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Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law Hardcover – 1 May 2008

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846140080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846140082
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 3.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 528,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Reviews for Lawless World:

A frightening image of America self-exempted from the delicate fabric of international law on which human survival rests (Naom Chomsky )

Devastating ... a shaming and convincing critique (Observer )

Brilliant ... powerful ... His core message in this vibrant declaration of interdependence is clear and urgent (Helena Kennedy QC )

If you don't want to know the truth don't read this devastating book (Phillip Adams , Australian Broadcasting Late Night Live )

About the Author

Philippe Sands, QC, has been Professor of Law at University College London since 2002 and has taught at Boston College School of Law, Cambridge University and New York University Law School. He is also a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers and has been involved in leading cases before English and international courts, including those concerning Senator Augusto Pinochet and the Guantanamo and Belmarsh detainees. His previous book was the internationally acclaimed Lawless World: Making and Breaking Global Rules (Allen Lane 2005).

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jaybird on 18 July 2008
Torture Team is the story of how the United States came to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, flying in the face of international law.

Much of the information here will not be new to people who know something of the subject, but Sands writes with such humanity that it, even to those familiar with the history, it is shocking.

His thesis, that lawyers, particularly those employed in-house, can be seduced into making an argument rather than presenting the law, is clearly expounded.

Beyond this is the fascinating insight he gives into the personalities involved and the way that they appear to have been influenced by the second series of 24.

This is a great book, highly recommended.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By William Podmore on 26 Jun. 2008
Philippe Sands QC, Professor of Law at University College London, wrote the acclaimed Lawless World. In this new book he investigates how the US state introduced aggressive interrogation techniques at Guantanamo and elsewhere.

He interviewed key figures in the US Department of Defense, including Douglas Feith, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Major General Michael Dunlavey, Commanding Officer of the Joint Task Force Guantanamo until 8 November 2002, General Richard Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and General James Hill, Commander of US Southern Command.

Sands shows that the highest US authorities authorised criminal acts. As Abraham Lincoln said in 1863, "military necessity does not admit of cruelty ... nor of torture to extract confessions." Aggressive interrogation techniques, as well as being immoral, are unnecessary because they are unreliable, and they are also counter-productive because they discredit the user, undermine the user side's war effort and increase the risks to the user side's POWs. A National Defense Intelligence College study of 2006 concluded that there was almost no scientific evidence to support their use.

Yet in February 2002, President George W. Bush ruled that none of the Guantanamo detainees could rely on any of the protections granted by the Geneva Conventions. This ruling was intended to remove all constraints on interrogation, as Douglas Feith confirmed to Sands. On 2 December 2002 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed an `Action Memo' one of whose four attachments authorised the use of eighteen interrogation techniques.
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