"Digging Deeper," UFPPC's Monday evening book discussion circle, will discuss Alfred W. McCoy's A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (Metropolitan Books, 2006) on Sept. 25, 2006.[1]  --  McCoy's volume is available in libraries and bookstores; it was recently published in a paperback edition.  --  For more than two years "Digging Deeper" has been meeting on Monday evenings from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café in Tacoma (3923 S. 12th St.).  --  NOTE: There will be no "Digging Deeper" meeting on Mon., Sept. 18, to avoid a conflict with Martin Marty's lecture on the PLU campus....


WHAT: "Digging Deeper XXII: The CIA’s 50-year effort to develop new forms of torture" -- UFPPC's Monday evening book discussion group
WHO: Led by Mark Jensen
WHEN: Monday, September 25, 2006 -- 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Mandolin Café, 3923 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA

A United for Peace of Pierce County study circle


On the last Monday in September, Digging Deeper will discuss a recent volume on the little-known historical background behind the effort of the U.S. government to develop new, more effective means of using torture as an interrogation technique. A Question of Torture offers key insights into the background of what was done in the name of U.S. national security at Abu Ghraib, what was done and is being done at Guantánamo and secret U.S. detention sites around the world.

Alfred McCoy is the author of The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (Harper & Row, 1972; revised eds. 1991, 2003), now regarded as a seminal work. McCoy is also the author of many works on Southeast Asia, including Closer Than Brothers: Manhood at the Philippine Military Academy (Yale University Press, 1999).

In the Wisconsin State Journal (Jan. 21, 2006), reporter Ron Seely recounted how in the famous Abu Ghraib photographs McCoy recognized an "image [that] was a classic demonstration of torture techniques pioneered and taught by the Central Intelligence Agency -- something McCoy has run across several times around the world during his research on subjects ranging from drugs to revolution." --- "It was never McCoy's intention to track and detail the activities of the CIA," wrote Seely. "But, from the jungles of Laos to the palaces and prisons of Manila, the CIA has always been in the shadows where McCoy has traveled and worked." McCoy felt a personal obligation to investigate, though as he told Seely, "It’s such a depressing thing to have to sit there and read a detailed report from Amnesty International, not just to read it but to study the text as carefully as you would literature or poetry. There's no salvation in it, no redemption."

A Question of Torture is the result of his research. McCoy’s book "has been well received, even in some unexpected places," Seely noted. A review on Forbes.com described the book as "scrupulously documented and grippingly told" and "a devastating indictment of inhumane practices that have spread throughout the intelligence system."

McCoy describes how beginning in the 1950s the CIA engaged in research that "would lead to a new psychological kind of torture. Known as 'no-touch' torture, it involved the use of stress positions, sensory deprivation, and sexual humiliation." McCoy's own conclusion: "Torture will not and cannot serve as a bargain-price shortcut to security. It is a deal with the devil that will leave Satan holding a balloon mortgage on the American birthright of liberty."

· Alfred W. McCoy, A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror (New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 2006). Alfred W. McCoy is J.R.W. Small Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  --  "Current events have precipitated a number of recent books connecting executive-branch policy makers with Abu Ghraib and other torture scandals, and McCoy is not the first author to argue that American use of torture in intelligence gathering has been deliberate and systematic rather than accidental. This book is unique, however, in connecting the dots all the way back to early Cold War mind-control research, reminding readers that the CIA has been an innovator in modern torture methods. . . . McCoy is adept at tracing the inertia of government practice; his research on the effect of torture on the Philippine armed forces likewise shows policy in practice and demonstrates that psychological torture is at least as scarring as thumbscrews. Timely and compelling." --Brendan Driscoll, Booklist.

Since July 2004, United for Peace of Pierce County has been conducting “Digging Deeper,” a Monday-night book discussion group, often in the form of a study circle. Topics have included peak oil, climate change, the corporation, Iran, and the writings of Robert Baer, as well as abiding themes of war, peace, politics, and social change. Occasionally, the group has spent several weeks reading longer works, like Daniel Yergin’s The Prize or Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation. DIGGING DEEPER meets every Monday from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Mandolin Café, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, WA. Participation is free. A Question of Torture is available in bookstores and libraries. Information: contact Mark Jensen (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 253-756-7519). Regular meetings of United for Peace of Pierce County are held at 7:00 p.m. on 1st and 3rd Thursdays at First Congregational, 209 S. "J" St., Tacoma, WA.