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This AP report says the American Psychological Association voted down a measure that would have prohibited members from assisting "interrogators." Intead the group voted for a resolution restricting the manner in which members participated in interrogations.

US Psychologists Scrap Interrogation Ban

Date Published:

Aug 20, 2007 03:00 AM

Author: Sudhin Thanawala

Source: The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The nation's largest group of psychologists scrapped a measure Sunday that would have prohibited members from assisting interrogators at Guantanamo Bay and other U.S. military detention centers.

The American Psychological Association's policy-making council voted against a proposal to ban psychologists from taking part in any interrogations at U.S. military prisons "in which detainees are deprived of adequate protection of their human rights."

Instead, the group approved a resolution that reaffirmed the association's opposition to torture and restricted members from taking part in interrogations that involved any of more than a dozen specific practices, including sleep deprivation and forced nakedness. Violators could be expelled and lose their state licenses to practice.

Critics of the proposed ban who spoke before the vote at the 148,000-member organization's annual meeting said the presence of psychologists would help insure interrogators did not abuse prisoners.

"If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to die," said Army Col. Larry James, who serves as a psychologist at Guantanamo Bay.

Supporters argued that psychologists should not be working at detention centers where prisoners are detained indefinitely without being charged.

"If psychologists have to be there so detainees don't get killed, those conditions are so horrendous that the only moral and ethical thing is to leave," said Laurie Wagner, a psychologist from Dallas.

The association's vote follows reports that mental health specialists were involved in prisoner abuse scandals at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.



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Lauren Tenney, psychiatric survivor activist from New York State

First involuntarily institutionalized, at 15, Lauren Tenney is a survivor of psychiatry. She has been involved with the user and survivor movement since 1992. Her goal is to help stop forced psychiatric procedures, detainment, and confinement, human rights violations, psychiatric abuse and torture. Of particular concern are the elimination of forced electroconvulsive treatment (ECT) on people of all ages, but particularly children and senior citizens, forced drugging, restraints, seclusion, behavioral interventions, and coercion of any kind. Lauren, a Mad-Activist/ Artist/ Author/ Academic/ Adjunct Professor is coordinating The Opal Project, an outcome of participatory action research she coordinated for field research in the PhD program in Environmental Psychology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. Her dissertation topic is: "The Institutionalized "Community." She became involved with WE THE PEOPLE when the Law Project for Psychiatric Rights and MindFreedom International needed someone on the ground in Brooklyn, New York to coordinate a response where Esmin Green was murdered-by-neglect. She now lives in Albany, NY with her service dog-in-training and cat. For more info: www.TheOpalProject.org and www.etrash.tv
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