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Calls Grow Within American Psychological Association for Ban on Participation in Military Interrogations: A Debate

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Should doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists participate in military interrogations? Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American Medical Association have adopted policies discouraging their members from being involved. But their counterpart, the American Psychological Association has not. We host a debate with APA president Dr. Gerald Koocher, Dr. Steven Reisner, an APA member who is calling on the group to take a stand against the practice and Dr. Stephen Xenakis, a psychiatrist who is a retired Brigadier General in the Army Medical Corps. [includes rush transcript]

Should doctors, psychiatrists and psychologists participate in military interrogations? That question has become a hot-button topic within the medical community in the United States.

After 9/11, the Pentagon began using so-called behavioral science consultants, or "biscuit" teams to help interrogators obtain information from prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.

These teams reportedly advised the military on how to "break" detainees to make them more cooperative. The techniques they devised included sleep deprivation and playing on prisoners" fears to extract information.

Investigative journalist Jane Mayer of the New Yorker was one of the first to break this story. We interviewed her last year and she spoke about the interrogation methods used at Guantanamo Bay.

  • Jane Mayer, New Yorker magazine, interviewed interviewed on Democracy Now!, July 11, 2005.

Last week, The New York Times reported that the Pentagon would try to use only psychologists, and not psychiatrists, to help in interrogations. Why? Because the American Psychiatric Association recently adopted a new policy discouraging its members from participating in military interrogations. As did the American Medical Association. But their counterpart, the American Psychological Association has not.

The assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Dr. William Winkenwerder, told the Times that the new policy favoring the use of psychologists over psychiatrists was a recognition of the differing positions taken by their respective groups.

Today we host a debate on this issue.

  • Dr. Gerald Koocher, president of the American Psychological Association. He is dean of the School for Health Studies at Simmons College in Boston.
  • Dr. Steven Reisner, a psychoanalyst and a member of Division 39 of the American Psychological Association–the psychoanalysis division. He is a faculty member at NYU Medical School and at the International Trauma Studies Program at Columbia University.
    - See * petition* against psychologists’ participation in interrogation of 'enemy combatants'.
  • Dr. Stephen Xenakis, advisor to Physicians for Human Rights. He is a psychiatrist who retired from the Army in 1998 at the rank of Brigadier General. He is the former Commanding General of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to bring Dr. Gerald Koocher first into this conversation, president of the American Psychological Association. Can you tell us what the stance of the A.P.A. is?

GERALD KOOCHER: Amazing this week that when the American Medical Association took their stand on this issue, they took a position that’s nearly identical to the A.P.A.'s position on this topic. A careful reading of the A.M.A.'s statement makes it clear that physicians, just like psychologists, may consult to interrogations that do not cause physical or mental harm to a detainee. Both associations also have explicitly based their position on two dual ethical obligations, the first being to the individual who is being questioned and the second to the public. So if you put the associations’ positions side by side, several passages appear to be interchangeable. I should also note that A.P.A. has taken a very strong stance against the use of torture, inhumane, and degrading treatment, and if anyone is able to identify A.P.A. members who have been involved in such activities, we will take disciplinary action.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Steven Reisner, you’ve expressed concern about the A.P.A.’s position?

STEVEN REISNER: Yes, well there are a number of steps. Dr. Koocher made a few statements that I think could be — we could be more specific about. First of all, I have the A.M.A.'s policy in front of me, and the A.M.A. — it states "the A.M.A. policy permits physicians to develop general interrogation strategies that are not coercive, but are humane and respect the rights of individuals." Dr. Koocher, I just want to get clear. Are you saying the American Psychological Association's position is exactly the same?

GERALD KOOCHER: I’m saying that you could put them side by side and much of them are interchangeable. Yes.

STEVEN REISNER: What about, specifically, the word "coercive"?

GERALD KOOCHER: That’s a very interesting concept. There are a number of — and I can understand why this would be confusing to a psychoanalyst, because psychoanalysis is essentially a human service, health service delivery. You’re providing psychotherapy to people. However, there are many other behavioral scientists who engage in types of interrogation that might be deemed coercive. I can give you at least three categories.

For example, mental health professionals who do evaluations for the legal system, who assess competency to stand trial, who do criminal responsibility in insanity cases, who do child custody assessments, who give recommendations to attorneys on how to select jurors or to cross-examine witnesses. In addition, we have physicians and psychologists who do independent medical evaluations for people who are claiming disability or seeking life insurance, and we also do employment screenings, when we’re screening for police officers, for diplomats, for nuclear plant operators, for people in sensitive positions. These individuals may not want to answer questions, and the psychologists in those situations are functioning on behalf of a public interest to applied behavioral science. So there are many, many circumstances that might be deemed to have coercive elements, but that do not involve torture, that do not involve degradation, or do not involve any effort to harm a client.

STEVEN REISNER: Well, it seems to me, first that the use of the word "coercive" does establish an antagonistic relationship between the psychologist or the healer or the one hired for his mental health expertise, and the one that’s being interviewed. But let’s set aside, for the moment, the other venues where this might take place and focus on the issue of Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, where psychologists are — are being put in a position — or in fact taking a position that their role is to facilitate gathering information against the will of the detainee, facilitate their knowledge of certain pressures that can be brought to bear on those detainees, using psychology basically as an instrument of the military to further military aims.

That puts a higher ethical value on the military aims and a lower ethical value on respecting human life and on healing. You’re right. I am a psychoanalyst. I do emphasize the richness of the human experience and an understanding of the context of those experiences, and if we take the context of a psychologist on a Biscuit team training interrogators to get the most information from detainees in an environment where those detainees psychology is being threatened as part of the process, the plan — the aim is to deteriorate their psychological state, then psychologists, as far as I’m concerned, are participating in a grandly unethical program.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Gerald Koocher, your response?

GERALD KOOCHER: Well, I didn’t hear — was there a question? I heard an editorial statement?

AMY GOODMAN: He’s not asking a question. But just his overall statement feeling that what’s happening at Guantanamo Bay is — the overall context — is that it is coercive and to participate in that is to participate in coercion.

GERALD KOOCHER: Well, we don’t, as a professional association, tell our members that they can’t work for a given employer. Obviously there are some people who don’t think that psychologists should assist in the military at all. That’s a political preference and a social statement, but there are many very beneficial things that psychologists have done in the military. One example is that the lead officer sent in to help clean up Guantanamo Bay was a psychologist, a U.S. Army Colonel, who was sent in to help to clean up the abuses as soon as they were reported. There’s another A.P.A. member, a civilian employee at the Navy who was sent to Guantanamo and was one of the first people to file complaints with his superiors about things that he observed down there, and he reportedly brought about some changes.

I wish I had the assurance that Jane Mayer and that Dr. Reisner apparently have that there are A.P.A. members doing bad things at Guantanamo or elsewhere, because any time I have asked these journalists or other people who are making these assertions for names so that A.P.A. could investigate its members who might be allegedly involved in them, no names have ever been forthcoming.

AMY GOODMAN: Let me bring Dr. Stephen Xenakis into this conversation, who is a psychiatrist who retired from the Army in 1998, rank of Brigadier General, former commanding general of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command. Your response?

STEPHEN XENAKIS: Well, good morning. Thanks for inviting me. I want to lay it out in this way. First we — all military officers have this responsibility and have pledged to do the best job possible in the interest of our national security, and what that means is that with regards to interrogation, that we want to have the best procedures possible to get the best intelligence possible, and we want to support our interrogators, military intelligence officers in their mission in the best way that we can. But I think that we also have to recognize that when it comes to the day to day operations, there is a sense of a, quote, "fog of war."

There’s a great deal of tension and confusion, and certainly many of the people on the front lines feel a lot of stress. And what that means is that when we have different specialists and different officers who work in different areas, it becomes much better for them to understand very clearly what are the rules in which they work, and to very often have bright lines between intelligence operators and infantry men and in this case, what we’re going to be talking about are health care providers.

I have supported, and the Physicians for Human Rights have supported, and our endorsements to the standards from the American Psychiatric Association, and to the American Medical Association that there be a bright line between health care providers and others who are involved in interrogation or the detention of these individuals, and I feel strongly that health care providers, that is people whose job is to provide the best services possible for the health and well being of individuals should not be involved in interrogation, that there is so much contradiction for them, so much tension between what is inherently a coercive process and may be harmful, and what they have pledged themselves to, that is doing no harm, and acting on the benefit in the best interests of their patients, that they should not be directly engaged at all.

GERALD KOOCHER: I’m in full agreement with you, Dr. Xenakis. That’s exactly the position that A.P.A. has taken, and furthermore, one of the very important roles that some of these behavioral scientist consultants have been able to assist in, at least some that I have talked to, is preventing what you called the "fog of war" phenomenon. Psychologists tend to call it behavioral drift. When you have someone who’s assigned a certain mission but because of the context begins to drift away in ways that are inappropriate.

One particular thing I would be interested in your reaction to is the American Psychiatric Association position. It was fascinating to me at their annual meeting, that while they discourage participation in military interrogations, Steve Sharstein, the then A.P.A. — little A.P.A. as we refer to them because they’re smaller than the psychological group in size — when the statement was released, Steve Sharstein stated the very same day, while stating the position that they would not discipline a military psychiatrist who does participate in an interrogation. So they’re saying, "Don’t do it, but if you do it, we won’t discipline you." I wonder if you have any reaction to that.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Stephen Xenakis?

STEPHEN XENAKIS: I don’t. I mean, in a way that I could really, informed, discuss what that may have been. I think the implications between the Department of Defense and the American Psychiatric Association, or the A.M.A., I mean, how it’s carried out in the guidelines. What I have really felt strongly about is that the language needs to be as specific as possibly can. That when — if there are loopholes or areas where they’re wide open interpretation, then in fact they can be misinterpreted and people may be, in fact, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses may be coerced by combatant leaders to do what they feel is ethically against their principles. So I think we need, as professionals, to be clear as possible.

The other — I would like to perhaps make two more points. And one is that within the military career as a military intelligence officer or an infantryman may seek to get a doctorate or graduate education in a field like the behavioral science field, because it is part of their professional development. I think that’s a very good endeavor for them, and I would like to see that our interrogators have had the best training possible and are prepared to really understand the mind of the quote/unquote "enemy" here, or the subject that they’re interrogating, because that is much of what national security or warfare is about and requires. But they’re acting as interrogators. They wear — in the army, they wear the insignia of a military intelligence officer or they wear the insignia of a military police officer. They’re not in the army medical department. They’re not health care providers. Now the question is for the American Psychological Association, if they’re members of the American Psychological Association, yet they’re a Military Intelligence officer, what is the guidance to them?

GERALD KOOCHER: That’s an excellent point, and our guidance to them is very clear: Those psychologists involved in human service delivery and health care delivery and tending to the emotional needs of people who are incarcerated or detained may not exchange information with or in any way participate in interrogation. They’re health care providers. The people, as I understand it, who provide consultation to interrogators, are not in any way involved in health care and do not have access to any of the health or mental health records of the detainees. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

STEPHEN XENAKIS: Well, I’ve — You know, in looking at the guidance from the office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health, that is not clear. It’s not specific about who are these psychologists, in fact, consulting and it seems as if they could be people in the medical departments of the Army, Air Force, Navy, who in other situations, really are health care providers, and I think that’s where we really could be causing problems here.

Because there is another way of looking at Guantanamo, and particularly in view of these recent suicides, the history of suicide attempts and the hunger strikes, it is in our best interest, in the interest of our national security, to improve the health and well-being of these detainees. Every time they go on hunger strike, or there’s a suicide gesture, and certainly these successful suicides, potentially Americans are put in danger. Because that generates such emotion across the world that they — that our Americans are in — could suffer from reprisals.

Now — and I speak to that because there is a fairly prominent group of retired generals and admirals last winter who endorsed the McCain amendment and sent a letter directly to President Bush in support of the amendment and criticizing any appearance of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, because of the effect on soldiers serving on the ground in the war zone. And we should be acting in the medical departments in the interest of our national security in all of the ways that we can to improve the health and well-being of these people. Because it will have greater impact across the world as — as we are — in our image across the world.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Stephen Xenakis, we have to break and we’ll come back to this discussion. Brigadier General, retired. Dr. Steven Reisner with us, who is with the American Psychological Association, and the president of the A.P.A., Dr. Gerald Koocher. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: As we talk about the role of psychologists, psychiatrists, and overall medical doctors in interrogation. Earlier this year, we spoke with University of Wisconsin history professor, Alfred McCoy, the author of the book A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror. He spoke about the interrogation methods developed in Guantanamo Bay after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appointed General Jeffrey Miller to run the prison camp.

ALFRED MCCOY: And under General Miller at Guantanamo, they perfected the C.I.A. torture paradigm. They added two key techniques. They went beyond the universal sensory receptors of the original research. They added to it an attack on cultural sensitivity, particularly Arab male sensitivity to issues of gender and sexual identity.

And then they went further still. Under General Miller, they created these things called "Biscuit" teams, behavioral science consultation teams, and they actually had qualified military psychologists participating in the ongoing interrogation, and these psychologists would identify individual phobias, like fear of dark or attachment to mother, and by the time we’re done, by 2003, under General Miller, Guantanamo had perfected the C.I.A. paradigm, and it had a three-fold total assault on the human psyche: sensory receptors, self-inflicted pain, cultural sensitivity, and individual fears and phobia.

AMY GOODMAN: Professor McCoy, author of the new book called A Question of Torture. Dr. Gerald Koocher, you’re president of the A.P.A., the American Psychological Association. Your response?

GERALD KOOCHER: It’s interesting. I wonder who these people were that were involved. I wonder if, like Dr. Xenakis talked about, whether they were, in fact, government specialists who had gone back and gotten psychological background. I was fascinated, because Dr. Xenakis actually sounded like a psychologist when he was giving his comments. I would agree with virtually all of what he said. As he may know, the A.P.A. supported and lobbied in favor of the McCain amendment.

And some of the advice that he gave is also the type of advice that psychologists would be involved in giving — talking about the consequences of engaging in some behaviors and just to the point, people who torture other people may get answers from them, but they may get inaccurate intelligence because the person simply wants it to stop. And will say anything they have to say, even if they don’t know it to be the truth, or even if it’s made up. So there are lots of ways that psychologists could provide advice that would have nothing to do with emotional pain or degradation.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Gerald Koocher, are you concerned about the Pentagon’s new position, that they’ll try to use only psychologists, not psychiatrists, to help interrogators devise strategies to get information at places like Guantanamo Bay, because of the overwhelming vote of the American Psychiatric Association discouraging its members from participating in those efforts?

GERALD KOOCHER: No. I’m really not concerned about it for two reasons. One reason is that we have a very tightly written ethical code of conduct and that we are going to enforce it on our members if we discover that there are members who have been involved in torture or inhumane or degrading treatment. The other reason I’m frankly not surprised is because psychiatric training is so different from the training of a psychologist. Psychiatrists train in hospitals and in medical school to deliver health care services. Psychologists — some of us are trained as health care providers. Others of us are trained as behavioral science researchers. Some of the behavioral science knowledge of a social, cultural personality, experiment psychopathology methods, might be of use and this might be provided by people — and this gets back to Dr. Xenakis’ point — who are not in the medical corps, who are not providing health services, who have no direct health service connection to anyone who may be asked questions by the military.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Gerald Koocher, I want to turn back to Dr. Steven Reisner. There is a growing movement within the American Psychological Association. Some people are saying they’re going to withdraw, others are saying they’re going to withhold dues. What are you calling for now with the annual meeting coming up?

STEVEN REISNER: Well, there is, I think, a growing embarrassment among psychologists, among members of the American Psychological Association, that the American Psychological Association is unique among the organized health care providers in the United States in permitting participation in counseling interrogators at Guantanamo Bay. The idea that one can ethically aid in what is essentially an unethical practice — that’s a play on words that I find and I think that many of my colleagues find an embarrassment, and something that reflects very badly on the profession of psychologists as a whole.

So what we’re doing at the moment — and this is a kind of grassroots movement. It’s developed because many people felt the way I did. I wrote a letter to Dr. Koocher, and then others wrote letters to Dr. Koocher, and listserves popped up and now a petition on-line to make a statement that you can’t behave ethically in an environment that supports something that is unethical, akin to torture. So that the environment of Guantanamo, in its essence, is a manipulation of the psychology of the detainees for military purposes, and that for a psychologist to facilitate that raises huge ethical questions.

So what we would like to see is a referendum among the psychologists in the American Psychological Association to get a sense — because I think that Dr. Koocher’s position is actually a minority position once we got the facts out there. We would like to see a specific policy statement by the American Psychological Association which takes into account the ethical problems in participating in a center where detainees are kept, sometimes some of them minors, without charge, without contact, without a future in a — in a system that deteriorates them psychologically. How can we, as psychologists say we’re going to ethically oversee how to deteriorate people’s psychological state? It’s a contradiction. It’s an oxymoron.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re having this discussion a few days after three prisoners at Guantanamo committed suicide. The first three to successfully commit suicide. Many have attempted it before. Many have been on hunger strike. It’s also after — about a week after the Danish prime minister was meeting with President Bush and said he wanted Guantanamo closed. Many European countries, the attorney general of Britain says he wants the closure of Guantanamo — that they see it as inhumane and cruel. You have the well known Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, who was the one who brought the indictment against Augusto Pinochet of Chile, calling for Guantanamo to be closed. Even Condoleezza Rice said that there’s nothing more that we want than to close Guantanamo. Dr. Gerald Koocher, what would it take for you to say there should be a ban on participation in what’s happening at Guantanamo?

GERALD KOOCHER: Well, there’s three questions embedded in there. The first question —- I have to make it clear that neither I nor A.P.A. want to be an apologist for the Bush administration’s policies. None of us endorse what is happening on Guantanamo as a phenomenon. I do want to make a sharp rebuttal of the comment alleged by Dr. Reisner that A.P.A. is unique. He hasn’t carefully read the A.M.A. statement and he hasn’t carefully read the American Psychiatric statement. The A.M.A. does describe a role for physicians in interrogation. The American Psychiatric Association’s statement discourages it, but then says they won’t prosecute people who participate. And furthermore, when they go on and list the things that psychiatrists shouldn’t do, they notoriously leave out any mention of medication. Of course, psychologists can’t prescribe medication, and there have been accounts in some of the press that some of these individuals at Guantanamo have been drugged. But to get back to your fundamental question -—

AMY GOODMAN: But Dr. Gerald Koocher, just before you answer that fundamental question — the statements have been strong enough from the A.M.A. and the A.P.A. that the military has said they’ll turn to psychologists which have a different — the American Psychological Association has a different enough position on this that they know they can use psychologists, where they can’t use psychiatrists. And in the past, they had turned to psychiatrists.

GERALD KOOCHER: Yeah, and — you know, they don’t say they’re going use the psychiatrists they currently have down there and they don’t say they’re not going to use physicians. They just say they’re going to make more use of behavioral scientists. You would have to ask the Pentagon about their statements. I have no knowledge of what their plan is and obviously, it’s a professional association, we don’t coordinate any activity with the military.

AMY GOODMAN: Your overall response to the point then?

GERALD KOOCHER: To which point?

AMY GOODMAN: To the earlier point. What would it take to say that psychologists should not participate at Guantanamo, given the international reaction to the idea that whatever an individual does within, that it’s an overall coercive environment?

GERALD KOOCHER: Well. There’s two pieces. First of all, we have psychologists at Guantanamo who are delivering mental health services. And I don’t want them to stop doing that. We have psychologists at Guantanamo who are intervening to try to be sure that there’s no behavioral drift and abuse on the part of the people who are confining these prisoners and who are taking care of them. And dealing with the behavioral drift, the fog of war that Dr. Xenakis spoke of. I don’t want to tell them to stop working. And simply telling the psychologist "you shouldn’t participate in any interrogation in Guantanamo" has very little to do with the horrible conditions that some of those people are maintained in, and also doesn’t say anything about the detainees that are being held in Afghanistan, or Iraq, or other places. So if you would like me to say, "wow, I would like to have Guantanamo closed," I’m right there with you. But I’m not going to say, as a representative of my association, that our colleagues who are experts in behavioral science should stop trying to be productive in preventing harm to the public by —

AMY GOODMAN: Would you call — would you support or introduce an amendment then in the American Psychological Association of a proposal to close Guantanamo?

GERALD KOOCHER: Well, we —- we supported the McCain amendment and -—

AMY GOODMAN: That’s not about closing Guantanamo.

GERALD KOOCHER: If someone would — I’m the president. As president, I chair the governing board. So I would have to remain — not state my personal preferences. However, if such a resolution were introduced in our governance structure, it would be fully debated and the group would vote on it.

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Steven Reisner.

STEVEN REISNER: It seems to me that — as you said, Dr. Koocher, that Guantanamo has been condemned roundly by world bodies, by human rights bodies, that we would all like to see Guantanamo closed. It seems to me that we need to amend the ethics code to explicitly state that in environments where torture or interrogations are being carried out that have been — that are in contravention of international law and human rights, that in those environments, psychologists have no place facilitating those interrogations. It’s very, very simple. In concentration camps, in detainee centers, in prisons for, you know, for immigrants. There — it seems to me that we can make a case that there are environments where it is not possible to facilitate an interrogation ethically. And we need to amend the ethics code and we need to make a statement as a body. And I would suggest that we bring this to the membership.

AMY GOODMAN: Are you going to be doing that, Dr. Reisner?

STEVEN REISNER: We’re doing that it in the form of a petition. That’s how we’re beginning. The petition is on-line as we speak.

AMY GOODMAN: Where?

STEVEN REISNER: Let me find the —

AMY GOODMAN: Let me go to Dr. Stephen Xenakis in Washington, D.C., as you listen to this. What do you see as the main difference between the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association’s stance, and the positions of the organizations you’re a part of — the A.M.A., the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, and what are you calling on the American Psychological Association to do?

STEPHEN XENAKIS: I would like to see the American Psychological Association affirm the intent of the American Psychiatric, the American Medical Association, and the recommendations of the World Medical Association, is that health care providers will not in any way participate or be involved in the direct interrogation of any detainees.

GERALD KOOCHER: I can affirm that for you right now. That’s our position.

STEPHEN XENAKIS: Now, the issue that we’re facing is also health care providers’ responsibility in consultation to the combatant commanders or those people responsible for the detention facility.

GERALD KOOCHER: I can confirm that too. Health care providers, psychologists are not allowed to participate in detention or even communicate to those who are doing the interrogation. That’s clear in our statement.

STEPHEN XENAKIS: If it is that — it seems to me that within the community of psychologists, as I listen to the discussion between Dr. Reisner and Dr. Koocher, there is a question of those people who call themselves psychologists and may not be health care providers — what is their responsibility and what are the ethical guidelines to which they must conform? And I think that in this particular case, it would be also helpful for the American Psychological Association to come out and make a statement about the effectiveness, appropriateness, and the ethical acceptability of the kind of interrogation techniques that Professor McCoy discussed. I mean, at the heart of it is, are these good ideas? Do they give us good intelligence? Should any American, in fact, be practicing such interrogation even if they think it’s in the interest of our national security?

AMY GOODMAN: Dr. Steven Reisner?

STEVEN REISNER: Yes, I think that would be a perfect use for behavioral scientists, such as psychologists, to raise the ethical standards to a very high level, of how interrogations might be done, about how they must not be done. Because so far in Guantanamo, the opposite has been the case. Psychologists have been consulted for the — what are the buttons, what are the hot buttons, what are the vulnerabilities of the detainees. And they were required, the interrogators were required until last year to consult Biscuit team members, who were predominantly members of — predominantly psychologists. And I would like to give you the web site for the petition to change the A.P.A. — the A.P.A.’s policy. And that is www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/483607021.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll link to that and also we will link to the American Psychological Association’s website. Dr. Gerald Koocher, do you see a change coming out of this annual meeting on the issue of Guantanamo, on the issue of psychologists participating in interrogations.

GERALD KOOCHER: If our members raise issues to the governing council they’ll be fully debated and it’s always difficult to predict what will happen. But folks want to see a very specific proposal, some generic proposals — to illustrate the point, a group of people have been saying the A.P.A. should investigate what’s happening. We have no subpoena powers, we have no ability to go onto a military base. We can only investigate our own members and we can only do that when people make a specific complaint.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll have to leave it there. Dr. Gerald Koocher, president of the American Psychological Association, psychologist Dr. Steven Reisner, and Dr. Stephen Xenakis, Brigadier General, advisor to the Physicians for Human Rights.

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