A challenging series of free public lectures, looking at ethics,
torture and the War on Terror, will take place at Edge Hill University.
The lecturers include Moazzam Begg, a British-born former prisoner held
at Guantanamo Bay, enduring more than 300 interrogations and Craig
Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, who was removed
from his position after voicing opposition to the torture that was
being carried out by the Uzbek regime.

Dr Mark McGovern, Reader in Sociology and Research Development and a
specialist in writing about conflict, especially in Northern Ireland,
is responsible for organising and initiating the lecture series. He
said: “There can be few more important issues facing us today than the
use of torture as part of the War on Terror. This was underlined in
recent days with the announcement that some of those held at Guantanamo
Bay, where one of our speakers Moazzam Begg was held for three years,
are to stand trial before US military tribunals on charges of murder,
war crimes and terrorism. It is a matter of public record that at least
one of these accused confessed after being subjected to a form of
torture know as ‘waterboarding’.

“As the excellent line-up of both academic and non-academic speakers we
have invited to Edge Hill will explore, debates around the
permissibility of torture raise profoundly disturbing questions about
our current political landscape and challenges to the human rights of
us all.”

26th February 2008 – Richard Jackson

The Banality of Torture in the War on Terror

Richard Jackson is Reader in the Department of International Politics,
Aberystwyth University. In this lecture Richard Jackson will argue that
torture is a core strategy of the War on Terror, conceived and
sanctioned at the highest political levels and used far more widely
than typically acknowledged. He will explore how a ‘torture-supporting
culture’ has been constructed in Western societies by the political
elite. Jackson argues that the torture is immoral, dangerous to
democratic society, ineffective, counter-productive and should be
abolished.

1st April 2008 – Moazzam Begg

Is Torture Ever Justified?

British-born Moazzam Begg, is spokesman for the Human Rights
organisation, Cage prisoners. Drawing on his own experiences, this
lecture will focus on the effects of the War on Terror and detention
without trial. In 2001, he travelled to Kabul with his family to
establish a school and water amenities for Afghanis. When the allied
attack on Afghanistan was launched, Begg and his family moved to
Islamabad in Pakistan for safety. They were seized by Pakistani police
and CIA officers and taken back to Kabul where Begg was held in a
windowless cellar for nearly a year. Ultimately he was taken to
Guantanamo Bay. He spent a total of three years imprisoned during which
time he says he was subjected to more than 300 interrogations, death
threats and a series of horrific tortures.

10th April 2008 – Bob Brecher

Why torture is wrong: everywhere; always

Bob Brecher is Reader in Philosophy at the University of Brighton and
Director of its Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics. His
lecture will offer a critical analysis on recent attempts to argue for
and justify the legalization of interrogational torture as an accepted
weapon in the War on Terror.

1st June 2008 – Craig Murray

Truth, Torture and the War on Terror

Craig Murray discusses his experience around the use of torture by the
intelligence services when he was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from
2002 to 2004. Drawing on twenty years official service on intelligence
matters with the highest security clearances both sides of the
Atlantic, he argues that torture is being used to provide
“intelligence” for propaganda purposes and warns that we should not
believe much of the government narrative of the “War on Terror”.