Foreign Wars

Look No Further

Grave allegations of brutality and torture by US forces extend far beyond water boarding and Abu Ghraib. But has there been accountability? Inside the Army’s Detainee Abuse Task Force.
Credit: CHRIS BARTLETT/DETAINEEPROJECT.ORG
Credit: CHRIS BARTLETT/DETAINEEPROJECT.ORG

This program will re-air on PBS on Friday, August 12. Show times are: WGBH-Boston, 10 p.m.; KERA-Dallas/Fort Worth, 8 p.m.; WNET-New York, 8:30 p.m.; WHYY-Philadelphia, 9 p.m.; KQED-San Francisco, 10 p.m.; WETA-Washington DC, 10:30 p.m. Check your local PBS listings for other Need to Know show times.

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What is considered acceptable treatment of detainees in American custody has been a troublesome issue almost since the U.S. response to 9/11 began. The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison isn’t the only example that has come to light.

This week, the debate continues over whether the killing of Osama bin Laden was made possible, at least in part, by the practice the Bush administration called “enhanced interrogation techniques” and what critics call torture. Perhaps the larger question is whether those kinds of tactics are ever justified.

In a joint investigation with The Nation Institute Investigative Fund and reporter Joshua Phillips, Need to Know reveals, for the first time, the inner workings of a little-known US military task force charged with examining cases of detainee abuse in Iraq. One of the special agents in charge describes the task force as under-resourced and hampered by a bureaucracy unable or unwilling to facilitate its investigations.

Phillips, who cracked open the secret world of American soldiers who admitted to torturing detainees in his book None of Us Were Like This Before, now focuses on whether allegations of torture have been properly investigated by the US military.

Producer: Lucy Kennedy.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Research support for this segment was provided by The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute.

About the reporter

Joshua E. S. Phillips

Joshua E. S. Phillips

Joshua E. S. Phillips is an award-winning investigative reporter, foreign correspondent, and broadcast producer.