Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law Hardcover – 1 May 2008
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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).
Top customer reviews
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.
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. These all contravened US Army Field Manual 34-52, the rule book for military interrogation, and broke Common Article 3 of the Conventions, which prohibits cruel or inhumane treatment and `outrages upon personal dignity', without exceptions for `necessity' or national security.
Further, as former Defense Secretary James Schlesinger concluded in his report, "the augmented techniques for Guantanamo migrated to Afghanistan and Iraq where they were neither limited nor safeguarded." US pressure also led British forces in Iraq to adopt more aggressive interrogation techniques, as Brigadier Ewan Duncan, responsible for British HUMINT operations, acknowledged to Sands.
In June 2006 the US Supreme Court ruled that Bush's decision was unlawful and that Common Article 3 applied to all Guantanamo detainees. As Justice Anthony Kennedy said, "violations of Common Article 3 are considered `war crimes'." All acts of torture and all acts of complicity or participation in torture are criminal offences.
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