Mark Danner

Terror, Torture and Truth: Human Rights after 9/11

Mark Danner 
 HR/PS 203 MONDAY 1:30 – 2:50 OLIN 203 
TUESDAY 1:00 – 2:20 OLIN 205 
 Description: When it comes to human rights, there is the world before September 11 and the world after it. On that date in 2001 America entered upon “a new paradigm,” in the words of then White House counsel (now Attorney General) Alberto Gonzales – a major shift not only in the American way of war and foreign policy but in our government’s attitude toward the protection of human rights at home and abroad. Henceforth Americans would “take the gloves off” in their treatment of prisoners, their policies on interrogation, and their attitude toward the laws of war. In this course we will examine these policy changes closely. We will study the decisions government officials made, the documents they wrote to advance those policies, and, most important, the actions of those who carried those policies out in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo. We will chart the path America has followed from the attacks of 9/11 to the scandal of Abu Ghraib, and to the present controversy over the use of “extreme interrogation techniques” – what many call torture. At the heart of this course will be a running debate on the fundamental question of whether or not those human rights embodied in international law that Americans had come to take for granted must give way before the demands of the War on Terror. Put succinctly: Do Americans live in a nation that does not torture – or in a nation that tortures only when it needs to?


Requirements: This is a seminar. 

It is most important that students: 
* Attend all classes 
* Participate vigorously in discussions 
* Do all reading and writing assignments There will be an in-class mid-term examination and a final paper. A student’s record of attendance and participation in class discussion, together with the thoroughness of his or her preparation, will determine the success of our class and contribute the better part of the grade. 
*Writing.* Students will be assigned a final paper and an in-class mid-term examination consisting of essay questions designed to test his or her familiarity with the required reading and the class discussion. Grades for the papers and the exam will depend heavily on the clarity and vigor of the writing. Strunk and White’s small book Elements of Style and George Orwell’s essay “Politics and the English Language” are strongly recommended reading for this course. 
*Books and Articles.* The main course texts are obtainable at the Bard Bookstore. Other materials, including articles, chapters, case studies, and, in some cases, entire books, we will distribute in photocopy. 
*Websites.* The internet is a vast repository of information about human rights, terrorism, the war in Iraq, and torture. Students are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with these resources, including the extensive websites of organizations such as Human Rights Watch, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights First (formerly Lawyers Committee on Human Rights), and the International Committee of the Red Cross, among many others. 
*Newspapers and Magazines* This course takes up contemporary foreign affairs. Students are expected to be well-versed in current events and to follow them closely in at least one and preferably several national newspapers – The New York Times, The Washington Post or The Los Angeles Times. Students are strongly urged to watch at least one nightly news telecast and to follow events in weekly news magazines. 
*Films.* From time to time during the term we will screen films intended to complement our studies. Of the many films taking up the issue of insurgency, interrogation and political violence, students are encouraged to take special note of the following: Gillo Pontecovo, Battle of Algiers (1966) Constantine Costa-Gavras, Z (1969) Gillo Pontecorvo, Burn! (1969) Constantine Costa-Gavras, State of Siege (1973) Richard Bugajski, Interrogation (1982) Troy Kennedy-Martin, Reilly: The Ace of Spies (1983) George Roy Hill, The Little Drummer Girl (1984) Mick Jackson, A Very British Coup (1988) Ilan Ziv, Human Weapon (2002) Roman Polanski, Death and the Maiden (1994) 
*Schedule.* Note that the class will meet twice weekly, Monday afternoons from 1:30 to 2:50 in Olin 203, and Tuesday afternoons from 1:00 to 2:20 in Olin 205. 
*Notable Dates.* 
* October 4 – Midterm Examination * December 12 – Final Papers Due 
* December 13 – Final Class 
*August 30.* Introduction: Terror, Counterinsurgency and Human Rights The principles of insurgent warfare. Intelligence: the vital weapon. Why do counterinsurgencies so often lead to torture? Stress positions. Military police and Military Intelligence. The idea of terror as provocation. Making the enemy do your political work for you. 
*September 5.* Terror in Context: Terror, Insurgency, Torture Gillo Pontecorvo, The Battle of Algiers (1966), [film] 
*September 6.* From Terror to Insurgency to Torture Paul Aussarreses, The Battle of the Casbah (Enigma, 2002) The principles of counterinsurgency. Algeria and Iraq. The movie as training film, for guerrillas, for Pentagon. (‘How to Win the Battle and Lose the War of Ideas’). 
*September 12.* Experiencing Torture, Explaining Terror Jacobo Timmerman, Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without A Number (Wisconsin, 2002) Scott Doran, ‘Somebody Else’s Civil War,’ in Hoge & Rose (eds.), Understanding the War on Terror (Foreign Affairs, 2005) Mark Danner, ‘Is He Winning? Taking Stock of the Forever War,’ The New York Times Magazine, September 11, 2005 Timerman and the isolation of torture. Terror as method, not ideology. Torture in its modern methodology: making the victims hurt themselves, producing guilt ‘ the need to talk. Sensory deprivation and dislocation. 
*September 13.* What Torture Is (Part I): UK and the Five Techniques ‘Belfast: The Five Techniques’ and ‘Belfast: No Brutality of Any Kind,’ in John Conroy, Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People (California, 2001), pages 3-11, 39-48 Listing and defining the ‘five techniques.’ What is a ‘stress position’? The meaning of habeas corpus. The role of the United States in Iraq and the roots of the War on Terror. Doran’s ‘Someone Else’s Civil War’ 
*September 19.* What Torture Is (Part II): Approaching Abu Ghraib ‘Appendix II: The Story Breaks,’ including the photographs, the depositions and the Red Cross Report, in Mark Danner, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror (New York Review, 2004), pages 215-271 “Mark Bowden, ‘The Dark Art of Interrogation’ The Atlantic” Monthly,: Osama bin Laden, ‘Declaration of Jihad,’ August 1996 Osama bin Laden, ‘The World Islamic Front,’ February 1998 “President George W. Bush, Address to The Joint Session of Congress, September 20, 2001”: “President George W. Bush, Graduation Speech to West Point Cadets, June 2003.”: The memoranda. Powell v. Gonzalez: the question of Geneva and what they mean. Afghanistan and Iraq: the timeline. Where Geneva applies and where not. The ‘migration’ of interrogators and techniques. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller and moving Guantanamo to Iraq. Reading the depositions. 
*September 20.* No Class 
*September 26.* Investigating Torture: Britain and the United States ‘Appendix III: Investigation ‘ Working Towards Truth,’ The Taguba Report, in Mark Danner, Torture and Truth, pages 277-329 ‘Torturers,’ ‘Belfast: Ireland vs. the U.K.,’ ‘Victims,’ and ‘Belfast: Life Sentences,’ in John Conroy, Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People, pages 88-138, 169-199 Reading the paper: Lynndie England and Ian Fishback. The McCain Amendment. What is torture and did it happen at Abu Ghraib? What happened within the United States that allowed Abu Ghraib? 
*September 27.* The United States: Investigating Torture ‘Appendix III: Investigation ‘ Working Towards Truth,’ the Schlesinger Report, in Mark Danner, Torture and Truth, pages 329-402 “Human Rights Watch Report, ‘Leadership Failure: Firsthand Accounts of Torture of Iraqi Detainees by the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’ (re: Ian Fishback)”:> 
*October 3.* International Law and Torture: An Attempt At A Story Guest Lecturer: Scott Horton, Esq. The history of humanitarian law. Common Article 3: ‘The Humanitarian Baseline’ ‘Appendix I: Disputation- Arguing Torture,’ in Mark Danner, Torture and Truth, pages 75-214 “Scott Horton, ‘Shirking Responsibility,'”: “Robert L. Pollack, ‘The ‘Torture Narrative’ Unravels,'”: 
*October 4.* Midterm Examination The midterm examination will consist of a series of questions about the reading we have done and the discussions we have had. Students will be asked to answer a minimum number of these questions with short essays which should draw liberally on the reading and on class discussions. (Text below.) 
*October 5.* From Baghdad: Danner Conference Call From Iraq 
*October 10 & 11.* No Class: Fall Recess 
*October 17 & 18.* No Class: Danner in Baghdad 
*October 24.* Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror: The Narrative Seymour Hersh, Chain of Command ‘Appendix III: Investigation ‘ Working Towards Truth,’ The Fay/Jones Report, in Mark Danner, Torture and Truth, pages 403-578 Mark Danner, Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib, and the War on Terror, ‘Torture and Truth,’ ‘The Logic of Torture,’ and ‘The Secret Road to Abu Ghraib’ (pages 1-52) Report from Iraq. Security and the constraints on the reporter’s vision. Proposition 61C and the Transitional Administrative Law. 
*October 25.* Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror: The Narrative Seymour Hersh, Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib (Harper, 2004) “Douglas Jehl and Tim Golden, ‘C.I.A. To Avoid Charges in Most Prisoner Deaths,’ New York Times”: Review memos in ‘What is Torture?’ section of Danner, Torture and Truth (pages 107, forward) “Scott Horton, ‘What the England Court Martial Doesn’t Tell Us'”:  
*October 31.* What Do Interrogators Do? Chris Mackey and Greg Miller, The Interrogators: Task Force 500 and America’s Secret War Against Al Qaeda (Back Bay Books, 2005) 
*November 1.* The Limits of the Law: Monstering Chris Mackey and Greg Miller, The Interrogators “Department of Justice, ‘Torture Memo Replacement’ from December, 2004”: “Joseph Lelyveld, ‘Interrogating Ourselves’ The New York Times Magazine”: 
*November 7.* Ricin and Terror: What’s Wrong With Monstering? “Democracy Now!: Amy Goodman Interview with Janis Karpinski”: “Tim Golden, ‘In U.S. Report, Brutal Details of 2 Afghan Inmates Deaths’ New York Times”: “Mark Bowden “The Dark Art of Interrogation” (review)”: “Dester Filkins, ‘The Fall of the Warrior King’ (re: Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman) NYTimes Magazine, October 23.”: 
*November 8.* Debating Monstering and the Limits of Interrogation Same as above. 
*November 14.* No Class. 
*November 15.* Modern Interrogation and ‘Torture Lite’ Mackey and Miller, The Interrogators Kubark Counterintelligence Manual (chapters 8 and 9), “Al Qaeda Training Manual (chapters 17 and 18)”: “Heather MacDonald, ‘How To Interrogate Terrorists'”: 
*November 21.* Sensory Deprivation and Inducing Guilt Finish The Interrogators. “Kubark Counterintelligence Manual (chapters 8 and 9)”: “Al Qaeda Training Manual (chapters 17 and 18)”: “Heather MacDonald, ‘How To Interrogate Terrorists'”: 
*November 22.* Guantanamo and the End of Habeas Corpus David Rose, Guantanamo: The War on Human Rights (New Press, 2004). 
*November 28.* Are The Bush Administration’s Interrogation Techniques Justified? An In-Class Debate “Dana Priest, ‘Black Sites’- Washington Post”: “David Luban; ‘Torture American-Style’ (WA Post Nov. 27)”: “Ross Esposito: ‘CIA’s Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described’ (ABC Nov. 18)”: “Charles Krauthammer, “The Truth About Torture'”: “McCain amendment”: 
*November 29.* The Face of the Enemy and the Problem of Intelligence Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers ‘ Who They Were, Why They Did It (Harper, 2005), Chapters One to Four 
*December 5.* Why Not Torture? The Challenge of Nihilism Terry McDermott, Perfect Soldiers (Finish) Alan Dershowitz, ‘Torturted Reasoning’ in Sanford Levinson (ed.), Torture: A Collection (Oxford, 2004), pages 257-81 Elaine Scarry, ‘Five Errors in the Reasoning of Alan Dershowitz’ in Torture: A Collection, pages 281-91 
*December 6.* Why Not Torture? Searching For Reasons If monstering is justified, what isn’t? *December 12.* Why Not Torture? An Attempt At An Answer John T. Parry, “Escalation and Necessity: Defining Torture at Home and Abroad” in Torture: A Collection, pages 145-65 Recommended: Supreme Court of Israel, “Judgment Concerning the Legality of the General Security Service’ Interrogation Methods,” in Torture: A Collection, pages 165-182 Miriam Gur-Arye, “Can the War against Terror Justify the Use of Force in Interrogations?” in Torture: A Collection, pages183-198. Andrew Sullivan, ‘The Abolition of Torture: Winning the War on Terrorism Without Sacrificing Freedom,’ The New Republic, December 19, 2005 Note: Final papers due