Wednesday, August 22, 2007

APA Finally Bars Torture

On Sunday, the American Psychological Association (APA) ruled that its members could no longer be associated with the torture of individuals listed by the U.S. government as "enemy combatants," under any circumstances.

Many APA members have argued that these methods of interrogation are not only immoral but also counterproductive to obtaining reliable intelligence. "Successful interrogations are almost always about building a relationship with a prisoner, a relationship that is impossible to build when the prisoner is being subjected to stress, humiliation or abuse," said Stephen Behnke, director of the APA's Ethics Office. Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi is an Iraqi Kurd believed to have been one of Osama bin Laden's closest advisers. He has been detained by the CIA since the fall of 2006. The agency has acknowledged that he provided valuable intelligence. Yet, at the time, CIA interrogators were restricted to the methods approved for U.S. Military, which fully comply with International Humanitarian Law. On the other hand, after two weeks of enhanced interrogation, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libbi finally broke down after being subjected to waterboarding. He then confessed to his interrogators that al-Qaida members had access and were trained to use biochemical weapons. The Bush administration used Libbi's confession as a major argument to promote their war on terror. The CIA eventually learned that Libbi had simply fabricated this information to put an end to his suffering. They also established that Libbi never intended to send his interrogators down a false path. Rather, he merely guessed that they would be pleased with such fabrication. "This is the problem with using the waterboard. They get so desperate that they begin telling you what they think you want to hear," a CIA source said. "It is bad interrogation. I mean you can get anyone to confess to anything if the torture is bad enough," said former CIA officer Bob Baer. Read full story

1 comment:

kageki said...

Thank you Professor for writing this article. This is what I was saying to myself about the information derived from torture.

I hope all the right-wingers in the US read this article as they have been justifying Bush's torture policy because it was directed against "terrorists". You know let's be tough and all. Not only was the irony lost on them that they were criticizing Saddam Hussein for the same thing, but here in cold hard logic is that torture DOES NOT provide accurate information.

The revelation that APA board members were from the military was harrowing enough. I'm glad out of all this craziness that there is some sense left in this world and the APA did after all ban torture. I like how you qualify your title with "finally". What a sad world we live in when you have to fight to ban torture and here we are patting ourselves on the back for living in a "modern" world.

Kudos to you Professor. You are quickly becoming my hero.