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Friday, March 07, 2008

Why Torture Made Me Leave the APA n-Jeffrey S Kaye

After two years of working to reform the position of the American Psychological Association, which supports psychologist participation in the interrogations of detainees at Guantanamo, CIA "black site" prisons, and elsewhere, I realized that I had been pursuing a utopian objective. On January 27th, I penned my resignation to APA. The rationale for my choice is outlined in the resignation letter, which is reproduced here.

--Jeffrey S. Kaye, Ph.D

January 27, 2008

Alan E. Kazdin, Ph.D.,
President, American Psychological Association
750 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002-4232

Dear Dr. Kazdin,

I hereby resign my membership in the American Psychological Association (APA). I have up until now been working with Psychologists for an Ethical APA for an overturn in APA policy on psychologist involvement in national security interrogations, and I greatly respect those who are fighting via a dues boycott to influence APA policy on this matter. I hope to still work with these principled and dedicated professionals, but I cannot do it anymore from a position within APA.

Unlike some others who have left APA, my resignation is not based solely on the stance APA has taken regarding the participation of psychologists in national security interrogations. Rather, I view APA's shifting position on interrogations to spring from a decades-long commitment to serve uncritically the national security apparatus of the United States. Recent publications and both public and closed professional events sponsored by APA have made it clear that this organization is dedicated to serving the national security interests of the American government and military, to the extent of ignoring basic human rights practice and law. The influence of the Pentagon and the CIA in APA activities is overt and pervasive, if often hidden. The revelations over the Constitution and behavior of the 2005 Psychological Ethics and National Security (PENS) panel are a case in point. While charged with investigating the dilemmas for psychologists involved in military interrogations in the light of the scandals surrounding Guantanamo's Camp Delta and Abu Ghraib prison, it was stacked with military and governmental personnel, and closely monitored and pressured by APA staff. [for more click on the heading]


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