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Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the…

Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values (2008)

by Philippe Sands

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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. ( )
  carst | Sep 2, 2009 |
Shocking story of how the Bush Administration subverted what Americans believe
  AnneliM | May 8, 2009 |
I struggled through this book and limped to the end of it, skimming liberally. I had heard an interview with Sands on NPR about this book over the summer & thought it sounded fascinating. Although it is an important book about a serious issue that merits attention, the book really killed me. Even though its based on current events that have been widely covered in the papers, I had such a hard time keeping track of the jumble of actors involved. The book's organizational structure was confusing too - it seemed to jump around in time a bit, and I found myself having to constantly ask myself when in time I was & what had already happened in the storyline. This is the kind of book that requires the reader to put it down often, make sense of things, and take breaks. Unfortunately its also the kind of book where if the reader puts it down for a while, s/he is likely to be completely confused simply trying to remember who everyone is when s/he does pick it back up again.

Ultimately what emerges is a very sad picture of violations of international law, which is the picture that I already had from press articles on the matter, so I don't really know what I gained from reading this book other than a sense of how vast and bizarre the military-legal bureaucracy is. Still, its not as though its a bad book, so I feel badly trashing it. The low rating reflects my disappointment with the book more than the fact that its not a good book, I guess. ( )
  fannyprice | Dec 29, 2008 |
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. ( )
  sneiner | Oct 29, 2008 |
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We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. ... it's going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective. — Vice President Dick Cheney, "Meet the Press," 16 September 2001
In situations like this you don't call in the tough guys; you call in the lawyers. — Former CIA Director George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm, 2007
For my parents, Allan and Ruth
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Only a few pieces of paper can change the course of history.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0230603904, Hardcover)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:41 -0400)

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"In December 2002, Donald Rumsfeld authorized new interrogation techniques for Guantanamo and opened the door to torture and other practices that later migrated to Abu Ghraib." "Torture Team uncovers the real story behind Rumsfeld's notorious memo, a tale of fear and abuse, deception and ideology that reveals how the path leading to torture began with Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, and their lawyers. Traveling around America to interview key players, many whose voices have never previously been heard, renowned international lawyer Philippe Sands pieces together the role of advisors closest to the White House and shows how they violated the law in the name of security as other struggled to stop the abuse."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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