No Comment — May 2, 2008, 8:51 am

A Discussion with Philippe Sands

Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values

A Discussion Featuring Philippe Sands, author and professor of Law at University College, London, and Scott Horton, legal affairs writer, Harper’s Magazine
Event Details

This event is free and open to the public

Date: May 5, 2008
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Location: Lipton Hall, 108 W. 3rd Street

About Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values (Palgrave MacMillan)

Beyond the infamous memo signed by Donald Rumsfeld, what do we really know about the torture that the U.S. government has signed off on? Philippe Sands, a seasoned prosecutor of war criminals including Augusto Pinochet and Slobodan Milosevic, details the systemic abuse at Guantanamo, including never-before published interviews with the lawyers and military officials that admit to compliance with interrogation orders coming from the top. And to be certain, it doesn’t stop at Guantanamo. The techniques have migrated from Gitmo to Abu Ghraib to Basra to Matrix Chamber. It is systemic, illegal, and will continue into the next Administration unless there is a drastic policy change. Would any of the presidential hopefuls have that courage?

Philippe Sands is an international lawyer, professor of law, and Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals in the Faculty at University College London. He is the author of Lawless World: America and the Making and Breaking of Global Rules and is a frequent commentator on news and current affairs programs including CNN, MSNBC, and BBC World Service. He has been involved in many leading international cases, including the World Court trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the treatment of British detainees at Guantanamo Bay. He frequently advises governments, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector on international law. In 2003, he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel. He has been appointed to lists of arbitrators maintained by ICSID and the PCA.

He has previously held academic positions at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Kings College London, University of Cambridge, and was a Global Professor of Law at New York University from 1995-2003. He was co-founder of FIELD (Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development), and established the programs on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the European Journal of International Law and Review of European Community and International Environmental Law (Blackwell Press). In 2007 he served as a judge for the Guardian First Book Prize award.

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Editor's Note

Many comedians consider stand-up the purest form of comedy; Doug Stanhope considers it the freest. “Once you do stand-up, it spoils you for everything else,” he says. “You’re the director, performer, and producer.” Unlike most of his peers, however, Stanhope has designed his career around exploring that freedom, which means choosing a life on the road. Perhaps this is why, although he is extremely ambitious, prolific, and one of the best stand-ups performing, so many Americans haven’t heard of him. Many comedians approach the road as a means to an end: a way to develop their skills, start booking bigger venues, and, if they’re lucky, get themselves airlifted to Hollywood. But life isn’t happening on a sit-com set or a sketch show — at least not the life that has interested Stanhope. He isn’t waiting to be invited to the party; indeed, he’s been hosting his own party for years.

Because of the present comedy boom, civilians are starting to hear about Doug Stanhope from other comedians like Ricky Gervais, Sarah Silverman, and Louis CK. But Stanhope has been building a devoted fan base for the past two decades, largely by word of mouth. On tour, he prefers the unencumbered arrival and the quick exit: cheap motels where you can pull the van up to the door of the room and park. He’s especially pleased if there’s an on-site bar, which increases the odds of hearing a good story from the sort of person who tends to drink away the afternoon in the depressed cities where he performs. Stanhope’s America isn’t the one still yammering on about its potential or struggling with losing hope. For the most part, hope is gone. On Word of Mouth, his 2002 album, he says, “America may be the best country, but that’s like being the prettiest Denny’s waitress. Just because you’re the best doesn’t make you good.”

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