Home | About | Donate

Torture, Impunity and the American Psychological Association


Torture, Impunity and the American Psychological Association

Amy Goodman

It has been almost a year since President Barack Obama admitted, “in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. ... we tortured some folks.” The administration of Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, carefully crafted a legal rationale enabling what it called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which is no more than a euphemism for torture. From the U.S.


The Dark (Cheney) Puppet Master and the Dupe (Bush) were a grand exhibition of fundamentally flawed human character. The Dark overrode any conscience that the Dupe may have had, forcing the latter to rationalize the evil he to which he would commit as somehow noble. The same bullying was applied to the psychological community and witting dupes, never in short supply, were found and exploited. The Dark did not need a degree in psychology to exert his Force.


“There should be a legal investigation.” He is calling for the FBI and Justice Department to investigate."

Unfortunately, the FBI and Justice Dept. within the current Mars-ruled nexus are as beholden to the MIC, war machine (militarism and ALL of its rationales included) as are those psychologists willing to do anything for a buck.

When individuals become part of top-down organizations, the vast majority then behave like those soldiers caught up in the Nuremberg trials using the defense: “I was only following orders.”

During times of lockdown where threats of an outside enemy determine policy, these top-down organizations rule with a tight grip. Anything that would appear to brook protocol is seen as unpatriotic or “assisting the enemy.”

Just as Stanley Milgram’s studies proved, those socialized to conform to authoritarian systems WILL follow orders even when doing so metes out direct harm to others. So much for psychologists taking the Hippocratic oath which asserts: “First do no harm.”

The academic world uses conformity in its own ways, too. After all, no would-be professional is going to be granted a title in his or her field unless they meet the standards set by authorities. Truly independent thinkers have always been seen as dangerous heretics and seldom are welcomed into an circles of orthodox power. That means all the psychologists who want “daddy’s approval” within the system tend to go along with what that system asks of them. They have largely incurious minds, are good at following orders and protocols (and rewarded well for doing so), and suit the characterization of Little Eichmanns. That designation did not just belong to Germany… and more and more it comes to suit professionals within the U.S. Homeland as it comes in many ways to approximate the Fourth Reich by integrating so many of that military state’s tools of population (“enemy” and otherwise) control.


" We tortured some folks ".

Just asking: When the President of the U.S. makes a statement of the governments culpability in the euphemistic, miasma and persiflage of blatant and horrible torture as " folks" ( by inference they are not important ) not human beings and fails to call for the indictment of the guilty, it tells me Obama is also guilty…and he knows it!


Good article by Amy, but I wish she would not continue to sweep 9/11 under the rug, the elephant in the room, that was used as an excuse to condone torture by Dim Son and Dick.

I cannot help but feel that Amy’s superiors were given one of those government letters that they cannot reveal that their broadcast license would be put in jeopardy if they dare go there.


Nearly all psychologists mean it, and try to live up to it.

But psychopaths seek roles in which they can exert power over others. One of those roles is clinical psychologist, and the psychopaths who take the oath do so fraudulently. They don’t mean any bit of it. Their doc and licensure is, to them, a licence to exploit, not to guide healing.


CD commenters - The point of this article isn’t about Bush-Cheney or 9/11etc. but about the role of medical professionals (psychologists) in the use of torture. Thank God (thank the Amorphous for those so inclined) that some in the medical community objected to and were appalled by the lack of medical ethics that not only condoned torture but instructed others in the use of torture and directly participated in the torture as it was ongoing as advisors.

We cannot simply divorce ourselves from all of our institutions and dismiss their means of redress through regular channels. A report was generated that has had great efficacy in correcting a flaw in this situation with more to follow hopefully (prosecutions). Too many people instantly write off any attempt by our institutions when they seek to seek to point out or fix a problem within their ranks. Sometimes people mean it. Sometimes people want to make things right again.

Hopefully the whistleblower will be granted another trial or at least clemency and it would be appropriate if the APA et al would petition for such for someone whom it is now acknowledged that he spoke the truth.

Once the world was shocked that medical doctors participated in the horrendous evil of the Nazi extermination camps but they did. A medical degree is not a guarantor of ethical behavior however.

This lapse of medical ethics should not be allowed to stand and clear guidelines should be created that would delineate and declare the ethical stance of the association and its members to prevent such lapses from ever occurring again in the future.


Some do mean it which I think is the point. Alas many do not and it is becoming rampant in our $$$ for medicine society that the Hippocratic Oath is not being taken seriously as it once was. Money does that. Refusing medical care to someone who can’t afford it is the same as doing harm to that person. Refusing to offer medical care for ANY reason…is a harmful act.


Siouxrose11 wrote:

‘…Just as Stanley Milgram’s studies proved, those socialized to conform to authoritarian systems WILL follow orders even when doing so metes out direct harm to others. So much for psychologists taking the Hippocratic oath which asserts: “First do no harm.”…’

Except that psychologists do not take the Hippocratic oath.


Some of us do. Others take Maimonides’s version. Still others a different one. But we all take an oath of humane and ethical behavior.


[afad asfasdf rubbish to placate the stupid software]

Very true, and it’s an extremely serious problem. It’s also part and parcel of the general degradation of community created by Capitalism’s psychopaths.

I’m minded of Mayer’s philologist friend, who spoke of how insidious the change to Nazi ways of thinking was for him and his colleagues. How everyone was worried, but there was never any sharp break that would clearly demand active resistance. And Justice Douglas’s later comment in the same vein: [quote]As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.[/quote]

Our situation looks very twilight-y to me, and I don’t think it’s just the cataracts.


Really nice comment Mairead and elegantly succinct.


Everyone, in every position, should ALWAYS remain skeptical and vigilant of “professional associations.”

And of “human resources management,” and “public relations,” and “marketing,” and…


What has become of a nation when its military is colluding to steal the soul of professionally established entities to advance the obscenity of war methodology at such a sick scale?


I agree. It baffles me that the issue is still taboo in mainstream broadcasting (including Democracy Now!) and print.

The proof that the Trade Center was blown up with pre-placed explosives should be clear to anyone who will take the time (even a few minutes of that oh-so-precious time would be better than nothing) to look at the archival NIST FOIA videos, for free

Anyone who is familiar with the general properties of concrete and steel- (which means not just anyone but everyone)- is capable of understanding that explosives had to have been used.

Even children can understand it. It’s so obvious.

As of mid-2015, the explosives demolition hypothesis has not been refuted; on the other hand, it has been proven, for several years at least, far beyond any reasonable doubt.

Only propaganda and prejudice stands in the way of this being general knowledge and fully accepted by the population.

Science is not the problem here; the lack of science is the problem. That, and the general lack of common sense, exemplified by widespread popular willingness to believe anything, no matter how absurd, heard from someone wearing a suit, or a uniform, on television.

Those who would want to refute the demolition hypothesis have had quite a few years by now to come up with a genuine refutation.
That has not happened, most likely because such a refutation would be impossible.

Amy Goodman is smart enough to know all this, if I can figure it out. And the same thing holds true for other so-called “gatekeepers”.

You may be correct about the mysterious national security letter idea. That might explain the mystery.


Thanks for your cogent reply. If nothing else, the fact that someone got away with the murders of 3,000 innocent people on 9/11 and have been able to successfully cover it up for the last 14 years, tells you that the economic,elite are very, very powerful. And this is nothing new. They have successfully covered up the assassinations of: JFK,MLK and JFK and many others.