Target: American Psychological Association
Goal: Change the American Psychological Association’s Code of Conduct to end the practice of psychologists participating in detainee abuse.
A scathing report published on November 4, 2013 accuses the U.S Government of ordering psychologists, as well as doctors, nurses, and other personnel, to disregard their professional ethics codes and aid in detainee abuse. Although President Obama outlawed these atrocious practices in 2009, certain abusive practices have apparently continued. In light of these ongoing offenses, the American Psychological Association (APA) must amend their Code of Conduct to prohibit psychologists from participating in detainee interrogation.
The report, published by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Open Society Foundation, claims that psychologists helped develop and implement military and C.I.A. interrogation techniques. Although the extent of their role has largely been concealed, psychologists have been known to suggest lines of questioning and decide how far to push the detainees.
The ongoing debate within the APA regarding ethical guidelines for interrogations has been unproductive; the organization’s stance remains noncommittal. By remaining silent regarding their ethical position on these issues, the APA is tacitly endorsing these abhorrent practices. The APA needs to be proactive and institute ethical guidelines that represent the sentiments of the American people and their own membership, and that will limit the abuse of detainees.
Please urge the APA to amend their Code of Conduct to prohibit psychologists from participating in detainee interrogation.
Dear American Psychological Association,
As I’m sure you are well aware, the recent report by the Institute on Medicine as a Profession and the Open Society Foundation is highly critical of your stance regarding psychologists’ participation in detainee interrogations. Notwithstanding the potential benefits of psychologists in their role as consultants and supervisors of interrogations, the APA’s current noncommittal approach on this issue is counterproductive. I urge you to amend your Code of Conduct to prohibit psychologists from participating in detainee interrogations.
By remaining noncommittal on this issue, the APA is tacitly endorsing these abhorrent practices. Further, psychologists are currently lacking a strong professional justification with which to refuse participation or argue the demerits of questionable procedures. Psychologists employed by the state have little alternative but resignation when ordered to participate in interrogations and, therefore, may reluctantly be participating in what the military and C.I.A. apparently deem standard protocol. Issuing statements forbidding torture is not sufficient to change military practice or protect psychologists from employer coercion.
Being proactive and instituting ethical guidelines that represents the sentiments of the American people and your own members will limit the abuse of detainees and allow your member psychologists to be ethical leaders rather than followers of antiquated and unethical government practices.
Please take decisive action to amend your Code of Conduct to prohibit psychologists’ participation in detainee interrogations.
[Your Name Here]
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