Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: October 2015 Archives

Take a Stand: PA Reform or Business as Usual?

Multiple reports, over a number of years, have confirmed the involvement of psychologists in the abuse and torture of war-on-terror detainees. Nevertheless, many members of the profession, the human rights community, and the broader public were stunned this past summer when an independent investigation uncovered an extensive history of collusion between leaders of the American Psychological Association (APA) and officials at the Department of Defense (DoD). As revealed in the July 2015 Hoffman Report, these secret dealings served to protect the participation of psychologists in national security operations and subverted the profession's commitment to beneficence, nonmaleficence, and do-no-harm ethics.

But those accustomed to power and deference rarely react well to evidence that undermines their authority or calls into question their actions. So it is not surprising that a small, vocal cadre of psychologists - some with direct ties to the detention and interrogation operations of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld - are now pursuing an aggressive campaign to discredit the Hoffman Report. The report's revelations threaten their reputations, their influence within the APA, and potentially their standing with fellow military psychologists and the DoD.

This is a campaign that should be neither ignored nor discounted. If successful, it will obstruct an already rugged path toward accountability and reform within the APA, and it will hinder a long overdue examination of the profession's ethics in national security settings. But before turning to the campaign itself, it is useful to briefly summarize the Hoffman Report's key findings.

Free the Guantanamo 112

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I was very happy to wake this morning to news that long term Guantanamo survivor Shaker Aamer has triumphed over the barbaric U.S. practice of torture. We have cause to celebrate not only his release, but also the precedent he sets for freeing the remaining 112 men facing death by attrition. 

At lunchtime on October 30, 2015, a plane carrying Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, back to the UK as a free man, to be reunited with his family after nearly 14 years without charge or trial in US custody, landed at Biggin Hill airfield. Soon after, Shaker was whisked away by his UK lawyers to receive medical care and to be reunited with his family, writes Andy Worthington, co-director of the We Stand With Shaker campaign. I am led to believe, he is doing remarking well considering his long ordeal.

Indefinite detention constitutes torture above and beyond the physical depredations of the body suffered -- including the lawless constructs approved by U.S. government lackeys -- and endured. Mr Aamer has inspired his fellow prisoners to transcend both with dignity and honor. He should be proud of his contribution towards ending the American war of terror on hapless civilians (many Guantanamo prisoners were bought from bounty hunters and never charged). His story emboldens us to demand a better future for subscribers to justice.

5000 Days... and Counting

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The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against James Elmer Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, two psychologists contracted by the CIA to design, implement, and oversee the agency's post-9/11 torture program. The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, is on behalf of three of the program's victims. All three were kidnapped by the CIA, and tortured and experimented upon according to Mitchell and Jessen's protocols. One of the men died as a result of his torture. The other two continue to suffer the effects of the physical and psychological torture inflicted on them.

Lives are irreparably damaged every day in the largest U.S. jail

Join in a non-violent direct action and protest to Shut Down Rikers Island, October 23, 2015. 


Just 300 yards from the runways at LaGuardia airport, just a few miles from a glistening city, an island sits dedicated to confinement, brutality, and torture of our youth and others.  Human beings languish for weeks, months, sometimes years awaiting trial. Many simply for lack of money for bail.  Many locked down for weeks and months in solitary confinement.  Guards inflict a culture of violence - fractured jaws, broken bones, denial of medical care, cover-ups and retaliation against those who report, and rampant sexual violence against the women and LGBT people as well as the men.  Rikers typifies and concentrates the immorality and illegitimacy of mass incarceration in the U.S.

It is difficult to say which is a greater shock to the conscience: that this torture and brutality goes on day in and day out, or that millions go about their daily lives accepting this as normal just miles away.

The violence against inmates at Rikers has been studied.  It has been exposed.  Guards have been sued.  Settlements have been paid.  The deaths inflicted through brutality and negligence have been documented. The life-long trauma and disfunction imposed on inmates has been proven.  Yet the brutality continues day in and day out.  All this is plain for the whole world to see. 

The time for wringing our hands is over.  The time for cosmetic but essentially meaningless reforms is over.  A line must be drawn.  People of conscience must put our bodies on the line to stop this depravity and barbarity, else we ourselves are complicit.


This call was initiated by:

Nellie Bailey, Harlem activist
Rev. Jerome McCorry & Candace McCorry, Rise Up October Faith Task Force
Rev. Stephen Phelps, Member, Presbytery of New York City*
Cindy Sheehan, mother of Casey Sheehan, killed in unjust U.S. war on Iraq, 2004
Sunsara Taylor, writer for Revolution Newspaper, initiator of
Mia Thornton, NYU Student Activist
Jame Vrettos, Professor John Jay College of Criminal Justice*

* for identification purposes only

It takes real courage to speak out ... when your loved one who has just been murdered by the police is also being demonized ... when the authorities and the media spin the narrative in order to justify murder by police.  It takes real courage to stand tall when how you raised a child or handled a mental illness episode is questioned as if somehow you were responsible for the police murdering your loved one...

Join the Community of Freedom Fighters

When you donate to #RiseUpOctober, you make a concrete and material difference in strengthening the fight to STOP MURDER BY POLICE.  You make it possible to:

print the palm-cards, posters, and stickers

maintain the website, national office, and phone-lines

get the word out far and wide

assist families of those police killed to travel to NYC to make their voices heard

You concretely advance the fight to change the course of history.

But that is not all, when you donate, you join a community of people across this country who are standing for justice.  This is a moral act and it is part of bringing into being, right now, the shoots of the world we are fighting for -- one where no one turns their heads when others are oppressed and terrorized, where justice is real.

Last Thursday evening (October 1st), just over a week after the announcement that he was to be released from Guantanamo Bay, Briton Shaker Aamer was able to talk on a telephone from the prison to the head of his legal team, Clive Stafford Smith of the British human rights charity Reprieve. 

Raw, emotional, despairing and optimistic, this is an edited transcript of his words. Given exclusively to the Daily Mail, it is his first response since his freedom was declared.


Mr Aamer is on hunger strike to protest continued physical abuse by guards, and warned his wife and four children in London that he may still not make it out alive from Guantanamo:

"I know there are people who do not want me ever to see the sun again. It means nothing that they have signed papers, as anything can happen before I get out. So if I die, it will be the full responsibility of the [American government]."

It is up to us to "walk the talk" to see that President Obama's promise to close Guantanamo becomes a reality.

Doctors Without Borders (or MSF for its French initials) thus found itself subject to U.S. rules of engagement under which Afghans have lived and died in their thousands for the past 14 years, effectively excluded from the protections formally guaranteed to civilians, the wounded and medical facilities by the Geneva Conventions...

U.S. Attack on Hospital Reveals Widespread Lack of Accountability

This Week's Must Read

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Waiting for the Barbarians was written in 1980, during the apartheid regime in South Africa. But what it says about torture remains true today. If the state wants to stand up to barbarity, it cannot validate it by unleashing it on its own prisoners.

The Ethics Of Torture, Explored In J.M. Coetzee's Painful Fable

UC Berkeley Billboard

press conference, protest, photos, video, reports

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Events & Calendars

War Criminals Watch Events

Important Reading

Physicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives

NLG White Paper

The President's Executioner

Detention and torture in Guantanamo

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries in October 2015.

Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: September 2015 is the previous archive.

Curt Wechsler, The World Can't Wait: November 2015 is the next archive.

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