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Black sites, ‘extraordinary renditions’ and the legitimacy of the torture taboo

Barnes, J. (2016) Black sites, ‘extraordinary renditions’ and the legitimacy of the torture taboo. International Politics, 53 (2). pp. 198-219.

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The revelations the Bush administration employed torture in 'black sites' and outsourced torture through the 'extraordinary rendition' programme demonstrated how the torture prohibition, or torture taboo, failed to constrain the United States (US) and other complicit states from engaging in torture in the fight against terrorism. Yet despite this violation of the taboo, this article makes the paradoxical argument that studying the taboo's violation shows the strength of the norm's legitimacy, not its weakness. The humanitarian pressures from the torture taboo continued to operate on the US even while the norm was being violated, shaping US identity, interests and actions during the 'war on terror'.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright: © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Ltd.
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