Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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The Rumsfeld Memo and the Betrayal of American Values

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Conversations with History host Harry Kreisler welcomes international lawyer Philippe Sands for a discussion of Bush administration policies regarding international law. Sands analyzes the evolution of international law from the Atlantic Charter to the present. Drawing on research in his two books, "Lawless World," and "Torture Team: Rumsfeld's Memo and the Betrayal of American Values," Sands discusses the neo-conservative ideology and practice toward international law. He details the role of a cadre of senior lawyers in the Bush administration who disregarded international law and facilitated the implementation of a torture regime at Guantanamo. In tracing the path of the notorious Rumsfeld memo which approved 18 methods of interrogation of detainees, Sands offers a chilling indictment of the practices and processes of the Bush Administration as it waged its war on terror. He concludes that war crimes may have been committed after 911 and that key players in the administration were guilty of violating the Geneva Conventions and the Torture Treaty and are subject to charges not only in the court of world opinion but also in tribunals invoking universal jurisdiction.

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