Steven Reisner is running for president of the American Psychological Association. He has been a central figure in the fight to break APA from their position that psychologists assist with national security interrogations, such as their work with the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams or BSCTs at Guantanamo and elsewhere. This collaboration by psychologists has not led to a lessening of brutality and psychological torture of detainees, but in fact has been implicated in its design and implementation.
Dr. Reisner’s campaign, as his election statement emphasizes, calls for “a clear departure from the complicity of psychologists in state-sponsored abuses of human rights, whether these take place at Guantánamo, CIA black sites, or domestic supermax prisons.”
I resigned from APA myself last month, in protest of the tight relationship that has grown between the APA ruling apparatus and the various governmental entities that define the national security state. The use of torture is only one of the ways psychologists have been utilized to promote the effectiveness of the U.S. war machine. While I came to the conclusion that APA cannot be reformed at this point, there is the possibility, of course, that I’m wrong. And if it turns out I am mistaken, it will be because the membership of APA will have chosen leaders like Dr. Reisner for their elected offices. If I were still in APA, I definitely would have cast my vote for Steven, and I recommend that any APA members reading this do the same.