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Torturing Democracy
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May 29, 2009

"If the Americans are doing it, and they're not accountable, then who's going to come to your rescue?"

-Moazzam Begg, Detainee #558 in Guantanamo Bay.

Moazzam Begg's statement, made after years of detention without charge, echoes the sentiments of many Americans and much of the world who have traditionally viewed the United States as a pillar of the rule of law.

The documentary TORTURING DEMOCRACY tells the story of how the United States government circumvented tradition and law to adopt torture as official policy. The film, produced by award-winning filmmaker Sherry Jones, draws on interviews, archival footage, and recently declassified documents to piece together the development and dissemination of torture tactics from Bagram in Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib -- and the document trail leads right to the top of the chain of command.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to rights restrictions we will not be able to stream TORTURING DEMOCRACY online.

You can watch the entire film at the TORTURING DEMOCRACY Web site.

Also on the TORTURING DEMOCRACY Web site, explore a timeline of events, read related articles, and delve into the archive of official documents.

Sherry Jones

Sherry Jones is an award-winning producer with dozens of television documentaries to her credit. Based in Washington, D.C. she heads Washington Media Associates, an independent production company.

Jones' films have won eight Emmy Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, three George Foster Peabody Awards for significant and meritorious achievement in broadcasting, two Robert F. Kennedy awards for outstanding coverage of the problems of the disadvantaged, three Edward R. Murrow awards from the Overseas Press Club of America, and two consecutive Silver Baton awards from the American Bar Association.

In addition to a 28-year collaboration with Bill Moyers, she has produced more than 20 films for the PBS documentary series, FRONTLINE. She has also produced dozens of other programs for PBS — including the Emmy-winning WATERGATE PLUS 30: SHADOW OF HISTORY; six documentaries based in the former Soviet Union — including the award-winning FRONTLINE special, RETURN OF THE CZAR; and three specials for ABC NEWS, including PETER JENNINGS REPORTING: THE MISSILES OF OCTOBER, the story of the Cuban missile crisis from the points of view of all three countries involved; HIROSHIMA: WHY THE BOMB WAS DROPPED, broadcast on the 50th anniversary of Hiroshima; and, in June 2004, PETER JENNINGS REPORTING: GUANTANAMO. That film, which was broadcast on the eve of the historic Supreme Court decision in Rasul v. Bush, was the first long-form television investigation into the Bush administration's detention and interrogation policies.

In September, 2004, she produced 9/11: FOR THE RECORD, a NOW WITH BILL MOYERS special. Jones also produced DEAD WRONG: INSIDE AN INTELLIGENCE MELTDOWN, an examination of pre-Iraqi War intelligence — which first aired in August, 2005, as a special edition of CNN PRESENTS.

Her most recent production was MOYERS ON AMERICA: CAPITOL CRIMES, a 90-minute expose of the Jack Abramoff/Tom Delay scandals, broadcast in October, 2006, on PBS.

Sherry Jones is a Fellow of the National Security Archive, and has been honored as a "Woman of Vision" by Women in Film and Video. She holds a Masters degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, and is a member of the Medill School of Journalism's Hall of Fame. Published May 29, 2009.

Guest photos by Robin Holland

Related Media:
US Torture and Consequences?
A new debate followed the release of the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel memos approving extreme measures of interrogation under the Bush administration. Bill Moyers sits down with Bruce Fein, former deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and chairman of the American Freedom Agenda, and Mark Danner, who has been reporting on the US treatment and interrogation of detainees for the NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS. (May 1, 2009)

Jane Mayer on torture
BILL MOYERS JOURNAL goes inside the July 2008 hearings on torture in Congress and gets perspective from journalist Jane Mayer on the debate over whether the U.S. sanctioned torture to prosecute the war on terror. Mayer's recent book, THE DARK SIDE: THE INSIDE STORY OF HOW THE WAR ON TERROR TURNED INTO A WAR ON AMERICAN IDEALS, documents the war on terror and the struggle over whether the president should have limitless power to wage it. (July 25, 2008)

Philippe Sands
International lawyer and law professor Philippe Sands, author of TORTURE TEAM, talks about the approval of coercive interrogation by high-level American officials. (May 9, 2008)

Bill Moyers on a documentary that explores America's debate over torture tactics. (February 8, 2008)

Jack L. Goldsmith on the torture memos
Former head of the Office of Legal Counsel under George W. Bush, Jack L. Goldsmith, discusses the Administration's expanded view of executive power and the now infamous torture memos. (September 7, 2007)

YouTubeArchbishop Desmond Tutu
Bill Moyers sat down with Archbishop Tutu in 1999 discussing his chairmanship of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

YouTubeScott Horton on NOW
David Brancaccio spoke with Scott Horton about the legal underpinnings of the War on Terror and American detention policy. Scott Horton is a New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict. Horton lectures at Columbia Law School.

References and Reading:
Official Web site for the documentary. Watch the full film online, explore documents and the timeline.

National Security Archive
An independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive also serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.

Torture Documents Released Under FOIA
A project of the ACLU.

Further readings at TORTURING DEMOCRACY's official Web site.

"Abu Ghraib abuse photos 'show rape'"
By Duncan Gardham and Paul Cruickshank, THE TELEGRAPH, May 28, 2009.

"Interrogation Memos: Inquiry Suggests No Charges "
By David Johnston and Scott Shane, THE NEW YORK TIMES, May 6, 2009.

Also This Week:

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL presents TORTURING DEMOCRACY, a film from award-winning producer Sherry Jones which examines America's detention and interrogation practices in the "war on terror."

>Watch the full documentary online.

BILL MOYERS JOURNAL resources and interviews about torture and the rule of law.

>>Launch video player for complete coverage of torture on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL.

Explore the history of the Geneva Conventions.

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