Alfred McCoy on torture and impunity [VIDEO]

Historians in the News


In this online exclusive, we continue our discussion with University of Wisconsin professor Alfred McCoy on U.S. torture policy, the Obama administration’s refusal to prosecute war crimes, and new revelations that waterboarding was used more often than the government ever acknowledged.

Click here to see part one of this interview.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re now joined by Alfred McCoy, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He’s the author of several books, including, most recently, Torture and Impunity: The U.S. Doctrine of Coercive Interrogation. His past books include A Question of Torture and Policing America’s Empire.

Talk about what was found in Somalia. And what is the kind of information that’s being used now?

ALFRED McCOY: Sure. The Somalia incident, I think, represents a continuity of rendition policy from President Bush to President Obama. Under President Bush, the CIA began funding the establishment of this prison inside the basement of Somalia security in Mogadishu. And they began snatching terror suspects from cities and slums across East Africa, where, as you know, al-Qaeda has been very active bombing U.S. embassies and the rest. And these suspects are flown to this prison, where they are under the custody of Somali authorities, but we pay the guards. The CIA pays the guards. And they have unlimited access to the prisoners and to the intelligence being harvested by the Somali guards’ interrogation of the detainees. This started under President Bush. It is continued under President Obama. And it is an example of rendition to a country where we cannot be certain that human rights are being observed, therefore it’s a clear violation of Article 3 of the U.N. Convention Against Torture....

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