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About The Book
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)
About The Blog
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.
American Torture: Contact Us
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.
- Interrogation of Suspects Under Arrest
Declassified 1958 article from the CIA journal, Studies In Intelligence. Written by Don Compos, this article can be read as an early blueprint for the interrogation system employed by the CIA and US armed forces in the war on terror - a regime engineered to elicit debility, dependence and dread.
( via CIA )
- Status of Legal Discussions
Outlines the official positions of CIA and Pentagon lawyers on Geneva applicability. Reveals that the CIA sought to "circumscribe" a policy of humane detainee treatment "so as to limit its application to the CIA."
( via Slate )
- Interrogation Log: Detainee 063
Incredible minute-by-minute account of the interrogation of Mohammed al-Qahtani (Detainee 063). Describes an array of coercive SERE techniques that took place between November 22, 2002 and January 11, 2003.
( via TIME )
- Regarding Our Conversation
Declassified email on June 21, 2004 to Pentagon investigators outlining the techniques Military Training Teams brought to Abu Ghraib in October 2003.
( via ACLU )
Blogs and Other Links
Avidly following the torture debate. Insightful commentary.
- Daily Dish
Andrew Sullivan, standing up to torture.
- Paper Chase
Tracks torture news, and then some.
Holds over 10,000 searchable FOIA documents related to torture.
- Center For Constitutional Rights
Standing up to tortureóin the courts.
- National Security Archive
Staggering array of documents.
- Center for Peace and Conflict Studies
Gracious benefactor, a Sydney institution.
- Melbourne University Publishing
Leading AU publisher.
- Pluto Press
Leading UK publisher.
- University of Michigan Press
Leading US publisher.
Online anti-torture petition
- Jubilee Australia
Fighting poverty in Australia.
- Conflict-Free Rocks
Raising awareness about blood diamonds.
- Crooks and Liars
A vital video resource.
- Antony Loewenstein
- My Left Wing
- One Good Move
- Juan Cole
- The Booman Tribune
Boo it up.
- Never In Our Names
Saying No to Torture.
Number one site tracking GTMO
- Psych, Science and Psychiatry
Stephen Soldz, tracking torture and psychologists.
Valtin - a keen observer.
- The Talking DogOriginal, witty journalism.
- Pensito Review
Healthy round-up of whats up
- Comments from Left Field
Not a baseball site
Insightful new blog on military interrogation
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