• Home

“Reckoning with Torture” in Washington, D.C.

  March 3, 2010 | Georgetown Law School’s Hart Auditorium | Washington, D.C.

With Matthew Alexander, Paul Auster, David Cole, House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, Rep. Keith Ellison, Aasif Mandvi, Alice McDermott, Laura Murphy, Jack Rice, Susan Shreve, Rep. Bobby Scott, and Ben Wizner. Special presentation by artist Jenny Holzer.

VIDEO
• Entire Event

Before the September 11 attacks, the United States condemned torture, protested secret tribunals, decried disappearances, and challenged secret and arbitrary detentions. This event presents evidence that details the sadistic treatment of detainees in the Bush administration’s “War on Terror.”

Writers and artists take the stage with a former military interrogator, a former CIA agent, and others to read from texts that have brought these abuses to light. Interspersed between readings, never-before-seen video interviews with former Guantánamo detainees put a human face on the torture program. Artist Jenny Holzer’s imagery incorporating U.S. government documents provides a backdrop to the readings.

Collectively, these documents and testimonials make undeniably clear that prisoners were tortured, abused, and in some cases even killed in U.S. custody, and that those at the very highest levels of our government authorized, encouraged, or tolerated the mistreatment. The Obama administration has taken important steps toward ending the abuses, but the world is watching to see what comes next.

We can’t sweep the abuses of the last eight years under the rug. Accountability for torture is a legal, political, and moral imperative. To restore the rule of law, we must condemn these violations of our Constitution, domestic and international law, and seek to hold accountable those who authorized the abuse and torture of prisoners in America’s name.

The United States has some reckoning to do, and we invite you to start with the evidence.

Get the Free Speech News You Need

protesters in face masks carrying old Belarusian national flags

PEN America has a new weekly newsletter, PEN Points, bringing you a digest of the biggest free expression news of the week, plus the analysis and insights you trust from PEN America experts.