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Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law

by Phillippe Sands
£9.99   paperback  Penguin Books Ltd (2009)

Torture Team: Deception, Cruelty and the Compromise of Law by Phillippe Sands It was an ordinary day in Washington.
No immediate decisions were needed on Iraq.
The only notable public event in the Secretary's diary was the President's visit to the Pentagon to sign a bill for a large increase in the defence budget. But on that same day, elsewhere in the Pentagon, a less public but ultimately far more significant event occured.
 
Few pieces of paper have the power to change the course of history. On Tuesday 2 Decemeber 2002 Donald Rumsfeld signed one that did. With a signature and a few scrawled words he wantonly discarded principles dating back to President Lincoln's famous edict of 1863 that 'military necessity does not admit of cruelty'. Drafted a few days earlier by the Defence Department's lawyer. William J. Haynes, the apty-named Action Memo was entitled 'Counter-Resistance Techniques', and attached to it was a request for approval of eighteen new techniques for interrogating detainees at Guantanamo - techniques which disregarded the US Army Manual's instructions on interrogation and violated Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.
 
Torture Team reveals the gripping story of how the Action Memo and its four apparently innocuous attachments came to be legal documents, the cover-up by the Defence Department to hide their origins, the whistleblowers who forced the rescinding of Rumsfeld's approval and the human consequences of the new techniques for one detainee at Guantanamo, and their migration to Abu Ghraib and Basra.
 
In this forensic investigation of deception at the highest levels, international lawyer Phillippe Sands questions the role of lawyers who are required to give legal opinions on sensitive political matters, and asks what responsibility they bear. Are they just following orders? Or do lawyers carry a unique responsibility to uphold justice in democratic societies? The answers to these questions will be of urgent concern to all those who care about human rights and the rule of the law in our world.

ISBN 13: 9780141031323 | ISBN 10: 0141031328

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