The American Psychological Association and Torture

The Guardian, in  an  article of 22nd January, notes that  the The American Psychological Association (APA) has declined to  rebuke one of its members,  Dr John Leso for his known  complicity in  the torture of  the US kidnapped suspect  Mohammed al-Qahtani, who  was ” charged” by  the Pentagon  in  2008 for his suspected  involvement in 9/11.
The Guardian notes that  “the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.
The American Psychological Association describes itself as ” the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world’s largest association of psychologists, with more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members. Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.”

APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman has stated that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.

The evidence of John Leso’s complicity in  torture is incontrovertible in creating an  inhumane environment for Mohammed al-Qahtani to  be tortured by  his “interrogators”. Dr John Leso   therefore both  unequivocally  breached the APAs code of conduct  and the universal  medical  ethic of “do no  harm” .

No  labyrinthine legal  argument can  allow the APA to  escape its responsibilities to ensure its members behave in  ethical  and humane ways to their  patients.

The APA has clearly now abrogated that  responsibility and most certainly undermined the rights of human beings to  the right to be treated humanely by  state apparatus, and has consequently eliminated any professional  credibility it may have had in  the eyes of the  global  public  and clinical  professionals around the world.

It would therefore  be  expeditious for the APA to re-consider its astounding   decision to  condone torture by  its members and to immediately and permanently  dis-bar John Leso  from its membership. However,  this is unlikely to happen.

Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in  the United States,  and the various Western  countries who  have been complicit in  the  fictional  “war on terror”, we have seen  increasing use by  the state of  statements by  their “legal experts” to  justify  war  crimes,  torture and   murder on  an ever-expanding scale.
The APA’s excuse that the evidence about Dr Leso’s complicity in  torture did not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” is clearly at odds with the facts. It does however reflect  the fear by  a  supposedly ethical  and professional  body,  of the power of the state to inflict  harm on  even such  a prestigious professional  body  as the APA .
 Weasel  words and legal  sleight of hand  must  instead   be used by  the APA’s legal  advisors to  justify  this cowardice. However when such  a  professional body, which  in their words, exists to   “benefit society and improve people’s lives”, abrogates it’s right to instill  justice, ethics and fair play out of fear of state retribution , there  appears little hope for the foreseeable future of  a fair and just   society in the United States.

 

Leave a Reply