Summary: Yesterday's Democracy Now, a daily radio show and TV news program on over 500 stations, posted the following headline on their blog: "Ex-APA President Linked to CIA Torture".  The story is attributed to the new book, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals." 
There is one problem with the story--it is not true.
Dr. Seligman ("Marty" to his friends) has just sent a letter to his friends addressing the allegations.
That letter, the allegations, the blog posting and the full context are all below.
I've just spoken to him.  He says he can only believe that "The truth will out. The story is patently false."
Nonetheless, the allegation in the story could easily spread widely on the web.  And once something is on the web, it never fully disappears.
If we've learned anything from decades of negative political campaigns in the US, it is that negative charges should be countered immediately, credibly, and widely.
Please help make this email "go viral" (spread widely).  We're sending it to you and to the 130,000 other CTH readers.  If you are so moved, please forward it to the relevant email lists, people, blogs, and to the circles of influence to which you belong.  Ask them to forward it as well.
  1. Ben's Note
  2. The Context
  3. Martin E. P. Seligman's Response to Allegations Attributed to Jane Mayer's Book, "The Dark Side"
  4. Brief Note:  The "Democracy Now" story summary

1.  Ben's Note
July 16, 2008
Dear CTH Readers,
The July Coaching Toward Happiness issue was ready to send out.  But I'm delaying it by a day. 
Marty's response to allegations "attributed" to Jane Mayer's book, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals, is too important.
Tomorrow, I'll send out the July CTH with news on Sonja Lyubomirsky's Master Class on Happiness and with a letter from Charles Dughigg of the New York Times written explicitly for CTH readers. He is seeking a large number of interviews with people who have experienced life transformations. The newsletter will also include a phone interview with him talking about what kind of transformative change he is most interested in.

But that newsletter will be delayed a day.

The allegations against Marty are too important to wait and his response must stand alone.

Ben Dean, Ph.D.
P.S.  The best defense is a strong offense.  If you are so moved, please help this email go viral. Please consider forwarding it to, at least, a few of your friends and colleagues. If you feel strongly, please forward it immediately to all the relevant email lists, people, blogs, and to the circles of influence to which you belong.
For the html and plain text version of the July, 2008 CoachingTowardHappiness Newsletter with Martin Seligman's letter to his friends, click here. ("Plain text," because it is print with no bolding, color, etc. -- what you'd produce with a manual typewriter -- is the preferred format for use with ListServs and many email lists.)

Before forwarding the email, consider removing the unsubscribe links at the bottom of this email. Otherwise, someone might inadvertently unsubscribe you.
2.  The Context
Please be forewarned--there are blog posts and articles falsely attributing allegations against Marty to a new book by Jane Mayer called "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals."

Yesterday, Democracy Now, a daily radio show and TV news program on over 500 stations posted this headline purportedly based on the book--"Ex-APA President Linked to CIA Torture."  Marty is a legendary psychologist who is also a big target.  The story will no doubt be widely distributed. (The full story is below.)

For CTH readers who know Marty and his deeply committed leadership in positive psychology, this story is unbelievable. (If you are reading this and do not know about his career and his mission, please click here.) 

As Chris Peterson observes, a central message of Positive Psychology is that "other people matter."  Marty matters to many people.  If you are so inclined, please forward this message to your circles of influence.
3.  Martin E. P. Seligman's Response to Allegations Attributed to Jane Mayer's Book, "The Dark Side" Here, with permission, is Marty's letter to his friends: July 14, 2008

The allegation that I "provided assistance in the process" of torture is completely false.

I gave a three-hour lecture sponsored by SERE (the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape branch of the American armed forces) at the San Diego Naval Base in May 2002. My topic was how American troops and American personnel could use what is known about learned helplessness and related findings to resist torture and evade successful interrogation by their captors.

I was told then that since I was (and am) a civilian with no security clearance that they could not discuss American methods of interrogation with me. I have not had contact with SERE since that meeting. I have not worked under government contract (or any other contract) on any aspect of interrogation or any aspect of torture.  Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Jessen were present in the audience of about 50 others at my speech, and that was, to the best of my knowledge, the sum total of my "assisting them in the process."  

I have had no contact at all with the American Psychological Association about their relevant policies.

As of today, I have not seen Jane Mayer's book, only the blogs. If necessary, I will comment further on its contents.

Most importantly, I strongly disapprove of torture and have never and would never provide assistance in its process.

Martin Seligman
4.  Brief Note:  The "Democracy Now" post.
It will help if you're prepared in advance for what your friends and colleagues may read about Marty in the press and on the web. 
Here are excerpts from the Democracy Now summary:
Ex-APA President Linked to CIA Torture Program.

New information has been revealed about the role psychologists played in helping the CIA develop its torture techniques. In her new book The Dark Side, Jane Mayer reveals a former president of the American Psychological Association, Martin Seligman, was invited by the CIA in the spring of 2002 to speak at the Navy's SERE school in San Diego.... Seligman spoke for three hours about his theory of learned helplessness.... His theories were later adapted for use in CIA prisons.  Seligman is the second APA president to be linked to the CIA's torture program. Last year, it was revealed former APA president Joseph Matarazzo is a partner in the Spokane firm Mitchell & Jessen that was contracted to design the CIA interrogations program. Unlike other medical associations, the APA has refused to unequivocally condemn torture.***

***A Side Note on the Democracy Now assertion that "the APA has refused to unequivocally condemn torture."  I've just spoken to my colleague, Steven Behnke, JD, Director of the Ethics Office of the American Psychological Association. He counsels that the first thing a scientist or a coach asks is, "Where's the data?" 
He then says with conviction, "The APA has repeatedly and emphatically condemned torture."  For the supporting data, he refers us to the APA Ethics page here.
There is additional "data" about APA's position here.  This page includes links to detailed information about the APA's position on Ethics, Interrogations and National Security. The APA's Audrey Hamilton suggest looking at the Frequently Asked Questions section as well as the two recent resolutions passed by APA's Council which are online here:"
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Ben Dean, Editor of Coaching Toward Happiness, is a coach,
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