The use of torture by the US Government in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001 has come under increasing criticism.
In 1863 at the height of the US civil war, president Abraham Lincoln set the principles for interrogation of prisoners with a famous instruction “military necessity does not admit of cruelty”.
It took the September 11 attacks to change those principles and Vice-President Dick Cheney said the US would now have to work through the dark side.
In response, government lawyers drew up the so-called torture memos that would ultimately unleash the abuses at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib and at a host of secret CIA “black sites”.
In his new book, lawyer Philippe Sands argues that the responsible officials, and the lawyers who advised them, should be charged with war crimes.
Popular TV drama ’24’ regularly show terror suspects being tortured so the hero can save the day but does this reflect a new tolerance of torture tactics in the United States?