Tag Archives: torture

CIA Psychologists “Broke the Law”

Guantanamo Bay prisonDuring the debate over how the American Psychological Association should respond to reports of  psychologists participating in the “enhanced” interrogation of terrorism suspects in off-shore prisons, APA officials consistently argued that psycholgoists were there to protect the prisoners, ensuring that the procedures used did not endanger their mental health. Continue reading CIA Psychologists “Broke the Law”

Sensory Deprivation at the BBC

still from Total IsolationThe BBC documentary program “Horizon” has partially replicated the landmark sensory deprivation experiments of the 1950s and 1960s. Interest in these studies has been spurred anew by recent claims that the studies were sponsored by the CIA, who were attempting to develop method of psychologically breaking down prisoners without resorting to physical torture, and that the techniques developed then are being used now in places like Abu Graib and Guantanamo Bay.

According to an article at BBC News/Magazine, six volunteers were shut inside cells in a nuclear bunker for a period of 48 hours. Three were left in total darkness. Three others were given some light, but made to wear translucent goggles and foam padding over their hands and arms. Continue reading Sensory Deprivation at the BBC

Short History of Psychological Torture

Alfred McCoyA lecture by Alfred McCoy about the history of psychological torture by covert services and the military in the US has just been been posted on YouTube. McCoy, a U. Wisconsin professor of history, is the author of the 2006 book A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Terror. He has also authored books on the international heroin trade and on the Australian underworld.

McCoy became significant to historians of psychology when he claimed in A Question of Torture that Donald Hebb’s sensory deprivation research and Stanley Milgram’s obedience research had been funded by the CIA, and that they were part of the CIA’s half-century of effort to develop and apply effective techniques of “no-touch” psychological torture that would evade the prohibitions of the Geneva Conventions Continue reading Short History of Psychological Torture