to cover up what they themselves demanded. And then, they’ll look to see what other impediments they can enact and throw out there to prevent him and any other attorney general from being able to get their jobs done so they can appease their base.
Darrell Issa (R-CA),chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was particularly displeased, saying: “Coming within a week of revelations that the White House lied to the American people about the Benghazi attacks and the IRS targeted conservative Americans for their political beliefs, Americans should take notice that top Obama administration officials increasingly see themselves as above the law and emboldened by the belief that they don’t have to answer to anyone,”
Pardon me, but, the Administration (meaning President Obama) didn’t lie about Benghazi and in particular, in the Rose Garden, on nationwide TV actually characterized the events occurring in Benghazi as “acts of terror.” But apparently the the GOP Dictionary, “acts of terror” and “TERRORISM” are two totally unrelated terms describing events. In addition, the IRS was merely doing it’s job. 501c3 and 501c4 social service agencies are tax-exempt agencies that do NOT have to disclose their donors. Given the proliferation of the number of applications the IRS was receiving with either “TEA PARTY” or “PATRIOTS” in their official organizational NAME, and given that the TEA PARTY is a official sub-division of the REPUBLICAN PARTY, the IRS had and has and obligation to assess whether those organizations should be exempted from our nation’s tax laws because of the nature of the social services they provide to our society. Frankly, in my personal opinion, I believe they erred in a large number of cases, as I’ve seen NO social services being offered, but one helluva lot of partisan-biased political advertising pass across my television screen.
The AP story is related to just one of the investigations demanded by the GOP The second “leak investigation” ordered by AG Eric Holder, at their request, involves a New York Times report about the Stuxnet computer worm, which was developed jointly by the United States and Israel to damage nuclear centrifuges at Iran’s main uranium-enrichment plant.
So standby … it ain’t over yet. I can hardly wait to hear what the GOP has to say should one of their precious donors or propagandists are found to have “leaked” sensitive security information and are prosecuted for, of all things, treason!