Torture is ineffective and cruel, says a group of U.S. psychologists urging President Donald Trump not to restart the CIA’s so-called “enhanced” interrogation program.
Trump has said he would sign an executive order reinstituting torture, such as waterboarding, claiming it is an effective way to get information.
The American Psychological Association is among those objecting to the controversial proposal. The group represents 115,700 scientists, educators, clinicians and students.
“APA has expressed its forceful opposition to the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that were authorized under President George W. Bush and halted by President Obama,” said APA President Antonio Puente.
“We are concerned that, if signed by President Trump, this order could open the door to interrogation practices that are now illegal and have been deemed cruel, inhuman and degrading to detainees,” Puente said in an association news release. He is a neuropsychologist and professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Waterboarding involves immobilizing a captive and pouring water over the face and breathing passages, simulating the feeling of drowning.
The psychologists’ group also challenged Trump’s assertion that such forceful interrogation tactics are useful.
“Contrary to the president’s statement, there is no credible scientific evidence that torture works,” Puente said. “But there is evidence that rapport-building interrogation techniques are effective.”
The APA said it condemns torture. It has a policy that prohibits psychologists from engaging in torture or working in violation of the U.S. Constitution or international law.
Psychologists are ethically bound to “respect the dignity and worth of the individual and strive for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights,” according to the group.
The Center for Victims of Torture has more on torture.