Torture and America: Past, Present, and Future
March 23rd, 2010
10:00-11:15 | Alan Clarke
Utah Valley University
LI 120 (library auditorium)
"Rendition to Torture"
11:30-12:45 | Alfred McCoy
"Psychological Torture & the Problem of Impunity"
2:30-3:45 | Brent Rushforth
"Guantanamo Bay and Issues of Torture"
4:00-5:15 | Panel Discussion
"Torture in America"
Directions to UVU can be found here. This conference is being held on the first floor of the library, room #LI 120. The room can be found in the southeast area of the first floor. Visitor parking is available for a fee in lot "L," which is just to the southeast of the library.
Professor of Integrated Studies
Utah Valley University
Rendition to Torture: A Critical Legal History
International law has long prohibited rendering people to places where they faced torture. Nonetheless, the United States has, since the Clinton administration, through a process called extraordinary rendition, sent people to places where they were tortured. This process greatly expanded during the Bush administration. Historically, renditions were primarily used to bring war criminals and terrorists from places where extradition was difficult or impossible to countries affording a fair trial. Rendition became extraordinary when these constraints were lost and when it became a way to either “disappear” someone or to make them talk, surreptitiously using illegal means.
This policy has failed. It has not deterred terrorism, has impeded intelligence gathering, and has put the United States at odds with its closest allies. It has obstructed foreign policy initiatives, and interfered with legitimate prosecutions in multiple countries. And it has demoralized intelligence agents while radicalizing opponents. Transnational resistance to U.S. renditions is slowly, however, curbing the worst excesses and may ultimately force it to come more into compliance with international law. The various pressures on the United States seem, when viewed singly, quite small. The cumulative effect, however, at least since Alvarez-Machain, has been to continually make it harder for the U.S. to operate freely. It seems safe to predict that extraordinary rendition’s days are numbered.
Suggested CitationAlan W. Clarke. 2009. "Rendition to Torture: A Critical Legal History" ExpressO
Available at: http://work s.bepress.com/alan_clarke/4
Brent Rushforth, J.D.
Day Pitney LLP
Professional ExperienceBrent Rushforth is a partner at Day Pitney and practices in the Antitrust and White Collar Defense and Internal Investigations Practice Group. Mr. Rushforth has extensive litigation experience in antitrust and unfair competition, intellectual property and trade regulation. He has represented such clients as VISA, MCI, Cox Communications, Black & Decker, Marriott Corporation and the American Booksellers Association. During his tenure as Deputy General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Mr. Rushforth was actively involved in the SALT Treaty negotiations.
Washington DC Partner
Brent Rushforth in the The New York Times
Discussing His Pro Bono Client's Release from Guantanamo Bay: "Detainee's
Case Illustrates Bind of Prison's Fate"
Publisher:The New York Times
To understand how hard it is proving for President Obama to close the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, consider the case of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, Internee Security No. 692. His long-delayed departure last week leaves 97 Yemenis at the complex in Cuba, by far the largest remaining group.
It was seven years ago that Mr. Ahmed, then 18, was swept up by Pakistani security forces in a raid on a Faisalabad guesthouse and taken to the prison. It was five months ago that a federal judge, after reviewing all the government's classified evidence, ruled that his incarceration had never been justified and ordered the government to get to work "forthwith" on his release.
But Obama administration officials were worried. Even if Mr. Ahmed was not dangerous in 2002, they said, Guantánamo itself might have radicalized him, exposing him to militants and embittering him against the United States. If he returned to his troubled homeland of Yemen, the officials feared, he might fall in with the growing contingent of Al Qaeda there, one more Guantánamo survivor to star in their propaganda videotapes.
Brent N. Rushforth, a lawyer in Washington who represents Mr. Ahmed, said his client never supported terrorism and was known as "the sweet kid" to other prisoners. "Alla has never exhibited any bitterness," he said.
J.R.W. Smail Professor of History
University of Wisconsin-Madison
"Psychological Torture & the Problem of Impunity"
This paper will begin by exploring the distinctive
of psychological torture, as developed by the CIA during the Cold War
and revived by the Bush administration under the broad rubric of the
Global War on Terror. Reflecting the elusive, adaptable, and
seductive attributes of this distinctively American form of torture,
the practice not only proliferated under President Bush but has
proven resistant to any legal accountability under the Obama
Author of “A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror”
From the start of the Cold War to the early
nineteen-sixties, the C.I.A. spent billions of dollars developing psychological
tools for interrogation. The agency cast a wide net, funding a Canadian study
that involved administering electric shocks to subjects in drug-induced comas,
and recruiting people like Kurt Plotner, a Nazi scientist who, in his search
for a truth serum, had tested mescaline on Jewish prisoners at Dachau. The
eventual conclusion was that cheap, simple methods (for example, enforced
standing) worked best, and were also more acceptable to the public than
outright physical violence. McCoy skillfully traces the use of these methods
from the Phoenix program in Vietnam—which was designed to ferret out high-level
Vietcong, although of the more than twenty thousand people it killed most were
civilians—to the actions of agency-trained secret police in Honduras in the
nineteen-eighties, and the treatment of hooded detainees at Abu Ghraib.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
After earning a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian history at Yale in 1977, my writing on this region has focused on two topics--the Philippine political history and opium trafficking in the Golden Triangle. My first book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia (New York, 1972), sparked controversy when the CIA tried to block publication. But after three English editions and translation into nine foreign languages, this study is now regarded as the “classic” work on the global drug traffic.
My recent work on covert operations, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York, 2006), explores agency’s half-century history of psychological torture. A film based in part on that book, "Taxi to the Darkside," won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2008.
The Philippines remains the major focus of my research. An investigation of President Marcos’s “fake medals,” published on page one of the New York Times (January 23, 1986) just weeks before the 1986 presidential elections, contributed to the country’s transition from authoritarian rule. Analyzing the many coup attempts following that transition, Closer Than Brothers (New Haven, 1999) documents the corrosive impact of torture upon the Philippine military.
My latest book, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison, 2009), draws together these two strands in my research, covert operations and modern Philippine history, to explore the transformative power of police, information, and scandal in shaping both the modern Philippine state and the U.S. internal security apparatus.
Three of my edited volumes on Philippine historiography have won that country's National Book Award. In 2001, the Association for Asian Studies awarded me the Goodman Prize for a “deep and enduring impact on Philippine historical studies.”
Modern Philippine social and political history; U.S. foreign policy; colonial empires in Southeast Asia; global illicit drug trafficking; and CIA covert operations.
- "Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State" (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), 659 pp.
- ed. with Francisco Scarano), "Colonial Crucible: Empire in the Making of the Modern American State" (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), 685 pp.
- ed., "An Anarchy of Families: Filipino Elites and the Philippine State"(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), 451 pp.
- "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror" (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 288 pp.
- "The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Traffic" (New York: Lawrence Hill Books, revised, 2003), 709 pp.
- ed., "Lives at the Margin: Biographies of Filipinos Ordinary, Heroic, Obscure" (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2000), 481 pp.
- "Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy" (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999), 425 pp.
- University of Wisconsin Graduate School, J.R.W. Smail Chair in History, 2004
- Philippine National Book Award, 1985, 1995, 2001.
- Association for Asian Studies, Grant Goodman Prize, 2001.
- Fulbright-Hays Faculty Research Abroad, 1998-99.