On The Monitor this week:
- The Putin Mystique – an interview with Anna Arutunyan
- The Complicity of Psychologists in CIA Torture – an interview with Roy Eidelson and Trudy Bond
More about this week’s guests:
Anna Arutunyan is author of The Media in Russia (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and co-author (with Vladimir Shlapentokh) of Freedom, Repression and Private Property in Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in The Nation, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Foreign Policy in Focus, and The Moscow News, where until recently she was an editor and senior correspondent. A bilingual Russian-American, she was born in the Soviet Union in 1980 but grew up and was educated in the United States. In 2002 she returned to Moscow to write about Russia, where she lives with her husband and daughter. You can read some of her recent work here and some of her older work here. You can also follow her on Twitter: @scrawnya
From the Olive Branch Press release about her book: Vladimir V. Putin has confounded world leaders and defied their assumptions as they have tried to figure him out, only to misjudge him time and again. The Putin Mystique takes the reader on a journey through the Russia of the man named by Forbes magazine in 2013 as the most powerful man in the world. It is a neo-feudal world where iPads, WTO membership, and Brioni business suits conceal a power structure straight out of the Middle Ages, where the Sovereign is perceived as both divine and demonic, where a man’s riches are determined by his proximity to the Kremlin, and where large swathes of the populace live in precarious complacency interrupted by bouts of revolt. Where does that kind of power come from? The answer lies not in the leader, but in the people: from the impoverished factory worker who appeals directly to Putin for aid, to the businessmen, security officers, and officials in Putin’s dysfunctional and corrupt government who look to their leader for instruction and protection.
In her journalistic career, Anna Arutunyan has traveled throughout Russia to report on modern Russian politics. She has interviewed oligarchs and policemen, bishops and politicians, rock stars and writers, factory workers and peasants, and other ordinary Russians. Her book is a vivid and revealing exploration of the way in which myth, power, and even religion interact to produce the love-hate relationship between the Russian people and Vladimir Putin.
Roy Eidelson is a clinical psychologist and the president of Eidelson Consulting, where he studies, writes about, and consults on the role of psychological issues in political, organizational, and group conflict settings. He is a past president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility, associate director of the Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at Bryn Mawr College, and a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology.
Trudy Bond is a counseling psychologist in independent practice in Toledo, Ohio. She is a member of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and on the steering committee of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. She earned her doctorate in counseling psychology from Oklahoma State University at age 26 and moved to Toledo, Ohio where she became licensed to practice psychology in 1980. As an independent psychologist, Dr. Bond has filed complaints with state licensing boards and the APA regarding individual psychologists implicated in the torture and abuse of detainees at Guantanamo.
Together they wrote the article “The Complicity of Psychologists in CIA Torture.
“Two names appear dozens of times in the committee’s summary: Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar. These are the pseudonyms that were given to James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. It has been known for several years that these two contract psychologists played central roles in designing and implementing the CIA’s torture program. Now we also know how lucrative that work was for Mitchell and Jessen: their company was paid over $80 million by the CIA. …Responding to the new Senate report, the American Psychological Association (APA) was quick to issue a press release distancing itself from Mitchell and Jessen. The statement emphasized that the two psychologists are not APA members – although Mitchell was a member until 2006 — and that they are therefore ‘outside the reach of the association’s ethics adjudication process.’ But there is much more to this story. After years of stonewalling and denials, last month the APA Board appointed an investigator to examine allegations that the APA colluded with the CIA and Pentagon in supporting the Bush Administration’s abusive ‘war on terror’ detention and interrogation practices.
The latest evidence of that collusion comes from the publication earlier this fall of James Risen’s Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War. With access to hundreds of previously undisclosed emails involving senior APA staff, the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter concludes that the APA ‘worked assiduously to protect the psychologists…involved in the torture program.’ The book also provides several new details pointing to the likelihood that Mitchell and Jessen were not so far removed from the APA after all.
Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, APA member and CIA head of behavioral research Kirk Hubbard first introduced Mitchell and Jessen to the CIA as ‘potential assets.’ A few months later, in mid-2002, Hubbard arranged for former APA president Martin Seligman to present a lecture on his theories of ‘learned helplessness’ to a group that included Mitchell and Jessen at the Navy SERE School in San Diego. And in 2003 Hubbard worked closely with APA senior staff in developing an invitation-only workshop – co-sponsored by the APA and the CIA – on the science of deception and other interrogation-related topics. Mitchell and Jessen were both participants (having returned from overseas where they were involved in the waterboarding of detainees Abu Zabaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed). …”