Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Today's the 60th Anniversary of the GENEVA Conventions: Read US Military letter to the APA: Drop the Nuremberg Defense from psychologist ethics code

The First Nuremberg Trial: Nuremberg Defendents
Find more photos here

The International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) celebrates the 60th anniversary of 4 Geneva Conventions signed 60 years ago today on August 12, 1949

In keeping with this spirit, please read this letter but first see this revealing brief video: No Place to Hide: Torture, Psychologists and the APA here by Roy Eidelson, Psychologist

Also see the new related items which have just come from Center for Constitutional Rights at CCR Justice dot org

To know the background of this letter Go here

The Military Letter

Capt. Lawrence Rockwood (ret.), the author of Walking Away from Nuremberg: Just War and the Doctrine of Command Responsibility,has organized the following letter from military figures to the American Psychological Association. The Letter expresses dismay by these military people to the inclusion of ethics standard 1.02 — the Nuremberg “just following orders” Defense — in the APA ethics code. [See attorney Scott Horton's comments on 1.02 at his Harpers blog as well as Stephen Soldz' related posts.]

The military letter was sent to President Bray and the members of the APA Council of Representatives:

August 4, 2009

To President James A. Bray and the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association:

We write as concerned, veteran military and intelligence professionals. If the American Psychological Association (APA) retains Section 1.02 in its Ethics Code, the APA will place itself in opposition to some of the best traditions of the American military profession. Section 1.02 of the APA Ethics Code undermines not only the good order and discipline of military and intelligence professionals who happen also to be psychologists, but also their responsibilities under official military doctrine and professional military ethics. This section of the APA code entails an exemption that a psychologist can follow an order from a government employer even if it is otherwise contraindicated by the APA code. This section of the APA code disregards the Nuremberg Principles as recognized in 1950 by UN General Assembly Resolution 177 and incorporated into American military doctrine in the 1956 publication of Field Manual 27-10, The Law of Armed Conflict.

The Nuremberg Principles were drafted in the United States War Department during the last year of the Second World War. Two major themes of the Nuremberg Principles have been incorporated into American military doctrine: (1) commanders and government officials are responsible for the criminal acts of their subordinates, and (2) that a person acts in response to an order from a government or of a superior does not relieve him or her from personal criminal responsibility. In the case of the prosecution for the massacre of unarmed civilians in My Lai in Vietnam in March 1968, a military court categorically ruled out the so-called Nuremberg Defense in a defense of an accused war criminal who claimed an order(s) from superiors sanctioned an otherwise criminal act.

The professional normative standards of the military professional as a whole are binding on psychologists within the military. We therefore ask that the APA remove Section 1.02, or any equivalent statement, in the APA Ethics Code and any other APA policy inconsistent with official military doctrine, professional military ethics, and the standards of international humanitarian law.

Lawrence P. Rockwood, PhD, Former Captain, US Army Counterintelligence
Author: Walking Away from Nuremberg: Just War and the Doctrine of Command Responsibility in the American Military Profession, 2007, Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007.

David C. MacMichael, Ph.D., former senior estimates officer, National Security Council, former captain, USMC

Terrence Karney, Former Staff Sergeant, US Army: Interrogator, and Interrogation Instructor

Peter Weiss, Sergeant, Military Intelligence, 1945, served as interrogator
of high-value German detainee in Nuremberg

Matthew Alexander, former senior interrogator for the U.S. military in Iraq,
Author: How to Break a Terrorist, 2008. New York: Free Press.

David DeBatto, U.S. Army Counterintelligence Special Agent (ret.)

C.B. Scott Jones, Ph.D. Commander, USN Retired. South Asia Naval Intelligence, J-2 U.S. European Command, Scientific and Technical Intelligence Analyst

Virenda Verma, M.Sc., Col., Indian Army Intelligence Retired. Visiting Fellow – Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi. India-Pakistan Soldiers Initiative for Peace, Founder. Tibet Study Group, Founder and General Secretary.

Herbert Ely, Retired from Department of the Army, Senior Intelligence Analyst

Here is a helpful letter which you can also send to AG Eric Holder and edit as you wish:

And here is another URGENT letter suggestion JUST IN from Center for Constitutional Rights:

News reports are now saying the Attorney General is close to appointing a Special Prosecutor, but it doesn't look like good news. Insiders say Eric Holder wants to limit the scope of the prosecutor's investigation to low-level CIA operatives and let those who ordered, designed, and justified the torture program off the hook. Before it's too late, please write Holder today, and tell him not to tie the Prosecutor's hands but to let the investigation go as far up the chain of command as the facts lead.

This is a key opportunity for us to put the Obama administration on the right track, because it is currently in violation of U.S. law: Dick Cheney admitted his role in waterboarding and said he would do it again; the new Attorney General, Eric Holder, said that waterboarding is torture; and the Convention Against Torture, which is U.S. law, requires the administration to initiate a meaningful criminal investigation when torture occurs.

Should Eric Holder limit the scope of the Special Prosecutor's investigation to focus on "just a few bad apples" he would be allowing high level government officials to shield themselves with the very torture memos they created to break the law in the first place. And what about the lawyers like John Yoo, Jay Bybee and David Addington who tried to rig the law to justify their bosses' actions? They must be investigated, too.

President Obama has told us and the world that no one is above the law. Prosecuting the high-level former officials responsible for torture can give a measure of justice to the victims and provide the strongest deterrent against future administrations going down this dark path again. Prosecution will also be a clear signal to countries around the world that the U.S. has drawn the line at torture. No executive order, policy change or new legislation will have that same power.

Stand with CCR in the fight for justice. Tell the Attorney General to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor to hold the entire Torture Team accountable.


(SIGN or write your own)


Vincent Warren
Executive Director

Here is my version to Attorney General - Eric Holder - yet I plan to write another one still which is completely in my own words:

TODAY is the 60th Anniversary of the Geneva Conventions. We are glad to hear reports that you are seriously considering a special prosecutor to independently investigate torture and other abuses. At the same time, we urge that you go ALL the way in implementing the complete investigation s so critical to restoring the reputation of the Justice Department as an independent agency that upholds the rule of law.Such an investigation should not be limited. This effort should be politically independent and allow the facts to determine where the investigation leads. The investigation should not only include those who carried out torture. This investigation need to include those who developed the policy and facilitated it through legal memoranda and other actions.

The Justice Department reputation for independence cannot be restored without a full investigation, including holding DOJ officials responsible for their actions.

Please help restore the United States Constitution fully and our standing in the world community.


Sincerely,Connie L. Nash and 30 or so members of Transylvanians for Peace

Although I am one who seeks to help end all wars peacefully and seek other options for solving differences of which there are many. At the same time, I admire the courage and the distinction these military show in their well-written letter. We need many more leaders who show the same unity and speak out now and ALL of us need to speak out now! This is NO time for silence on such grave matters.


Connie L. Nash said...

For another excellent brief yet longer than the video chronology of concerns regarding the APA's justification of torture, see "Psychologists in Denial" p. 109 in section: SCIENCE UNDER SIEGE of the New York Times Bestselling book: -Standing Up to the Madness- by Amy Goodman and David Goodman
2008 ISBN-13: 978-1-4013-2288-5 Paperback

Also look for more from lawyer Scott Horton (Harper magazine blog) and Stephen Soldz - along with other APA dissenters as the 2009 Annual Convention in Toronto just ended and there may be now or soon a new "installment"...

Connie L. Nash said...

Be sure also to see the blog and Center for Constitutional Rights letters back and forth with the UN on the matter of the APA and war crimes.

Connie L. Nash said...

Remembering Geneva's beginning - readers may also want to check out the following related to lawyers and torture, USA (And by the way Addington has come up as TOP under Cheney as guilty and in desperate need of prosecution.)

Psyche, Science, and Society - Over 100 State Bar Complaints Filed This Week Against Torture Lawyer William Haynes Hundreds More Expected Demanding Accountability From Cal ...

State Bar Complaints Filed Against “Torture Memo” Lawyers. May 18, 2009 VELVETREVOLUTION.US : The DisbarTortureLawyers Campaign ...

YouTube - Kevin Zeese files Bar complaints against Torture

Kevin Zeese (Atty at Law) files Bar complaints against torture lawyers John Rizzo and Jonathan Fredman in DC Court of Appeals.

Tell State Bar: Torture Lawyers Should Not Be Practicing Law - National Lawyers Guild 558 Capp St. San Francisco, CA 94110. Click here for more from our Committee Against Torture. ...

Voices Against Torture: Writers and Lawyers on the Way Forward ...

Lawyers Against the War (LAW) request RCMP to investigate George W

PEN American Center - Voices Against Torture: Writers and Lawyers ...
Voices Against Torture: Writers and Lawyers on the Way Forward. December 16 | Judson Memorial Church | NYC With: Jane Mayer, Anouar Benmalek,

Connie L. Nash said...

Go here to see the interview Andy Worthington did on World Can't Wait Sunday: see the top entry for August 11-12th:

Connie L. Nash said...

Renditions Obama-Style

Connie L. Nash said...

Be sure to go also to the TASSC International for news and reports from Survivors of Torture International. Their latest newsletter on summer activities is just out.

Connie L. Nash said...

This is good news for those who wish to end torture HOMESIDE (US and perhaps a readers' country as well?) as well as US abroad...
Press Release

For More Information Contact: Atty. Standish E. Willis at 312-554-0005.


In May 2009, the Illinois General Assembly passed the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission Bill. On Monday August 10, 2009 Governor Quinn signed the bill into law! This bill creates the Illinois Human Rights Commission, an independent Relief Commission that will conduct inquiries into claims of torture committed by Jon Burge and officers under his command.

Under the authority Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge over 100 African American men were systematically beaten and tortured. Burge and his officers used cattle prods to administer electric shock to the genitals and other parts of the body; they also used intimidation techniques, beatings, and other unlawful methods to coerce men into confessing to crimes they did not commit. All of the torture victims were wrongfully charged of crimes, and their coerced statements were used to send them to prison. One such torture victim Keith Walker was recently granted a hearing regarding his torture claim, after a coerced confession sent him to prison for 18 horrendous years for a crime he did not commit.

The signing of the Torture Commission is a monumental victory because if the Commission concludes there is sufficient evidence that torture occurred, the men who were victims of these unjustifiable human rights violations will have the opportunity to be granted a hearing on their claims of torture. Priority will be given to those persons who are currently incarcerated for the crime to which there are claims of torture by Jon Burge or officers under his command.

The signing of the Illinois Torture Inquiry and Relief Commission Bill provides a forum for those who have been victims of crimes against humanity, as well as accountability for those who sought to inflict such violations. The drafters of this bill, “Black People Against Police Torture,” would like to thank all of those who were instrumental in supporting the bill, including primary sponsors: Sen. Kwame Raoul and Rep. Arthur Turner, as well as all of those who work tirelessly in their fight for justice.

Connie L. Nash said...

Related Items from Common Dreams:
Wednesday 08.12.09

US Architects of Harsh Tactics in 9/11's Wake

Will Holder Prosecute Architects of Torture Policy?

Scott Horton: Obama's Torture Hangover

Ann Wright: Corporate Responsibility-Products for War and Occupation or Products for Peace

Pat LaMarche: The Culture of Violence in America

and more...

Connie L. Nash said...

In case any of you missed the reference to this item by Scott Horton earlier on renditions -

First Documented Rendition under new administration (apparently):
By Scott Horton, who is almost always at the leading edge of this concern:

August 12, 10:13 AM
Renditions, Obama Style

Raymond Azar is a 45-year-old Lebanese construction manager who traveled to Kabul in April to meet with one of his clients, the U.S. Government. He wound up being seized by a platoon of FBI agents and flown on a Gulfstream to Virginia, manacled with a hood and earphones so he could neither see nor hear. By his account, he was stripped naked, subjected to a body cavity search, sleep deprivation, and hypothermia, and then threatened with the prospect of never seeing his family again unless he confessed to his crime. Azar is not a suspected terrorist or even a drug kingpin. His crime was knowing that one of his underlings had paid a bribe to a U.S. official to secure or extend a construction contract for the Defense Department.

Azar is the first documented case of a rendition during the administration of Barack Obama. And it reflects Obama making good on some of his pledges, while raising serious questions about others. I give the case a review in a feature piece in the Huffington Post.

Azar alleges that he was tortured in order to extract a confession. The Justice Department barely disputes his specific factual allegations. They contend, however, that the charge of torture is “hyperbolic.” They insist that the procedures used on A zar are “standard.” They may indeed be standard procedures in connection with the war in Afghanistan, but their application in a small-scale contract fraud case in the Eastern District of Virginia should set off some alarm bells. The charge that the use of these techniques to secure a confession is at least unlawful coercion–if not in fact torture–stacks up with the findings of a number of courts, both in the United States and in other jurisdictions.

A longer, more detailed version of this report is at:

Connie L. Nash said...

If you want to COMMENT: Please set up a google account - it's quick and then it will be easy - OR SEND YOUR ITEM TO ME with very clear subject heading:

Connie L. Nash said...

Various OLDER Related Items:

Connie L. Nash said...

MOST RECENT PUBLIC REPORT (I could find) on the APA annual conference (in Toronto)

This is just a drafting committee - the result not expected until FEBRUARY...and only about language not about actual torture....Soon after the dissenting activist psychologists return we will I'm sure have suggestions for a campaign.

Connie L. Nash said...

TWO which may surprise and even shock...the Mitchell and Jessen item is just in Thursday August 13, 2009't_torture_if_a_doctor_is_there/?obref=obnetwork Mitchell & Jessen - The Guys Who Came Up With The Torture Program (Psychology Professors/Military Retirees)

Connie L. Nash said...

New Item by Andy Worthington Crucial! Be sure to read the comments as well for updates on the Geneva Conventions!