This is the biography of a one page memorandum signed by Donald Rumsfeld on 2nd December, 2002 authorising 18 techniques of interrogation not previously allowed by the United States. The memorandum was in effect for six weeks during which at least two detainees at Guantanamo and the US airbase at Bagram died and a third was tortured over a period of seven weeks. "18 Techniques" traces the life of the memorandum and explores issues of individual responsibility. Four individuals dominate the story: Rumsfeld, US lawyer John Yoo, victim Mohammed al-Qahtani and X, an anonymous European prosecutor.
Philippe Sands, QC, has been Professor of Law at University College London since 2002 and has taught at Boston College School of Law, Cambridge University and New York University Law School. He is also a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers and has been involved in leading cases before English and international courts, including those concerning Senator Augusto Pinochet and the Guantanamo and Belmarsh detainees. His previous book was the internationally acclaimed Lawless World: Making and Breaking Global Rules (Allen Lane 2005).