American Psychological Association Begins Inquiry into Torture Allegations


“The American Psychological Association (APA) last week named a former federal prosecutor to lead an investigation into its role in supporting the U.S. government‚Äôs interrogation of suspected terrorists,” reports ScienceInsider.

ScienceInsider quotes from the book by James Risen which shed light on the APA’s role: “The significance of the Gerwehr files is not in what they say about him or in what he was doing. Rather, it is in what they help reveal about the tight network of behavioral scientists so eager for CIA and Pentagon contracts that they showed few qualms about getting involved with institutions that were using pseudo behavioral science to brutalize prisoners. They help reveal the close relationships between behavioral scientists and the government that made it easier for the CIA and Pentagon to develop such a large detention and interrogation infrastructure so quickly.”

APA names lawyer to examine claims it aided U.S. government in shielding psychologists who tortured prisoners (ScienceInsider, November 17, 2014)


  1. Philip Zimbardos Stanford Prison Experiment was interesting in this regard. He has since gone on to look at the way prisoners were treated in Abu Ghraib and suggested that there is what he terms a “lucifer effect”.

    I know that I observed this effect in two separate hospitals, where the culture of staff is one of ‘prepping’ the suspected mentally ill person for examination by a psychiatrist, in much the same way as the guards in Abu Ghraib ‘prepped’ suspected terrorists for interrogation by the CIA etc.

    It would be possible to create the environment where this could occur, and there is evidence to suggest that this is precisely what was done in Abu Ghraib. Whilst i’m not suggesting that it has been deliberately cultivated in the hospital environment, it certainly lends itself to these types of abuses occurring.

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