Time to yank some professional licenses . . .

April 16, 2009 | By | 7 Replies More

Based on the release of additional torture memos of the Bush Administration, Mike Dunford of The Questionable Authority suggests that it’s time to revoke some professional licenses.   I agree.  Here’s an excerpt:

Reading these memos, it’s very clear that there are quite a few CIA employees who are allegedly medical professionals. Those people need to find new professions. I would strongly suggest that you take a few minutes – particularly if you’re a doctor or a psychologist – to suggest to your colleagues at the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association that it might be good to take some formal steps along those lines.

For additional information on the way the American Psychological Association facilitated the torture, consider this DI post, based on Amy Goodman’s book, Standing Up to the Madness.


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Category: Civil Rights, Law, Politics, Psychology Cognition

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (7)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    From MSNBC:

    "The health professionals involved in the CIA program broke the law and shame the bedrock ethical traditions of medicine and psychology," said Frank Donaghue, chief executive of Physicians for Human Rights, an international advocacy group made up of physicians opposed to torture. "All psychologists and physicians found to be involved in the torture of detainees must lose their license and never be allowed to practice again."

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    I think Rachel Maddow is right on the mark when she scoffs at Bush crony criticism of Obama's release of the shocking legal memos Bush used in order to justify torture.

    Check out Maddow's comment on Judge Jay Bybee, now appointed by Bush to lifetime tenure on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Bybee was all-too-willing to give permission to Bush to torture prisoners (e.g., by putting them in a small box with a stinging insect) even though federal law makes it a crime (punishable by 20 years) for torturing. What a joke, as legal reasoning goes. Is that the kind of law he learned at Brigham Young University Law School?

    • Tony Coyle says:


      I saw Rachel's piece on this (when I was at the gym – is there a theme here?).

      I too thought along similar lines – but I also thought that there is a potential challenge.

      By delaying any action, the Administration makes it harder to gather primary evidence and testimony that would be considered reliable. It also makes it easier for people to obfuscate or otherwise muddy the trail (by destroying documents, etc). We all remember Scooter Libby, and the shredder. How many documents are being destroyed today?

      I'm worried that the Administration are waiting too long to make a case and bring the responsible parties to justice. I agree completely that it is the people in charge who should answer – not necessarily those on the line.

  3. Karl says:

    The insect option was placed into the tool bag, but it wasn't ever used. From what I've read the insect would have been some sort of caterpillar that would be claimed to be very poisonous. This would be done when an individual had been awake for a very long and thus might be a way to try to keep them to stay awake longer. Now there is the real crime, further sleep deprivation.

    Lying about a lovely "appropriate person" in the hereafter waiting to be your love slave would be torture to some people.

    The worst of these techniques known as waterboarding is nothing compared to being beheaded on camera.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Karl: You know nothing about sleep deprivation. It's a serious health-endangering method that I would never choose for my worst enemy.

      For you, no torture is off-limits because you assume that those Islamic prisoners are all guilty and, of course, they're Islamic. Did you know that they were being kept in custody without trials? Did you know that most of the prisoners at Guantanamo were released without being charged without anything? No need to discuss this with you further.

      As far as what was done to these poor souls (some of whom might be guilty of something, but we'll never know), we don't know. Most of the information regarding how these prisoners were treated has been kept secret for reasons of "national security." Bullshit. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    BTW, have you read any of the memos? The NYT has put many of them on its website. They are surreal.

    What they prove to me is that with an amoral lawyer, you can justify anything, anytime. I agree with the NYT's characterization of the memos.

  5. Erich Vieth says:

    From Amy Goodman at DemocracyNow:

    Beginning in 2002, the CIA hired the psychologists to train interrogators in brutal techniques, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and pain. Both of the men had years of military training in a secretive program known as SERE—Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape—which teaches soldiers to endure captivity in enemy hands. Mitchell and Jessen reverse-engineered the tactics taught in SERE training for use on prisoners held in the CIA’s secret prisons.

    [You can't] overemphasize the extent to which the Justice Department relied on the advice and consent and participation of these psychologists, not just in designing the program, but carrying it out and arguing that it was safe and that it wasn’t torture.

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