The Guardian, in an article of 22nd January,
notes that the The American Psychological Association (APA) has declined to rebuke one of its members, Dr John Leso for his known complicity in the torture of the US kidnapped suspect Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was ” charged” by the Pentagon in 2008 for his suspected involvement in 9/11.
The Guardian notes that “the APA did not deny Leso took part in the brutal interrogation of the suspected 20th 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed al-Qahtani, whose treatment the Pentagon official overseeing his military commission ultimately called “torture”.
The American Psychological Association describes itself as ” the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA is the world’s largest association of psychologists, with more than 134,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students as its members. Our mission is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.”
APA’s communications chief, Rhea Farberman has stated that a seven-year ethics investigation could not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” by Leso, and said it was “utterly unfounded” to fear the organization has condoned professional impunity.
The evidence of John Leso’s complicity in torture is incontrovertible in creating an inhumane environment for Mohammed al-Qahtani to be tortured by his “interrogators”. Dr John Leso therefore both unequivocally breached the APAs code of conduct and the universal medical ethic of “do no harm” .
No labyrinthine legal argument can allow the APA to escape its responsibilities to ensure its members behave in ethical and humane ways to their patients.
The APA has clearly now abrogated that responsibility and most certainly undermined the rights of human beings to the right to be treated humanely by state apparatus, and has consequently eliminated any professional credibility it may have had in the eyes of the global public and clinical professionals around the world.
It would therefore be expeditious for the APA to re-consider its astounding decision to condone torture by its members and to immediately and permanently dis-bar John Leso from its membership. However, this is unlikely to happen.
Since the beginning of the “War on Terror” in the United States, and the various Western countries who have been complicit in the fictional “war on terror”, we have seen increasing use by the state of statements by their “legal experts” to justify war crimes, torture and murder on an ever-expanding scale.
The APA’s excuse that the evidence about Dr Leso’s complicity in torture did not meet the burden of finding “direct unethical conduct” is clearly at odds with the facts. It does however reflect the fear by a supposedly ethical and professional body, of the power of the state to inflict harm on even such a prestigious professional body as the APA .
Weasel words and legal sleight of hand must instead be used by the APA’s legal advisors to justify this cowardice. However when such a professional body, which in their words, exists to “benefit society and improve people’s lives”, abrogates it’s right to instill justice, ethics and fair play out of fear of state retribution , there appears little hope for the foreseeable future of a fair and just society in the United States.