Tag Archives | Torture

Torture and Cognitive Dissonance


When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir? —JM Keynes A couple of recent, unrelated articles caught my eye. The New Scientist carried a review of ‘Why Torture doesn’t work’, a forthcoming book by Shane O’Mara, an academic at Trinity, Dublin. The scientific answer is that torture doesn’t work, in more…


Game of Thrones vs real life: 5 ways fact is worse than fiction

Greyworm, leader of child soldier army called the “Unsullied” Photo: HBO / Sky Atlantic

Guest blog by Anna Neistat, Senior Director for Research, Amnesty International The long-awaited fifth season of Game of Thrones begins on Sunday 12 April. Filmed in Northern Ireland (and elsewhere) and broadcast in 170 countries, the show shocks viewers and generates controversy with graphic violence, especially against women. Yet many aspects of real life around more…


Paper trail: from Northern Ireland’s hooded men to CIA’s global torture

Letter from Home Secretary Merlyn Rees to Prime Minister Jim Callaghan in 1977, when the UK was (successfully)arguing in Strasbourg that the techniques used were not torture

In August 1971 the UK authorities arrested and interned hundreds of men in Northern Ireland. Fourteen of them were selected for “special treatment” – torture in a specially-built interrogation centre at a British Army camp. The men were subjected to the soon-to-be infamous “five techniques” of hooding, stress positions, white noise, sleep deprivation and deprivation more…


The sad tale of tolerating torture that hangs over us today

Ian Cobain a  senior reporter on the Guardian is on Radio 4’s Start the Week ( listen on  BBCiPlayer or RadioPlayer after 10 a.m. or the repeat at 2100 live tonight).  I strongly recommend a listen. The author of Cruel Britannia: a secret history of British torture, he gives a calm and convincing account of more…


Mauritius must get to grips with torture if it wishes to restore confidence

The failure to find and convict the killers of Michaela McAreavey has exposed glaring holes in the Mauritius criminal justice system and a worrying reliance on confessions allegedly extracted under torture.  The Mauritian jury’s ‘not guilty’ verdict seems to show that they believed Avinash Treebhoowoon’s allegation that a confession statement produced three days after Michaela McAreavey’s more…


Haiti: ‘Baby Doc’ escapes justice for past abuses

Torture technique used in the 1800s ...and the 1980s

Given the Slugger community’s interest in Haiti, I thought it worthwhile to note the regrettable decision by a Haitian court not to charge the country’s former dictator,  Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier, over allegations of torture and murder. Duvalier returned to Haiti this time last year after 25 years in exile in France. Since then, he has more…


Happy travels! Guantánamo Bay: a decade of failure

Ten years ago today, the first detainees were transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Since then 779 people have been held, yet only one has been given a trial in an ordinary US federal court. Yesterday I met with the impressive acting US Consul General, Kevin Roland, at the Consulate in more…


Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011


Writer Christopher Hitchens has died aged 62. He was as contrary as he was brilliant. Here is a brief In Memoriam from Vanity Fair (his outlet of choice since 1992) and, here, a longer tribute from his friend Christopher Buckley Stanley in The New Yorker. Better, perhaps, though to post one of Hitchens’ own writings in more…


So Dubya that’s all right then

“Their interrogations helped break up plots to attack American diplomatic facilities abroad, Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf in London, and multiple targets in the United States,” George W Bush has told the Times in a media blitz  to publish his ghosted memoirs  “Decision Points“. What is the British reply? Nothing from the government yet – or from Tony more…


Torture. It hasn’t gone away you know.

Charlie McManamin was a 16-year-old boy, when – according to his shocking testimony – he was interrogated and beaten until he confessed to terrorist offences. He’s just one of the people – including a former police officer – making detailed allegations of torture in a new film and report on the Guardian site today. Hundreds more…