US Psychologists Scrap Interrogation Ban
Source: The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — The nation’s largest group of psychologists scrapped ameasure Sunday that would have prohibited members from assistinginterrogators at Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. military detentioncenters.
The American Psychological Association’s policy-making council votedagainst a proposal to ban psychologists from taking part in anyinterrogations at U.S. military prisons “in which detainees aredeprived of adequate protection of their human rights.”
Instead, the group approved a resolution that reaffirmed theassociation’s opposition to torture and restricted members from takingpart in interrogations that involved any of more than a dozen specificpractices, including sleep deprivation and forced nakedness. Violatorscould be expelled and lose their state licenses to practice.
Critics of the proposed ban who spoke before the vote at the148,000-member organization’s annual meeting said the presence ofpsychologists would help insure interrogators did not abuse prisoners.
“If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going todie,” said Army Col. Larry James, who serves as a psychologist atGuantanamo Bay.
Supporters argued that psychologists should not be working at detentioncenters where prisoners are detained indefinitely without being charged.
“If psychologists have to be there so detainees don’t get killed, thoseconditions are so horrendous that the only moral and ethical thing isto leave,” said Laurie Wagner, a psychologist from Dallas.
The association’s vote follows reports that mental health specialistswere involved in prisoner abuse scandals at Guantanamo Bay and AbuGhraib prison in Iraq.