Prior to settling, Mitchell and Jessen denied any legal responsibility, and their attorneys argued their inculpability by comparing them to the low-level technicians whose employers provided lethal gas for Hitler’s extermination camps.
.. The case marks the first instance of legal accountability of any kind for psychologists who abandoned ethical standards — and basic decency — while claiming they were merely following government orders on torture.
.. The perverse rationale: According to memos from government lawyers at that time, “close observation” by health professionals constituted clear evidence that there was no specific intent to cause severe pain or suffering.
.. None of these psychologists has ever been sanctioned for ethics violations by state licensing boards or professional associations — even the relative few whose identities are known. In part, this is because the American Psychological Association (APA) — the largest membership organization of psychologists in the world — did not effectively defend the profession’s bedrock do-no-harm principles.
.. In public forums, the APA’s ethics director dismissed reports of detainee abuse as “long on hearsay and innuendo, short on facts.”
.. One association president condemned dissident voices as “opportunistic commentators masquerading as scholars.” Another advised us to “turn down the temperature on outrage.” A high-profile military psychologist boasted in his memoir, “I confronted one of my critics and threatened to shut his mouth for him if he didn’t do it himself.”
.. The APA commissioned a comprehensive independent review, conducted by attorney David Hoffman of the Sidley Austin law firm. The 500-page report confirmed what our own research and investigations had found. It concluded that the APA, despite growing evidence of detainee mistreatment, had secretly coordinated with Defense Department officials to promote ethics policies that matched the government’s preference
.. This was accomplished, in part, by stacking a key APA task force with military intelligence insiders and relying on Pentagon representatives
.. APA leaders took this path to “curry favor” with the military establishment — a source of lucrative grants and contracts
.. we have an authoritarian-minded commander in chief who’s insisted that “torture works.”
.. Donald Trump declared that he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.”
.. Since taking office, Trump has appointed both a CIA director who argued that the likes of Mitchell and Jessen are patriots, not torturers, and a deputy director who ran a CIA torture site and participated in the unlawful destruction of videotape evidence.
.. nominated for an administration position a lawyer who authored some of the infamous “torture memos.. many Americans (roughly half, sometimes more) support the torture of terrorism suspects.. contributed to radicalizing a new generation of adversaries... Psychologists understand the lasting impact of trauma very well. The demons of deep psychic wounds can continue without end. Colleagues who work with torture survivors describe the victims’ overwhelming feelings of helplessness, brokenness and disconnection from other people, direct results of having been subjected to agonizing abuse and humiliation at the hands of another human being... are haunted by flashbacks and nightmares, and a lasting sense of safety seems impossible to achieve... psychologists’ complicity, whether through active participation or silent acquiescence, is so egregious.
There was evidence that the father was abusing the kids, who by 2002 were teenagers. He acknowledged whipping them with a belt and forcing them to sit with paper bags over their heads. He refused to send the younger children to summer school, even though their grades were bad. When the kids called their mother, their father taped the conversations. By the time the case got to the Alabama Supreme Court, a lower court had ruled in the mother’s favor. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the ruling, with then Chief Justice Roy Moore writing in a concurring opinion that a gay person couldn’t be a fit parent.
“Homosexual conduct is, and has been, considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature and of nature’s God upon which this nation and our laws are predicated,” wrote Moore. He added, “The state carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle.”
.. But Moore’s victory is also a victory for Trumpism, a populist movement that has eroded normal limits on political behavior... Fritz Stern, a historian who fled Nazi Germany, described the “conservative revolution” that prefigured National Socialism: “The movement did embody a paradox: its followers sought to destroy the despised present in order to recapture an idealized past in an imaginary future.”.. What Moore’s critics see as lawlessness, his fans see as insurgent valor. Trump’s most prominent nationalist supporters, including Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, lined up behind Moore, describing him as part of the Trumpian revolution. Nigel Farage, a right-wing British politician and Trump ally, flew to Fairhope, Ala., to speak at a rally for Moore, saying on stage, “It is getting someone like him elected that will rejuvenate the movement that led to Trump and Brexit.”.. Back then, anti-gay prejudice was far more acceptable than it is today, but Moore’s messianic denunciation of a lesbian mother was still shocking. Trump is not a pious man, but by destroying informal restraints on reactionary rhetoric, he’s made his party hospitable to the cruelest of theocrats.Moore’s success is bound to encourage more candidates like him. The Republican establishment’s borders have been breached. Its leaders should have built a wall.
Many whites in the South, he argued, abide by an “honor culture.” As long
as everyone is respectful and abides by the social norms, everyone is happy and agreeable. But when threats are made against one’s reputation or values, acts of violence and physical aggression are considered appropriate forms of retribution. In some ways, the profile we observe touches on the surface of this profile — the friendly and considerate aspect when all is well. But I think we’re now beginning to see more of the aggressive aspects. I think many people, perhaps especially in this region, have begun to feel threatened by the changes taking place in society and are reacting with anger.
Conscientiousness is correlated with measures of racism, sexism, homophobia, prejudice, authoritarianism, social dominance, and system justification. I suspect that this personality factor has more to do with a need for order or desire for rule-following, which can easily take an authoritarian turn, than other aspects of conscientiousness that we might associate with, say, honesty or integrity.
.. Marc Hetherington, a political scientist at Vanderbilt and a co-author of the 2009 book “Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics,” said he has abandoned use of the word “authoritarian” because he views it as excessively pejorative. In place of authoritarian, Hetherington said he will now use the phrase “fixed worldview.”
.. Donald Trump supporters think about morality differently than other voters.” In contrast to Republican primary voters who supported candidates other than Trump, they noted, voters who supported him “score high on authority/loyalty/sanctity and low on care.” These voters, according to Ekins and Haidt, “are the true authoritarians — they value obedience while scoring low on compassion.”
.. This strategy won him the presidency in 2016 when millions of non-authoritarian white Republicans — sympathetic, kind, affectionate, conscientiousness, persevering, thorough and reliable — made a pact with the devil and chose party loyalty over conscience. Who’s to say it won’t work again?
Senior aides to President Trump repeatedly warned him not to deliver a personal attack on North Korea’s leader at the United Nations this week, saying insulting the young despot in such a prominent venue could irreparably escalate tensions and shut off any chance for negotiations to defuse the nuclear crisis.
.. Some of Trump’s top aides, including national security advisor H.R. McMaster, had argued for months against making the attacks on North Korea’s leader personal, warning it could backfire.
But Trump, who relishes belittling his rivals and enemies with crude nicknames, felt compelled to make a dramatic splash in the global forum.
.. A detailed CIA psychological profile of Kim, who is in his early 30s and took power in late 2011, assesses that Kim has a massive ego and reacts harshly and sometimes lethally to insults and perceived slights.
It also says that the dynastic leader — Kim is the grandson of the communist country’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and son of its next leader, Kim Jong Il — views himself as inseparable from the North Korean state.
.. As predicted, Kim took Trump’s jibes personally and especially chafed at the fact that Trump mocked him in front of 200 presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and diplomats at the U.N... John Park, a specialist on Northeast Asia at Harvard’s Kennedy School, said the tit-for-tat insults have created a “new reality” and probably have shut off any chance of starting talks to curb North Korea’s fast-growing nuclear arms program... U.S. experts assess that North Korea is six to eight months away from building a small nuclear warhead robust enough to survive the intense heat and vibrations of an intercontinental ballistic missile crossing the Pacific and reaching the continental United States... “There is no one on the North Korean side who is going to entertain or pursue discussion about a diplomatic off-ramp, because that individual would be contradicting the leader, which is lethal,” Park said... Trump has returned to rhetoric he’d used during the campaign, when he called Kim a “madman playing around with nukes” and a “total nut job.”.. But Trump also praised Kim at the time, saying during a Fox News interview last year that Kim’s “gotta have something going for him, because he kept control, which is amazing for a young person to do.”