Scott Horton


The Other Scott Horton (no relation), international human rights lawyer, professor and contributing editor at Harper’s magazine, discusses Bush administration torture documents just released to the ACLU, the DOJ’s embarrassing 8-30 losing record in Guantanamo habeas hearings, how Gitmo was filled up courtesy of Pakistan’s bogus “terrorist” roundup after 9/11, Dick Cheney’s culpability in allowing Pakistan’s ISI to evacuate Taliban and al Qaeda leadership from Afghanistan, the Cheney family’s frantic pre-emptive defense against possible DOJ prosecution, the British High Court decision to disregard the CIA request for secrecy in the Binyam Mohamed torture case and the inspiration FOX’s 24 has been to torturers around the world.

MP3 here. (50:58)

The other Scott Horton is a Contributing Editor for Harper’s Magazine where he writes the No Comment blog. A New York attorney known for his work in emerging markets and international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict, Horton lectures at Columbia Law School. A life-long human rights advocate, Scott served as counsel to Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner, among other activists in the former Soviet Union.

He is a co-founder of the American University in Central Asia, and has been involved in some of the most significant foreign investment projects in the Central Eurasian region. Scott recently led a number of studies of abuse issues associated with the conduct of the war on terror for the New York City Bar Association, where he has chaired several committees, including, most recently, the Committee on International Law. He is also a member of the board of the National Institute of Military Justice, the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, the EurasiaGroup and the American Branch of the International Law Association.

19 thoughts on “Scott Horton”

  1. Could you also print transcripts as well as offering the mp3 audio files? Reading is faster than listening, and rereading portions of a transcript is easier than replaying segments of an audio file.

  2. According to Seymor Hersh the US military kidnapped small boys and their mothers in Iraq. They then raped the boys and forced their mothers to watch. A female soldier videofilmed all of it. The same with rape of adults women and male prisoners. It´s all videofilmed. That´s the reason Obama won´t release more photos or films.

    1. No surprise that soldiers would rape their prisoners. That they would be dumb enough to video each other doing it is a bit surprising, but you don't have to be smart to be a rapist.

    2. What proof can you provide, beyond citing Mr. Hersh, that there is grahphic evidence of these rapes? Or that this "videofilm" is what prevents Obama from further disclosure? And if irrefutable pictoral evidence does exist, would authorizing it's release result in greater benefit, or greater harm?

  3. Great interview, esp. the questions regarding the attempted jacking of our shared narrative with the charming phrase, 'look forward, not backward.'

    AntiWar's Scott Horton: In your long legal career, ever see a judge fall for it or a lawyer even advance it?

    Prof. Horton: "No, it's an incoherent argument."

    One of the hallmarks of the power of myth is its ability to reconcile apparent contradictions. Intentional self-sacrifice, laying down one's life willingly for others, makes no economic sense, and for that very reason is lauded as most noble. Recall JFK's exhortation, "We choose to go to the moon…." I'll use it to demonstrate the mythical, society-shaping power of the bully pulpit.

    Don't blink your mind's eye or you may miss the myth-jacking.

    (Source:… via
    JFK: If this capsule history of our progress teaches us anything, it is that man, in his quest for knowledge and progress, is determined and cannot be deterred. The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in this race for space.

    Get it? Feel the power of that last half sentence: it created an entire cosmos in which to act thus and so, to make sense of the insanity of building machines to go to the moon instead of taking on more terrestrial problems.

    JFK: Those who came before us made certain that this country rode the first waves of the industrial revolution, the first waves of modern invention, and the first wave of nuclear power, and this generation does not intend to founder in the backwash of the coming age of space. We mean to be a part of it–we mean to lead it. For the eyes of the world now look into space, to the moon and to the planets beyond, and we have vowed that we shall not see it governed by a hostile flag of conquest, but by a banner of freedom and peace. We have vowed that we shall not see space filled with weapons of mass destruction, but with instruments of knowledge and understanding.

    How's that for power? The brutal use of industry for concentrating wealth/creating poverty becomes innocently surfing the tide of natural history.

    As we all know, JFK's noble narrative turned out to be not a lie, but a myth, a cover story, a strategic domestic disinformation campaign.

    Just so, somehow, according to the "look forward not backward" myth, when they're in office, our public servants can do no wrong, and mustn't be punished for 'policy differences.' No matter how venal in private life, the myth is that these people simply can't act other than in the national interest of "the American people." Harold Pinter, in his Nobel laureate speech, pointed out the power of that phrase to bewitch supposedly self-sovereign citizens into loyal subjects.

    The power of myth is powering weapons-grade domestic propaganda. That's the very real political power contained in the charming phrase, 'look forward, not backward.'

    That's why I say, facts don't move electorates, myths do. Look at the jacking of our health care reform debate. That's what I call a "myth-jacking." The more we bust their myths even as they're deployed against us, the less effect they'll have.

    Sorry for going on at length, but this is the power source of the Pentagon's on-going propagandizing, the battlefield psy ops Prof. Horton noted back in February

  4. Just listened to the post. I found it quite important and timely.

    The interviewee, Mr. Horton, is articulate and thorough in describing the overall situation not only from a domestic perspective but an international one as well. He's travelled worldwide in the pursuit of justice against torturers in sub-Saharan Africa but ended up studying torture by the US.

    About halfway, Dick Cheney's pubic relations campaign to preemptively avoid prosecution is discussed. There is clearly more to his role than cheerleading aggressive interrogations-he spearheaded the White House's effort to torture, then helped cover up the lack of successful prosecutions and evidence.'s Scott Horton grasps the fundamental injustice of torture in his interview. For a number of years now, research and interviews by him and others have built a mountain of evidence that our country was breaking the law. We need interviews like this to keep the powerful accountable, no matter what Obama might say, to push prosecutions forward.

  5. The UN Convention Against Torture which was fully ratified and (ironically) signed into law by Ronald Reagan addresses the notion of outsourcing torture, such as was done in the case of Binyam Mohammed:

    Article 3
    No State Party shall expel, return ("refouler") or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.
    For the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights.

    It is widely known that Morrocco has and does practice torture.

    Jeff Story

  6. I'm posting here because it's the latest blog entry and most likely to be read, but this is really brought about by listening to the interview with John Walsh the other day.

    Scott, as always I love your interviews but please, please, PLEASE stop talking over the top of your guests. When you ask a question, especially when you add a lot of preamble, its really annoying when the interviewee begins to answer and then you start talking loudly over the top of them because you are adding something else that just came to your mind.

    1. Amen! Horton is an arrogant motormouth who does not know when to keep his pie hole shut. In a recent interview with Charles Goyette about the demise of the dollar he spoke over Goyette when CG was trying to get across one of the most important points of his book to the listeners. Horton's actions totally obscured what CG was saying… Horton is also intolerant of dissent with his opinions and if you see my post I doubt that it will remain here for very long.

    2. Much as it pains me to say so, because I appreciate Scott's interviews, I have to agree. I realize it can be difficult to restrain yourself when you're passionate about something, it's an important skill for an interviewer. Just listen to some of Charles Goyette's radio shows- it's one of the things that made him a great host.
      Though I must also say that Scott has also improved over the years, becoming quite a bit better organized, and less prone to arguing with his guests (contrary to 8Ball's comment.) That's another thing Charles was good at- ignoring any irrelevant points of contention and sticking to the issue at hand. I really wish Charles would return to the airwaves.

      1. You are right. There have been many times when he must have been busting to argue with a guest when they say something I know he does not agree with, but he lets it go because it would detract from the interview.

        Since I'm replying I will also say I don't agree with 8 ball that Scott is intolerant of dissent and I mostly find him quite polite to guests.

        Another thing I really wish Scott would do is to have two guests on at once with opposing or at least different views. I notice sometimes one guest will contradict what another has said on in an earlier interview and I have thought I would love to have them both argue their points out together.

  7. A group of 9 scientists, one of them Niels Harrit from the Uni of Copenhagen, have examined some of the dust from WTC for almost two years and concluded that 10-100 tons of nano-thermite was placed in the buildings. They made a research paper on their findings.

  8. Here's what we've done in connection with Condoleezza Rice's visit to the Twin Cities in Minnesota tomorrow:

    They have not only enabled the torture and remain totally unrepentant as to the deaths and harm caused, but the former Bush Administration officials are now making more money off of it by writing books and giving speeches. It was said that former CIA Director Tenet made $4 million just as a book advance and now a Synagogue in Minnesota that's "proudly presenting an evening with Condi" has sold tables for $12,500 each to people who wanted to have dinner with her.

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