APR 14, 2008
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
When the American media published photographs of U.S. soldiers abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the Bush administration assured the world that the abuse was isolated and that the perpetrators would be held accountable. Over the next four years, it refined its public position at the margins, but by and large its story remained the same. Yes, the administration acknowledged, some soldiers had abused prisoners, but these soldiers were anomalous sadists who had ignored clear orders.
Since 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been litigating for records relating to the treatment of prisoners held by the U.S. at Abu Ghraib and other facilities overseas, and the documents it has obtained tell a story that is starkly different from the one that has been told by the Bush administration. Jameel Jaffer, the Director of the ACLU's National Security Project, will talk about the litigation, the documents, and the Bush administration's controversial torture policies.
Director, ACLU National Security Project
Jameel Jaffer is a litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union and Director of the ACLU's National Security Project. His litigation docket includes Doe v. Gonzales, a challenge to the FBI's "national security letter" authority; ACLU v. NSA, a challenge to the constitutionality of warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency; American Academy of Religion v. Chertoff, a challenge to the government's refusal to grant a visa to Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan; and ACLU v. Department of Defense, litigation under the Freedom of Information Act for records concerning the treatment and detention of prisoners held by the U.S. in Afghanistan, Iraq, and at Guantánamo Bay. His co-authored book, Administration of Torture, an edited collection of government documents relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners, has just been published by Columbia University Press. He was named to the National Law Journal's "40 under 40" list in 2005 and is currently a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. He is a graduate of Williams College, Cambridge University, and Harvard Law School.