Friday, June 8, 2007


Tara McKelvey is a senior editor at The American Prospect and a research fellow at New York University School of Law's Center on Law and Security. Her new book is Monstering: Inside America's Policy of Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

McKelvey applied the "page 69 test" to the new book and reported the following:
My book, Monstering, is about what happened beyond the frames of the infamous Abu Ghraib photographs. I look at the story that the media missed – the fact that the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was widespread, systematic and often horrific – and how the vast majority (at least eighty percent) of prisoners at Abu Ghraib were, according to multiple military sources, either innocent or did not have useful information for interrogators. My work is based on interviews with former detainees from Abu Ghraib and other U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, unexpunged government documents that were given to me by sources and other exclusive material, including never-released videos of wild parties where American soldiers went Robotripping (that’s a cocktail of Robitussin and Vivarin) as they pretended to stab detainees in an Abu Ghraib cellblock.

Page 69 has a subhead, “A Scene of Carnage,” that describes the killings of two American soldiers at Abu Ghraib – as well as the fear and dread that Americans experienced while they were living and working in the prison and how that in various ways their apprehension contributed to the way Iraqis were treated at the prison. This page, and other sections of the book, provides a context for the story of the Abu Ghraib scandal. As we also learn from Page 69, the conditions of the prison were even more trying for Iraqis than Americans. The deaths of prisoners Mihdy, Spah and Mohamed are discussed – along with the fact the circumstances surrounding their deaths “will likely remain a mystery.”
Listen to McKelvey's interview about her book, terror, and torture, on "Fresh Air."

Visit the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue