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The Torture Papers consists of the so-called 'torture memos' and reports which US government officials wrote to prepare the way for and to document coercive interrogation and torture in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib. It presents for the first time a compilation of materials that prior to publication have existed only piecemeal in the public domain. The Bush Administration, concerned about the legality of harsh interrogation techniques, understood the need to establish a legally viable argument to justify such procedures.
The memos and reports document the systematic attempt of the US Government to prepare the way for torture techniques and coercive interrogation practices, forbidden under international law, with the express intent of evading legal punishment in the aftermath if any discovery of these practices and policies.