[Ppnews] Camp 7 and the Torturer's Shrink

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Feb 12 13:13:41 EST 2008


February 12, 2008

Camp 7 and the Torturer's Shrink

The Elephant at Gitmo


"Doctor, my eyes tell me what Is wrong . . .
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?"

Jackson Browne, "Doctor My Eyes"

"I am proud to be a member of the American Psychological Association, 
proud for what APA has stood for in these troubling times, and deeply 
grateful to the Association for supporting me and my colleagues in 
our quest to ensure that all in our custody are treated with human 
decency and respect."

Larry C. James
Colonel, United States Army
23, 2007

"Having custody and control over an individual is an awesome responsibility."

Larry James
Colonel and Psychologist
June 23, 2007

"This is my second tour at Gitmo, Cuba. I was also the first 
psychologist at Abu Ghraib. I'm going to repeat what I said earlier. 
If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are going to 
die. If we remove psychologists from these facilities, people are 
going to get hurt."

Larry James
APA National Convention
August 15, 2007

Sounds good Colonel James. Great sound bytes. Good enough to convince 
thousands of psychologists that you're the real thing, as American as 
Stealth bombers and pre-emptive war. Who would possibly think that 
psychologists in the military would engage in torture after listening 
to you? Good enough that you became the poster child for the American 
Psychological Association as they pulled out all stops in their 
attempts to defeat those few psychologists opposed to torture, 
inhuman conditions and the disappearance of habeas corpus. They 
brought you all the way from Guantanamo for their song and dance 
show. Not even most psychologists, those who are supposed to 
understand human behavior, saw through your charade, as you convinced 
them that their professional association really IS on the side of 
truth and goodness.

The APA used you to introduce a different resolution against torture 
for the second year in a row, in an attempt to deflect the dissenters 
and detractors. APA's use of resolutions as a means to stop torture 
have proven to be simply a sleight of hand to appease the multitudes 
and the media, but actually signifies nothing.

Perhaps you'll repeat history, Colonel James. In 2006, Surgeon 
General Kevin Kiley was used by APA leaders to offer the 2006 
"Resolution on Torture." Remember him? He lost his job a few months 
after presenting THAT resolution, another military officer who was 
willing to overlook the inhumane treatment of people that were 
considered to have no value.

But you blew it this week, Colonel. One might say you fell out of 
role, and the truth became evident. Though you are in charge of the 
team of psychologists that assists interrogators at Guantanamo, when 
the Associated Press reported last week on the just-revealed Camp 7 
at Guantanamo where detainees from CIA secret detention facilities 
are kept, including the detainees who HAVE been water-boarded, 
including Abu Zubaydah who endured water-boarding with two 
psychologists present, you stated you just don't want to know about it.

"I learned a long, long time ago, if I'm going to be successful in 
the intel community, I'm meticulously -- in a very, very dedicated 
way -- going to stay in my lane," he said. "So if I don't have a 
specific need to know about something, I don't want to know about it. 
I don't ask about it."

You, the military psychologist, who spoke so piously of how much you 
cared to protect detainees at Gitmo, who so scrupulously defended 
your character as patriotically humane - didn't you just sell out the 
fate of those detainees for the advancement of your career?

You commanded the Guantanamo Behavioral Science Consultation Teams 
from January 2003 to mid-May 2003, during a time when the 
International Committee of the Red Cross stated that the treatment of 
detainees at Guantanamo amounted to torture.

Under your command and supervision, psychologists from the military's 
Survival, Evasion Resistance, and Escape (SERE) program were 
instructed to apply their expertise in abusive interrogation 
techniques to the interrogations of detainees in Guantanamo, 
according to <http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/dod/abuse.pdf>a report 
from the Office of the Inspector General.

According to the 
Operating Procedure manual at the time that you were the Chief 
Psychologist at Guantanamo, all incoming detainees were to be held in 
isolation for the first 30 days "to enhance and exploit the 
disorientation and disorganization felt by a newly arrived detainee 
in the interrogation process" and were not entitled to the 
protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions.

So while you and the American Psychological Association continue to 
assert that military psychologists are necessary at Guantanamo, Abu 
Ghraib, Bagram and other detention sites - to build rapport, to 
"protect" the detainees, to stop other military personnel from 
harming and killing the detainees - you're telling reporters that the 
secret to your success is to look the other way. What else could it 
mean when you say, "if I'm going to be successful in the intel 
community . . . I'm meticulously . . . going to stay in my lane . . . 
I don't want to know?"

The fact is, for you and our professional organization, it's all 
about keeping your job. You toe the military line for your paycheck. 
And the APA toes the military line to curry the favor of the 
Department of Defense and the current administration for contracts. 
All the rest is window dressing, such as the 
<http://www.apa.org/ethics/followuptores.html>APA's gratuitous letter 
to Attorney General Mukasey this week. The letter is a lobbyist's 
masterpiece, suggesting that waterboarding is legal torture in one 
paragraph and then asking the AG to please hurry up and render a 
legal ruling in the next.

But as you seem not to be motivated by considerations of ethics, 
Colonel James, perhaps the potential for life in prison might have 
more impact. At the Nuremberg Trials, it was held that merely 
following orders will not absolve you from criminal liability. In 
that rare moment of truthiness, you told us that your guilty 
knowledge may pose inconveniences for you: "[I]f I don't have a 
specific need to know about something, I don't want to know about it. 
I don't ask about it."

Before denouncing the above, take time to 
this article. http://www.salon.com/news/abu_ghraib/2006/03/14/introduction/

Dr. Trudy Bond has been a licensed psychologist for 27 years. She can 
be reached at <mailto:ar_mordilo at yahoo.com>ar_mordilo at yahoo.com.

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