Major International Figures to Speak at Texas Tech Torture Conference

The former chief prosecutor of the Abu Ghraib abuse cases and the U.S. military interrogator whose rapport-building methods led to the targeted killing of Al-Quaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will speak during A Conference on Torture.

The former chief prosecutor of the Abu Ghraib abuse cases and the U.S. military interrogator whose rapport-building methods led to the targeted killing of Al-Quaeda terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi will speak during A Conference on Torture.

Michael Holley and Matthew Alexander will be two of seven national and international experts speaking at the conference. The event will run April 9 and 14 at Texas Tech University.

Walter E. Schaller, an associate professor in the Department of Philosophy, is the lead organizer for the event. He said he’d wanted to hold this event two years ago after teaching how torture presents several philosophical problems.

“Last fall, Henry Shue at the University of Oxford agreed to be the keynote speaker at our Philosophy Graduate Student Conference,” Schaller said. “Since he has written on torture, I used his presence as the basis for inviting other speakers.”

The public and the media are invited to both events, which are free. For more information call (806) 742-0373 ext. 330.

April 9 events include:

Morning Session – 9:30 a.m.-noon, room 150 of Holden Hall, short presentations followed by discussion and questions.

  • Matthew Alexander, “Smarter, Not Harsher: An Interrogator’s Perspective.” Alexander is a former military interrogator in Iraq. He is the author of “How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq” and “Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious al Qaeda Terrorist.”
  • Joshua E. S. Phillips, “Reckoning with the True Costs of Torture During the War on Terror.” Joshua Phillips will discuss the situations and beliefs that led U.S. forces to engage in torture.Also, he willdiscuss the ruinous, unrecognized costs of detainee abuse and torture on detainees, America’s veterans, and counter-terrorism policies. Phillips is a journalist and the author of “None of UsWere Like This Before: American Soldiers and Torture.”
  • Jean Maria Arrigo, “Can We Develop a Torture Interrogation Program to Defend Lubbock against Terrorists?”Arrigo is a social psychologist who established the Ethics of Intelligence and WeaponsDevelopment Oral History Collection at Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, and the Intelligence EthicsCollection at Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University.

Afternoon Sessions – 1:30-4 p.m., room 150 of Holden Hall.

  • Michael Holley, 1:30 p.m., “Abu Ghraib: Sorting It Out?” Holley is an associate at the Lanier Law Firm. He was the former chief prosecutor of the Abu Ghraib Detainee Abuse cases and has been a professor of criminal law at the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School.
  • Barton Myers, “Examining Torture During the American Civil War: The Case of Mrs.Owens.” Myers is an assistant professor of history at Texas Tech. He teaches courses on 19th-century U.S. and American military history, specializing in the American Civil War Era.

April 14 events include:

Main Session – 7 p.m., room 169 of the Human Sciences Building.

  • Professor Henry Shue, “Making Torture Disappear.” Shue is a professor of international studies at the University of Oxford and author of “Basic Rights:Subsistence, Affluence, and U.S. Foreign Policy.”He also wrote two of the most influential philosophicalarticles on torture: “Torture” and “Torture in Dreamland: Disposing of the Ticking Time Bomb.” He is asenior research fellow at the Centre for International Studies.
  • Maj. Ian Fishback, “Torture, the Will, and Achieving Victory in War” Fishback, a West Point graduate, is now a graduate student in philosophy at the University ofMichigan and a major in the U. S. Army. His letter to Sen. John McCain about prisoner abusein Iraq drew national attention to the problem. In 2006, TIME magazine named him one of the 100 mostinfluential people in the world for taking the stand against torture. He served four combat tours in Iraq as acombat arms officer.

This conference is sponsored by Texas Tech’s Center for Military Law and Policy, the Departments of Art; Classical and Modern Languages and Literature; Economics, English, History, Human Development and Family Studies, Philosophy, Political Science; Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work; Theatre and Dance, the College of Mass Communications, the Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the Philosophy Graduate Student Association, the Center for Healthcare Ethics/Humanities/Spirituality at the TTUHSC School of Medicine; St. John Neumann Catholic Church, the Islamic Center of the South Plains, J&B Coffee House, and others.

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CONTACT: Walt Schaller, associate professor, Department of Philosophy, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-0373 ext. 330, or