No More Guantánamos thanks Jeanne Herrick-Stare, creator of TorturesNotUs and now Policy Counsel for the Center for Victims of Torture, for her compilation and analysis of these materials. Reproduced with permission.
UN Special Rapporteur report: 10 Mar 2009: Report by Martin Scheinin, Special Rapporteur, on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council. The report states that assassination, arbitrary detention, and disappearances can never be considered legitimate terrorism prevention techniques, and that inhuman or degrading treatment .is a clear violation of international law.
ICJ Report: 16 Feb 2009: An independent panel commissioned by the International Commission of Jurists issued its sobering report, "Assessing Damage, Urging Action: Report of the Eminent Jurists Panel on Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, and Human Rights." The report notes that in attempting hasty responses to terrorism, many nations have fallen into a trap by which more terrorism is sown, undermining cherished values as well as the international legal human rights framework carefully developed since WWII. These responses have resulted in torture, disappearances, secret and arbitrary detentions, and unfair trials, with little accountability or justice to the victims.
Analysis: David Rose's Vanity Fair article, "Tortured Reasoning," investigates the claim that torture can produce actionable intelligence not timely available from other methods or sources. Rose concludes that torture is ineffective for procuring meaningful information, that it is unnecessary, that it is counterproductive to the U.S. national security effort, and that claims to the contrary do not bear up under the scrutiny of careful research.
Documentary movie: "Torturing Democracy," a documentary movie written and produced by 8-time Emmy winner Sherry Jones, reports on Bush administration detention and interrogation policies. The companion Web site for the film features key documents, a detailed timeline, the full annotated transcript of the show, and lengthy transcripts of major interviews carried out for the film. Hosted by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the Web site will ultimately include a complete "Torture Archive" of primary sources.
Issue Brief: "Rehabilitating the U.S. Ban on Torture: A Call for Transparent Treatment Policy," by Devon Chaffee is a Nov. 2008 release in the American Constitution Society's Constitution in the 21st Century project. This is a scholarly approach to an oft-discussed issue on the Hill: Is it possible to maintain national security in an atmosphere of transparent information about interrogation and detention policy?
Article: George Hunsinger's recent article, "How to End Torture: Five Steps," (The Christian Century) delivers an excellent summary of five policies that, used together, would eliminate the conditions under which torture has been utilized. This article could be easily distilled to a "palm card" for grassroots lobby visits to congressional delegations, to use as talking points and as a "leave behind."
Documentary Movie: 2008 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary Feature: Taxi to the Dark Side, directed by Alex Gibney, Oscar-nominated director of Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. This documentary probes the death of an innocent Afghan taxi driver who was detained at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan in 2002. It contains never-before-seen images from the Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay prisons, and includes interviews with administration officials, interrogators, and guards, tracing the evolution and implementation of administration policy concerning detention and interrogation post-9/11.
- HBO picked up distribution rights to this documentary. The NRCAT Action Fund has put together an excellent Taxi to the Dark Side discussion guide (.pdf) to assist groups viewing the film.
Research brief: Rand Corp.'s "How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qa'ida," by Seth Jones and Martin C. Libecki. This report supports a policy shift, suggesting that the U.S. should pursue a counterterrorism strategy that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a "war on terrorism" approach that relies heavily on military force.
Book: The Dark Side, by Jane Mayer. Ms. Mayer combines her series of articles published in The New Yorker with new information, describing with ever more clarity development of the use of torture by the Bush administration, over the vociferous objections of members of the executive branch.
- 14 Aug 2008: New York Review of Books, Vol. 55, no. 13, contains "The Battle for the Country's Soul," an essay by Ms. Mayer based on The Dark Side.
- 14 July 2008: Scott Horton released an interview of Mayer on Harpers.com, "Six Questions for Jane Mayer, author of The Dark Side."
- Salon.com offers Glenn Greenwald's informative piece about Mayer's book in an article, "Torture and the Rule of Law."
White Paper critique of proposed "National Security Courts": The Constitution Project's Liberty & Security Committee and Coalition to Defend Checks and Balances issued A Critique of "National Security Courts" , in which a blue-ribbon panel criticizes proposed specialized hybrid tribunals to review preventative detention of suspected terrorists (both within and outside of the U.S.), conduct the detainees' criminal trials, or both. The paper, issued 23 June 2008 with more than 38 original signers, was re-released 18 Dec 2008, with additional sign-ons from 17 former federal prosecutors and judges.
Scott Horton speech at U. of Chicago School of Law, 1 March 2008: "How Hollywood Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the (Ticking) Bomb." This speech covers the news and entertainment media's treatment of the subject of torture, as well as concise and articulate point-by-point arguments against its use. Highly recommended.
Entire issue of Washington Monthly dedicated to the issue of torture by U.S.: For .pdf of the entire issue, click here. For lead editorial and links to articles and statements by the 37 contributors to the issue, click here. The range of contributors is very wide, including experts in foreign policy and security, sitting politicians, former President Carter, religious leaders, legal scholars, and retired military leaders.
Alberto Mora speech before the ABA House of Delegates: 3 March 2008, "Weakening America: The Costs of Legalized Cruelty," by Mr. Mora (former General Counsel of the Navy) before the Center for Human Rights' fourth annual House of Delegates Luncheon.
Documentary Movie: Filmmaker Rory Kennedy's HBO production: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib . This documentary investigates the psychological and political context in which torture occurred. "How could ordinary American soldiers come to engage in such monstrous acts?" Kennedy asks. "What policies were put into place that allowed this behavior to flourish while protections granted to prisoners under the Geneva Conventions were ignored?" This film features, for the first time, both the voices of Iraqi victims (interviewed in Turkey after arduous attempts to meet with them) and guards directly involved in torture at the prison. It strongly suggests that he physical and psychological torture employed at the prison was an inevitable outgrowth of military and government policies that were implemented in a climate of fear and chaos, inadequate training and insufficient resources.
Pamphlet; 18 Sept 2007. "Defusing the Ticking Time Bomb Scenario; Why we must say no to torture, always." Produced by the Association for the Prevention of Torture.
Book: A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation from the Cold War to the War on Torture, by Alfred W. McCoy, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison.