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Category Archive: Torture

Jun 22 2009

On torture-24: What happens next?

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) For the last post in this long and admittedly depressing series, I want to tie up some loose ends. What Dahlia Lithwik and Phillipe Sands point out, and which this series of posts has examined in great detail, is that the discussion on whether the US committed torture …

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Jun 19 2009

On torture-23: So now what?

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) None of the architects of the Bush/Cheney torture administration has been called to account, at least so far, for their actions. Of the authors of the infamous memos from the Office of Legal Counsel authorizing torture, one is now a professor of law at the University of California, …

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Jun 17 2009

On torture-22: Psychologists complicity in torture

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) We see that once you allow torture as authorized and official policy, you inevitably widen the circle of people who are involved. In particular, psychologists and doctors have been deeply involved in the process, the former to devise the torture techniques and to measure the effects, and the …

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Jun 15 2009

On torture-21: The case of Abu Zubaydah again

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) What has emerged is that research by psychologists on “learned helplessness” has formed the basis of the current torture techniques practiced by the US. The goal is to destroy the victim’s mind until that person feels total dependence on the interrogator. It turns out that this is fairly …

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Jun 12 2009

On torture-20: The case of Jose Padilla

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) In the previous post, we saw how the US government, over a period of time, studied and refined the techniques of psychological torture practiced by other countries and then outsourced these practices to its client states during the Cold War. With the onset of the ‘war on terror’ …

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Jun 11 2009

On torture-19: The long history of US involvement in torture

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) There may be some who think that the revelations of torture that occurred in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib in Iraq, the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, and the various “black sites” operated by the CIA in countries around the world are aberrations that occurred just recently as a result …

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Jun 09 2009

On torture-17: Media double standards

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) I began the series of posts on torture with a partial hypothetical based on the true story of two American journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling arrested by North Korea. I said that if those journalists were convicted on the basis of confessions obtained using torture, we would …

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Jun 08 2009

On torture-16: Obama’s appalling stances on civil liberties

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) The corrupting effect of condoning torture can be seen in the way that Obama is now advancing the appalling policy of “preventive detention”, allowing the government to hold prisoners without trial indefinitely. This means that the fundamental constitutional protection of habeas corpus has been abandoned by Obama as …

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Jun 05 2009

On torture-15: Media complicity in secrecy

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) One of the best ways to ensure good government is to have as much transparency as possible. When people are allowed to work behind closed doors with the promise of secrecy, abuses inevitably occur. The Bush/Cheney administration was highly secretive and unfortunately, when it comes to things like …

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Jun 04 2009

On torture-14: Torture and secrecy

(For previous posts on torture, see here.) It is not that torture never works but the history of torture suggests that in order to get a few bits of useful information, you have to throw a wide net for torture victims. In the cover story of the October 2006 issue of The Progressive magazine, Alfred …

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