Directed by Rory Kennedy '91. Running time: 78 min.
Followed by a conversation between Joshua Neves, Department of Modern Culture and Media, Brown University, and Jo-Ann Conklin, David Winton Bell Gallery
The familiar and disturbing pictures of torture at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison raise many troubling questions: How did torture become an accepted practice at Abu Ghraib? Did U.S. government policies make it possible? How much damage has the aftermath of Abu Ghraib had on America's credibility as a defender of freedom and human rights around the world?
Acclaimed filmmaker Rory Kennedy ‘91 looks beyond the headlines to investigate the psychological and political context in which torture occurred in the documentary Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib features both the voices of Iraqi victims (interviewed in Turkey after arduous attempts to meet with them) and guards directly involved in torture at the prison. Conducted by Kennedy, these remarkably candid, in-depth interviews shed light on the abuses in an unprecedented manner. Through these interviews, the film traces the events and the political and legal precedents that led to the scandal, beginning with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
While the White House and Pentagon claimed that the situation at Abu Ghraib was "a kind of animal house on the night shift," other on-site participants and observers maintain that the abuses at Abu Ghraib were part of a general pattern of a "gloves off" interrogation policy that had been put in place after 9/11.
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib strongly suggests that, far from being an unauthorized, isolated event by rank-and-file soldiers acting on their own initiative, the physical and psychological torture employed at the prison was an inevitable outgrowth of military and government policies that were implemented in a climate of fear and chaos, inadequate training and insufficient resources.
Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is a Moxie Firecracker Films production of an HBO Documentary Film; directed and produced by Rory Kennedy; produced by Liz Garbus; written and produced by Jack Youngelson; director of photography, Tom H