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Why Not Torture Terrorists?Moral, Practical, and Legal Aspects of the "Ticking Bomb" Justification for Torture$
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Yuval Ginbar

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199540914

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199540914.001.0001

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The USA' ‘High Value Detainees’ Model

The USA' ‘High Value Detainees’ Model

(p.223) 15 The USA' ‘High Value Detainees’ Model
Why Not Torture Terrorists?

Yuval Ginbar

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes and analyzes the ‘high value detainees’ (HVD) model of quasi-legalized torture in the USA's war on terror following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Initially its legal basis consisted of documents by the executive's legal advisers and executive orders, which combined classifying certain war on terror detainees as having no legal rights, either under US or international law — a very narrow definition of torture — and a view that the President's constitutionally granted powers as armed forces Commander-in-Chief during war are unlimited, including the power to order torture. Later executive orders, legislation, and court rulings modified the model, but as of 2007 US courts were still unwilling to exclude the possibility of torture or detainees during urgent interrogations being lawful. Methods, including enforced disappearances, waterboarding, sleep and sensory deprivation, painful positions, violence, intimidation, and humiliation were used far beyond even what instructions allowed.

Keywords:   torture, legal aspects, 9/11 terrorist attacks, practical aspects, war on terror, Constitution, USA, Supreme Court, torture models, terrorism prevention

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