A 10-year Timeline “Psychology, Torture, and the APA” is posted on the website of the Coalition for Ethical Psychology documenting the active participation of psychologists, and the American Psychological Association (APA) with the CIA and pentagon in devising and testing torture techniques on suspected Al Qaeda detainees; and helping the government to circumvent legal and moral prohibitions against experimenting and torturing prisoners. Professional psychologists developed instruments of torture implementing the theory and application of “learned helplessness” and other experimental techniques in the black art of torture. As a result, some of the detainees died, many others were driven insane.
Bryant Welch, a psychologist and attorney, had served as a high level APA official, including various governance positions inside the APA central office from 1983 to 2003. He witnessed the astonishing transformation of the APA from a historical liberal organization into an authoritarian one that actively assisted the CIA in torture. Welch provides unique insight about how the transformation was accomplished by a surprisingly small number of people within APA’s leadership and the hitherto unsuspected congressional staff point person. Welch notes that the APA is an invaluable case study in the manipulations that influence our governmental and non-governmental institutions; noting that “the military psychologist is merely a foot soldier in psychology’s participation in torture.”
(Bryant Welch. Torture, Psychology, and Daniel Inouye: The True Story Behind Psychology’s Role in Torture, Huffington Post, July 17, 2009; Updated May 25, 2011)
Welch described how APA’s covert relationships with the military influential government officials resulted in the APA assuming a pivotal role as an accomplice to torture. APA’s failure to join the other health professions in prohibiting its members from participating in the Administration’s “enhanced interrogations,” as APA’s rank and file members were demanding, was the result of long-standing relationships between the APA governance board and the military.
“One source of APA’s military connections is obvious to anyone who has worked at APA over the last twenty-five years. Strangely, it has been overlooked by the media.”
“When the military needed a mental health professional to help implement its interrogation procedures, and the other professions subsequently refused to comply, the military had a friend in Senator Inouye’s office, one that could reap the political dividends of seeds sown by DeLeon over many years.”