Psychologists end collaboration with “national security” interrogations


So, why is Gitmo an exception?

The American Psychological Association…overwhelmingly approved a new ban on any involvement by psychologists in national security interrogations conducted by the United States government, even noncoercive interrogations now conducted by the Obama administration…

The vote followed an emotional debate in which several members said the ban was needed to restore the organization’s reputation after a scathing independent investigation ordered by the association’s board.

That investigation, conducted by David Hoffman, a Chicago lawyer, found that some officers of the association and other prominent psychologists colluded with government officials during the Bush administration to make sure that association policies did not prevent psychologists from involvement in the harsh interrogation programs conducted by the C.I.A. and the Pentagon.

The ban was approved by the association’s council by a vote of 156 to 1. Seven council members abstained, while one was recused…

The final vote was met by a standing ovation by many of the council members, as well as the large crowd of observers, which included anti-torture activists and psychology graduate students who had come to the meeting to support the ban. Some wore T-shirts proclaiming “First, Do No Harm,” a reference to the physicians’ Hippocratic oath.

RTFA for all the gory details. I think it stands as mute testimony for the sentiment solidly rooted in many Americans that war criminals like George W Bush and Dick Cheney should stand trial for their crimes.

Members of the APA have been expelled for their role in torture. I think that body would support their prosecution. I hope so, anyway.

Psychologists are also still assigned at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they oversee “voluntary” interrogations of detainees.

Afghan soldiers signing ceasefire deals with Taliban who — let’s face it — will still be around when Uncle Sugar leaves!


Afghan military already selling heavy weapons to Taliban

Afghan soldiers are selling their weapons and vehicles to the Taliban, sharing intelligence and even signing covert ceasefire agreements with the insurgent group as they prepare for the withdrawal of Nato forces…

Despite Britain and its western allies having spent billions on training and equipping Afghanistan’s security forces, they are freely co-operating with the Taliban and in some cases, ceding territory without a fight or even joining forces with their opponents…

According to the Nato study, Taliban fighters believe they have overcome the American troop surge, that victory and their return to power is “inevitable” and that they can easily subdue President Hamid Karzai’s forces once they take charge of security in 2014.

It also says that after trying by turns to threaten or cajole Pakistan away from its covert support for the Taliban, the Pakistani government remains “intimately involved” with the insurgent group. Taliban prisoners also claim the country’s ISI intelligence agency is “thoroughly aware of Taliban activities and the whereabouts of all senior Taliban personnel”.

In a further setback yesterday, the Afghan Taliban said that no peace negotiation process had been agreed with the international community, “particularly the Americans”. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that prior to any negotiations, confidence building measures must be completed…Har!

A bazaar in Miranshah, capital of North Waziristan in Pakistan’s tribal region, was “increasingly inundated with rifles, pistols and heavy weapons which have been sold by Afghan security forces.”

“The vehicles and weapons were once only acquired on the battlefield. They are now regularly sold or donated by the Afghan security forces,” the report concluded…

Yes, NATO officers, highly-placed Brits, American PR flacks all deny the likelihood of any of these really happening. Of course, all three categories of Blimp have only just progressed from trench warfare to helicopters in the past couple of decades.