"A Ponzi Scheme of Torture"

Today we post the first of two parts of Chapter 4, “A Ponzi Scheme of Torture.”

More Documents, Another Signature

The other day I had on my desk those six samples of Jose Padilla's signature; today it's the signature of President Bush on this November 20, 2005 order transferring Padilla “from detention by the Secretary of Defense” and “to the control of the Attorney General for the purpose of criminal proceedings against him.”

Isolation and Torture

It says something about the extreme isolation in which many so-called high value detainees were held, and the extreme secrecy surrounding their circumstances and treatment, that something as simple as a detainee's signature can seem startling.

This week, reading through a sequence of documents that were released to the ACLU in 2008, I found myself staring at not one, but six copies of Jose Padilla's signature.

New Morsels on the Destruction of the Tapes

New materials released last week in the ACLU’s ongoing FOIA proceedings seeking documents on the destruction of the torture videotapes add some details to the narrative in Chapter 3.

"Not Well For Anyone"

For me, the one astonishingly honest moment of John Stewart's Daily Show interview with John Yoo two nights ago, a moment that didn't make it into the televised version, came about two and a half minutes in, when Stewart, in his way, first raises the subject of the legal memos Yoo authored.

The Fruits of Torture

In Chapter 4, which I'll begin posting next week, I look at how torture begat torture - how bad information extracted through abusive interrogations led to the apprehension of others, who were in turn tortured until they, too, provided bad information.

From the New Batch

One of the most fascinating aspects of huge caches of official documents is how, the more you look at them, the more human, and less coldly bureaucratic, they reveal themselves to be.

Blowing Smoke

Will There Be Prosecutions?

Today we post the fifth and final installment of Chapter 3, “Black Sites, Lies, and Videotapes.”

The Destruction of the Tapes

It says something about the fundamental unsoundness of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program—legally, practically, and ethically—that it depended on extreme secrecy, and that breaches of that secrecy were understood to pose a major existential threat to the program itself and a serious legal threat to those charged with carrying it out.

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