Anti-torture reforms opposed within psychology group after damning report


Anti-torture reforms opposedOpposition is building to intended anti-torture reforms within the largest professional organization of psychologists in the US, which faces a crossroads over what a recent report described as its past support for brutal military and CIA interrogations.

Before the American Psychological Association (APA) meets in Toronto next Thursday for what all expect will be a fraught convention that reckons with an independent review that last month found the APA complicit in torture, former military voices within the profession are urging the organization not to participate in what they describe as a witch hunt.

Reformers consider the pushback to represent entrenched opposition to cleaving the APA from a decade’s worth of professional cooperation with controversial detentions and interrogations. The APA listserv has become a key debating forum, with tempers rising on both sides.

A recent letter from the president of the APA’s military-focused wing warns that proposed ethics changes, likely to be discussed in Toronto, represent pandering to a “politically motivated, anti-government and anti-military stance”. A retired army colonel called David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor whose scathing inquiry described APA “collusion” with US torture, an “executioner”.

Tom Williams, who helms the APA’s Division 19, called the Society for Military Psychology, wrote this week to APA officials that he was “deeply saddened and very concerned by what too often appears a politically motivated, anti-government and anti-military stance that does not advance the mission of APA as much as it seems to appease the most vocal critics of APA and Division 19”.

TVNL Comment:  Never mind the domestic, military and international laws that clearly define torture as illegal.  This is unbelievable....