Torture

Part philosophical meditation, part cultural critique, The Body in Pain is a profoundly original study that has already stirred excitement in a wide range of intellectual circles. The book is an analysis of physical suffering and its relation to the numerous vocabularies and cultural forces--literary, political, philosophical, medical, religious--that confront it. Elaine Scarry bases her study on a wide range of sources: literature and art, medical case histories, documents on torture compiled by Amnesty International, legal transcripts of personal injury trials, and military and strategic writings by such figures as Clausewitz, Churchill, Liddell Hart, and Kissinger, She weaves these into her discussion with an eloquence, humanity, and insight that recall the writings of Hannah Arendt and Jean-Paul Sartre. Scarry begins with the fact of pain's inexpressibility. Not only is physical pain enormously difficult to describe in words--confronted with it, Virginia Woolf once noted, "language runs dry"--it also actively destroys language, reducing sufferers in the most extreme instances to an inarticulate state of cries and moans. Scarry analyzes the political ramifications of deliberately inflicted pain, specifically in the cases of torture and warfare, and shows how to be fictive. From these actions of "unmaking" Scarry turns finally to the actions of "making"--the examples of artistic and cultural creation that work against pain and the debased uses that are made of it. Challenging and inventive, The Body in Pain is landmark work that promises to spark widespread debate.
 One evening some friends were gathered at the home of one of our most celebrated writers. Having dined sumptuously, they were discussing murder—apropos of what, I no longer remember probably apropos of nothing. Only men were present: moralists, poets, philosophers and doctors—thus everyone could speak freely, according to his whim, his hobby or his idiosyncrasies, without fear of suddenly seeing that expression of horror and fear which the least startling idea traces upon the horrified face of a notary. I—say notary, much as I might have said lawyer or porter, not disdainfully, of course, but in order to define the average French mind. With a calmness of spirit as perfect as though he were expressing an opinion upon the merits of the cigar he was smoking, a member of the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences said: “Really—I honestly believe that murder is the greatest human preoccupation, and that all our acts stem from it... “ We awaited the pronouncement of an involved theory, but he remained silent. “Absolutely!” said a Darwinian scientist, “and, my friend, you are voicing one of those eternal truths such as the legendary Monsieur de La Palisse discovered every day: since murder is the very bedrock of our social institutions, and consequently the most imperious necessity of civilized life. If it no longer existed, there would be no governments of any kind, by virtue of the admirable fact that crime in general and murder in particular are not only their excuse, but their only reason for being. We should then live in complete anarchy, which is inconceivable. So, instead of seeking to eliminate murder, it is imperative that it be cultivated with intelligence and perseverance. I know no better culture medium than law.” Someone protested. “Here, here!” asked the savant, “aren't we alone, and speaking frankly?” “Please!” said the host, “let us profit thoroughly by the only occasion when we are free to express our personal ideas, for both I, in my books, and you in your turn, may present only lies to the public.” 

The scientist settled himself once more among the cushions of his armchair, stretched his legs, which were numb from being crossed too long and, his head thrown back, his arms hanging and his stomach soothed by good digestion, puffed smoke−rings at the ceiling: “Besides,” he continued, “murder is largely self−propagating. Actually, it is not the result of this or that passion, nor is it a pathological form of degeneracy. It is a vital instinct which is in us all—which is in all organized beings and dominates them, just as the genetic instinct. And most of the time it is especially true that these two instincts fuse so well, and are so totally interchangeable, that in some way or other they form a single and identical instinct, so that we no longer may tell which of the two urges us to give life, and which to take it—which is murder, and which love. I have been the confidant of an honorable assassin who killed women, not to rob them, but to ravish them. His trick was to manage things so that his sexual climax coincided exactly with the death−spasm of the woman: 'At those moments,' he told me, 'I imagined I was a God, creating a world!”

A startling exposé of the CIA's development and spread of psychological torture, from the Cold War to Abu Ghraib and beyond

In this revelatory account of the CIA's secret, fifty-year effort to develop new forms of torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy uncovers the deep, disturbing roots of recent scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Far from aberrations, as the White House has claimed, A Question of Torture shows that these abuses are the product of a long-standing covert program of interrogation.
Developed at the cost of billions of dollars, the CIA's method combined "sensory deprivation" and "self-inflicted pain" to create a revolutionary psychological approach—the first innovation in torture in centuries. The simple techniques—involving isolation, hooding, hours of standing, extremes of hot and cold, and manipulation of time—constitute an all-out assault on the victim's senses, destroying the basis of personal identity. McCoy follows the years of research—which, he reveals, compromised universities and the U.S. Army—and the method's dissemination, from Vietnam through Iran to Central America. He traces how after 9/11 torture became Washington's weapon of choice in both the CIA's global prisons and in "torture-friendly" countries to which detainees are dispatched. Finally McCoy argues that information extracted by coercion is worthless, making a case for the legal approach favored by the FBI.
Scrupulously documented and grippingly told, A Question of Torture is a devastating indictment of inhumane practices that have spread throughout the intelligence system, damaging American's laws, military, and international standing.

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. Méndez, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General on the Prevention of Genocide and himself a victim of torture, provides a foreword.

This is the most comprehensive, and most comprehensively chilling, study of modern torture yet written. Darius Rejali, one of the world's leading experts on torture, takes the reader from the late nineteenth century to the aftermath of Abu Ghraib, from slavery and the electric chair to electrotorture in American inner cities, and from French and British colonial prison cells and the Spanish-American War to the fields of Vietnam, the wars of the Middle East, and the new democracies of Latin America and Europe.

As Rejali traces the development and application of one torture technique after another in these settings, he reaches startling conclusions. As the twentieth century progressed, he argues, democracies not only tortured, but set the international pace for torture. Dictatorships may have tortured more, and more indiscriminately, but the United States, Britain, and France pioneered and exported techniques that have become the lingua franca of modern torture: methods that leave no marks. Under the watchful eyes of reporters and human rights activists, low-level authorities in the world's oldest democracies were the first to learn that to scar a victim was to advertise iniquity and invite scandal. Long before the CIA even existed, police and soldiers turned instead to "clean" techniques, such as torture by electricity, ice, water, noise, drugs, and stress positions. As democracy and human rights spread after World War II, so too did these methods.


Rejali makes this troubling case in fluid, arresting prose and on the basis of unprecedented research--conducted in multiple languages and on several continents--begun years before most of us had ever heard of Osama bin Laden or Abu Ghraib. The author of a major study of Iranian torture, Rejali also tackles the controversial question of whether torture really works, answering the new apologists for torture point by point. A brave and disturbing book, this is the benchmark against which all future studies of modern torture will be measured.

On April 16, 2009, the Justice Department released never-before-seen secret memos describing, in graphic detail, the brutal interrogation techniques used by the CIA under the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” Now, for the first time, the key documents are compiled in one remarkable volume, showing that the United States government’s top attorneys were instrumental in rationalizing acts of torture and cruelty, employing chillingly twisted logic and Orwellian reasoning to authorize what the law absolutely forbids.

This collection gives readers an unfiltered look at the tactics approved for use in the CIA’s secret overseas prisons—including forcing detainees to stay awake for eleven days straight, slamming them against walls, stripping them naked, locking them in a small box with insects to manipulate their fears, and, of course, waterboarding—and at the incredible arguments advanced to give them a green light.

Originally issued in secret by the Office of Legal Counsel between 2002 and 2005, the documents collected here have been edited only to eliminate repetition. They reflect, in their own words, the analysis that guided the legal architects of the Bush administration’s interrogation policies.

Renowned legal scholar David Cole’s introductory essay tells the story behind the memos, and presents a compelling case that instead of demanding that the CIA conform its conduct to the law, the nation’s top lawyers contorted the law to conform to the CIA’s abusive and patently illegal conduct. He argues eloquently that official accountability for these legal wrongs is essential if the United States is to restore fidelity to the rule of law.
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 reopened what many people in America had long assumed was a settled ethical question: Is torture ever morally permissible? Within days, some began to suggest that, in these new circumstances, the new answer was "yes." Rebecca Gordon argues that September 11 did not, as some have said, "change everything," and that institutionalized state torture remains as wrong today as it was on the day before those terrible attacks. Furthermore, U.S. practices during the "war on terror" are rooted in a history that began long before September 11, a history that includes both support for torture regimes abroad and the use of torture in American jails and prisons. Gordon argues that the most common ethical approaches to torture-utilitarianism and deontology (ethics based on adherence to duty)-do not provide sufficient theoretical purchase on the problem. Both approaches treat torture as a series of isolated actions that arise in moments of extremity, rather than as an ongoing, historically and socially embedded practice. She advocates instead a virtue ethics approach, based in part on the work of Alasdair MacIntyre. Such an approach better illumines torture's ethical dimensions, taking into account the implications of torture for human virtue and flourishing. An examination of torture's effect on the four cardinal virtues-courage, temperance, justice, and prudence (or practical reason)-suggests specific ways in which each of these are deformed in a society that countenances torture. Mainstreaming Torture concludes with the observation that if the United States is to come to terms with its involvement in institutionalized state torture, there must be a full and official accounting of what has been done, and those responsible at the highest levels must be held accountable.
Torture and the Twilight of Empire looks at the intimate relationship between torture and colonial domination through a close examination of the French army's coercive tactics during the Algerian war from 1954 to 1962. By tracing the psychological, cultural, and political meanings of torture at the end of the French empire, Marnia Lazreg also sheds new light on the United States and its recourse to torture in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This book is nothing less than an anatomy of torture--its methods, justifications, functions, and consequences. Drawing extensively from archives, confessions by former torturers, interviews with former soldiers, and war diaries, as well as writings by Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and others, Lazreg argues that occupying nations justify their systematic use of torture as a regrettable but necessary means of saving Western civilization from those who challenge their rule. She shows how torture was central to guerre révolutionnaire, a French theory of modern warfare that called for total war against the subject population and which informed a pacification strategy founded on brutal psychological techniques borrowed from totalitarian movements. Lazreg seeks to understand torture's impact on the Algerian population--especially women--and also on the French troops who became their torturers. She explores the roles Christianity and Islam played in rationalizing these acts, and the ways in which torture became not only routine but even acceptable.


Written by a preeminent historical sociologist, Torture and the Twilight of Empire holds particularly disturbing lessons for us today as we carry out the War on Terror.

This is the third edition of the pioneering work that has become the standard text in the field. The first edition was one of the earliest to establish that the newly-developing international law of human rights could be set down as any other branch of international law. It also incorporates the complementary fields of international humanitarian law and international criminal law, while addressing the problems associated with their interaction with human rights law. The book is more than a descriptive analysis of the field. It acknowledges areas of unclarity or where developments may be embryonic. Solutions are offered. Recent developments have confirmed the value of solutions proposed in this edition and the previous one. Central to most of the chapters is the human rights norm of most salience in the treatment of prisoners, namely, the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The early chapters focus on the period of first detention, when detainees are most at risk of having information or confessions, however unreliable, extracted by unlawful means. Voices contemplating the legitimacy of such treatment to combat terrorism have been heard in the wake of the atrocities of 11 September 2001. The book finds that the evidence clearly suggests that the absolute prohibition of such treatment remains firm. Other chapters deal with problems of poor prison conditions and of certain extraordinary penalties, notably corporal and capital punishment. A chapter explores ethical codes for members of professions capable of inflicting or preventing the prohibited behaviour (police and medical and legal professionals). Chapters are also devoted to the extreme practice of enforced disappearance and the contribution of the new convention on this phenomenon, as well as to extra-legal executions.
The book the government doesn’t want you to read.

President Trump wants to bring back torture. This is why he’s wrong.

In his more than thirty years as an NCIS special agent and counterintelligence officer, Mark Fallon has investigated some of the most significant terrorist operations in US history, including the first bombing of the World Trade Center and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole. He knew well how to bring criminals to justice, all the while upholding the Constitution. But in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, it was clear that America was dealing with a new kind of enemy. Soon after the attacks, Fallon was named Deputy Commander of the newly formed Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF), created to probe the al-Qaeda terrorist network and bring suspected terrorists to trial. Fallon was determined to do the job the right way, but with the opening of Guantanamo Bay and the arrival of its detainees, he witnessed a shadowy dark side of the intelligence community that emerged, peddling a snake-oil they called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

In Unjustifiable Means, Fallon reveals this dark side of the United States government, which threw our own laws and international covenants aside to become a nation that tortured—sanctioned by the highest-ranking members of the Bush Administration, the Army, and the CIA, many of whom still hold government positions, although none have been held accountable. Until now.

Follow along as Fallon pieces together how this shadowy group incrementally—and secretly—loosened the reins on interrogation techniques at Gitmo and later, Abu-Ghraib, and black sites around the world. He recounts how key psychologists disturbingly violated human rights and adopted harsh practices to fit the Bush administration’s objectives even though such tactics proved ineffective, counterproductive, and damaging to our own national security. Fallon untangles the powerful decisions the administration’s legal team—the Bush “War Counsel”—used to provide the cover needed to make torture the modus operandi of the United States government. As Fallon says, “You could clearly see it coming, you could wave your arms and yell, but there wasn’t a damn thing you could do to stop it.”

Unjustifiable Means is hard-hitting, raw, and explosive, and forces the spotlight back on to how America lost its way. Fallon also exposes those responsible for using torture under the guise of national security, as well as those heroes who risked it all to oppose the program. By casting a defining light on one of America’s darkest periods, Mark Fallon weaves a cautionary tale for those who wield the power to reinstate torture.
Sadly, it is highly likely that psychological torture is committed by governments worldwide and yet, notwithstanding the serious moral questions that this disturbing and elusive concept raises, and research in the area so limited, there is no operational or legal definition. This pioneering new book provides the first scientific definition and instrument to measure what it means to be tortured psychologically, as well as how allegations of psychological torture can be judged.

Ground in cross-disciplinary research across psychology, anthropology, ethics, philosophy, law and medicine, the book is a tour de force which analyses the legal framework in which psychological torture can exist, the harrowing effects it can have on those who have experienced it, and the motivations and identities of those who perpetrate it.

Integrating the voices both of those who have experienced torture as well as those who have committed it, the book defines what we mean by psychological torture, its aims and effects, as well as the moral and ethical debates in which it operates. Finally, the book builds on the Istanbul Protocol to provide a comprehensive new framework, including practical scales, that enables us to accurately measure psychological torture for the first time.

This is an important and much-needed overview and analysis of an issue that many governments have sought to sweep under the carpet. Its accessibility and range of coverage make it essential reading not only for psychologists and psychiatrists interested in this field, but also human rights organizations, lawyers and the wider international community.

Police who engage in torture are condemned by human rights activists, the media, and people across the world who shudder at their brutality. Stark revelations about torture by American forces at places like Guantanamo Bay have stoked a fascination with torture and debates about human rights. Yet despite this interest, the public knows little about the officers who actually commit such violence. How do the police understand what they do? How do their beliefs inform their responses to education and activism against torture?

Just Violence reveals the moral perspective of perpetrators and how they respond to human rights efforts. Through interviews with law enforcers in India, Rachel Wahl uncovers the beliefs that motivate officers who use and support torture, and how these beliefs shape their responses to international human rights norms. Although on the surface Indian officers' subversion of human rights may seem to be a case of "local culture" resisting global norms, officers see human rights as in keeping with their religious and cultural traditions—and view Western countries as the primary human rights violators. However, the police do not condemn the United States for violations; on the contrary, for Indian police, Guantanamo Bay justifies torture in New Delhi. This book follows the attempts of human rights workers to both persuade and coerce officers into compliance. As Wahl explains, current human rights strategies can undermine each other, leaving the movement with complex dilemmas regarding whether to work with or against perpetrators.

This book examines the historical genealogy of the torture taboo. The dissonance between the absolute prohibition against torture and its widespread violation raises important questions about the torture taboo in world politics. Does the torture taboo matter? Or are political realists correct in arguing that power politics rules?

Barnes argues that despite the torture taboo’s violation, it still matters, and paradoxically, its strength can be seen by studying its violation. States hide, deny, re-define and outsource their torture, as well as torture without leaving marks to avoid being stigmatised as a norm violating state. Tracing a genealogy of the torture taboo from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century Barnes shows how the taboo has developed over time, and how violations have played an important role in that development. Through six historical and contemporary case studies, it is argued that the taboo’s humanitarian pressures do not cease when states violate the norm, but continue to shape actors in unexpected ways.

Building upon the constructivist norm literature that has shown how norms shape state actions and interests, the book also widens our understanding of the complex role norm violations play in international society. Making a contribution to existing public debates on the use of torture in counter-terrorism policy, it will be of great use to scholars, postgraduates and practitioners in the fields of human rights, international relations theory (in particular constructivism), security studies and international law.

Torture, Psychoanalysis and Human Rights contributes to the development of that field of study called ‘psycho-social’ that is presently more and more committed to providing understanding of social phenomena, making use of the explicative perspective of psychoanalysis. The book seeks to develop a concise and integrated framework of understanding of torture as a socio-political phenomenon based on psychoanalytic thinking, through which different dimensions of the subject of study become more comprehensible.

Monica Luci argues that torture performs a covert emotional function in society. In order to identify what this function might be, a profile of ‘torturous societies’ and the main psychological dynamics of social actors involved – torturers, victims, and bystanders – are drawn from literature. Accordingly, a wide-ranging description of the phenomenology of torture is provided, detecting an inclusive and recurring pattern of key elements. Relying on psychoanalytic concepts derived from different theoretical traditions, including British object relations theories, American relational psychoanalysis and analytical psychology, the study provides an advanced line of conceptual research, shaping a model, whose aim is tograsp the deep meaning of key intrapsychic, interpersonal and group dynamics involved in torture.

Once a sufficiently coherent understanding has been reached, Luci proposes using it as a groundwork tool in the human rights field to re-think the best strategies of prevention and recovery from post-torture psychological and social suffering. The book initiates a dialogue between psychoanalysis and human rights, showing that the proposed psychoanalytic understanding is a viable conceptualisation for expanding thinking of crucial issues regarding torture, which might be relevant to human rights and legal doctrine, such as the responsibility of perpetrators, the reparation of victims and the question of ‘truth’.

Torture, Psychoanalysis and Human Rights

is the first book to build a psychoanalytic theory of torture from which psychological, social and legal reflections, as well as practical aspects of treatment, can be mutually derived and understood. It will appeal to psychoanalysts, psychoanalytic psychotherapists and Jungians, as well as scholars of politics, social work and justice, and human rights and postgraduate students studying across these fields.

When the Senate released its so-called "Torture Report" in December 2014 the world would learn that, for years, the CIA had used unimaginably brutal methods to interrogate its prisoners - often without yielding any useful or truthful information. The agency had long and adamantly defended its use of torture, staunchly arguing that it was not only just but necessary for the country's safety. And even amid the revelations of the report, questions abound about whether torture can be considered a justifiable tool of national security. Is interrogational torture an effective method of extracting information? How good does the information extracted need to be for the torture to be considered successful? How often or how vigorously must torture be used to achieve valuable information? It may be the case that interrogational torture can never be justified under any circumstances, but, according to John Schiemann, if it is to be justified at all, it must be effective. According to more than one national poll, most Americans do believe that torture can work, and that it can be justified under certain circumstances. But if the information that torturers extract is bad, then the method amounts to nothing more than pure sadism. So, how can we solve the dilemma over whether to torture or not to torture? In this book, John Schiemann takes a truly unique approach to the question of torture: game theory. Thinking of torture as a "game" played between an interrogator and a detainee, the book walks the reader through the logic of interrogational torture, comparing the outcomes to the claims made by torture proponents. The book draws on a wide variety of sources ranging from records of the Inquisition to secret CIA memos to trace this logic, illustrating each outcome of the model with a narrative from the real world of interrogational torture. Does Torture Work? is an absorbing and provocative take on one of the most discussed human rights and security dilemmas of our time.
This book considers the theoretical, policy and empirical arguments relevant to the debate concerning the legalisation of interrogational torture. Torturing Terrorists examines, as part of a consequentialist analysis, the nature and impact of torture and the implications of its legal regulation on individuals, institutions and wider society. In making an argument against the use of torture, the book engages in a wide ranging interdisciplinary analysis of the arguments and claims that are put forward by the proponents and opponents of legalised torture.

This book examines the ticking bomb hypothetical and explains how the component parts of the hypothetical are expansively interpreted in theory and practice. It also considers the effectiveness of torture in producing ‘ticking bomb’ and ‘infrastructure’ intelligence and examines the use of interrogational torture and coercion by state officials in Northern Ireland, Algeria, Israel, and as part of the CIA’s ‘High Value Detainee’ interrogation programme. As part of an empirical slippery slope argument, this book examines the difficulties in drafting the text of a torture statute; the difficulties of controlling the use of interrogational torture and problems such a law could create for state officials and wider society. Finally, it critically evaluates suggestions that debating the legalisation of torture is dangerous and should be avoided.

The book will be of interest to students and academics of criminology, law, sociology and philosophy, as well as the general reader.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.