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We resign from the APA

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The undersigned have recently resigned or do now resign from the American Psychological Association. After years of struggling to reverse APA policies stemming from their complicity in illegal and inhumane detentions in the “war on terror,” we have concluded that the APA has demonstrated such profound ethical failures that we can no longer, in good conscience, remain affiliated with the organization. These actions, among others, have led us to take this step: • The composition, deliberations, and process of the 2005 APA President’s Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security that constituted a series of violations of APA’s own bylaws. • APA leadership’s failure to fully implement the 2008 Referendum, passed by the membership, barring psychologists from working in settings that violate international laws, such as the Geneva Conventions, even after the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture pointed out that “every day that the APA delays in invoking the Referendum is another day when psychologists are acquiescing in human rights violations.” • APA’s 2002 revision, introduction and defense of Ethical Standard 1.02 (referred to as the Nuremberg defense) that permits psychologists to violate their ethical code if ordered to do so, and its defense of that revision in the face of years of opposition from the membership and the Council of Representatives. • APA leadership’s reluctant agreement to finally consider alternatives to Standard 1.02 only after members’ protests could no longer be ignored. (The code remains in force.) • The failure of the APA’s Ethics Committee to deal with complaints filed against psychologists both for outright acts of torture and for maintaining conditions tantamount to torture. • APA leadership’s failure to give an accounting of contacts between them and James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the psychologists who implemented the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” torture program. Mitchell and/or Jessen were present for at least two conferences jointly organized by the APA and the intelligence community and for at least two meetings with a former APA President where abusive strategies were discussed. In addition, another former APA President was on the board of Mitchell-Jessen Associates. • In 2002 APA substantially weakened protections of research subjects, including removing informed consent requirements when consistent with government or organizational regulations. While there has been some progress on some issues, these gains have been made in the face of concerted opposition from APA leadership. Other cases of ostensible policy change have proven to be window dressing – improving the APA’s reputation while insuring that no substantial change was manifested. We have had to muster the strength needed to move mountains just to move the APA an inch. It is apparent that conflicts of interest between the APA and the military routinely influence the policies in question and undermine the ethical foundations of our profession. The APA has shown itself to be more committed to keeping good relations with powerful interests than it is in serving the interests of its membership. We call for a full, independent investigation of the APA leadership and their policy decisions regarding psychologists and the abuse of psychological knowledge in interrogations and detention in the hopes of restoring the integrity of the organization that is charged with being the official voice of psychologists in the United States. We, the undersigned, will no longer lend legitimacy to the APA by being counted as members. The American Psychological Association has left us and therefore we must resign until the organization is prepared to put principles before power. To the signers: if you have not already done so, when you add your signature to this list, you should also send an individual letter to Norman Anderson, Ph.D. CEO American Psychological Association, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242 , formally resigning from the APA and stating your reason for doing so. Only then is your resignation officially acknowledged by the APA. For more information go to: EthicalAPA.com


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