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October 10, 2006

Abuse of terror suspects, prisoners in wake of Abu Ghraib scandal is focus of conference

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker magazine will give the keynote address at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, in Kresge Auditorium as part of "Thinking Humanity After Abu Ghraib," a two-day conference sponsored by Stanford Continuing Studies.

Situated a few miles outside Baghdad, Abu Ghraib prison came to widespread attention in 2004 when the CBS program 60 Minutes II and The New Yorker, in an article by Hersh, reported on the abuse and humiliation of inmates there.

According to conference organizers, disclosure of the Abu Ghraib scandal, along with subsequent revelations of "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects to countries that practice torture, the ongoing detention of prisoners without trial at Guantanamo Bay and evidence of a network of secret "black hole" prisons administered by the CIA, has had ethical, legal and political repercussions damaging how the United States is regarded overseas and by its citizens at home.

"Thinking Humanity After Abu Ghraib" is co-sponsored by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the Center on Ethics, the Ethics in Society Program, the Humanities Center and the School of Law. The conference, which is free and open to the public, will discuss the U.S. government's alleged practices of torture, rendition, abusive treatment and indefinite detention of prisoners.

Following is the conference schedule for Friday, Oct. 20, in the Tresidder Union Oak Lounge:

10 a.m. Mark Danner, journalism professor at the University of California-Berkeley, is a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributor to the New York Review of Books, writing on foreign affairs and American politics. He is the author, most recently, of Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror (2004) and The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo and the Iraq War's Buried History (2006).

11:30 a.m. David J. Luban, professor of law and philosophy at Georgetown and a visiting professor of human rights at Stanford Law School, in 2005 wrote "Liberalism, Torture and the Ticking Bomb," which was reprinted in The Torture Debate in America, ed. Karen Greenberg (2006). Jenny S. Martinez, associate professor of law at Stanford, served as associate legal officer for the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and recently argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Jose Padilla in the case of Rumsfeld v. Padilla on the power of the president to detain American citizens without trial as enemy combatants.

2 p.m. Philip G. Zimbardo, Stanford psychology professor emeritus and past president of the American Psychological Association, has focused on issues such as prisons, violence, evil, persuasion, political psychology and terrorism. His forthcoming book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, offers a detailed and original social psychological analysis of the dynamics underlying the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Gerald Gray, a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, was program manager for the Center for Survivors of Torture in San Jose for five years; he is the author of "Psychology and U.S. Psychologists in Torture and War in the Middle East," published in the latest edition of the journal Torture.

3:30 p.m. Judith Butler is a professor of rhetoric and comparative literature at the University of California-Berkeley. She has written several books, including, most recently, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence (2004) and Giving an Account of Oneself (2005), which addresses responsibility and ethics at the personal and political level.



Lisa Trei, News Service: (650) 725-0224,


Charles Junkerman, Stanford Continuing Studies: (650) 723-6866,

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