• Human Rights Watch

20 Years of U.S. Torture

January 11, 2022


© 2002 Shane McCoy/Greg Mathieson/Mai/Getty Images

Cited article by Human Rights Watch. Referenced report by Letta Tayler and Elisa Epstein.


HRRC opposes any form of torture, especially those carried out in secret by governments. The United States' black site operations at Guantánamo Bay are a symbol of human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The U.S. should close the prison immediately and make reparations to the torture survivors, their families, and all others affected by the government's violent actions. In addition, those government officials involved in the creation, authorization, or implementation of the torture programs must be held accountable.


Article Summary


Since 9/11, the U.S. government has carried out its "War on Terror", using violent interrogation techniques amounting to torture. Guantánamo Bay prison opened on January 11, 2002 as a CIA black site and, since last week, there are still 39 men and boys detained in the prison, amounting to nearly 800 people having been detained between 2002-2008. Over half of those remaining in the prison have never been charged.


The Bush administration had hoped to skirt U.S. jurisdiction by detaining foreign terrorists abroad. In fact, the CIA often sought "advance promises" that they would not be prosecuted by the Justice Departments for their aggressive interrogations. Yet, despite the release of the infamous "Torture Report", U.S. government officials haven't been held accountable for their involvement in facilitating the detention and torture programs at black sites like Guantánamo. Biden must act to close these black sites and end the government's detention and torture programs.