St. Paul, MN – The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) is appalled at findings in the recent report examining the role of the American Psychological Association in the CIA post-9/11 interrogation program. The report provides documentary evidence of APA collusion with CIA psychologists and members of the Bush administration to rewrite APA ethical guidelines in a way that permitted psychologist participation in an interrogation program that included the torture of detainees. This gave the program the appearance of legitimacy at a time when other health professional organizations prohibited their members’ involvement.
For 30 years, CVT has healed the wounds of torture and helped survivors rebuild their lives. Clearly, complicity in justifying torture techniques including stress positions and sleep deprivation – techniques which CVT’s torture survivor clients report having experienced – is outrageous and chilling, the more so for a healthcare profession whose first ethical duty is to “do no harm.”
Torture is profoundly destructive to mental health, and psychological methods of torture that purposefully leave no visible scars are among the most common and the most damaging our clients report. It is unthinkable that the largest professional association for psychologists would change its ethics code to legitimize the involvement of psychologists in the kind of damage CVT works daily to heal.
The Center for Victims of Torture is an international nongovernmental organization based in St. Paul, Minn., and dedicated to healing survivors of torture and violent conflict and to advocating for human rights and an end to torture. Visit www.cvt.org.