Psychologists central to war on terror interrogations

The Washington Post has an article exploring recently released ‘war on terror’ interrogation memos, showing that “psychologists, physicians and other health officials” played a key part in interrogations widely condemned as torture.

It’s an interesting revelation because during the long debates, and some say heal-dragging, over whether the American Psychological Association should ban its members from participation, one of their main arguments was that psychologists should participate to prevent any unethical behaviour.

Instead, it looks like the presence of psychologists and other health officials was used to justify the interrogations as reasonable, despite the fact that the Red Cross’s condemnation of techniques as “tantamount to torture” has now been justified by the release of official documents.

Their names are among the few details censored in the long-concealed Bush administration memos released Thursday, but the documents show a steady stream of psychologists, physicians and other health officials who both kept detainees alive and actively participated in designing the interrogation program and monitoring its implementation. Their presence also enabled the government to argue that the interrogations did not include torture.

Most of the psychologists were contract employees of the CIA, according to intelligence officials familiar with the program….

The CIA dispatched personnel from its office of medical services to each secret prison and evaluated medical professionals involved in interrogations “to make sure they could stand up, psychologically handle it,” according to a former CIA official.

The alleged actions of medical professionals in the secret prisons are viewed as particularly troubling by an array of groups, including the American Medical Association and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The documents apparently describe instances where psychologists guided interrogations and provided information about mental weakness of detainees so they could be specifically exploited by interrogators.

Link to WashPost on ‘Psychologists Helped Guide Interrogations’.

2 Comments

  1. Posted April 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if any of those psychologists and doctors were connected with the psychologists and doctors who worked on the mind control experiments conducted by the CIA post-war and up to the 1970’s.
    When I began reading this post, I was horrified, but when I saw that it was CIA connected, it made sense. I’m sure that the CIA now, as then, is able to engage those medical professionals who have no heart and don’t care, or perhaps even enjoy, the breaking of a human being’s spirit.

  2. airship1951
    Posted April 20, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    There’s a special place in Hell…


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