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Philippe Sands Considers A Legacy Of 'Torture'

Jan 7, 2009 (Fresh Air from WHYY)

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Although the Bush administration has stated that the interrogations techniques used at Guantanamo Bay came from the bottom up, British lawyer Philippe Sands disagrees.

In his 2008 book, Torture Team, Sands argues that the harsh interrogation policy that emerged after Sept. 11 came from high-ranking government officials and top military figures.

Sands warned in a June 2008 Fresh Air interview that the impact of the Bush administration's conduct would be felt internationally: "The terrible tragedy of these memos and that dark period is that they have migrated into the hands of people who now say, 'Well, Americans do it. We're going to do it also.'"

But Sands believes that President-elect Barack Obama can begin to restore the U.S.'s global reputation. In a Dec. 4 article in The Guardian, he recommended that the next administration conduct a comprehensive, independent investigation of alleged abuses committed against detainees since Sept. 11, 2001.

Sands is a professor of law at University College London, where he directs the Centre for International Courts and Tribunals.

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