Petition from the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology

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Coalition for an Ethical Psychology


Thank you again for signing our petition calling for the annulment of the American Psychological Association's deeply flawed and misguided PENS Report.
Here’s a brief update on the campaign. First, we’re very pleased that 25 organizations have now endorsed the petition -- ranging from the ACLU to Physicians for Human Rights to the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to several Divisions of the APA itself.
We’re just as excited that the petition now has more than 1,400 individual signers. Included on the list are many current and past leaders within APA; psychiatrists such as Robert Jay Lifton and Brigadier General Stephen Xenakis (ret.); scholar-activists such as Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky; attorneys who have represented Guantanamo detainees; eminent veterans of the intelligence community; and other psychologists, military members, and human rights advocates.

Also, this week we have contacted all members of the APA’s governing body, its Council of Representatives, urging them to give serious and formal consideration to the annulment of the PENS Report at their upcoming mid-winter meeting next month in Washington, DC.


At this point, to maintain the campaign's momentum, we need to reach out to people who don’t yet know about the annulment effort -- and to accomplish that we really need your help. Our request is simple: Please use the "Forward this message" link at the bottom of the page to share this email with your colleagues and with your listservs. Other methods of dissemination are very welcome as well!


The key information about PENS annulment can be summarized in this way:

1. When the PENS Task Force asserted that psychologists play a critical role in keeping interrogations “safe, legal, ethical and effective,” they completely ignored compelling evidence that psychologists served as planners, consultants, researchers, and overseers to abusive and torturous interrogations of national security detainees. With adoption of the PENS Report in 2005, the APA became the sole major professional healthcare organization to support practices contrary to the international human rights standards against which professional codes of ethics are judged.
2. As a result, the PENS Report has brought harm to vulnerable populations by supporting government policies that permit abusive treatment. It has badly damaged the reputation of the profession of psychology. It has diminished the APA’s commitment to advance psychology “as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.” It has compromised the integrity of the relationship between professional psychology and the security sector. And,according to some senior interrogators and intelligence professionals, the PENS Report has undermined national security.
3. The issues at stake here are profoundly important because the PENS Report remains in effect and it continues to be highly influential in military/intelligence and operational psychology settings today.

The petition itself is available on the website of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology at, which is where new supporters can sign on. There you will also find a detailed background statement and the complete, up-to-date list of organizational and individual signers.


Finally, for those who may be interested, here are links to a few recent Psychology Today essays by members of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, all related to the PENS Report annulment campaign:

“Psychologists’ Collusion in Ongoing Illegal Detentions” ( on-in-ongoing-illegal-detentions)
“Dismantling the Master’s House: Psychologists and Torture” ( r-s-house-psychologists-and-torture)
“Four Psychologists at the Gates of ****” ( e-gates-****)


   Roy Eidelson, on behalf of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology