Opposition is building to intended anti-torture reforms within the largest professional organization of psychologists in the US, which faces a crossroads over what a recent report described as its past support for brutal military and CIA interrogations.
Before the American Psychological Association (APA) meets in Toronto next Thursday for what all expect will be a fraught convention that reckons with an independent review that last month found the APA complicit in torture, former military voices within the profession are urging the organization not to participate in what they describe as a witch hunt.
Reformers consider the pushback to represent entrenched opposition to cleaving the APA from a decade’s worth of professional cooperation with controversial detentions and interrogations. The APA listserv has become a key debating forum, with tempers rising on both sides.
A recent letter from the president of the APA’s military-focused wing warns that proposed ethics changes, likely to be discussed in Toronto, represent pandering to a “politically motivated, anti-government and anti-military stance”. A retired army colonel called David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor whose scathing inquiry described APA “collusion” with US torture, an “executioner”.