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Torture Database | The primary documents of torture, now with meta tags
The ACLU's new Torture Database now makes it easy for the public -- and reporters -- to search through over 100,000 pages of documents related to the Bush administration’s rendition, detention, and interrogation policies and practices.

| The press needs to expose the siege of democracy, not abet it
John Hanrahan writes: ‘We have become overly fearful, willing to surrender many core freedoms for the illusion of absolute security…We as a nation are less free than we were 11 years ago. And the mainstream press needs to say so, needs to explore this in news articles, as well as editorially and on the op-ed pages and in the broadcast media.’

From Nieman Reports | A reporter's story of Evin prison after the 2009 Iranian uprising
Confess your role as an instigator and you’ll be released in a couple of days, Tehran prison interrogators told journalist Maziar Bahari in 2009. He did, and there followed 108 more days of beatings, solitary confinement and harsh night-time questioning. His book, Then They Came for Me: A Family’s Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, is reviewed in the Fall 2011 issue of Nieman Reports, now available online.

Book tour | 11 questions reporters should be asking Dick Cheney
As the former vice president uses media interviews to sell books, reporters have an unprecedented opportunity to confront him about his highly controversial legacy and push him to divulge more about how he pursued his agenda.

Reporting the endgame | Coulda, woulda, shoulda coverage of antiwar protests
Looking back, the Washington Post editor in charge of covering demonstrations says newsworthy stories have been left uncovered. He needn't feel lonely; The Post has lots of company in ignoring stories of dissent. The New York Times, for one, has its own spotty record.

No accountability | Is torture in our future as well as our past?
President Obama has made it clear that we don't torture now -- but he's done very little to ensure that we won't do it again in the future. What's missing is any sense of accountability.

Torture report | Ten questions for Harold Koh about torture and U.S. compliance with its legal commitments
The Obama administration claims that all alleged abuses of detainees have been or are in the process of being investigated. The lead author of the ACLU's Torture Report asks the obvious but unasked questions.

'Painful reminders' | Why the torture story needs to be told
Bill Minutaglio, in the Texas Observer, says the news media need to investigate the Bush administration’s “dark story of torture…not just to affix blame, but to help rebuild our international image and ultimately strengthen national security.”

Indefinite incarceration | Will not one but two Guantanamos define the American future?
There is no sign that the notorious eight-year-old detention facility in Cuba is close to a shut down. And worse yet, writes torture expert Karen Greenberg, when it does close it may be replaced by two Guantanamos -- one in Illinois and the other in Afghanistan. That's not the way out of the quagmire of incarceration that the Bush administration mired us in.

| In poll, 6 in 10 Americans approve complete ban on torture
A majority opposes nearly all methods of torture. But among Republicans surveyed, 44% approve a complete ban now, compared to 68% in a 2004 survey.

The overseas press | Torture stays in the news internationally
Some ridicule Cheney – and the media for promoting him – but others see him as at least somewhat successful in his jibes at Obama.

Looking backward | Establishing the connection between the Bush White House and Abu Ghraib
Denying that White House policy was directly responsible for the vile abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib has been the central goal of a five-year disinformation campaign by Bush officials. 'Torture Team' author Philippe Sands argues that newly-disclosed records show how blatantly Bush officials were willing to lie in order to lead reporters away from the truth. Eighth in a series of articles calling attention to the things we still need to know about torture and other abuses committed by the Bush administration after 9/11.

Looking backward | Would a better prepared U.S. have used torture?
Did a lack of trained interrogators with appropriate language proficiency lead Bush administration officials to embrace torture as a 'short cut'? A former dean at the Defense Language Institute writes that America was unprepared to wage a patient and savvy war of counterintelligence against Al Qaeda – which may have made less humane and less effective methods seem like an attractive option. Seventh in a series of articles calling attention to the things we still need to know about torture and other abuses committed by the Bush administration after 9/11.

The overseas press | The torture discussion is heating up internationally
A columnist in Germany’s IDN (In-Depth News) writes: “There is now no question that Bush and company are guilty before the world of enthusiastically embracing a policy of torture in defiance of US law and the Geneva Conventions.” And from the Arab Gulf News: “One of the casualties of international responses to Al Qaida and global terrorism has been human rights and international law.”

Looking backward | Following the paper trail to the top
COMMENTARY| May 06, 2009
We're learning more about the decisions that were made by the last administration, but we still don't know nearly enough about how they were made and who exactly made them, says Caroline Fredrickson of the ACLU. If you really believe in the rule of law – and that no one is above the law -- then you've got to bring accountability to the top of the chain of command.

Searching for truth | Almost everyone remains anonymous
We still don't know the answer to some of the most basic questions about Bush's detainee legacy, writes the founder of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. Who were the prisoners? Who were the torturers? And who authorized the program?

Remember Francis Gary Powers? | A defensive crouch is nothing new for the CIA
George Wilson goes back some to recall the U-2 plane shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 on a mission whose director, Richard Bissell of the CIA, later said should never have been undertaken. It resulted in worsened relations between the U.S. and the USSR, and there never was an examination to find out what went wrong. Instead not long afterward Bissell was put in charge of the Bay of Pigs invasion.

The overseas press | Detainee torture, seen from abroad
Writes a columnist in the Guardian: ‘It might be fun to see Dick Cheney behind bars for condoning torture, but there are more urgent priorities.’ But a writer in Asia Times says those responsible must be held accountable.

Investigating the Bush years | To look forward, you have to look back
COMMENTARY| April 22, 2009
Eric Stover, a professor who investigates human rights abuses, wants to focus on what our national security response should be to terrorism going forward -- but in doing so, he poses some disturbing questions about what we did.

An obligation to look back | Is there a price for departing from our values?
Fritz Schwarz, who helped lead the Church Committee's investigation into intelligence abuses more than 30 years ago, writes that we need to further explore whether our conduct helped al Qaeda's recruitment efforts, and how much excessive secrecy and a complaisant Congress were to blame.

An obligation to look back | So much we still need to know
COMMENTARY| April 20, 2009
NiemanWatchdog.org is publishing a series of articles calling attention to the things we still need to know about torture and other abuses committed by the Bush administration after 9/11. Why the focus on what we don't know? Because when you think about how much remains hidden, how many issues are still unresolved, how many injustices have never been redressed, and how little accountability there has been, it's hard to make the argument that we're ready to move on.

An obligation to look back | How many detainees were wronged?
McClatchy Foreign Editor Roy Gutman argues that we won't genuinely understand the scope of Bush's detainee program until we fully document each detainee's experience and make amends to those who were wrongly held and mistreated.

The new administration | Is Bagram Obama's Guantanamo?
The first and last legacy of the Bush detention era is the prison at Bagram Air Base. But torture expert Karen Greenberg writes that there are no signs so far that the Obama administration is going to make any changes there. And still unclear: Who is being held there? Are they classified as 'prisoners of war' or as Bushian 'unlawful enemy combatants'? How are they being treated?

| Cheney says he approved waterboarding. Is that the end of the story?
The vice president gave the go-ahead for tactics commonly regarded as torture. Was that a war crime or not? William J. Astore provides some background on the issue and urges the press to show that it too can do aggressive interrogations. And do them now, without waiting for a new administration or a new Congress.

Torture in Iraq | 'When presented with the choice of getting smarter or getting tougher, we chose the latter.'
An expert military interrogator asks Congress: Why did the special operations community in Iraq in 2003 find it necessary -- and appropriate -- to request interrogation support from an organization whose mission was, and is, to teach resistance to interrogation?

An interrogator's view | The flawed thinking of the administration's torture advocates
An expert military interrogator wants to know why the president's legal advisers were so intent on rationalizing the violation of longstanding law in order to adopt an approach –- coercion -- that experienced interrogation practitioners agree is not just ineffective, but counterproductive.

Torture, American style | Abuse has no place in interrogation policy
Two veteran intelligence officials write that this country has a long history of successful interrogations – based on seduction, not coercion. Torture not only violates our core values, but leads to misinformation.

Puppeteer in the crosshairs | Don't let Addington duck the big questions
The vice president's secretive enforcer is set to testify on Capitol Hill on Thursday about how the administration developed its interrogation policies – something he probably knows more about than anyone else. It's essential that members of Congress subject him to a concerted, well-planned examination, rather than let him play them for fools. So how about ganging up?

Senate testimony | Cruelty as a weapon of war
COMMENTARY| June 17, 2008
Former Navy general counsel Alberto Mora tells Congress that the adoption of interrogation techniques that violate human dignity is not just contrary to our core American values – it weakens our defenses.

Interview with David Westphal | 'I guess you can call it torture'
McClatchy reporters traveled to 11 countries to interview 66 freed Guantanamo and Afghanistan prison detainees. The result is a stunning 5-part series and multi-media presentation titled 'Guantanamo: Beyond the Law.'

Tortured results | Real plots or false confessions?
President Bush has listed four terrorist attacks he says his administration prevented thanks to the CIA's harsh interrogations. But what do we really know about these alleged plots that he now says should be so central to the public debate over torture? Not much.

More digging needed | Tenet's near-admission of torture
He insists that 'we don’t torture,' but the former CIA director has repeatedly confirmed that in the wake of 9/11 he oversaw the use of morally questionable interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects. 'Whatever you call them,' Tenet says, 'it was authorized.' The press shouldn’t just leave it at that. We must demand to know of him -- and those who allegedly gave him permission: What exactly have you done in our name?

Follow the paper trail | Dogging the torture story
Reporters should demand that the two men most responsible for acts of torture by U.S. forces explain themselves, writes Colin Powell’s former chief of staff -- who says a paper trail clearly links the practice of prisoner abuse to the upper reaches of the Pentagon and Vice President Cheney's office.

Exploring a muted reaction | Have Americans developed a taste for torture?
The author of a new book on torture wonders why public response to an issue that cuts to the very core of America's national identity has been so muted. And he lays out a series of questions for President Bush, congressional candidates and your readers aimed at bearing witness to what may turn out to be a fundamental shift in moral choices by the American public.