Saturday, June 1, 2013



My blog:
War Department/Peace Department

Four online Newsletters were published on torture during June.2012.   Three are planned during June 2013.  Planned also are a public demonstration, “Crime Scene,” at the Federal Building, Saturday June 22, 10 a.m., and a Book Forum in late June or in July. 
2012 Newsletters:
1.  June Torture Awareness Month. 
2.  US Torture, War Crimes, Lawlessness
3.  June 26, UN International Support for Victims of Torture Day
4.  Dick Cheney
Contact me if you will prepare one or more of these in 2014.    --Dick

CARTOON in Z Magazine (May 2013) p. 11.

Two characters on a barren landscape:

“Finally someone’s going to prison over the torture our government practiced over the last decade.

Yeah, the CIA whistleblower who pointed it out.”   Rob Gulliver, Big Bend Sentinel.

Contents #1 2012
NRCAT 2012
Tassc 2011
Human Rights News
UN Conventions vs. Torture
IBJ Legal Training and Resources
NRCAT Against Torture
Presbyterian Church
ACLU Torture Report


Contents #2 2013 Torture Awareness Month June 2013
Crime Scene Demonstration Saturday June 22, 10 a.m., Torture Awareness Day,
     Fayetteville, Saturday, June 22 (for June 26 UN Day for Victims of Torture)
Torture Awareness Month June 2013
Methodist Church:  Torture Awareness Month June 2013
  National Religious Campaign Against Torture 2013 (NRCAT)
Episcopal Church
Google Search for Torture Awareness Month 2013
Center for Victims of Torture Gitmo Review Urged
Freedom from Torture (UK)
TASSC: Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition
Empathy and Torture, from The Economist
International Criminal Court
Chicago Police

Scheer, US Global Rendition/Torture System


Grey (2006)

Begg (2006)

Mayer  2008

Ratner, Prosecute Rumsfeld and Other High Officials (2008)

Sands (2008)

Brecher (2008)

Matthews (2008)

Perry (2009)


 Peters (1996)

Hersh (2004)

Levinson (2004)

Ginger (2005)

Roth (2005)








10 A.M. TO 11.  







UNITED NATIONS Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading behavior.

1.                             Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or ...
Mr. Juan Mendez, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading. The United Nations Commission on Human Rights, in resolution ...

2.                           Government effectively cancels UN Special Rapporteur on torture's ... › OHCHR  English  News and Events
GENEVA (24 April 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Méndez, today expressed his deep disappointment with the decision ...

3.                           United Nations Special Rapporteur - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Special Rapporteur, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and ... The mandate by the United Nations has been to "examine, monitor, advise and .... Torture- Juan E. Méndez (2008– ); Trafficking in Persons - Joy Ngozi Ezeilo ...

4.                           Government effectively cancels UN Special Rapporteur ... - ReliefWeb
Apr 24, 2013 – Bahrain / Human rights: Government effectively cancels UN Special Rapporteur on torture's visit. Report. from UN Human Rights Council ...

5.                            BBC News - UN torture investigator 'deeply disappointed' with Bahrain
Apr 24, 2013 – The UN special rapporteur on torture has expressed his "deep disappointment" over Bahrain's decision to indefinitely postpone his visit to the ...

6.                           UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Releases Report on Torture and ...
03.07.13 - This week, Juan Mendez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ...
Apr 29, 2013 – Special Rapporteur on Torture c/o Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. United Nations Office at Geneva. CH-1211 Geneva 10 ...

7.                            In Third Committee, Special Rapporteur on Torture Calls on States ...
Oct 23, 2012 – In Third Committee, Special Rapporteur on Torture Calls on States to Seriously Reconsider Whether Death Penalty Amounts to Cruel, Inhuman ...

8.                           UN Special Rapporteur Addresses Possible Torture in Healthcare
Mar 11, 2013 – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Juan Méndez, presented last week a controversial report to the UN Human Rights Council asserting that ...

9.                           United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture warns about abuse of ...
Mar 13, 2013 – WASHINGTON D.C. (13 March 2013) – In a first-ever briefing to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on solitary confinement in ...

UN Conventions

·                                 UN Convention Against Torture (CAT)
·                                 Countries which Signed and/or Ratified the Convention against Torture
·                                 Optional Protocol for the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)
·                                 Countries which Signed and / or Ratified OPCAT
·                                 UN Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
·                                 Countries which Signed and / or Ratified the UN Convention against Enforced Disappearance



Churches unite against U.S. torture
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By Julia DuinThe Washington Times, Friday, June 6, 2008

Almost 300 congregations across the country have combined forces this month to try to shame the U.S. government about torture through black-and-white banners posted on church properties.
From Anchorage Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Alaska to Augustana Lutheran Church in the District, 298 houses of worship are displaying banners with messages such as “Torture is wrong” and “Torture is a moral issue.”
“It’s to give physical and visible voice to religious opposition to torture,” said Linda Gustitis, a Unitarian who is president of the National Religious Campaign to Abolish Torture (NRCAT), which is providing banners to churches.
“Torture is not a political issue,” she said. “It does not depend on whether or not you support the president or not, or a political party or not. We believe it is obligatory for people of faith to speak out against torture. Their silence condones it.”
Staff at NRCAT, founded in 2006, worked hard to find houses of worship in all 50 states that would post the banners. In six states ” Mississippi, West Virginia, North Dakota, Georgia, Idaho and Nebraska ” it “took a lot of effort,” said John Humphries, program director for NRCAT and a Quaker.
“In Mississippi, the politics are such that it can be intimidating to post a banner,” Ms. Gustitis said.
The overwhelming majority are Catholic or mainline Protestant churches along with 27 synagogues. The list includes three mosques or Islamic centers, and one Buddhist temple. Twenty-one of the participating congregations are in the Washington area, including St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington and Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington.
“This is an important issue for Muslims in North America,” said Mohamed Elsanousi, an NRCAT board member. “Islam values the dignity of human beings and considers that the essence of humanity. That dignity is impacted by torture.”
America’s religious community is divided on torture, Mr. Humphries said in a phone press conference featuring several NRCAT officials. Among the church groups not represented at all are Mormons, Assemblies of God, Orthodox Christians and Southern Baptists.
“There were some areas of the country where people were fearful about posting a banner,” he said, adding a banner was stolen this week from a church in Illinois. . . .”
NRCAT officials said they were inspired to launch the awareness campaign after President Bush in March vetoed a bill passed by Congress that would have prohibited the CIA from using “waterboarding” and other harsh interrogation tactics. The administration also has consistently stated that the United States does not engage in torture.
“As a community, Jews have been victims of torture,” said Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster of Rabbis for Human Rights. “In the book of Genesis, we learn people are created in the image of God and there is a divine spark in everyone. Torture denies that spark.”

Read more: 
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter








·                                 ‘Healing Culture of Torture’

Healing Culture of Torture’

Resources for Torture Awareness Month (June)

April 10, 2013
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is preparing a toolkit for congregations to use during Torture Awareness Month (June).
NRCAT logo
In 1997, the United Nations decided to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the Convention Against Torture & Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by declaring June 26 the International Day of Support of Victims of Torture.
This year’s theme is “Healing the Culture of Torture,” encompassing the need to reflect, pray and act in light of the deep physical and spiritual harm done by torture, and the need to create opportunities for torture victims and society to begin to heal the wounds that torture inflicts.
NRCAT’s Congregational Toolkit will include bulletin inserts, prayers, litanies and a downloadable poster. The toolkit will be available beginning April 22 on NRCAT’swebsite.
The toolkit will be sent to people who pre-register at Torture Awareness Month.

Truth about torture

Healing can take place when the truth about torture is known, emphasized Paz Artaza-Regan NRCAT director for Program & Outreach.
During Torture Awareness Month, NRCAT will highlight the need to:
  • Urge the Senate Intelligence Committee to release its 6,000 page report on CIA torture.
  • Share the report of the Task Force on Detainee Treatment of the Constitution Project, a high level bipartisan report on U.S.-sponsored torture.
  • Encourage people of faith to learn the facts about prolonged solitary confinement in U.S. prisons, including the placement of youths in solitary.
  • Urge people of faith and religious institutions to participate in NRCAT’s efforts to end the use of prolonged solitary confinement.
In addition to promoting these activities for congregations, NRCAT is helping coordinate planning with other religious and human-rights organizations for coalition events in June. A DC-based educational event is being planned for the evening of June 25 and local events in several cities are also being organized, according to Artaza-Regan.

Torture Awareness Month

NRCAT encourages you to tell your congregations, regional bodies and other key leaders of your denomination or religious organization to go to Torture Awareness Month for materials to mark the month.
NRCAT has prepared a sample newsletter blurb:
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) invites congregations to mark June as Torture Awareness Month. In 1997, the United Nations decided to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the enactment of the Convention Against Torture & Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment by declaring June 26 the International Day of Support of Victims of Torture. "[NAME OF ORGANIZATION] is pleased to be a member of NRCAT and join people of faith across the country to end torture in U.S. policy, practice and culture.
NRCAT will distribute a Torture Awareness Month Toolkit on April 22 to people who pre-register now at Toolkit. It is free and you will receive it by email. The toolkit will include bulletin inserts, prayers, litanies, and a downloadable poster. For more information, visitNRCAT.

Action alerts

“Besides the materials for congregations for Torture Awareness Month, NRCAT will have available action alerts aimed at Congress and the president,” Artaza-Regan said. “We’ll also have sample Tweets and Facebook posts for use during the month. I am happy to help prepare custom announcements or answer any questions.”
Artaza-Regan can be reached at or (202) 547-1920.
Editor's note: The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is a membership organization of religious organizations committed to ending torture that is sponsored or enabled by the United States.
Since its formation on January 16, 2006, more than 320 religious organizations have joined and over 67,000 individual people of faith have participated in its activities. Members include representatives from the Baha’i, Buddhist, Catholic, evangelical Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Orthodox Christian, mainline Protestant, Quaker, Sikh and Unitarian Universalist communities. Members include national denominations and faith groups, regional organizations and congregations.
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society is a member. Click here for a complete list of NRCAT members.


·                                 Related Resolutions
o                                                        Abolition of Torture (#6119, 2008 BOR)
o                                                        Opposition to Torture (#6120, 2008 BOR)

On standing up for justice

We need to stand up when others tell us to sit down, and we need to speak out when others tell us to be silent.   – the Rev. Bob Edgar (1943-2013)

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First page.

1.                              Member organizations - National Religious Campaign Against Torture
310+ items – NRCAT Members Participating & Endorsing Members Adjunct ...

2.                              Torture as a Moral Issue - Christ Episcopal Church, Portsmouth, NH
Christ Episcopal Church Joins National Campaign Against Torture. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), an interfaith coalition of more ...

3.                              Email after the 2009 Episcopal Convention | Katrina's Dream
Jul 26, 2009 – Finally, in response to the National Religious Campaign Against Torturethe Episcopal Church calls “upon the President and Congress to ...

4.                              News From St. Mary's Episcopal Church | The Episcopal Diocese of ...
News From St. Mary's Episcopal Church. ... Event for witness against torture planned for Sunday. by EN staff. published: February 13, 2013. The National ...
5.                              [PDF]

Resolution Against Torture - UU District of Metro New York
( Presbyterian Church USA. Resolution Against Torture - Human Rights in a Time of Terrorism ...

6.                              Anti-torture fight unites faiths on treatment of - Episcopal Church › Episcopal News Service Archives
Sep 18, 2006 – The Episcopal Church Welcomes You ... the statement of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, proclaiming that torture violates the ...

7.                              Episcopal congregations join anti-torture effort - Episcopal Church
Jun 4, 2008 – The Episcopal Church Welcomes You ... In an effort organized by the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), most of the ...

8.                              National Religious Campaign Against Torture | PAX CHRISTI USA
Feb 14, 2013 – Posts about National Religious Campaign Against Torture written by ...NRCAT members include the Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church ...

9.                              Ending Torture - All Saints Church - All Saints Episcopal Church
All Saints Church stands firmly against torture. We have joined forces with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture to urge Congress to.

GOOGLE SEARCH, first page April 28, 2013

1.                              Torture Awareness Month - June - National Religious Campaign ...
FREE sign-up for Torture Awareness Month 2013 Toolkit. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) invites congregations to mark June as ...

2.                              Torture Awareness Month - 2013 Survey
Thank you for sharing with the National Religious Campaign Against Torture how you and your congregation/organization will participate in Torture Awareness ...

3.                              Sign Up for Torture Awareness Month Toolkit - Pennsylvania ...
Sign Up for Torture Awareness Month Toolkit. Posted on April 19, 2013 by s_strauss. From the National Religious Campaign Against Torture ...

4.                              Save the Date: ISNA Announces Torture Awareness Month in June ...
Save the Date: ISNA Announces Torture Awareness Month in June. (April 2, 2013) Each June, the Islamic Society of North America joins the National Religious ...

5.                              June is Torture Awareness Month | Maryknoll Office for Global ...
Resources for Torture Awareness Month (June). April 10, 2013. The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is preparing a toolkit for ...

6.                              Torture Awareness Month June | gbcs › Faith in Action
Apr 17, 2012 – Home · Faith in Action; Torture Awareness Month June ... across the country in marking Torture Awareness Month in June. .... April 24, 2013; 'Faith & Mental Health' — Bulletin insert for Mental Health Awareness Month (May) ...

7.                              Torture Awareness Month 2012 - Maryknoll Affiliates › ... › Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
June is Torture Awareness Month - We've received an invitation from Kathy ...Maryknoll Affiliate Board and Regional Coordinators Meeting; May 04, 2013 ...

8.                              Torture Awareness Month - Huffington Post
February 6, 2013 .... forever, I look forward to the day when observances of Torture Awareness Month can speak of U.S.-sponsored torture as a relic of the past.


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·                     Congratulations to CVT nurse Erin Mehta. Mpls St. Paul Magazine named Erin a finalist for this year’s Outstanding Nurses Awards.
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Urgent! Tell President Obama to Close Guantanamo Now   Dear President Obama, As survivors...

Sign the TASSC Petition to President Obama to Close Guantanamo Now

May 2, 2013
Urgent! Tell President Obama to Close Guantanamo Now   Dear President Obama, As survivors of torture, we are extremely concerned that at least 21...
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Ask the Senate to Protect Survivors and Asylum Seekers

April 24, 2013
 Ask the Senate to Protect Survivors and Asylum Seekers   . S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act includes significant,...
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Community of Healing Meeting Celebrates Interns and Asylees

April 22, 2013
On Saturday, April 20, survivors from TASSC and their families joined together at our monthly Community of Healing gathering to celebrate, and to say...
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End Torture – Welcome Survivors: TASSC June Survivor Week: June 20 – 26, 2013

April 4, 2013
  This June will mark the 16th anniversary of TASSC International’s June Survivor Week. We invite you to participate in our activities during the...
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Urgent TASSC Action Alert: Tell Arizona Senators to Close Eloy Immigration Detention Center

May 7, 2013
“Gang of 8” Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake: Release Immigrants from Eloy Detention Center and Close It Down! Editorial Note: Many survivors of...
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Chief Prosecutor Calls on President Obama to Close Guantanamo

May 1, 2013
Ask President Obama to End Torture and Close Guantanamo   President Obama: Close Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay. Morris Davis   I served 25...
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Religious Leaders Call on President to Act Expeditiously on Renewed Commitment to Close Guantanamo

May 1, 2013
Washington, D.C. – During a press conference earlier today, President Obama reiterated his belief that the United States needs to close the detention center...
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Communities of Healing

TASSC Advocates for Survivors of Torture in Immigration Detention

TASSC Advocates for Survivors of Torture in Immigration Detention

  To our shock and surprise, more than forty survivors who came to TASSC in the past two years from Africa, most of them from Ethiopia and Eritrea, reached the United States by traveling through Latin America and crossing the U.S.Mexico border to ask for political asylum. They were subsequently detained in...
Thank You! Your Help Provides the Beacon of Hope for Survivors and Their Families

Thank You! Your Help Provides the Beacon of Hope for Survivors and Their Families

Make no mistake.  Your help and support make a huge difference in the lives of torture survivors.  Thanks to your generosity more than 1,000 survivors have been helped by TASSC in the last four years.  I want you to know how important your help is to survivors.  Your support makes a differenc! Demissie Abebe Executive Director TASSC...

Truth Speakers

TASSC Survivors Speak at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia

TASSC Survivors Speak at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia

By Jamila Witmer, TASSC Intern On Tuesday, November 13, 2013, seven TASSC survivors, three...
TASSC Survivors and Student Interns Advocate for Human Rights on Capitol Hill

TASSC Survivors and Student Interns Advocate for Human Rights on Capitol Hill

  Forty college students and torture survivors participated in TASSC Lobby Week on Capitol...


·                                 IRCT on Human Rights Day: Rehabilitation for Torture Survivors is a Human Right
·                                 Committee Against Torture Holds 45th Session in Geneva: Nov. 1-19, 2010
·                                 Elimination of Torture and Rehabilitation of Its Victims

UN Conventions

·                                 UN Convention Against Torture (CAT)
·                                 Countries which Signed and/or Ratified the Convention against Torture
·                                 Optional Protocol for the Convention against Torture (OPCAT)
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·                                 Countries which Signed and / or Ratified the UN Convention against Enforced Disappearance


·                                 HealTorture
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·                                 Detention Watch Network
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Interrogation techniques

Empathy and torture, The Economist

Apr 14th 2011, by R.M. | WASHINGTON, DC
Torture for me, but not for thee.EMPATHY is often confused with sympathy in Washington and derided as a trait of bleeding-heart liberals. But whereas sympathy can be uninformed—"I could never imagine what she is going through"—empathy is the ability to identify with the experiences and feelings of another person. And, in general, we humans are pretty bad at it.
Study after study has shown what has come to be known as an "empathy gap" in people. In its simplest form, this means that when we are happy we have trouble identifying with someone who is sad, or when we're angry we have difficulty understanding why someone is content. Basically, our ability to empathise with another person is dependent on the state we ourselves are in, and this has some interesting implications for public policy.
A recent study (published in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science) by Loran Nordgren of Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, Mary-Hunter Morris of Harvard Law School, and George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University, examined the empathy gap with regard to torture policy. Man's propensity to turn monster has long been of interest to behaviourists and psychologists. Witness Philip Zimbardo's prison experiment, or Stanley Milgram's shock experiment. Both of those studies, along with many others, support the idea that our actions depend as much on context as on any inherent disposition. (Or, as others would say, that evil is banal.) This new study moves in a similar direction, but examines how a person's decisions are affected by his ability to relate to the consequences.
The authors note that nearly all countries condemn torture and that most laws define torturous acts based on the severity of the pain inflicted. For example, the UN Convention Against Torture, of which America is a signatory, defines torture as the "infliction of severe physical or mental pain or suffering." So lawmakers must be able to accurately assess the pain of their interrogation policies in order to determine whether they constitute torture. And because they don't themselves experience the pain, they must rely on their subjective intuition about the resulting trauma.
The study shows, once again, that humans aren't good at this. Participants were asked to evaluate the pain resulting from three interrogation techniques—exposure to cold temperatures, sleep deprivation, and solitary confinement. Some of the participants made their judgments while experiencing a mild version of the pain associated with those techniques, while others were placed in normal conditions. The results turned out as expected. Those who experienced some of the same discomfort and pain as the interrogation technique were more likely to classify that technique as torture.
Conclusion: policymakers should be waterboarded before debating new interrogation techniques. Or, as the authors put it, "judgments made in a state of pain are more fully informed, and hence more valid, than those made in the absence of pain." Perhaps, then, it was Jay Bybee's lack of near-death experiences that explains his memo from 2002, which concluded that "pain amounting to torture must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or death." As with Mr Bybee, our inability to appreciate the pain caused by certain techniques means we are more likely to authorise acts that we'd probably consider torture if they were ever performed on us. Therefore, the study's authors suggest more restrictive legal standards be adopted.
Might this also hold for other policies? Certainly most politicians cannot appreciate the pain caused by the government's alienation of homosexuals, or the distress caused by cuts to unemployment insurance. Defunding Planned Parenthood is less likely to trouble the rich old pols who have never had to visit one of its clinics. Obviously lawmakers cannot experience all of the hardship that their policies cause. And many of these measures are worthy in spite of their harsh consequences. But having some knowledge of our own empathy gap could lead to more balanced decisions in all areas of public policy.

Oxford University Press

You are here: Home > Academic, Professional, & General > Law > Criminal Law > The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court A Commentary

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Antonio Cassese was awarded the Wolfgang Friedmann Memorial Award for 2007 for outstanding contributions to the field of international law

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

A Commentary

Professor Antonio Cassese, Professor Paola Gaeta, and Mr John R.W.D. Jones
2,380 pages | 246x171mm
978-0-19-829862-5 | Hardback | 25 July 2002

Author Information
Table of Contents
  • The Statute for the International Criminal Court is the most important international legal document since the UN Charter
  • International criminal law is the fastest-growing specialty in international law
  • Cassese is a former Chief Judge at the Yugoslavia War Crimes Tribunal
  • Most of the contributors were involved in negotiating and drafting of the Rome Statute
  • The two-volume set is accompanied by a free volume that includes the English and French text of the Statute, along with other relevant material
The International Criminal Court (ICC) officially came into existence in July 2002 following the 60th ratification of the Rome Statute, heralding a new era for the effective prosecution and punishment of serious violations of international humanitarian law - genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

This Commentary takes a thematic look at the whole of international criminal law, appraising the contributions of international tribunals such as the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals and the ad hoc Tribunals for Yugoslavia and Rwanda, as well as those of national courts. It re-examines the case law developed by these courts and tribunals, establishes to what extent the Rome Statute codifies this body of law or instead departs from it, and makes a critical assessment of the Statute as a viable working tool for international criminal justice. A third volume contains the texts of the Statute, the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and Elements of Crimes. 

Written by an outstanding international team of experts under the general editorship of Antonio Cassese, Paola Gaeta, and John R.W.D. Jones, this timely companion to the burgeoning field of international criminal law will be of interest to international legal scholars, practitioners and judges, and to all those who are interested in the administration of international justice and the workings of international institutions.
Antonio Cassese is the Editor of the Journal of International Criminal Justice. To read sample articles from the journal visit:
Readership: Academics and practitioners specializing in international criminal law, government ministries and non-government organizations; law libraries

Commentary on the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:

Observers' Notes, Article by Article
Front Cover
Otto Triffterer, Kai Ambos
C. H. Beck, 2008 - Law - 1954 pages
On July 1, 2008, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) entered into force, enabling the ICC - as laid down in the Preamble to the Statute - to affirm "that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at national level and by enhancing international cooperation." In this second edition commentary, Otto Triffterer and a number of eminent legal practitioners and scholars in the field of international criminal law give a detailed article-by-article analysis of both the Statute as well as the "Elements of Crime" and the "Rules of Procedure and Evidence," adopted by the Assembly of States Parties in 2002, and the "Regulations of the Court", adopted by the Judges of the ICC in 2004. This substantially revised and significantly amended version considers the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR); other international, "semi-international," or national courts; and the relevant literature since the publication of the first edition in 1999. This book has been selected in 2009 to receive the prestigious ASIL Certificate of Merit for High Technical Craftsmanship and Utility to Practicing Lawyers and Scholars.

Flint Taylor (People’s Law Office), Torture by Chicago Police

Global Torture Network

Racism, Torture and Impunity in Chicago

“Jon Burge’s Racist Legacy” by Flint Taylor 

In Chicago, Black History Month is a time when some of us reflect on one of our poorest-kept secrets, an ongoing injustice born of brutal, systemic racism, which has spread over a generation and whose stain is deeply embedded in the fabric of the city. 

About the Author

Flint Taylor
Flint Taylor is one of the lawyers for a number of men tortured by Chicago police under Commander Jon Burge, and a...

Also by the Author

A decade after Illinois Governor George Ryan emptied death row and pardoned four innocent men who were tortured by police under Commander Jon Burge, the city of Chicago has not admitted to its collective crimes.
Forty years ago, a rookie Chicago police detective named Jon Burge tortured Anthony Holmes using electric shock and suffocation, causing him to crawl on the floor in pain. Lacing this torture with racial epithets, Burge initiated a pattern of dehumanizing abuse that would terrorize at least 120 African- American men, their families and the black community for the next twenty years. This pattern was marked not only by its uniquely brutal tactics, but also by its overtly racist motivation. Burge referred to his notorious electric shock device as the “nigger box,” used the term “nigger” as part of his torture routine, and also used the term to describe his victims in boastful conversations with friends and even casual acquaintances. One day, when asked by an acquaintance about his work investigating homicides, he remarked that he had been “dealing with dead fucking niggers all day.” His “right-hand men,” Sgt. John Byrne and Detective Peter Dignan, also repeatedly used the term, including during interrogations, introducing the plastic cover used for suffocation by saying they had “something special for niggers,” and threatening to hang another suspect by pointing to a noose dangling from the basement ceiling and saying they “hang niggers around here all the time.” Burge and his confederates often focused their torture and brutality on the genitals of their victims.
This blatant racism is underscored by two pending civil rights damages lawsuits, brought under the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act, in which two wrongfully convicted black men allege that their torture was the result of a racially motivated police conspiracy. The accusations are disturbing: in Darrell Cannon’s case, Byrne and Dignan informed him that they had “a scientific way of interrogating niggers,” then took him to a remote area and repeatedly shocked him on the genitals while using the racial slur so frequently, Cannon recalls thinking “that was my name.” In Ronald Kitchen’s case, Burge and Detective Michael Kill beat him and kicked him in the genitals while racially taunting him. When later asked, under oath, how often he used the “n-word,” Kill proudly replied, “More than a million times.”
Local historians, including African-American history professor Adam Green at the University of Chicago, have linked this racially based torture to the brutality of slavery, lynchings and Jim Crow. The parallels in the nature and focus of the brutality are undeniable; so too the selection of African-American police commanders chosen for their subservience, who looked the other way when they heard the anguished screams of the torture victims. African-American detectives were kept in line by strict enforcement of the police code of silence, and when they complained of Burge’s racism to their commander, Burge threatened them with retaliation. Several of these detectives heard rumors that Burge was a Ku Klux Klan member in Indiana. So black detectives under Burge remained silent, coming forward to acknowledge the “open secret” only after retiring decades later.
The Cook County prosecutor’s office not only countenanced and facilitated the racist pattern of torture; it also aggressively used the confessions so produced to wrongfully convict scores of African-American men, sending a dozen to death row. Some of the prosecutors kept a scorecard of their “accomplishments,” comparing the weights of their convicted defendants in a competition called “niggers by the pound.”
Richard Daley’s long-term complicity in the torture scandal is now well known. As mayor, he scorned all opportunities to apologize and paid millions in taxpayer dollars to continue to defend this undeniable record of racism. In 2006, special prosecutors given $7 million in public funds to investigate Burge and his men somehow managed never to mention the racist nature of the torture in their 192-page report. And when Burge was finally put on trial in 2010—not for the torture itself, but for lying about it—his lawyers kept any mention of racism out of the record. While waiting for the jury to deliver a verdict, Burge asked one courtroom observer whether the jury would really “believe that bunch of niggers,” apparently referring to the courageous men who had testified against him. One of those men was Melvin Jones, to whom Burge rhetorically posed a similar question while torturing him with electric shocks thirty years earlier.
Last summer, the Chicago City Council and Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed off on a settlement for another torture survivor, Michael Tillman, who was exonerated in 2010. It was the perfect chance for the mayor to apologize on behalf of the city to the African-American community that helped elect him. He chose not to do so. Instead, picking up where the Daley administration left off, the mayor has continued to fund Burge’s defense, paying private lawyers a total of $3.8 million to date in the Cannon and Kitchen cases alone. Incredibly, in the Kitchen case, the attorneys the Emanuel administration has chosen to represent Burge are the very same lawyers a federal judge found to have practiced “deliberate,” “purposeful” and “invidious,” “racially based” discrimination during jury selection in another wrongful conviction case.
Burge is now serving a four-and-a-half-year sentence in federal prison, where he continues to receive his pension on the taxpayers’ dime. None of his co-conspirators have been held accountable. At the same time, scores of torture survivors remain locked behind bars, serving significantly longer sentences for crimes to which they confessed while being brutalized. If Black History Month is to mean anything in a city like Chicago, our leaders must finally own up to this racist legacy—or they, too, will be remembered for covering it up.
In “Chicago's Dark Legacy of Police Torture” (July 19, 2012), Liliana Segura reported that a play by the journalist who broke the story of the abuse under Police Commander Jon Burge will not let us forget, despite the state’s shutdown of an investigatory commission.




 Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:14 pm (PDT) . Posted by:
"Dave Culver" mplsstreetrwy, VETERANS FOR PEACE
  • When it comes to torture in the post 9/11 era, the record of the United
    States is so appalling that one must question our claimed abhorrence of the
    barbarism of other nations.
    Extraordinary Rendition Report Finds More Than 50 Nations Involved In Global Torture Scheme

    Robert Scheer, Truthdig

    Feb 7, 2013 | The title, ³Globalizing Torture,² says it all. This meticulous
    accounting of the network of torture chambers that the United States has authorized in more than 54 nations is a damning indictment that should make all of us in this country cringe with shame.

    The report is a product of the Open Society Foundations, funded by
    international financier and philanthropist
    George Soros, who, as a young Jew, suffered through the Nazi occupation of Hungary and emerged from that experience an uncompromising fighter for human rights. That his lifelong goal to ³foster accountability for international crimes,² reflected in his organization¹s mission statement, now includes our government is acondemnation as awful as it is deserved.

    Full story...¹s-global-torture-network
    Extraordinary Rendition Report Finds More Than 50 Nations Involved In Global Torture Scheme, Joshua Hersh, Huffington Post;utm_term=Daily%20Brief02/04/2013 | The U.S. counterterrorism practice known as extraordinary rendition, in which suspects were quietly moved to secret prisons abroad and often tortured, involved the participation of more than 50 nations, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Open Society Foundations.

These books are wholly about US state torture.  *Asterisk indicates books I own and are available for loan.
Levinson (2004)
Greenberg (2005)
McCoy (2006)
*Grey (2006)
*Begg (2006)
*Sands (2008)
*Ratner (2008)
*Mayer (2008)
Matthews (2008)
Phillips (2011)

Levinson, Torture : A Collection 

A Collection (Google eBook)
Front Cover
Sanford Levinson St. John Garwood Chair in Law University of Texas School of Law
Oxford University Press, Oct 28, 2004 - Political Science - 328 pages
Torture is perhaps the most unequivocally banned practice in the world today. Yet within six weeks after September 11, articles began appearing suggesting that torture might be "required" in order to interrogate suspected terrorists about future possibilities of violence. The United States and some of its allies are using methods of questioning relating to the war on terrorism that could be described as torture or, at the very least, as inhuman and degrading. It is known that the United States sent some suspected terrorists to allied countries that are well known to engage in torture. And in terror's wake, the use of such methods, at least under some conditions, has gained some prominent defenders. Torture: A Collection brings together leading lawyers, political theorists, social scientists, and public intellectuals to debate the advisability of maintaining the absolute ban on torture and to reflect on what it says about our societies if we do--or do not--adhere to it in all circumstances. One important question is how we define torture at all. Are "cruel and inhumane" practices that result in profound physical or mental discomfort tolerable so long as they do not meet some definition of "torture"? And how much "transparency" do we really want with regard to interrogation practices? Is "don't ask, don't tell" an acceptable response to those who concern themselves about these practices? Addressing these questions and more, this book tackles one of the most controversial issues that we face today. The noted contributors include Ariel Dorfman, Elaine Scarry, Alan Dershowitz, Judge Richard Posner, Michael Walzer, Jean Bethke Elshtain, and other lawyers from both the United States and abroad.

Edited by Karen J. Greenberg. 
414 pp. Cambridge UP, 2005.


CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror by Alfred McCoy.   American Empire Project.  AMetropolitan/Holt, 2006.

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Alfred McCoy A Question of Torture

“An indispensable and riveting account” of the CIA’s development and use of torture, from the cold war to Abu Ghraib and beyond (Naomi Klein, The Nation)

In this revelatory account of the CIA’s fifty-year effort to develop new forms of torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy locates the deep roots of recent scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo in a long-standing, covert program of interrogation. A Question of Torture investigates the CIA’s practice of “sensory deprivation” and “self-inflicted pain,” in which techniques including isolation, hooding, hours of standing, and manipulation of time assault the victim’s senses and destroy the basis of personal identity. McCoy traces the spread of these practices across the globe, from Vietnam to Iran to Central America, and argues that after 9/11, psychological torture became the weapon of choice in the CIA’s global prisons, reinforced by “rendition” of detainees to “torture-friendly” countries. Finally, McCoy shows that information extracted by coercion is worthless, making a strong case for the FBI’s legal methods of interrogation.

Scrupulously documented and grippingly told, A Question of Torture is a devastating indictment of inhumane practices that have damaged America’s laws, military, and international standing.




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Chapter One
Two Thousand Years of Torture
 In April 2004, the American public was stunned when CBS Television broadcast photographs from Abu Ghraib prison, showing Iraqis naked, hooded, and contorted in humiliating positions while U.S. soldiers stood over them, smiling.1 As the scandal grabbed headlines around the globe, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld assured Congress that the abuse was “perpetrated by a small number of U.S. military,” whom columnist William Safire branded as “creeps.”2 Other commentators—citing the famous Stanford prison experiment in which ordinary students

By Eric (North Hampton, NH) ★★★★★ August 03, 2009
This book really spells it all out for ya. I just read it over the past two days and it's informative and enraging, but also somewhat graphic. I suppose that's to be expected though.
I didn't realize that the brand of torture used today that's so invasive and so crippling was developed 50 years ag... ...more
By Charlie (Issaquah, WA) ★★★★★ August 21, 2007
Here is one good reason to read this book:

I do not think that Colonel Jacobs intended to make any kind of a comment on torture. But the paranoia he claims is helpful for our national defense is the same paranoia that allowed for the creation of torture progr... ...more
By Kaylan ★★★★☆ May 22, 2010
I knew bad things were happening in our name....McCoy does not let the reader down by leaving out details. I had to put the book down a few times in order to recollect myself. And I was JUST READING what was done during torture interrogations. McCoy brings up the great point about top-bottom resp... ...more
By Preston ★★★★☆ March 27, 2013
This documents how the U.S. and the American Psychological Association conspired to invent the first new form of torture known to mankind in the past 1000 years, and how any other "political view" is either tacitly irrational at best or maliciously culpable at worst. ...more


The True Story of the CIA Rendition and Torture Program. 

Stephen Grey.  St. Martin's Griffin, 2006. 

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Stephen Grey Ghost Plane

On June 10th, 2002, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that the US had captured a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to explode a "dirty bomb" on American soil.  That alleged terrorist was José Padilla who was finally charged in 2005 with conspiracy to murder.  What Ashcroft didn't talk about was how information against him was obtained – by the relentless torture of one man-- Binyam Mohamed, in the name of the United States.  Arrested at Karachi Airport before Padilla’s arrest on April 10, 2002, Mohamed was put on a luxury executive jet and flown to an interrogation center in Morocco.  For over 18 months, he was subjected to one torture after another: Beating followed beating and, then, his guards produced razor blades and began to split the skin all over his body, including on his genitals.  Since 1997, hundreds of people, many of whom have no ties to terrorist organizations, have been abducted from foreign airports or street corners on suspicions based at times on the flimsiest of evidence courtesy of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.  In Ghost Plane, Stephen Grey tells the true story of the CIA's torture program known by the euphemism "extraordinary rendition" and the airplanes that make the program run.  Begun during the Clinton administration, but taking a decidedly more voracious turn after 9/11, the rendition system has seen the transfer of more than 1000 prisoners into jails stretching from Guantanamo to



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Ghost Plane
PART ONEDESTINATION TORTURE1THE MEN IN BLACKFLIGHTLOGRegistration: N379P Type: Gulfstream VOperator: Premier Executive Transport, MassachusettsDate 17 December 2001 Flight plan:Johnston County, North Carolina (dep. 7:13 P.M.)--Dulles, Washington, DCDulles, Washington, DC (dep. 9:15 P.M.)--Cairo, Egypt (arr. 3:19 P.M.) 18 December Cairo, Egypt (dep. 4:43 P.M.)--Stockholm, Sweden (arr. 8:43 P.M.) Stockholm, Sweden (dep. 9:48 P.M.)--Cairo, Egypt (arr. 3:30 P.M.)STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, BROMMA AIRPORT, DECEMBER 18, 2001, 8:20 P.M.--It was a dark and chilly night when the two cars pulled up


Praise for Ghost Plane

"Powerful and damning...[Grey] is a prodigious digger and more than a single-minded muckraker. His attention to detail can be chilling."
--The Washington Post
"An explosive new book provides a rare glimpse into the full extent of the Agency’s controversial terror renditions."
"It's not often an author gets an unsolicited pre-publication stamp of legitimacy from the U.S. president, much less one who reports on human-rights issues...disturbing in the depth and detail of its evidence."
--Kirkus Reviews, (Starred)

Enemy Combatant:  My Imprisonment at Guantánamo, Bagram, and Kandahar.  MOAZZAM BEGG.  New Press, 2006.

The first authentic firsthand portrait of a detainee’s life at Guantánamo . . . essential reading. [Moazzam Begg] describes his incarceration with restraint, precision, and sometimes withering humor.
When Enemy Combatant was first published in the United States in hardcover in 2006 it garnered sensational reviews, and its author was featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, on National Public Radio, and on ABC News. A second generation British Muslim, Begg had been held by the U.S. military for more than three years before being released without charge in January of 2005. His memoir is the first published account by a Guantánamo detainee of life inside the infamous prison.
Writing in the Washington Post Book World, Jane Mayer described Enemy Combatant as “fascinating . . . Begg provides some ideological counterweight to the one–sided spin coming from the U.S. government. He writes passionately and personally, stripping readers of the comforting lie that somehow the detainees aren’t really like us, with emotional attachments, intellectual interests and fully developed humanity.”
Recommended by the Financial Times and Tikkun magazine and a ColorLines Editors’ Pick of Post–9/11 Books, Enemy Combatant is “a forcefully told, up-to-the-minute political story . . . necessary reading for people on all sides of the issue” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

Moazzam Begg was born and raised in Birmingham, England, where he established an Islamic bookstore and aided in relief efforts in Bosnia and Afghanistan. Since his release he has returned to Birmingham and speaks and lectures widely. Victoria Brittain is the former associate foreign editor of The Guardian. She and Gillian Slovo co-assembled the play Guantánamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. She lives in London.

The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld

A Prosecution by Book by MICHAEL RATNER.  2008. 

He won’t be tried in the United States. He can’t be tried by an international tribunal. So Donald Rumsfeld will have to be prosecuted by book.
The Case Against Donald Rumsfeld lays out the evidence that high-level officials of the Bush administration ordered, authorized, implemented, and permitted war crimes, in particular the crimes of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. 
        Using primary source documents ranging from Rumsfeld’s “techniques chart” and Iraqi plaintiffs’ statements to the testimony of whistleblowers and key pieces of reportage, the book sets forth evidence of a torture program that took place throughout the world: in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo, secret CIA prisons, and other places unknown.
        The accused are accorded a defense drawn from their memos and public statements. Readers are allowed to judge whether the Bush administration has engaged in torture and whom among the administration to hold responsible.
        Reminiscent of Christopher Hitchens’s bestselling The Trial of Henry Kissinger, The Case Against Donald Rumsfeld constitutes one of the only attempts to hold high-ranking Bush administration officials criminally responsible for their actions.

Michael Ratner is the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which, along with other human rights groups, filed a war crimes lawsuit against Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and other U.S. officials in Germany under the country’s universal jurisdiction law. He lives in New York City.
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NO COMMENT, SIX QUESTIONS July 14, 2008, 10:58 am

Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side

In a series of gripping articles, Jane Mayer has chronicled the Bush Administration’s grim and furtive dealings with torture and has exposed both the individuals within the administration who “made it happen” (a group that starts with Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, David Addington), the team of psychologists who put together the palette of techniques, and the Fox television program “24,” which was developed to help sell it to the American public. In a new book, The Dark Side, Mayer puts together the major conclusions from her articles and fills in a number of important gaps. Most significantly, we learn the details on the torture techniques and the drama behind the fierce and lingering struggle within the administration over torture, and we learn that many within the administration recognized the potential criminal accountability they faced over these torture tactics and moved frantically to protect themselves from possible future prosecution. I put six questions to Jane Mayer on the subject of her book, The Dark Side.
1. Reports have circulated for some time that the Red Cross examination of the CIA’s highly coercive interrogation regime—what President Bush likes to call “The Program”—concluded that it was “tantamount to torture.” But you write that the Red Cross categorically described the program as “torture.” The Red Cross is notoriously tight-lipped about its reports, and you do not cite your source or even note that you examined the report. Do you believe that the threat of criminal prosecution drove the Bush Administration’s crafting of the Military Commissions Act?
Whether anyone involved in the Bush Administration’s interrogation and detention program will be prosecuted is as much a political question as a legal one. Right now in Italy the CIA agents involved in the rendition of Abu Omar are facing criminal charges, which is obviously an unmitigated nightmare for the Bush Administration.But to get that far it took an extraordinarily independent and politically fearless local prosecutor, Armando Spataro. I may be wrong, but I personally doubt there will be large-scale legal repercussions inside America for those who devised and implemented “The Program.” Activists will be angry at me for saying this, but as someone who has covered politics in Washington, D.C., for two decades, I would be surprised if there is the political appetite for going after public servants who convinced themselves that they were acting in the best interests of the country, and had legal authority to do so. An additional complicating factor is that key members of Congress sanctioned this program, so many of those who might ordinarily be counted on to lead the charge are themselves compromised.
Much will depend on who the next president and attorney general are, and how much pressure they feel. At the very least, as a journalist, I hope that the records are opened, and all the legal memos released (several crucial ones remain secret) so that the country can learn its own history here. My guess is that the real accountability for President Bush will be in the history books, not the court room.
As for the damning Red Cross report, as I make clear to readers in the book, I have not personally read it, because as you say, it is very closely held. I have instead relied upon multiple sources who are knowledgeable about it. Adding to the confidence I have concerning it is the specificity, and consistency of the details, as well as confirmation I was able to get from additional independent sources familiar with the treatment of the detainees. For instance, Abu Zubayda claimed to have been locked in a tiny cage, in which he had to remain doubled up for long periods of time, prior to the period when he was waterboarded. This account—which he gave to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)—was confirmed to me independently by a former CIA officer familiar with his interrogation. It also is consistent with the chronology of legal actions taken inside the Justice Department. Incidentally, being caged only made him angry, according to the former CIA source. The sadistic treatment of Abu Zubayda also seems to have affected him psychologically in bizarre ways. Two sources said that he became sexually obsessive, masturbating so much his captors feared he would injure himself. One described him as acting “like a monkey at the zoo.” A physician was called in for consultation—one of many instances in which health professionals have played truly disturbing roles in this program. (I personally feel that the medical and psychological professionals who have used their skills to further a program designed to cause pain and suffering should be a high priority in terms of accountability. It has long been a ghastly aspect of torture, worldwide, that doctors and other medical professionals often assist. The licensing boards and professional societies are worthless, in my view, if they don’t demand serious investigations of such unethical uses of science.)
The reaction of top Bush Administration officials to the ICRC report, from what I can gather, has been defensive and dismissive. They reject the ICRC’s legal analysis as incorrect. Yet my reporting shows that inside the White House there has been growing fear of criminal prosecution, particularly after the Supreme Court ruled in the Hamdan case that the Geneva Conventions applied to the treatment of the detainees. This nervousness resulted in the successful effort to add retroactive immunity to the Military Commission Act. Cheney personally spearheaded this effort. Fear of the consequences of exposure also weighed heavily in discussions about whether to shut the CIA program down. In White House meetings, Cheney warned that if they transferred the CIA’s prisoners to Guantanamo, “people will want to know where they have been—and what we’ve been doing with them.” Alberto Gonzales, a source said, “scared” everyone about the possibility of war crimes prosecutions. It was on their minds.
2. You have patiently traced the torture techniques used by the CIA back to two psychologists, James Mitchell and John Bruce Jessen—you describe them as ”good looking, clean-cut, polite Mormons”—who reverse-engineered their techniques out of the SERE (survival, evasion, resistance, escape) program used to train U.S. pilots in self-defense. In Dark Side, you identify an approach called “Learned Helplessness” as the model they used, and you note that its author, Prof. Martin Seligman, made a visit to the SERE school and spoke with Mitchell and Jessen as the program was being formed. Seligman is a former president of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is the sole association of health care professionals to buck condemnation of “The Program” and to resist calls that its members not be involved in it. Do you believe that Seligman’s proximity to the torture program helps explain the difficulty that APA has in rejecting it?
Central… was the work of one of America’s best-known and most successful psychologists, Martin Seligman, the former president of the American Psychological Association… Seligman and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania pioneered work on a theory he called “Learned Helplessness.” He did experiments with dogs in which he used electric shocks to destroy their will to escape… In the spring of 2002, the period during which the CIA was probing what it could do to Zubaydah, Seligman was invited by the CIA to speak at the Navy’s SERE school in San Diego. According to… and Air Force colonel… “Learned Helplessness was his whole paradigm… It starts with isolation. They they eliminate the prisoner’s ability to forecast the future… It creates dread and dependency. It was the KGB model.”
—From The Dark Side
It was completely fascinating to me to learn that Martin Seligman, one of the most esteemed psychologists in the country, a former head of the APA, was connected to the CIA after 9/11. Seligman is known for work he did back in the 1960’s at the University of Pennsylvania in a theory he called “Learned Helplessness.” He and colleagues conducted experiments on caged dogs, in which they used electric charges to shock them randomly. He discovered that the random mistreatment destroyed the dogs emotionally to the point where they no longer had the will to escape, even when offered a way out. Seligman confirmed for me, by email, that in the spring of 2002, as the CIA was trying to figure out how to interrogate its first major high-value detainee, Abu Zubayda, he was brought in to speak about his theories to a high-level confab apparently organized by CIA officials, at the Navy’s SERE School in San Diego. He said his talk lasted some three hours. Seligman said his talk was focused on how to help U.S. soldiers resist torture—not on how to breakdown resistance in detainees.
But, according to numerous sources (who are quoted on the record in The Dark Side), Seligman’s theories were cited admiringly soon after by James Mitchell, the psychologist whom the CIA put on contract to advise on its secret interrogation protocol. Eyewitnesses describe Mitchell as quoting Seligman’s theories of “Learned Helplessness” as useful in showing how to break the resistance of detainees’ to interrogation. One source recounts Mitchell specifically touting the experiments done on dogs in the context of how to treat detainees.
Through a lawyer, Mitchell has denied that these theories guided his and the CIA’s use of such coercive measures as close confinement, psychological manipulation, and calibrated pain. But Mitchell confirmed, when I spoke to him, that he admired Seligman’s work.
Among the U.S. Government’s interrogation techniques that seem to echo these experiments are the uses of random maltreatment—taking away any predictable schedule from detainees so that they have no idea what time it is, no sense of when meals are delivered, no idea if it is day or night, as well as manipulating temperature, sound, sleep, and using isolation, all of which are meant to cause psychic stress that would erode a prisoner’s resistance to being interrogated and foster total dependency upon an interrogator. Perhaps just coincidentally, the detainees have described other ways in which they were treated like dogs—the use of dog cages and of a collar and leash.
3. This week Scott McClellan, Bush’s press secretary, so famous for pronouncing that “we do not torture,” issued a retraction in an interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, admitting that he could not “honestly deny” the Administration’s acceptance and use of torture techniques. President Bush has specifically defended the program with a series of claims concerning Abu Zubaydah. Do his claims stand up to scrutiny?
President Bush has repeatedly defended the need to use “enhanced interrogations” in order to get life-saving intelligence, and has pointed to Abu Zubayda’s case as an example. I went over the claims in this case carefully, and found them highly dubious. Bush claimed three breakthroughs from coercive tactics used on Abu Zubayda.
First, he said, Abu Zubayda told the CIA that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was the terrorist behind the 9/11 plot. But, if one reads the 9/11 Commission’s detailed report on what information had reached the CIA prior to the 9/11 attacks, it is clear that the CIA already had this information.
Second, President Bush said that Abu Zubayda revealed that an American-born Al Qaeda figure was on his way to attack America. This is widely understood to be a reference to Jose Padilla. But numerous published accounts indicate that Abu Zubayda gave this information to interrogators prior to being physically coerced. So it’s not accurate to describe it as an argument for coercion.
Third, the President said Abu Zubayda gave up information leading to the capture of another top Al Qaeda terrorist, Ramsi Bin Al Shibh. But circumstantial evidence, as well as previously published accounts, suggest that Bin Al Shibh was more likely located by the United States as the result of an interview he gave to Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, although President Bush has argued that “enhanced” interrogation had led to numerous breakthroughs he has never publicly acknowledged the false and fabricated intelligence it has yielded, too. One former top CIA official told me, “Ninety percent of what we got was crap.”
4. You spend more time showing how the torture process compromised lawyers than how it compromised health care professionals. One of the more revealing cases involves Jessica Radack, a young career attorney in the Justice Department’s Honors Program, who dispensed ethics advice concerning plans for the interrogation of John Walker Lindh. It seems that her advice was contrary to the ethical views of senior Bush Administration lawyers, and you note that when a federal judge demanded to see the internal Department of Justice records relating to the matter, all of Radack’s emails, including the advice actually dispensed, had been deleted and the hard copies removed, and none of this was furnished to the court. Did the Justice Department ever undertake an internal probe into the obstruction?
Radack was in some ways an early guinea pig showing how high the costs were for anyone—including administration lawyers—who dissented from the Bush Administration’s determination to rewrite the rules for the treatment of terrorists. Her job in the department was to give ethical advice. She was asked whether an FBI officer in Afghanistan could interrogate John Walker Lindh and use his statements against him in any future trial. By the time she was asked this, however, as she knew, Lindh’s father had already hired a lawyer to represent him. So she concluded that it would not be proper for the FBI to question him outside the presence of his counsel.
To her amazement, the FBI agent went ahead and did so anyway, and then the prosecutors in the Justice Department proceeded to use Lindh’s statements against him in their criminal prosecution. She told me, “It was like ethics were out the window. After 9/11, it was, like, ‘anything goes’ in the name of terrorism. It felt like they’d made up their minds to get him, regardless of the process.” Radack believed that the role of the ethics office was to “rein in the cowboys” whose zeal to stop criminals sometimes led them to overstep legal boundaries. “But after 9/11 we were bending ethics to fit our needs,” she said. “Something wrong was going on. It wasn’t just fishy—it stank.”
What happened next was truly scary. She tried to ensure that a judge overseeing the case, who asked for all information regarding the Department’s handling of Lindh, was given the full record, including her own contrary advice. But instead, she said she found that her superiors at Justice sent the judge only selective portions of the record, excluding her contrary opinion. Her case files, she said, were tampered with, and documents missing. Among the senior Justice Department officials who were sent her files, she said was Alice Fisher, a deputy to Michael Chertoff who followed him as head of the Department’s Criminal Division.
Michael Chertoff, who was the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division when Zubayda was caught, downplayed his role… But according to a top CIA official directly involved at the time, as well as a former top Justice Department official involved in a secondhand war, Chertoff was consulted extensively about detainees’ treatment. The former senior Agency official said with disgust, “Chertoff, and Gonzales, and all these other guys act like they know nothing about this now, but they were all in the room. They’re moonwalking backwards so fast, Michael Jackson would be proud of them.”
—From The Dark Side
Radack complained about what she thought were serious omissions of the record being withheld from the judge. Within weeks of disagreeing with the top Justice Department officials, Radack went from having been singled out for praise, to being hounded out of the department. Radack got a job in private practice, but after her story appeared in Newsweek, with copies of some of her emails, the Justice Department opened a leak investigation. The U.S. Attorney then opened a criminal investigation. Radack has since become an advocate for whistle-blowers’ rights. But the episode served as a warning to anyone in the government who stood in the way of the so-called, “New Paradigm.” It is unclear to me what sort of investigation, if any, there has been of this case, including of the potential obstruction.
5. In a recent speech in Boston, Attorney General Mukasey tried to excuse John Yoo, David Addington, and other key players in the Bush Administration torture team by arguing they were operating under intense pressure and were motivated only by a desire to protect the country. But isn’t it obvious that the “War Council” seized upon 9/11 and the war mood that prevailed in its wake as an opportunity to test-pilot their constitutionally-untenable views of presidential power and authority and the irrelevance of international law?
After interviewing hundreds of sources in and around the Bush White House, I think it is clear that many of the legal steps taken by the so-called “War Council” were less a “New Paradigm,” as Alberto Gonzales dubbed it, than an old political wish list, consisting of grievances that Cheney and his legal adviser, David Addington, had been compiling for decades. Cheney in particular had been chafing at the post-Watergate reforms, and had longed to restore the executive branch powers Nixon had assumed, constituting what historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called “the Imperial Presidency.”
Before September 11, 2001, these extreme political positions would not have stood a change of being instituted—they would never have survived democratic scrutiny. But by September 12, 2001, President Bush and Vice President Cheney were extraordinarily empowered. Political opposition evaporated as critics feared being labeled anti-patriotic or worse. It’s a familiar dynamic in American history—not unlike the shameful abridgement of civil liberties represented by FDR’s internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry. One of the strongest quotes in the book, I think, comes from Philip Zelikow, the former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, former counselor to Secretary of State Condi Rice, and a historian who teaches at the University of Virginia. He suggests in time that America’s descent into torture will be viewed like the internment of the Japanese, because they happened for similar reasons. As he puts it, “Fear and anxiety were exploited by zealots and fools.”
6. One of the lingering mysteries in Washington has been what happened to the CIA internal probe into homicides involving the program. You note that CIA Inspector General (IG) John Helgerson undertook a study and initially concluded, just as the Red Cross and most legal authorities in the United States and around the world, that the program was illegal and raised serious war crimes issues. Helgerson was summoned repeatedly to meet privately with Vice President Cheney, the man who provided the impetus for the program, and it appears as a result of these meetings the IG’s report was simply shut down. Would those probes have brought into question the Justice Department’s specific approval of torture techniques used by the CIA–approval that involved not just John Yoo, but much more specifically Michael Chertoff and Alice Fisher, the two figures who ran the criminal division?
The fact that John Helgerson—the inspector general at the CIA who is supposed to act as an independent watchdog—was called in by Cheney to discuss his tough report in 2004 is definitely surprising news. Asked for comment, Helgerson through the CIA spokesman denied he felt pressured in any way by Cheney. But others I interviewed have described the IG’s office to me as extremely politicized. They have also suggested it was very unusual that the Vice President interjected himself into the work of the IG. Fred Hitz, who had the same post in previous administrations, told me that no vice president had ever met with him. He thought it highly unusual.
Helgerson’s 2004 report had been described to me as very disturbing, the size of two Manhattan phone books, and full of terrible descriptions of mistreatment. The confirmation that Helgerson was called in to talk with Cheney about it proves that–as early as then–the Vice President’s office was fully aware that there were allegations of serious wrongdoing in The Program.
We know that in addition, the IG investigated several alleged homicides involving CIA detainees, and that Helgerson’s office forwarded several to the Justice Department for further consideration and potential prosecution. The only case so far that has been prosecuted in the criminal courts is that involving David Passaro—a low-level CIA contractor, not a full official in the Agency. Why have there been no charges filed? It’s a question to which one would expect that Congress and the public would like some answers. Sources suggested to me that, as you imply, it is highly uncomfortable for top Bush Justice officials to prosecute these cases because, inevitably, it means shining a light on what those same officials sanctioned. Chertoff’s role in particular seems ripe for investigation. Alice Fisher’s role also seems of interest. Much remains to be uncovered.

Torture Team:  Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values by
Philippe Sands.   Palgrave Macmillan, May 2009.

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·                                  Praise
·                                  Table of Contents
·                                  Biography

n 2002 Donald Rumsfeld signed a memo that authorized the controversial interrogation practices that later migrated to Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, and elsewhere. From a behind-the-scenes vantage point, Phillipe Sands investigates how this memo set the stage for a divergence from the Geneva Convention and the Torture Convention and holds the individual gatekeepers in the Bush administration accountable for their failure to safeguard international law. Cited in Congressional hearings, Torture Team is the "rigorous, honest, devastating" (Vanessa Redgrave) account of high ranking members of the Bush administration's involvement in authorizing torture and subsequent attempt to cover their tracks.
The New Yorker, April 13, 2009
Sands is quoted in the New York Times, Nov. 5, 2008
 TORTURE TEAM covered in October 15, 2008’s New York Times:
PBS-sponsored documentary “Torturing Democracy” cancels airdate and reschedules
Nation-wide airing for January 21, 2009—one day into the new administration
October 16, 2008, New York’s Channel 13 aired the documentary, along with the supplementary panel discussion with Philippe Sands, Alan Dershowitz, and Carol Rosenberg
Sands is interviewed in the September/October 2008 issue of Mother Jones:
Sands was featured in Nat Hentoff’s article in The Village Voice; Sept. 30, 2008
 Dahlia Lithwick calls it one of the “best new reads”
on Slate and
Vanity Fair’s article on Philippe’s testimony:
Frank Rich’s discussing TORTURE TEAM
July 13, 2008 New York Times
Sands’s latest article on
SANDS’S June 19, 2008 interview on NPR’S “FRESH AIR!” 
Senator Feinstein chaired a Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing June 10, 2008 on the origins of the Administration's torture policies. Among the witnesses was Philippe Sands.  Republican leaders attempted to block Sands's testimony through extraordinary maneuvers on the floor of the Senate. Here's a report on the scene that resulted: Senate Conservatives Uses Rare Maneuver To Try To Close Down A Hearing On Torture
Review of TORTURE TEAM in the May 31, 2008 Financial Times 
Nina Totenberg’s review of TORTURE TEAM May 24, 2008 on NPR 
Huffington Post piece on Sands' work and TORTURE TEAM, May 13, 2008:
Sands’s interview on Bill Moyers Journal (May 9, and May 11, 2008):
Video of Philippe Sands on The New America Foundation, May 7, 2008 event:
May 8, 2008, The Washington Post ran an article discussing (and quoting)
Sands and Torture Team
May 8, 2008, Sands was interviewed on Democracy Now!
Airing nationally on over 700 stations
Sands testified before the House Judiciary Committee hearing, at 10:00 am on May 6, 2008, regarding the revelations in TORTURE TEAM. Watch it on C-SPAN  
Scott Shane’s article on TORTURE TEAM in the May 7, 2008 NEW YORK TIMES  
The Times of London ran a review, May 4, 2008

The Absolute Violation: Why Torture Must Be Prohibited

Front Cover
MQUP, Jul 24, 2008238 pages
Richard Matthews challenges the increasing acceptability of state-sponsored torture interrogation, repudiating any possible justifications. He confronts its various supporters - ticking time bomb and tragic choice theorists, utilitarians, legal scholars - and draws from philosophy, medicine, psychiatry, survivor and torturer narratives, history, feminism, the experience of working intelligence officials, anthropology, and game theory to illustrate that no moral justification for torture can be supported.

None of Us Were Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture
Based on firsthand reporting from Iraq as well as interviews with soldiers and their families, this work illustrates that the damaging legacy of torture is not only borne by the detainees, but also by American soldiers and the country to which they've returned.


Some of these books are mainly about US state torture and might be placed in the list above.  The others are partly about US torture or mainly discuss torture as an ethical issue or torture around the world.

Edward Peters.  Torture.  1996.

Conroy.  Unspeakable Acts.  2001.

*Seymour Hersh.   Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib.  2004.

*Ann Fagan Ginger, ed.  (Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute).  Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11.  Prometheus, 2005.

Torture: Religious Ethics and National Security

by John Perry.  Novalis, 2005.

Kenneth Roth and Minky Worden, eds.  Torture: Does It Make Us Safer? Is It Ever OK?: A Human Rights Perspective.  New Press, 2005

Bob Brecher.  Torture and the Ticking Bomb.  2006.

William Schulz.  The Phenomenon of Torture.  2007. 

Review of Greenberg and Roth & Worden.


Torture by Edward Peters.  Expanded edition 1996 (1986).

"In the restrained prose of Torture lies a passionate message about the intentional violation of the bodies of human beings, in our time and in the past."—New York Times
"Torture goes beyond the solemn declaration of evil's banality. It offers an explanation of how institutional characteristics—even more strongly than personal ones like sadism or psychosis—produce that evil. It contributes to our understanding—if we dare call it that—of how creatures who begin by crying for their mothers can graduate to bashing in heads."—Philadelphia Inquirer
"A masterful analytical history of torture's emergence in Roman law, its insertion into the medieval law of proof, its gradual abolition after 1750, and its dreadful recrudescence in modern times. The book is an exemplary application of historical scholarship to an issue where emotions tend to run ahead of reason."—Times Literary Supplement
"Torture has ceased to exist," Victor Hugo claimed, with some justification, in 1874. Yet more than a century later, torture is used routinely in one out of every three countries. This book is about torture in Western society from earliest times to the present.
A landmark study since its original publication a decade ago, Torture is now available in an expanded and updated paperback edition. Included for the first time is a broad and disturbing selection of documents charting the historical practice of torture from the ancient Romans to the Khmer Rouge.
Edward Peters is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania. His publications include The Magician, the Witch, and the Law, Heresy and Authority in Medieval Europe, The First Crusade, and, with Alan C. Kors, Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History, all available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People

The Dynamics of Torture.

John Conroy (Author)

Not available in British Commonwealth, Ireland, South Africa; Available in United States, Canada, Philippines
Paperback, 315 pages
·                                 Author Bio
Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People is a riveting book that exposes the potential in each of us for acting unspeakably. John Conroy sits down with torturers from several nations and comes to understand their motivations. His compelling narrative has the tension of a novel. He takes us into a Chicago police station, two villages in the West Bank, and a secret British interrogation center in Northern Ireland, and in the process we are exposed to the experience of the victim, the rationalizations of the torturer, and the seeming indifference of the bystander. The torture occurs in democracies that ostensibly value justice, due process, and human rights, and yet the perpetrators and their superiors escape without punishment, revealing much about the dynamics of torture.



Seymour Hersh.   Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib.  2004.

Publisher, 2nd ed. 2005: Since September 11, 2001, Seymour M. Hersh has riveted readers -- and outraged the Bush Administration -- with his explosive stories in The New Yorker, including his headline-making pieces on the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Now, Hersh brings together what he has learned, along with new reporting, to answer the critical question of the last four years: How did America get from the clear morning when two planes crashed into the World Trade Center to a divisive and dirty war in Iraq?
In Chain of Command, Hersh takes an unflinching look behind the public story of the war on terror and into the lies and obsessions that led America into Iraq. Hersh draws on sources at the highest levels of the American government and intelligence community, in foreign capitals, and on the battlefield for an unparalleled view of a critical chapter in America's recent history. In a new afterword, he critiques the government's failure to adequately investigate prisoner abuse -- at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere -- and punish those responsible. With an introduction by The New Yorker's editor, David Remnick, Chain of Command is a devastating portrait of an administration blinded by ideology and of a president whose decisions have made the world a more dangerous place for America.



How the Department of Defense mishandled the disaster at Abu Ghraib BY SEYMOUR M. HERSH, The New Yorker, MAY 17, 2004.

·                                 PRINT
·                                 MORE
In his devastating report on conditions at Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq, Major General Antonio M. Taguba singled out only three military men for praise. One of them, Master-at-Arms William J. Kimbro, a Navy dog handler, should be commended, Taguba wrote, because he “knew his duties and refused to participate in improper interrogations despite significant pressure from the MI”—military intelligence—“personnel at Abu Ghraib.” Elsewhere in the report it became clear what Kimbro would not do: American soldiers, Taguba said, used “military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.”
Taguba’s report was triggered by a soldier’s decision to give Army investigators photographs of the sexual humiliation and abuse of prisoners. These images were first broadcast on “60 Minutes II” on April 28th. Seven enlisted members of the 372nd Military Police Company of the 320th Military Police Battalion, an Army reserve unit, are now facing prosecution, and six officers have been reprimanded. Last week, I was given another set of digital photographs, which had been in the possession of a member of the 320th. According to a time sequence embedded in the digital files, the photographs were taken by two different cameras over a twelve-minute period on the evening of December 12, 2003, two months after the military-police unit was assigned to Abu Ghraib.
One of the new photographs shows a young soldier, wearing a dark jacket over his uniform and smiling into the camera, in the corridor of the jail. In the background are two Army dog handlers, in full camouflage combat gear, restraining two German shepherds. The dogs are barking at a man who is partly obscured from the camera’s view by the smiling soldier. Another image shows that the man, an Iraqi prisoner, is naked. His hands are clasped behind his neck and he is leaning against the door to a cell, contorted with terror, as the dogs bark a few feet away. Other photographs show the dogs straining at their leashes and snarling at the prisoner. In another, taken a few minutes later, the Iraqi is lying on the ground, writhing in pain, with a soldier sitting on top of him, knee pressed to his back. Blood is streaming from the inmate’s leg. Another photograph is a closeup of the naked prisoner, from his waist to his ankles, lying on the floor. On his right thigh is what appears to be a bite or a deep scratch. There is another, larger wound on his left leg, covered in blood.
·                        There is at least one other report of violence involving American soldiers, an Army dog, and Iraqi citizens, but it was not in Abu Ghraib. Cliff Kindy, a member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams, a church-supported group that has been monitoring the situation in Iraq, told me that last November G.I.s unleashed a military dog on a group of civilians during a sweep in Ramadi, about thirty miles west of Fallujah. At first, Kindy told me, “the soldiers went house to house, and arrested thirty people.” (One of them was Saad al-Khashab, an attorney with the Organization for Human Rights in Iraq, who told Kindy about the incident.) While the thirty detainees were being handcuffed and laid on the ground, a firefight broke out nearby; when it ended, the Iraqis were shoved into a house. Khashab told Kindy that the American soldiers then “turned the dog loose inside the house, and several people were bitten.” (The Defense Department said that it was unable to comment about the incident before The New Yorker went to press.)
When I asked retired Major General Charles Hines, who was commandant of the Army’s military-police school during a twenty-eight-year career in military law enforcement, about these reports, he reacted with dismay. “Turning a dog loose in a room of people? Loosing dogs on prisoners of war? I’ve never heard of it, and it would never have been tolerated,” Hines said. He added that trained police dogs have long been a presence in Army prisons, where they are used for sniffing out narcotics and other contraband among the prisoners, and, occasionally, for riot control. But, he said, “I would never have authorized it for interrogating or coercing prisoners. If I had, I’d have been put in jail or kicked out of the Army.”
The International Red Cross and human-rights groups have repeatedly complained during the past year about the American military’s treatment of Iraqi prisoners, with little success. In one case, disclosed last month by the Denver Post, three Army soldiers from a military-intelligence battalion were accused of assaulting a female Iraqi inmate at Abu Ghraib. After an administrative review, the three were fined “at least five hundred dollars and demoted in rank,” the newspaper said.
Army commanders had a different response when, on January 13th, a military policeman presented Army investigators with a computer disk containing graphic photographs. The images were being swapped from computer to computer throughout the 320th Battalion. The Army’s senior commanders immediately understood they had a problem—a looming political and public-relations disaster that would taint America and damage the war effort.
One of the first soldiers to be questioned was Ivan Frederick, the M.P. sergeant who was in charge of a night shift at Abu Ghraib. Frederick, who has been ordered to face a court-martial in Iraq for his role in the abuse, kept a running diary that began with a knock on his door by agents of the Army’s Criminal Investigations Division (C.I.D.) at two-thirty in the morning on January 14th. “I was escorted . . . to the front door of our building, out of sight from my room,” Frederick wrote, “while . . . two unidentified males stayed in my room. ‘Are they searching my room?’ ” He was told yes. Frederick later formally agreed to permit the agents to search for cameras, computers, and storage devices. . . .


Ann Fagan Ginger, ed.  (Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute).  Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11.  Prometheus, 2005.

Activists, lawyers, students, teachers, union members, government officials, and judges will welcome this thoroughly researched, comprehensive examination of human rights violations in the wake of 9/11. Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Executive Director Ann Fagan Ginger has created an accessible, well-organized reference work divided into six parts:
§                             Part I, “The Mobilization of Shame,” describes executive orders and new laws violating basic rights, and citizen reactions, to add up the real score in the War on Terrorism.
§                             Part II, “Where the People and their Lawyers Can Go to Redress Grievances,” spells out the complaint process through the little known Office of Inspector General, and in U.S. federal and state courts.
§                             Part III, “What the Government Is Committed and Required To Do in the United Nations and the Organization of American States,” describes the reporting process and how it has brought about improvements in many countries, such as new treatments for AIDS.
§                             Part IV, “Report on Human Rights Violations,” forms the bulk of the book. It describes all the relevant facts in 184 reports on 30 types of violations. Activists will find all the facts they need and lawyers can reference the specific laws being violated by government officials, military personnel, agents, and contractors.
§                             Part V, “Text of Petitions, Resolutions, Ordinances,” spells out what has been proposed, and adopted, since 9/11 to stop violations.
§                             Part VI, “Text of Laws Violated and Ignored,” provides the language of the U.S. Constitution, Bill Of Rights, Articles in the UN Charter, the Convention Against Torture, the Geneva Conventions, and other human rights and international law treaties the U.S. has ratified or signed.
This is an indispensable tool for citizens and lawyers defending civil liberties in the era of the Patriot Act and the War on Terrorism.
“Activists, politicians, students and human rights researchers alike will welcome [this] important analysis…a hard-hitting, factual account which describes executive orders, new laws, new complaint processes and new reporting processes involved in civil rights since 9/11, drawing some important connections between civil liberties and the legal process. Any defending civil liberties must have [this book] close at hand: it not only documents changes and events, but packs in reports on 30 types of violations and refers to specific laws being violated by the government, military and their agents.”
- Bookwatch, Midwest Book Review
"This report is a veritable roadmap to the countless ways in which the Bush administration has used lies and the politics of fear to assault the Bill of Rights, trash human rights, and launch a phony 'War on Terror.'... demands to be read by every concerned citizen."
John Conyers Jr., Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee
US House of Representatives

“This compendium is important in multiple ways. It extensively documents abuses that merit the careful attention of citizens concerned with freedom, human rights, and democracy. It reviews the documentary and legal basis essential for confronting these crucial issues. And it provides concrete suggestions about actions that can be taken to preserve and extend the legacy of rights that have been won over centuries of struggle. These contributions are of great value to concerned citizens.”
Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor, MIT

“This is an immensely valuable book for all Americans concerned about their constitutional rights in the midst of a supposed 'war on terrorism.' Ann Fagan Ginger has pulled together a shocking compendium of human rights violations, and at the same time has given us practical tools, legal and political, for defending our liberties.”
Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus of Political Science
Boston University
Book Binding: Paperback
Pages: 471
ISBN: 1-59102-279-7
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Ann Fagan Ginger (San Francisco, CA) is the founder, former president (1964-1988), and the current executive director of the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute. She lectures frequently on human rights for the ACLU, National Lawyers Guild, United Nations Association, and many other organizations.


Torture: Religious Ethics and National Security

by John Perry.  Novalis, 2005.
Publisher:  Until recently, torture was chiefly associated with foreign juntas or other notorious human rights abusers. In light of the "war on terror" this has changed dramatically. Whether it is the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, the policy of "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects into the hands of overseas interrogators, or questions regarding the authority of the U.S. President to take extreme measures for the sake of national security--suddenly the practice of torture has become a matter of urgent public debate. Reviewing the history and practice of torture, and the arguments used to justify it, Perry takes us into minds of both the torturers and their victims. Ultimately, showing why torture is different from other acts of war, and why it is fundamentally immoral: "not only because it violates the dignity we owe to the human person but also because it directly or indirectly degrades any society that would tolerate it."
See:  John Perry on The Wrong Torture Question By davidswanson - Posted on 01 May 2009.



Torture: Does It Make Us Safer? Is It Ever OK?: A Human Rights Perspective.  EDITED BY KENNETH ROTH AND MINKY WORDEN.  New Press, 2005.

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. 
Of all the issues on the human rights agenda, torture offered Americans the moral high ground . . . until this year. With the abuses at Abu Ghraib that led to accusations of torture within the domestic criminal justice system, the question of cruel and unusual treatment has taken on new urgency in the United States and elsewhere.
In Torture, twelve newly written essays by leading thinkers and experts range over history and continents, offering a nuanced, up-to the-minute exploration of this wrenching but timely topic, including, among others, Reed Brody on the road to Abu Ghraib and “ghost detainees”; Eitan Felner on the Israeli experience; Tom Malinowski on violations of State Department “forbidden practices” at Abu Ghraib and in Afghanistan; Kenneth Roth on the U.S. government’s shift from cover-up to justification; and Minky Worden on a global survey of torturing countries.
Intended for a general audience, some of the key questions addressed include how to define torture, whether torture is ever effective, and whether it is ever acceptable.

Kenneth Roth is executive director of Human Rights Watch. He has written articles on a range of human rights topics for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, and the International Herald Tribune, among other publications. He lives in New York City. Human Rights Watchhas been defending human rights worldwide since 1978.

Torture and the Ticking Bomb

By: Bob Brecher

Publisher:  Do you really think torture is acceptable in any circumstances?

The controversial arguments of Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz supporting the legalisation of torture in so-called 'ticking bomb' scenarios represent the most sophisticated and visible of recent attempts to make torture an accepted weapon in the war on terror.
States and other agents engage in torture, as both sides of the debate accept. According to Bob Brecher, it is precisely because the general public are taking the “new realism” of Dershowitz and others seriously that there is a pressing need to expose the fundamental flaws in their arguments, lest the peoples of democratic societies lose their moral compass and fail to be vigilant in holding their governments properly to account.
This timely and passionate book is the first to address itself directly to the arguments for the limited use of interrogational torture and to its legalisation. Brecher takes on those arguments, drawing out the practical implications for policy and confronting the empirical question of the efficacy of torture, as well as the ethical implications.


The Phenomenon of Torture 

readings and commentary (Google eBook)
Front Cover
William F Schulz
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007.  389 pages
The Phenomenon of Torture Readings and Commentary Edited by William F. Schulz. Foreword by Juan E. Mendez.    "No one is better qualified than Bill Schulz to describe and denounce the vicious but all-too-common practice of torture in today's world. Hopefully, Schulz's outstanding book will launch a new effort to ban torture in all its ugly forms from the face of the earth."--Senator Edward Kennedy "A sober, astutely assembled compilation and a much-needed contribution to modern-day discussions of government policy."--"Midwest Book Review" "A uniquely thoughtful and comprehensive exploration of the topic."--"Choice" Torture is the most widespread human rights crime in the modern world, practiced in more than one hundred countries, including the United States. How could something so brutal, almost unthinkable, be so prevalent? "The Phenomenon of Torture: Readings and Commentary" is designed to answer that question and many others. Beginning with a sweeping view of torture in Western history, the book examines questions such as these: Can anyone be turned into a torturer? What exactly is the psychological relationship between a torturer and his victim? Are certain societies more prone to use torture? Are there any circumstances under which torture is justified--to procure critical information in order to save innocent lives, for example? How can torture be stopped or at least its incidence be reduced? Edited and with an introduction by the former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, "The Phenomenon of Torture" draws on the writings of torture victims themselves, such as the Argentinian journalist Jacobo Timerman, as well as leading scholars like Elaine Scarry, author of "The Body in Pain." It includes classical works by Voltaire, Jeremy Bentham, Hannah Arendt, and Stanley Milgram, as well as recent works by historian Adam Hochschild and psychotherapist Joan Golston. And it addresses new developments in efforts to combat torture, such as the designation of rape as a war crime and the use of the doctrine of universal jurisdiction to prosecute perpetrators. Designed for the student and scholar alike, it is, in sum, an anthology of the best and most insightful writing about this most curious and common form of abuse. Juan E. Mendez, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide and himself a victim of torture, provides a foreword. William F. Schulz served as Executive Director of Amnesty International USA from 1994 to 2006. He is currently Senior Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, and Adjunct Professor at the New School in New York City. Schulz is the author of two books on human rights, "In Our Own Best Interest: How Defending Human Rights Benefits Us All" and "Tainted Legacy: 9/11 and the Ruin of Human Rights." Pennsylvania Studies in Human Rights 2007 408 pages 6 x 9 ISBN 978-0-8122-1982-1 Paper $34.95s 23.00 ISBN 978-0-8122-0339-4 Ebook $34.95s 23.00 World Rights Law, Cultural Studies

New York Times
BOOKS ON TORTURE: Necessity or Atrocity?
Published: January 29, 2006
Sept. 11 encouraged a corrupted version of American exceptionalism, among other things. The superpower suddenly became the embattled victim, the injured innocent - which was how Americans imagined themselves when they declared their independence in 1776. The Bush Justice Department's 2002 "torture memos" - hardboiled pettifogging intended to give legal cover for getting rough, for "taking the gloves off" in America's war on terror - were later repudiated by the administration. But the memos amounted subliminally to a different sort of declaration of independence, conjured up out of the founding Shinto: America, claiming a special dispensation under Providence, would make its own rules, especially if national security was at stake. The signal emanating from the White House and the Pentagon borrowed a memory from the American subconscious: we would not be contradicted by the tainted Old World, with its treaties and conventions drawn up far away - in Geneva, for example - especially not when such conventions would protect the likes of Al Qaeda.
Edited by Karen J. Greenberg. 
414 pp. Cambridge University Press. Paper, $18.99. 

Does It Make Us Safer? Is It Ever OK?
Edited by Kenneth Roth and Minky Worden; Amy D. Bernstein, contributing editor. 
218 pp. The New Press. $25.95.

Forum: Book News and Reviews

New reality trumps old morality. Out of a new emergency of history, one particularly menacing narrative took shape, darkened by the prestige of apocalypse - the ticking bomb. A script emerged, along these lines:
The Qaeda terrorist breaks under aggressive questioning. (The waterboard worked. He came up spluttering and talking.) The interrogator relays information that, just in time, snips the wire on the dirty nuke hidden in the heart of an American city. The interrogator - "torturer," if you insist - is actually a hero. Thousands of lives are saved.
The ticking bomb may be hypothetical for now, but according to this scenario a certain amount of rough stuff may already have paid off in the war on terror, which, mind you, is a real war against ingeniously concealed fanatics traveling the globe at will, capable of mass killing, anywhere, without warning. In this context, due process, beyond a certain formal point, is for sissies. We live in a newly vulnerable, porous world. Human rights fetishists, fighting the last war (a state-to-state conflict, with old rules now rendered quaint) have become Al Qaeda's useful idiots. What will the bien-pensants have to say if and when another 9/11 - or something worse - occurs?
Who-whom?, Lenin asked. The rough-stuff rationale elicits an indignant counterversion from advocates of human rights:
Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo have become outposts in a global American gulag in which innocent and guilty alike are illegally detained and tortured, usually with no yield of usable intelligence - we squander the nation's moral capital for trash. Torture is the refuge of the lazy, the stupid, the pseudo-tough. Real intelligence services don't have to torture; they are intelligent enough to learn the prisoner's language and culture. Why would a tortured man tell you the truth? He will say anything to stop the pain. What happened to those mystic chords of memory about all men - all of them - being created equal, endowed with unalienable rights? What of America's respect for human dignity? For itself? A couple of dozen prisoners, give or take, have died in the American gulag - not to speak of those whom the C.I.A. has disappeared into regimes far less fastidious than our own.
The American superpower, many human rights advocates go on, has under George W. Bush turned its back on civilized opinion from Aristotle on, has abandoned the Geneva Conventions, America's 1994 antitorture law and a century's progress toward basic rights, and in the process, compromised the ideals of freedom and democracy for which the wars on terror and in Iraq are supposedly being fought. America has become a pariah among nations by committing human rights crimes similar to those for which Nazi government officials were tried and convicted at Nuremberg.
Two new volumes of essays take up all of the questions contained in these contrasting views, examining the subject of torture in the context of international terrorism, studying it in various lights - moral, legal, political, historical, military, philosophical. "The Torture Debate in America," edited by Karen J. Greenberg, focuses especially on legal questions; almost all of its contributors have been trained as lawyers, and are either professors of law or human rights workers. "Torture: Does It Make Us Safer? Is It Ever OK?," edited by Kenneth Roth and Minky Worden, looks at torture from a more global and historical perspective, ranging from ancient Greece and Rome, through the Renaissance, to contemporary Israel and Algeria and Argentina and Rwanda. Both collections proceed from an essentially left-brain mentality; the right brain's script has only token defenders. Overall, the voices in these books suffer from a tendency toward piousness: Torture bad, me virtuous.
Critics in both volumes dismiss the ticking-bomb scenario as chimerical - a puerile Hollywood hypothesis highly unlikely in actuality. The real danger of the administration's anything-goes message, they say, was that it fatally routinized and bureaucratized the coercive impulse, and once that message had made its way down the chain of command to the grunt level, it ordained in effect that all of Islam should be considered a ticking bomb. Any Muslim was fair game for waterboarding.
Is that version overdone? Heather Mac Donald, a fellow of the conservative Manhattan Institute, is one of the few contrarian contributors to either of the volumes. She argues in "The Torture Debate" that Abu Ghraib, which she says showed nothing more than "the sadism of a prison out of control," generated among the critics of President Bush a false "master narrative - call it 'the torture narrative.' " "The actual interrogation techniques promulgated in the war on terror," Mac Donald writes, were "light years from real torture and hedged around with bureaucratic safeguards."
Mac Donald's defense of rough coercive interrogation contrasts the Americans' "torture lite" with the gruesome, mangling, sadistic and genuinely evil ingenuity that torturers have historically shown, from the Inquisition to Pol Pot. Training manuals for Al Qaeda, according to Chris Mackey in "The Interrogators," tell fighters that a failure to cooperate with Americans carries no penalties and no risk of torture - a sign of American weakness. Mac Donald quotes an American interrogator who said: "They realized: 'The Americans will give us our Holy Book, they'll draw lines on the floor showing us where to pray, we'll get three meals a day with fresh fruit, do Jazzercise with the guards. . . . We can wait them out.' " Gitmo as Club Med.
Conscience is a protean thing; it reprehends acts that, unofficially, it may consider necessary under some circumstances. We have formal morals and vernacular morals, like the good china and the everyday. Torture is that paradox, an all-but-universal practice that is simultaneously a universal taboo, like incest. In the real world lots of people marry their cousins.
IF you call something torture, you are officially bound to be against it. So call it "interrogation." Almost everyone concedes that it is all right to try to find out what a terrorist in your custody may know. But what methods are all right? Sleep deprivation? Being forced to stand for long periods? Bright lights? Hooding? Rock music? Menacing dogs? Cigarette burns? Thumbscrews? Electric shock? Rape? Where do you draw the line?
Any wholesome mind thinking of torture sympathizes with the victim. (A diseased mind identifies with the torturer.) Therefore, anyone inclined to countenance rough physical or psychological treatment is bound to argue either that what he has in mind is not really torture, but something short of that, temporary discomfort maybe, or that a certain amount of brutal questioning is legitimate because it is aimed not at the past but the future: it is inflicted not for purposes of punishment or revenge, but to prevent a future catastrophe, another 9/11. The change of tense from past to future is what might turn the interrogator from villain to hero.
But surely torture - whether torture lite or torture satanic - is, in the long run, bad karma for the United States. Noah Feldman, a professor of law at New York University School of Law, argues in one essay in "The Torture Debate" that "whatever the merits of unilateralism in foreign policy, unilateralism in law and morals is incoherent and dangerous."
Saul Bellow's Mr. Sammler observed that different people living at the same time may inhabit different centuries. What century does Osama bin Laden inhabit? In what century is Guantánamo located? Who is pulling whom back to darkness and barbarism? Being a victim of 9/11 gave Americans a kind of moral Get Out of Jail Free card. But a superpower cannot plausibly play the victim for long; for many of those who recognize the dilemmas surrounding torture, the card expired somewhere between Shock and Awe and Abu Ghraib.
As for myself, after reading these two thoughtful collections, I would contend that America should be setting an example of attention to international norms and treaties, and respect for the opinions of others in the world. Torture is a mug's game. You give up too much in the way of ideals for too little in the way of information. Al Qaeda may not abide by the Geneva Conventions, but Americans should do so scrupulously, ostentatiously, not in order to coddle terrorists but to encourage the rule of law in a bad world. God presumably granted Americans their dispensation only on condition that they aspire upward. When they head in the other direction, the dispensation is rescinded.
Lance Morrow is the author of "Evil: An Investigation," and most recently of "Second Drafts of History," a collection of his essays. He is working on a biography of Henry Luce.

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