Torture Archive

Linked with Latest update of the Torture Archive.

The Torture Archive, an ongoing project of the National Security Archive, is assembling at a single location documents from wide-ranging sources on United States government policy toward rendition, detainees, interrogation, and torture. In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the George W. Bush administration’s subsequent launching of its “Global War on Terror”, the Afghanistan war, and the invasion of Iraq, rumors circulated of disappearances, abusive treatment of prisoners, “extraordinary renditions”, and “black site” (secret) prisons … (Mainpage and About 1/2).

Help; Titles; Creators; Recipients;Individuals; Organizations; NSA Homepage;
no direct Contact mentionned, go to National Security Archive, Suite 701, Gelman Library, The George Washington University, 2130 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C., 20037 – Phone: 202/994-7000 – Fax: 202/994-7005 – e.mail.

Mainpage and About 2/2: … Human rights and civil liberties organizations, investigative journalists, and congressional committees, including, notably, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Constitutional Rights, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the Associated Press; … 

… and reporters for The New Yorker, the Washington Post, Newsweek, Salon, and the New York Times  began to investigate. In early 2004 leaked photographs revealed the degradation of prisoners and their captors at the U.S. prison facility at Abu Ghraib, Iraq, shocking both the American public and the international community. Subsequent Freedom of Information Act requests, lawsuits, and public pressure compelled the U.S. government to release thousands of records documenting abusive detainee policy. Many of these records are already available on various websites, but using them is difficult because of their diverse locations. The Archive project is consolidating the documents and cataloging them, while also providing full-text searching, in order to facilitate public access.

The Archive currently includes records disclosed through the American Civil Liberties Union’s successful lawsuits against the Department of Defense and other federal agencies, and almost 20,000 pages of documents produced by the Combatant Status Review Board (CSRT) and the Administrative Review Board (ARB). The latter entities were created by the Defense Department in response to a Supreme Court ruling, and scathing internal and external criticism of detainee policy, to determine whether prisoners were, and continue to be, “enemy combatants” — a term coined by the Bush administration for those judged to have committed or supported hostilities against the United States or its allies.

Information in the Archive can be searched by title; creator, such as the Defense or State Department or the Federal Bureau of Investigation; recipient, such as the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command; individual, such as former secretary of state Colin Powell; organization, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross or the contractor CACI International; date; document type, such as memorandum, court-martial record, email, medical record, or sworn statement); and document, listed by date. As indicated, full-text searching is available. For the records obtained by the ACLU, document descriptions include notes prepared by its lawyers and staff, often summarizing content. The “individual” browse option can be used to retrieve documents on detainees whose cases are discussed in the ARB and CSRT records. Document descriptions for these records also display internment serial numbers (ISN), which were assigned to each prisoner by the Defense Department.

Preliminary work on the Archive was carried out in association with Washington Media Associates, which produced the documentary film Torturing Democracy in 2008. The website project would not have been possible without support from the Open Society Institute, the JEHT Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the staff of the Washington Research Libraries Consortium. The National Security Archive is deeply grateful for their assistance.

Comments are closed.