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Dirty Hands, Clean Conscience? The CIA Inspector General’s Investigation of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” in the War on Terror and the Torture Debate

Blakeley, Ruth (2011) Dirty Hands, Clean Conscience? The CIA Inspector General’s Investigation of “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” in the War on Terror and the Torture Debate. Journal of Human Rights, 10 (4). pp. 544-561. ISSN 1475-4835. (doi:10.1080/14754835.2011.619406) (KAR id:30157)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14754835.2011.619406

Abstract

The War on Terror has generated fierce debate on torture as a means of thwarting terrorist

threats. The argument is polarized between those who take a utilitarian position

and those who seek to uphold the absolute prohibition on torture. Within the utilitarian

camp, there are those who argue that torture, while immoral, should be legalized for

use in the fight against terrorism, so that it can be better controlled and regulated. This

article will provide new insights through its analysis of the CIA Inspector General’s

2004 Special Review of Counterterrorism, Detention and Interrogation Activities, declassified

in 2009. This offers important evidence that counters the key assumptions of

contemporary torture apologists. Specifically, the Inspector General’s findings reinforce

the argument that torture is not effective, that efforts to legalize its use under controlled

conditions are futile, and that, even where torture is permitted by higher authorities,

recriminations against the perpetrators are still likely to ensue. Furthermore, torture

tends not to be aimed at thwarting imminent threats. Its use by the CIA in the War on

Terror is no exception. In any case it has yielded little evidence that could not have been

obtained through legitimate means.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/14754835.2011.619406
Uncontrolled keywords: Torture, Human Rights, War on Terror, CIA, Rendition, Secret Detention
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Ruth Blakeley
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2012 12:23 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 10:08 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/30157 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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