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!”
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.
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.
One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year
National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
A Best Book of the Year: Salon, Slate, The Economist, The Washington Post, Cleveland Plain-Dealer
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.
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.
Building on observations, documentary analysis and over seventy interviews with both torture victims and transitional justice workers this book explores how torture was used, suffered and resisted in Timor-Leste. The author investigates the extent to which transitional justice institutions have provided justice for torture victims; illustrating how truth commissions and international courts operate together and reflecting on their successes and weaknesses with reference to wider social, political and economic conditions. Stanley also details victims’ experiences of torture and highlights how they experience life in the newly built state of Timor-Leste
Tracking the past, present and future of human rights, truth and justice for victims in Timor-Leste, Torture, Truth and Justice will be of interest to students, professionals and scholars of Asian studies, International Studies, Human Rights and Social Policy.
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.
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.
The volume was based on the official documentation kept by the very military that perpetrated the horrific acts. These extensive documents include military court proceedings of actual trials, secretly photocopied by lawyers associated with the Catholic Church and analyzed by a team of researchers. Their daring project—known as BNM for Brasil: Nunca Mais—compiled more than 2,700 pages of testimony by political prisoners documenting close to three hundred forms of torture.
The BNM project proves conclusively that torture was an essential part of the military justice system and that judicial authorities were clearly aware of the use of torture to extract confessions. Still, it took more than a decade after the publication of Brasil: Nunca Mais for the armed forces to admit publicly that such torture had ever taken place. Torture in Brazil, the English version of the book re-edited here, serves as a timely reminder of the role of Brazil's military in past repression.
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.
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 Rightsis 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.
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.