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"The Torture Report" Book Now Available in Print and Online
Two years ago, TheTortureReport.org was created in an effort to give a full account of the Bush administration's torture program, from its improvised origins to the systematized, lawyer-rationalized maltreatment of hundreds of prisoners in U.S. custody around the world.
Published serially online, the Report brought together information from government documents, official investigations, press reports, photographs, witness statements, testimonials, as well as vivid and meticulously-researched books in order to construct a single narrative about the torture program. The report's lead writer, Larry Siems, also reflected on new revelations and developments in the international struggle for accountability for the U.S.-led torture program.
Now, Siems and OR books have turned TheTortureReport.org into a new book — The Torture Report: What the Documents say about America's Post 9/11 Torture Program — available in print and online.
In the book's introduction, Siems reflects:
Here's what I learned from writing TheTortureReport.org. The most senior members of the Bush administration, up to and including the President, broke international and domestic laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Worse, they had subordinates in the military and in civilian intelligence services break these laws for them. . . .
I am hardly the first to learn these things or reach these conclusions. Dozens of outstanding journalists, lawyers, human rights investigators, bloggers, and members of Congress have discovered and reported similar conclusions for years. But I have reached them for myself, doing what I believe every citizen of conscience ought to do at moments like these, reading the documents themselves.
I learned one more thing as well, something that anyone who reads the record will also discover.
Over and over again, men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq, in Guantánamo, in secret CIA black sites, in Langley, in the Pentagon, in Congress, and in the administration itself recognized the torture for what it was and objected, protested, and fought to prevent, and then to end, these illegal and ill-advised interrogations. While those who devised and oversaw the torture program insist their decisions were colored by the consciousness of impending danger, these men and women, who spent their days in far closer proximity to deadly threats, decried the cruel treatment as ineffective, shortsighted, and wrong. . . .
This sense of betrayal permeates the documents—not just of abstract values and principles, but of the women and men we commissioned to represent these values and principles to the world.
The ACLU's Alex Abdo, ACLU National Security Project Staff Attorney, recently spoke with Siems about his new book. Listen to the podcast here.