Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values

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St. Martin's Press, May 13, 2008 - Political Science - 272 pages

On December 2, 2002 the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed his name at the bottom of a document that listed eighteen techniques of interrogation--techniques that defied international definitions of torture. The Rumsfeld Memo authorized the controversial interrogation practices that later migrated to Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, as part of the policy of extraordinary rendition. From a behind-the-scenes vantage point, Phillipe Sands investigates how the Rumsfeld Memo set the stage for a divergence from the Geneva Convention and the Torture Convention and holds the individual gatekeepers in the Bush administration accountable for their failure to safeguard international law.

The Torture Team delves deep into the Bush administration to reveal:
- How the policy of abuse originated with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, and was promoted by their most senior lawyers
- Personal accounts, through interview, of those most closely involved in the decisions
- How the Joint Chiefs and normal military decision-making processes were circumvented
- How Fox TV's 24 contributed to torture planning
- How interrogation techniques were approved for use
- How the new techniques were used on Mohammed Al Qahtani, alleged to be "the 20th highjacker"
- How the senior lawyers who crafted the policy of abuse exposed themselves to the risk of war crimes charges


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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - carst - LibraryThing

Surprisingly gripping. Sands is very good at making a compelling narrative out of the actions of US government lawyers which paved the way for torture in Guantanamo, and arguably, Abu Ghraib. Must read. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sneiner - LibraryThing

Sands provides a strinking direct lineage between Rusmfeld and the torturers at Gunatanamo. Shows the bureaucratic and legal manuvering which allowed for systemic and prolonged torture. Read full review


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About the author (2008)

Philippe Sands is an international lawyer and a professor of law at University College London. He is the author of Lawless World and is frequently a commentator on news and current affairs programs including CNN, MSNBC, and BBC World Service. He has been involved in many leading international cases, including the World Court trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the treatment of British detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He lives in London, England.

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