The truth about American Torture
29 May 2007
New York-based author and University of Sydney visiting scholar Michael Otterman will expose the long-standing history of torture practices used by the United States and the impact these techniques have had on the "war on terror" when he speaks next Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international lecture series.
In his lecture titled "The Truth about American Torture", Otterman, the author of American Torture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib (Melbourne University Press) will trace the continued use of torture from the cold war to today. He will also discuss how the recent abuses in Abu Ghraib - forced standing, humiliation and sensory deprivation - were not the work of a "few bad apples" as the Pentagon claimed, but rather part of an ongoing interrogation program used by the United States.
According to Ottterman, the US now holds more than 19,000 prisoners in a network of prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba and since 2001, more than 800 allegations of abuse have surfaced while at least 34 American-held prisoners have been murdered in custody.
Despite the US military swearing off some interrogation techniques since the Abu Ghraib scandal, Otterman says torture practices still remain legal within the United States. "Today, hypothermia, forced standing, sleep deprivation and even simulated drowning are legal tools in the interrogator's toolbox," he says.
In this Sydney Ideas lecture, to be held at the University's Seymour Theatre Centre, Otterman will argue that not only is torture a violation of international law and fundamental rights, it also "radicalises enemies, yields unreliable information, and is ultimately self-defeating."
Michael Otterman, a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney's Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, will be introduced to the Sydney Ideas stage by Dr Ken Macnab from the Centre.
This Sydney Ideas lecture is the first in a national speaking tour hosted by Amnesty International Australia as part of its Human Rights and Security Campaign.
SydneyIdeas event details:
What: "The Truth about American Torture" at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series. Co-presented with Amnesty International Australia.
When: 6.30pm, Tuesday, 5 June, 2007
Where: The Seymour Theatre Centre, Cnr Cleveland St and City Rd, The University of Sydney.
Cost: $20/$15 concession
Bookings: (02) 9351 7940
For more information: http://www.usyd.edu.au/sydneyideas
Michael Otterman was born in Long Island, New York, in 1981 and is the son of a child Holocaust survivor, Bernard, the author of Golem of Auschwitz: Stories (Slovo World 2002.) He is an award-winning journalist and documentary film maker and has covered crime and culture for publications including Boston's Weekly Dig and the Sydney City Hub. His book AmericanTorture: From the Cold War to Abu Ghraib, published by Melbourne University Press in March, was based on his Masters studies at the University of Sydney's Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies, where he is a visiting scholar.
Next at Sydney Ideas
Sydney Ideas will bring together the author of The Existential Jesus Professor John Carroll and one of the Anglican Church of Australia's leading theologians and academics Archbishop Peter Jensen "in conversation", on Tuesday, 12 June, 2007.
Contact: Katrina O'Brien
Phone: 02 9036 7842