Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Abnormal psych

Posted By on Wed, Jul 14, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Bing Crosby. Craig T. Nelson. And now, James Mitchell, another chap from Spokane, has achieved fame. Infamy, rather.

Mitchell’s now-defunct firm in Spokane, Mitchell Jessen & Associates, helped the CIA with a number of “interrogation” techniques, included jamming a subject into a small box, denying them sleep and food, and subjecting them to cold, heat, and simulated-drowning.

That’s old news. He oversaw those interrogations a full eight years ago. But now a number of psychologists — including the American Psychological Association — have been exacting retribution, claiming torture-complicit psychologists violated ethics and besmirched the profession. A Northwestern University Law professor complained to the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (which now oversees Mitchell) in an attempt to strip Mitchell of his credentials. An even bigger deal: The APA has sent a letter agreeing with that Northwestern professor.

“In APA’s view, the allegations regarding Dr. Mitchell’s conduct are unique in the scope of misperception and harm they have caused regarding the public’s understanding of psychology and its ethical principles.” Mitchell isn’t part of APA, but if he was, the letter reads, he would be expelled.

For the APA, sending such a letter is unprecedented.

Mitchell, meanwhile, told the Associated Press that he was not allowed to comment on what he did for the CIA (them being the CIA and all) but that the complaints against them are grossly inaccurate.

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, staff writer Daniel Walters is the Inlander's City Hall reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...