The Carr Center scrutinizes the use of torture by state and non-state actors around the world. Our analysis includes, but is not limited to, the costs and consequences of the U.S. Government’s use of torture.

American Cruelty and the Defense of the Constitution
Alberto Mora. 2/27/2017. “American Cruelty and the Defense of the Constitution.” United States Naval Academy Stutt Lecture. See full presentation.Abstract
Alberto Mora recently gave the Stutt Lecture at the United States Naval Academy.


"I propose to explore with you this evening what it means to “support and defend the Constitution.” I will use as a prism the 2002 decision of the Bush administration to use torture as a weapon of war and my own involvement in the matter as Navy General Counsel."

Read his full address here. 


These GOP Foreign Policy Pros Are Wary of Working for Trump

November 17, 2016

Members of the conservative foreign policy intelligentsia, who spent the eight long years of the Obama administration biding their time at think tanks and universities, finally have a shot at upper level administration jobs

But now that those coveted Washington positions as deputy secretaries, assistant secretaries, and the like are finally open, many are racked with new anxiety: Is it a good idea to serve in a Trump administration if you disagree deeply with Donald Trump?...

“It’s not good,” said Alberto Mora, a senior fellow at the ...

Read more about These GOP Foreign Policy Pros Are Wary of Working for Trump

Appellate Court Reinstates Abu Ghraib Torture Lawsuit Against Private Military Contractor

October 24, 2016

A panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit  (Al Shimari v. CACI) brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on behalf of four Abu Ghraib torture victims against CACI Premier Technology, Inc., a private military contractor, for the corporation’s role in their inhumane treatment.... Read more about Appellate Court Reinstates Abu Ghraib Torture Lawsuit Against Private Military Contractor

Fighting Terrorism - and the urge to ignore our basic American principles
Alberto Mora. 8/5/2016. “Fighting Terrorism - and the urge to ignore our basic American principles.” The Washington Post. See full text.Abstract
Op-Ed by Carr Center Senior Fellow Alberto Mora.

In late 2002, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service uncovered evidence that detainees were being abused during interrogations at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Concerned about the lawlessness and the professional incompetence of the interrogators, they sought out a senior attorney in the Defense Department’s office of general counsel. Nothing could be done, the attorney blandly informed them. “The decision has been taken,” he said, “and, anyway, if the public were to find out, no one would care.”

Psychological Consequences of Becoming a Child Soldier
Federica D’Alessandra. 2014. “Psychological Consequences of Becoming a Child Soldier”. See full text.Abstract
As the civilian population is increasingly targeted in wars, children constitute an increasing quota among the victims of each conflict.

More often than not, the horrific practice of targeting civilians during conflict is seconded by the deplorable active use of child soldiers. In some countries, a whole generation of children seems to have grown up without knowing peace. A lot has been written about war-affected people, and the psychological consequences that they bear as a result of these traumatic experiences; yet, a literature that focuses specifically on the psychological burden of child soldiers is only now slowly emerging. While it might be intuitive that war and widespread violence leave deep psychological scars, it is essential to understand what shape these scars take on children. The relevance of the topic is striking at both a humanitarian and a developmental level as ‘lost education can take years to regain, and physical and psychological trauma may be long lasting’. 

Rhetoric, Ideology, and Organizational Structure of the Taliban Movement
Michael Semple. 1/5/2015. Rhetoric, Ideology, and Organizational Structure of the Taliban Movement. Peaceworks. 102nd ed. Washington DC: United States Institute of Peace. See full text.Abstract
This report examines the evolution of the Taliban case for armed struggle and the minimal adjustments Taliban rhetoricians made to cope with the impending political change in Afghanistan in 2014. It considers how the Taliban might make a case for peace, should they take the political decision to engage in negotiations. 


The Taliban movement commands the loyalty of thousands of Afghans and applies resources and men to the pursuit of political objectives, guided by doctrine and inspired by rhetoric. Taliban rhetoric consists of religious and historical references, narratives of recent events, and guidance for Taliban sympathizers. The rhetoric asserts that the Taliban are engaged in a righteous jihad aimed at establishing a divinely ordered Islamic system in Afghanistan. Taliban doctrine focuses on internal affairs and in particular on maintaining cohesiveness. The Taliban are ruthless in enforcing their doctrine of obedience to the amir, or leader. The movement has retained a narrow social base, and its power is concentrated in the hands of mullahs from the Kandahari Pashtun tribes. Any project to build a plural Afghanistan is likely to include an appeal to the Taliban or the constituency they have mobilized. The Taliban’s own attempts to regain power rest on a negation of pluralism, rejection of a popular mandate, and assertion of the divine right vested in their Islamic emirate. A Taliban rhetoric of peace would require addressing the position of the Taliban’s amir, peace as a desirable state, the need for cohesiveness and unity in support of peace, celebration of the withdrawal of foreign troops, Islamic credentials of the government in Kabul, protection of those who sacrificed for the Taliban, peace as conclusion of the jihad, and the new role for the Taliban’s cadres. After 2014, the Taliban leadership is vulnerable to a hard-line challenge arguing that the political system in Kabul is irredeemably compromised by its collaboration with unbelievers.

Ezgi Yildiz

Ezgi Yildiz


Ezgi Yildiz is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carr Center, where she is affiliated with the Costs and Consequences of Torture Project. She holds a PhD in International Relations with a Minor in International Law (summa cum laude with distinction) from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She conducts interdisciplinary research on international relations and international law, and specializes in international courts and human rights with a focus on the European Court of Human Rights, and the prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Her research has been funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Doc CH and Early Postdoc Mobility grants. She was a Carr Center Fellow from 2017 to 2019. 

... Read more about Ezgi Yildiz

Alberto Mora

Alberto Mora

Senior Fellow

Alberto J. Mora is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, where he teaches and conducts research on issues related to human rights, foreign policy, and national security strategy.... Read more about Alberto Mora

p: 617 496 9308
2016 Oct 07

Conference: The Strategic Consequences of Torture

(All day)



The Strategic Consequences of Torture Conference is the Carr Center's premier event around our research on the policy implications of the use of torture. Carr will bring together the top policymakers, academics, and military leaders to engage around the challenges and questions posed by the use of torture.

More information can be found on the Conference Website.

Read more about Conference: The Strategic Consequences of Torture