Larry C. James

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Larry C. James is an American psychologist, author and former officer in the United States Army.[1][2] James is notable for serving as Joint Task Force Guantanamo's chief psychologist in 2003, and as Abu Ghraib's chief psychologist in 2004.

Military career

Military Career[3]
Walter Reed
  • Served as the Chief of the Department of Psychology for five years.
2001 The Pentagon
  • Chief Psychologist for the Mental Health Task Force
2003 Joint Task Force Guantanamo
2004 Abu Ghraib

Post Military career

James has also served on the Presidential Task Force on Military Deployment Services for Youth, Families and Service Members.[4]

In 2008 James was hired as the Dean of Wright State University School of Professional Psychology.[5]

In 2008 he published a memoir, entitled: "Fixing Hell: An Army Psychologist Confronts Abu Ghraib".[1][2] A review in the Brooklyn Rail described the book as James's defense against insinuations he was a "torture shrink", and noted:

James admits that in 2002, the year before his tenure at Guantanamo, a team of CIA psychologists came to Cuba to train soldiers in harsh interrogation methods. But by James’ account, the whole point of his mission at Guantanamo, and then at Abu Ghraib, was to reverse the culture of abuse that resulted.[2]

Trudy Bond, another psychologist, requested in 2008 that the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists review the ethics of James' work in Guantanamo.[6] When the board dismissed Bond's complaint she requested the Board's actions be reviewed. State District Judge Mike Caldwell ruled he didn't have jurisdiction over the Board. Bond is considering appealing Caldwell's decision.

In September 2012 an open letter was published, challenging whether the APA had conducted meaningful investigations of James, and several other pyschologists who had played a role in the use of "extended interrogation techniques""'.[7] Psychologist Jeffrey Kaye singled out James's role in the transportation of 13 year old Mohammed Ismail Agha and several other minors for interrogation. The boys families permission was not sought, not were they informed that their children were in captivity.

According to Kaye the letter to the APA stated[7]:

On December 5, 2007, Dr. Trudy Bond filed a complaint with the APA Ethics Office against Dr. Larry James for his alleged involvement in the harsh treatment of detainees. Among numerous ethical violations, Dr. James oversaw the transport of three child prisoners – one 12 years old and two 13 years old[viii] – from Bagram, Afghanistan to Guantánamo, where Dr. James was the Chief Behavioral Science Consultation Team member (“BSCT #1”).[ix] [x] According to the New York Times, during transport the boys were “put on a plane with other prisoners, chained by the wrists and ankles, with a hood” placed over their heads. At Guantánamo, Dr. James oversaw the daily interrogations of these boys. For ten months the boys’ families were not told what had happened to their children, who had been “disappeared” by American authorities. The United Nations Committee Against Torture has held that such “disappearance” is torture – not only for the subject, but also for the family of the child taken without public acknowledgement. In addition, there is no dispute that such treatment of children is a violation of international law.[7]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Rollo Romig (September 2008). "The Mind of Torture: Larry C. James, Fixing Hell: An Army Psychologist Confronts Abu Ghraib (Grand Central Publishing, 2008)". Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mary Nevans-Pederson (2008-11-29). "'Fixing Hell' no easy trick". TH Online. Retrieved 2008-11-29.  mirror
  3. "American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security". Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  4. "Psychological Needs Of Military Personnel And Their Families Are Increasing, Reports Task Force". Science Daily. February 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  5. Stephanie Gottschlich (March 14, 2008). "Military psychologist is selected dean at WSU school". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved 2008-09-12. 
  6. Joe Gyan Jr. (2009-07-14). "Judge: Ruling on Guantanamo psychologist can’t be appealed". The Advocate. p. 5B. Retrieved 2009-07-14. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Jeffrey Kaye (2012-09-20). "Ethics Process Fails At APA, Psychologists Demand Review". The Public Record. Archived from the original on 2012-09-21. "As one example of James’ crime we have the testimony of Mohammed Ismail Agha, age 13, who told the Washington Post, he was “put on a plane with other prisoners, chained by the wrists and ankles, with a hood placed over his head.” None of the parents of these children were informed what had happened to their sons." 

External links