Who We Are
The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology works to ensure the independence of psychological ethics from government and other vested interests. To this end we combine intensive research with activism. The hallmark of the Coalition is the unmasking of policies that legitimate or provide cover for unethical psychologist involvement in the U.S. security system.
Brookline Workshop Report on Ethics & Operational PsychologyMembers of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology organized and participated in an Ethics of Operational Psychology Workshop in September 2015 at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis in Brookline, MA. Participants included psychologists and other social scientists, health care professionals, ethicists, attorneys, and military and intelligence professionals. The workshop focused on ethical issues posed by the involvement of psychologists in national security settings in support of hostile, deceptive, or manipulative military and intelligence operations. The workshop developed the Brookline Principles on the Ethical Practice of Operational Psychology—-endorsed by a majority of the participants—-as a foundation for moral discourse by the wider community of stakeholders and as an impetus to action. Read the Workshop Report »
Preserve Do-No-Harm: Coalition Urges APA to Reject DoD Appeal
The Coalition has issued a statement responding to a letter from the Department of Defense to the American Psychological Association, in which the DoD calls for the APA to reconsider its new policy prohibiting psychologists’ involvement in national security interrogations. In a point-by-point rebuttal, we urge the APA to reject the DoD’s appeal. Read Our Statement »
Coalition Members Co-Author Report on APA-DoD-CIA Collusion
Two members of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology are lead authors on a new report – All the President’s Psychologists – published by the New York Times. Stephen Soldz, Steven Reisner, and their colleagues review and analyze previously undisclosed emails that document APA collusion with the CIA and White House in the crafting of ethics policies for psychologists, policies that served to support the Bush Administration’s “enhanced” interrogation program. The full report can be read here, and the key findings are available here.
Coalition Responds to APA Press Releases Regarding Risen's Pay Any Price
In his new book Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War, Pulitzer-prize winning reporter James Risen describes apparent collusion between APA leadership and the CIA supporting psychologist involvement in abusive “war on terror” operations. In response to subsequent APA press releases, the Coalition has issued two recent statements. The first poses questions for the APA Board regarding the specifics of Risen’s allegations. The second presents our concerns and recommendations regarding the APA’s announcement authorizing an independent investigation.
Complicity: Psychology and War on Terror Abuses
In light of news about the Senate Intelligence Committee's 6,300-page report on CIA brutality, the Coalition has released a statement examining a distressing and unwelcome truth. U.S. torture programs took root and grew in a climate made more hospitable by the APA leadership’s support of our government’s counter-terrorism strategy despite its bring-it-on, gloves-off, anything-goes tactics. Read Our Statement »
Coalition Responds to APA Leso Decision
In a detailed statement that raises significant questions and deep concerns, the Coalition has responded to the APA's recent decision not to proceed with formal ethics charges against military psychologist Dr. John Leso, despite extensive public documentation that this APA member designed and participated in abusive interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Read Our Statement »
Does Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Work? CSF Research Fails the Test
Two members of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology have written a Working Paper calling upon the Army to retract or publicly correct a recent research report that claims the Army’s $140 million Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) resilience program “works.” Roy Eidelson and Stephen Soldz argue that the study design is flawed and that the results do not justify the researchers’ favorable conclusions. Read the Press Release and Paper »
APA Fails to Repudiate PENS Report
At its annual convention this past summer the APA adopted a “reconciled” policy on the ethics of psychologists’ work in national security settings. Although the PENS Report was officially rescinded along with other resolutions, PENS policies have been incorporated into the new “comprehensive” document, which presumes without justification that it is ethical for psychologists to assist in detention, interrogation, and other counter-terrorism operations. The Coalition issued two statements (here and here) opposing the new policy document because it fails to repudiate the PENS Report, it ignores the need for accountability for APA’s past actions, and it fails to provide clear ethical guidance. After the APA vote, two Coalition members authored a commentary.
Open Letter on Ethical Accountability to APA's President
Two members of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology have written an Open Letter to APA President Suzanne Bennett Johnson. The letter calls for a full review of the APA Ethics Office in regard to its failure to adequately investigate and adjudicate extensively documented allegations that implicate APA psychologists John Leso, Larry James, and Michael Gelles in torture or other forms of prisoner abuse. Read the Letter »
Coalition Responds to Letter from APA Division 42 Board
The Coalition has received a letter from the Board of APA’s Division 42, in which they criticize our efforts to promote accountability and reform within APA and oppose our call for annulment of the PENS Report. We have written a reply, and we hope this exchange of views will be a step toward a long overdue and urgently needed discussion of psychological ethics in national security settings. Read Our Letter »
Coalition Opposes New APA "PENS II" Task Force, Declines Invitation to Consult
In February, the Coalition issued a statement strongly opposing the APA's new “Task Force to Reconcile Policies Related to Psychologists’ Involvement in National Security Settings." Asserting that the PENS Report offers "unique contributions to APA policy,” this "PENS II" group aims to deflect attention away from the urgent need to annul the PENS Report. If successful, PENS II will further enshrine key policies from the PENS Report in a proposed “unified, comprehensive APA policy document” -- even though these policies were adopted through a fundamentally flawed process that has resulted in grievous harm and the tarnishing of our profession. In July, the Coalition issued a follow-up statement highlighting the illegitimacy of the PENS II "task force" and declining their invitation to consult. Read Our February Statement » and Read Our Response to Invitation »
A Call for Annulment of the APA’s PENS Report
The Coalition is spearheading a broad-based effort to annul and delegitimize the American Psychological Association’s deeply flawed 2005 PENS Report. The key conclusion of the Report – despite clear evidence to the contrary – is that psychologists play a critical role in keeping national security detainee interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective.” The PENS Report continues to be used as an authoritative document today, especially in national security contexts. Leading human rights groups and professionals from a range of fields – including psychology, medicine, law, military, and intelligence – have joined together in this annulment effort. Read & Sign the Statement »
10-Year Timeline: Psychologists, Torture, and the APA
The Coalition for an Ethical Psychology has created an interactive online Timeline detailing the roles of psychologists in the torture and unethical treatment of national security detainees over the decade since the 9/11 attacks. The Timeline also constitutes the most comprehensive record of the partnership between the American Psychological Association (APA) and the U.S. national security sector in expanding and legitimizing torture and abuse. See the Timeline »