A Question of Torture CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror
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In this revelatory account of the CIAs secret, fifty-year effort to develop new forms of torture, historian Alfred W. McCoy uncovers the deep, disturbing roots of recent scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Far from aberrations, as the White House has claimed, A Question of Torture shows that these abuses are the product of a long-standing covert program of interrogation.
Developed at the cost of billions of dollars, the CIAs method combined sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain to create a revolutionary psychological approachthe first innovation in torture in centuries. The simple techniquesinvolving isolation, hooding, hours of standing, extremes of hot and cold, and manipulation of timeconstitute an all-out assault on the victims senses, destroying the basis of personal identity. McCoy follows the years of researchwhich, he reveals, compromised universities and the U.S. Armyand the methods dissemination, from Vietnam through Iran to Central America. He traces how after 9/11 torture became Washingtons weapon of choice in both the CIAs global prisons and in torture-friendly countries to which detainees are dispatched. Finally McCoy argues that information extracted by coercion is worthless, making a case for the legal approach favored by the FBI.
Scrupulously documented and grippingly told, A Question of Torture is a devastating indictment of inhumane practices that have spread throughout the intelligence system, damaging Americans laws, military, and international standing.