ACLU Launches Unique, Interactive Online Report On U.S. Torture

September 24, 2009 12:00 am

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The Torture Report Is First-Of-Its-Kind Site Allowing Public To Participate In Ongoing Investigation Into Bush Torture Program

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NEW YORK – The American Civil Liberties Union launched a one-of-a-kind, interactive online resource today that will not only provide regularly updated information and analysis on the Bush administration’s torture program, but will allow the public to comment on content, engage with experts and have a role in the ongoing process of creating the report.

The Torture Report is an ongoing, in-depth analysis of the Bush administration’s torture program – from its improvised inception to the systematic maltreatment of detainees – that is constantly updated as chapters are added. Annotators, including expert human rights advocates, military lawyers, bloggers and ACLU attorneys, will provide ongoing analysis to the report as it is written. In addition, the public will be able to offer comments and suggestions as the report is compiled.

The site is a one-stop resource for the press, the human rights community and the public. It will draw on over 130,000 pages of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and on the work human rights groups, news organizations, investigative journalists, researchers and writers have done over the last eight years. The Torture Report synthesizes these many resources into a single, comprehensive, readable and interactive narrative. Updates will be made as new information comes to light and announced on a diary page that greets visitors to the site.

“Restoring the rule of law will require finally confronting the gross human rights abuses of the last administration,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “Crucial to this process will be the creation of a comprehensive and publicly accessible record of the last eight years. The online report we’re launching today will be an important part of that record.”

The Torture Report will provide a level of detailed and comprehensive analysis and synthesis of a wide variety of materials that isn’t always possible in traditional media today,” said Larry Siems of the PEN American Center, the report’s principle writer. “The public nature of the editorial process ensures that discussion of this complicated matter remains open, vibrant and accessible to all.”

Chapters of The Torture Report will be primarily written by Siems, an experienced human rights researcher who has been published widely. Annotators include former interrogator Matthew Alexander, military defense lawyer Major David Frakt, U.S. Air Force Reserve, Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald, Director of Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program Joanne Mariner, student activist Deborah Popowski, OneWorld Research Director John Sifton and blogger Marcy Wheeler. ACLU attorneys Alex Abdo, Mike German, Melissa Goodman, Jon Hafetz, Jameel Jaffer, Steven Watt and Ben Wizner will contribute analysis as well.

The Torture Report is available online at:

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