Friday, April 10, 2009
CIA chief issues formal orders to close 'black sites'
(A more substantial post, with responses to the comments on my last post, coming soon).
The Bush Administration called them an "alternative set of procedures" - forced standing for up to forty hours, sleep deprivation for weeks on end, dousing naked prisoners with ice water in rooms chilled to fifty degrees Fahrenheit, and strapping prisoners to inclined boards then flooding their mouths with water. American Torture examines the origins of this interrogation regime and traces how it was refined, spread, and kept legal. Along the way, American Torture uncovers the effects of state-sponsored torture and deconstructs the myths espoused by its proponents.
Michael Otterman's powerful book, American Torture, traces the history of American torture from Nazi Germany to Guantanamo Bay. It is an immensely disturbing story made all the more chilling by his disclosures that today these interrogation techniques are officially sanctioned under the guise of national security and that sets of rules have been developed to govern its practice. This book should be compulsory reading for everyone with concerns over human rights."
- Rod Barton, former Director of Intelligence, weapons inspector, and advisor to the CIA
Michael Otterman's book makes you think long and hard not only about human nature, but also about what the long haul of civilisation has brought us. The irony is that one of modern history's outstanding democracies is peeling back those achievements like the skin of an orange. Fortunately, many decent Americans are fighting back."
- Sydney Morning Herald
Otterman writes as a patriot - one who expects much of his country and is angry when it fails him."
- The Age (Melbourne)
This blog provides a venue for discussions about the American use of torture, as well as a place for experts and non-experts alike to post thoughts and reactions to political events in the United States and elsewhere. If you would like to be a featured blogger for americantorture.com, email us.
Michael Otterman is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney, as well as an award-winning journalist and filmmaker.
Michael Otterman is an award-winning freelance journalist, author, documentary filmmaker and recent visiting scholar at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Sydney. He has written American Torture and co-authored Collateral Carnage (Pluto 2010)
A freelance historian and journalist, based in London, Andy is the author of The Guantanamo Files, the first book to tell the stories of all the detainees in America's illegal prison (Pluto Press, September 2007). Visit his blog here.
Jeffrey Kaye works as a psychologist in Northern California. He sees clients in private practice, and works part-time with the torture treatment center, Survivors International, in San Francisco, California. He offers classes in the history of psychology, and has done special investigations into the history of research into sensory deprivation. He has been blogging on torture issues since 2005.
Fatima Kola is a doctoral candidate and teaching fellow at University College London, where as a Bonnart-Braunthal scholar she is researching the legal and moral dimensions of the international prohibition on torture, and the permissibility as torture as a response to terrorism.
The Baggage Handler
(a pseudonym) works as a psychoanalyst in the bay area, and is a member of the clinical staff of Survivors International in San Francisco. In addition to working with traumatized torture survivors, he also works with traumatized veterans. He is a veteran himself, and a graduate of the SERE program. He has been blogging on torture since the Abu Ghraib photos were released in 2004. Visit his blog here.
Below is a sampling of declassified documents that chart America's involvement in torture from the early Cold War onward. To view the entire catalog of documents used in research for American Torture, click the view all link above.
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