Library Highlights: Terror, Torture & the Law


The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo‘s First 100 Days
Karen Greenberg
HV6432 .G7345 2009

From the Publisher: The Least Worst Place is a gripping narrative account of the first one hundred days of Guantanamo. Greenberg, one of America’s leading experts on the Bush Administration’s policies on terrorism, tells the story through a group of career officers who tried–and ultimately failed–to stymie the Pentagon’s desire to implement harsh new policies in Guantanamo and bypass the Geneva Conventions. She sets her story in Camp X-Ray, which underwent a remarkably quick transformation from a sleepy naval outpost in the tropics into a globally infamous holding pen. Peopled with genuine heroes and villains, this narrative of the earliest days of the post-9/11 era centers on the conflicts between Gitmo-based Marine officers intent on upholding the Geneva Accords and an intelligence unit set up under the Pentagon’s aegis. The latter ultimately won out, replacing transparency with secrecy, military protocol with violations of basic operation procedures, and humane and legal detainee treatment with harsh interrogation methods and torture […].

Tortured Law
VIDEO K5304 .T675 2009
Note: This video features TJSL Prof. Marjorie Cohn
From the Publisher: President Barack Obama has ended six years of American torture of suspected terrorists arising from the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks. The torture was originally outlined and sanctioned in 2002 by a series of memos drafted by lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. Were these lawyers simply giving the President their best legal advice? Or was their work part of a larger conspiracy to distort the law and authorize torture?

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced an investigation of CIA interrogators who exceeded the authority provided by the “torture memos.” But the officials who ordered these actions, and the lawyers who provided the legal cover have not been held accountable.

The End of Reciprocity: Terror, Torture, and the Law of War
Mark Osiel
KZ6471 .O845 2009
From the Publisher: Why should America restrain itself in detaining, interrogating, and targeting terrorists when they show it no similar forbearance? Is it fair to expect one side to fight by more stringent rules than the other, placing itself at disadvantage? Is the disadvantaged side then permitted to use the tactics and strategies of its opponent? If so, then America’s most controversial counterterrorism practices are justified as commensurate responses to indiscriminate terror. Yet different ethical standards prove entirely fitting, the author finds, in a conflict between a network of suicidal terrorists seeking mass atrocity at any cost and a constitutional democracy committed to respecting human dignity and the rule of law. The most important reciprocity involves neither uniform application of fair rules nor their enforcement by a simpleminded tit-for-tat. Real reciprocity instead entails contributing to an emergent global contract that encompasses the law of war and from which all peoples may mutually benefit.

International Legal Standards for the Protection from Refoulement: A Legal Analysis on the Prohibitions on Refoulement Contained in the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Convention Against Torture
C.W. Wouters
K3230.R45 W68 2009
From the Publisher: Every year, millions of people are seeking protection from countries other than their own for fear of being tortured, persecuted or killed. Finding protection is not easy. States are closely guarding their borders, making it difficult for aliens to seek and enjoy protection from serious harm. No matter where they are or why they flee, people seeking international protection are vulnerable and insecure; in dire need of knowing, understanding and receiving their rights. This book explores the basic right of every forcibly displaced person to be protected from refoulement. The prohibition of refoulement is the cornerstone of international refugee and asylum law and aims to provide protection to people at risk of persecution, torture, inhuman treatment or other human rights violations upon return to their own country. This book provides a comprehensive legal analysis of prohibitions of refoulement contained in four human rights treaties: the Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture. The emphasis of the analysis is on the international meaning of the prohibitions of refoulement and on the  responsibilities of States deriving from these prohibitions. The four treaties are analysed in separate chapters. The final chapter compares the prohibitions of refoulement contained in the four investigated treaties. This book will be an important resource for legal scholars, students and practitioners working with asylum seekers and refugees throughout the world. It is also a reminder for States, which have obliged themselves to protect people from becoming victims of unspeakable atrocities.

Our Nation Unhinged: The Human Consequences of the War on Terror
Peter Jan Honigsberg
KF9625 .H66 2009
From the Publisher: Jose Padilla short-shackled and wearing blackened goggles and earmuffs to block out all light and sound on his way to the dentist. Fifteen-year-old Omar Khadr crying out to an American soldier, “Kill me!” Hunger strikers at Guantánamo being restrained and force-fed through tubes up their nostrils. John Walker Lindh lying naked and blindfolded in a metal container, bound by his hands and feet, in the freezing Afghan winter night. This is the story of the Bush administration’s response to the attacks of September 11, 2001—and of how we have been led down a path of executive abuses, human tragedies, abandonment of the Constitution, and the erosion of due process and liberty. In this vitally important book, Peter Jan Honigsberg chronicles the black hole of the American judicial system from 2001 to the present, providing an incisive analysis of exactly what we have lost over the past seven years and where we are now headed.

The Treatment of Prisoners Under International Law
Nigel Rodley with Matt Pollard
K5519 .R63 2009
From the Publisher: The book is more than a descriptive analysis of the field. It acknowledges areas of unclarity or where developments may be embryonic.  Solutions are offered. Recent developments have confirmed the value of solutions proposed in this edition and the previous one. Central to most of the chapters is the human rights norm of most salience in the treatment of prisoners, namely, the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The early chapters focus on the period of first detention, when detainees are most at risk of having information or confessions, however unreliable, extracted by unlawful means. Voices contemplating the legitimacy of such treatment to combat terrorism have been heard in the wake of the atrocities of 11 September 2001. The book finds that the evidence clearly suggests that the absolute prohibition of such treatment remains firm. […] Chapters are also devoted to the extreme practice of enforced disappearance and the contribution of the new convention on this phenomenon, as well as to extra-legal executions.

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