CIA Torture Scandal: What the Administration Revealed--And What It Hid
This week, there was an avalanche of developments regarding the U.S. secret detention and rendition program. We got one long-awaited 2004 CIA report from the Agency’s Office of Inspector General—its internal watchdog—that’s been kept secret for five years. A second CIA release consisted of two papers that none other than Dick Cheney had requested be made public. And the report of the Office of Professional Responsibility assessing the conduct of Justice Department attorneys was submitted to Attorney General Holder.
We learned in the last couple of days that CIA interrogators choked detainees repeatedly, threatened them with death, conducted mock executions, said they would rape detainees’ mothers, and threatened to kill their children. Holder said that in the wake of these reports, he was appointing a special prosecutor to conduct a preliminary investigation.
But a lot of questions have also been raised about what’s not in these release. We'll speak to ALEX ABDO, National Security Fellow at the ACLU, to help us understand these reports, what they say about accountability, and what information is still missing.
Alexander Abdo is a Fellow in the ACLU's National Security Project. In addition to his work on the ACLU's "Torure FOIA," he has been involved in the litigation of cases concerning the Patriot Act, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and the treatment of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Navy brig in South Carolina.
Private Eye for Human Rights: Investigating U.S. Torture
The legal battle over U.S. actions is obviously a crucial arena in holding the government and military accountable for torture and abuse in the war on terror. But in this secretive area, there’s also a battle over the basic facts. How do we learn about the shadowy world of detention, interrogation, and torture? We talk to a private investigator who has spent years researching the CIA interrogation and detention program and many other human rights issues. Much of what we’ve learned in the last half-dozen years about abusive techniques has come from the determined work of investigative journalists, but especially in an age when ambitious journalism is on the decline, private investigators have become crucial sources of counter-spin. So here, we look inside the world of a private investigator for human rights.
John Sifton is a private investigator and attorney based in New York
City. His firm, One World Research, carries out research for law firms
and human rights groups, including in South Asia, the Middle East and
North Africa. He has conducted extensive investigations into the CIA
interrogation and detention program. He worked at Human Rights Watch
from 2001 until 2007, from 2005 to 2007 as the senior researcher on
terrorism and counterterrorism.
He has written for the
International Herald Tribune, Slate, Salon, and the New York Times
Magazine and New York Times Book Review.
Bright Felon: A New Book by Kazim Ali
A student of the late Agha Shahid Ali, KAZIM ALI is a political poet who writes about art, history, politics, love, geography, sexuality, writing, religion, and silence. His recent work, BRIGHT FELON: AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND CITIES, touches on all these, and, moving between the forms of poetry and prose, memoir and fiction, refuses to be contained by genre. We talk to him about his intensely personal and experimental work.
Kazim Ali is is the author of two books of poetry, The Far Mosque
(Alice James Books), and The Fortieth Day (BOA Editions, 2008). He is also the
author of the novel Quinn’s Passage (blazeVox books), The Disappearance of
Seth (Etruscan Press, 2009), and Bright Felon: Autobiography and
Cities (Wesleyan University Press, 2009). He is an assistant professor
of Creative Writing at Oberlin College and teaches at the University of Southern Maine. His
work has been featured in many national journals such as Best American
Poetry 2007, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Barrow Street,
jubilat and Massachusetts Review.
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