Category Archives: Noteworthy Resources

Witness to Guantanamo Interviews Now Online

Post by Patrick Stawski, Human Rights Archivist in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Screenshot of a video interview with Mourad Benchellali, a French national who was detained in Guantanamo from January 2002 until July 2004, when he was returned to France. One of 153 interviews now available in the Witness to Guantanamo Digital Collection.

As the nation prepares to mark the twentieth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the Duke University Libraries are excited to announce the launch of the Witness to Guantanamo Digital Collection. Witness to Guantanamo includes 153 video interviews with former detainees and other individuals—attorneys, chaplains, guards, interrogators, interpreters, government officials, human rights advocates, medical personnel, and journalists—who witnessed the impact of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in the post-9/11 years. An additional 346 short clips from the full-length interviews are also included. English language interviews are accompanied by transcripts, and we are working to transcribe those in other languages as well.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, became the site of the detention center for suspected al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. Peter Jan Honigsberg, professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, began Witness to Guantanamo (WtG) in fall 2008, after realizing that no one was collecting and preserving the voices and stories of “Gitmo.” He modelled the project after grassroots truth commissions and the Shoah Foundation’s collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. Professor Honigsberg’s book, A Place Outside the Law: Forgotten Voices from Guantanamo, narrates many of the extraordinary, powerful, and rare stories he filmed over the course of a decade and across 20 countries. His book is a tribute to the humanity we all share.

The full set of interviews are now archived at the Rubenstein Library’s Human Rights Archive and available through the digital repository. Witness to Guantanamo is unique. No one else has done this work. While there are many collections and projects dispersed around the world containing documents, case files, and data about Guantanamo and the U.S. War on Terror, WtG is the only collection that foregrounds the voices of the individuals detained there and whose lives were forever changed by the experience. The video interviews cover a wide range of topics, including physical and psychological torture, lawlessness, religious faith, medical care, interrogations, interminable detentions without charges, sham hearings, women at Guantanamo, and acts of courage.

In one interview, former detainee Mourad Benchellali reflects on his efforts to turn his imprisonment from 2002 to 2004 into something positive, in the hope that by hearing his story, young people will not join ISIS or participate in suicide attacks. “I simply tell them my story, telling them, ‘This is what I found out. This is what I saw in Afghanistan,’” Benchellali says. “I tell them about being tortured. I tell them about bombings. I tell them how groups enlist you… I tell them all of this, and I say, ‘Be careful, here are the dangers you may run into over there, as I did. I don’t want what happened to me to happen to you, but you have to decide for yourself.’”

In another interview, detainee attorney Alkha Pradhan discusses the process of trying to defend her client, Ammar al Baluchi. At one point in her interview, she reflects on how the CIA deployed its classification policy to control her client: “You know, even though these are his memories, these are his experiences, the government continues to classify them and continues to prevent him from being able to tell the world about them… by virtue of being him, by virtue of being again, brown, non-citizen, Muslim detainee in the CIA system, everything he says is classified. Everything he thinks is classified.”

These first-hand testimonies reveal the physical, emotional, and political scars inflicted by Guantanamo. They also underscore how the treatment of detainees and the use of extra-legal procedures hobbled rather than enabled the rule of law and the quest for truth and justice. They are an invaluable resource for students, scholars, and people around the world to reflect on the path taken by the U.S. in the years following 9/11. The Human Rights Archive is planning an exhibit based on the Witness to Guantanamo collection for January 2022 at the Power Plant Gallery in downtown Durham to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the first detainees arriving at Guantanamo in 2002. More information about the exhibit will be coming soon.

Access to Major US Newspapers

Hello again! We at the library would like to offer you a quick guide for accessing some major US newspapers via Duke Libraries. Over the past few weeks, we’ve made a series of posts on accessing the New York Times (available here, here, and here), so feel free to take a look at those posts if you’re wondering about that paper specifically. This week, we’re going to offer recommendations on accessing the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. For each paper, we’ll list the easiest ways to access current and historical issues. For all of these links, you’ll need a NetID.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Investigation Exposes Broken Promises In Georgia's Senior Care Industry

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: If you’re looking to browse current issues of the AJC, we recommend using U.S. Newsstream. Using this link, anyone with a NetID has access to every issue of the AJC from November 7th, 2001 to the present. Note that articles are available in plaintext only. If you’re looking for historical issues of the AJC (including the issues of one of its predecessors, the Atlanta Constitution), we recommend using ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Using this link, you’ll see eight groupings of historical AJC material, providing access to issues from 1868 to 1984. If you click on an article in one of these groups, you’ll typically view it as a pdf, displaying the article as it appeared in the original print newspaper.

Chicago Tribune | Classifieds

Chicago Tribune: As with the AJC, we recommend using U.S. Newsstream to browse current issues of the Chicago Tribune. Using this link, anyone with a NetID has access to the Tribune from December 4th, 1996 to the present. For historical issues, we also recommend ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Using this link, you’ll see that this database has seven groupings of historical Tribune issues, providing cumulative access to issues from April 23rd, 1849 to December 31st, 2011. As with the historical issues of the AJC, too, you will typically be able to view these articles as pdfs (U.S. Newsstream access only contains plaintext displays of current articles).

Los Angeles Times | Newspaper Target Marketing Coalition, Inc.

Los Angeles Times: Using U.S. Newsstream to access the LA Times, anyone with a NetID can access issues from December 4th, 1996 to the present with this link, in much the same way as accessing the AJC and the Tribune. Historical issues are also best accessed the same way, using ProQuest Historical Newspapers. Using this link, you’ll see four groupings of historical LA Times issues, providing pdfs of articles in every issue of the paper from December 4th, 1881 to December 31st, 2012.

Washington Post online now available to Stanford | Stanford Libraries

Washington Post: Our recommendations for browsing current and historical issues of the Post are much the same as the previous three newspapers in this post. Using this U.S. Newsstream link, anyone with a NetID can access issues of the Post from December 4th, 1996 to the present. ProQuest Historical Newspapers, meanwhile, contains pdfs of Post issues and their articles from December 6th, 1877 to December 31st, 2004. Using this link, you’ll see these issues split up into five groups, sorted by date.

Access to the New York Times Part 3

Hello again! Over the past few weeks, we at the Library have been working on a series of posts about New York Times access for Duke users. Our first post offered an overview of what this access looks like, and our last post covered access for Duke users looking to browse recent issues of the Times and some of its other popular assets (The New York Times Magazine and The New York Times Book Review). This week, we’re looking at access from a more research-oriented perspective. If you’re wondering how best to utilize our Times access for research, keep reading!

Historical issues: We recognize that, over the course of your research, it might be useful to access older issues of the Times. The most exhaustive access we have to historical issues of the Times is through ProQuest Historical Newspapers. If you have a NetID, simply follow this link to access issues from September 14th, 1857 to December 31st, 1922, and this link to access issues from January 1st, 1923 to December 31st, 2016. On either of these pages, you can select a particular date, then see a list of articles that appeared in the paper that day. Generally, when you click on an article via either of these links, you’ll see the article appear as a pdf (looking as it did in the print newspaper). There are usually a couple of other options for viewing, as well: if you click “Page view – PDF,” you’ll see the page of the paper in which the article appears, and if you click “Browse this issue,” you have the option to look through a pdf of the day’s entire paper. You can see each of these viewing options highlighted in the below screenshot. If you’re looking for a more recent issue of the Times, see my previous Times post.

Overview of all databases with Times access: In both this post and my last post, we’ve recommended a few select databases for Times access, as we generally feel that these are the most user-friendly and the most exhaustive. However, if you’re looking to use our Times access for research purposes, you’ll want to know the full breadth of our access. Here’s a list of all the databases Duke users have access to that have at least some degree of New York Times access, with links.

June 27th, 1870 to July 20th, 1870:
Early American Newspapers, Series V

September 14th, 1857 to December 31st, 1922:
ProQuest Historical Newspapers

January 1st, 1923 to December 31st, 2016:
ProQuest Historical Newspapers

August 24th, 1970 to the present:
Eureka.cc (note that access is limited to three simultaneous users)

June 1st, 1980 to the present:
U.S. Newsstream
Nexis Uni
Factiva

January 1st, 1985 to the present:
Gale Academic OneFile
Gale OneFile: Contemporary Women’s Issues
Gale in Context: Biography
Gale General OneFile
Gale in Context: Science
Newspaper Source Plus

A note about freelance pieces: As a final point, if you’re looking for particular pieces in the Times, you should be aware that you might run into difficulties finding articles written by freelance writers. This is due to the 2001 US Supreme Court decision New York Times Co. v. Tasini. Wikipedia has a concise summation of this case and its effect here, but essentially, this decision held that the Times could not license articles written by freelance writers or photographs taken by freelance photographers to electronic databases without their creators’ permission. As such, if you’re looking for an article that you know or suspect was written by a freelance writer (in the Times, these are usually opinion pieces) that you are trouble accessing, we recommend you contact the Library via our chat service or asklib@duke.edu.

 

Access to the New York Times Part 2

In response to a number of recent queries about the availability of The New York Times for Duke users, we at the library would like to offer a quick rundown of what this access looks like. The New York Times is of course a ubiquitous resource for both newspaper readers and researchers alike, and so we strive to make it as available as possible. To that end, we subscribe to a myriad of databases that all contain some degree of New York Times access – last week’s post offered an overview of what this looks like. A drawback to this approach, however, is the fact that the levels of access vary from databases to database, and many ensure access to only a certain number of the Times’ numerous subsections. To mitigate this issue, we’re going to map out a clearer path to three of the most popular assets of the Times: The New York Times paper, The New York Times Magazine, and The New York Times Book Review. These links are ideal for Duke users who wish to browse the Times (and this includes all of you nervously refreshing their election map every few minutes); in our next post, we’ll talk more about accessing the Times from a more research-oriented point-of-view.

The New York Times paper: If you’re a Duke undergraduate, the simplest way to browse the Times is to access The New York Times mobile app through the Duke Student Government Readership Program. Create a free account here using your NetID. Graduate students, faculty, and staff can also subscribe to the Times at a discounted rate. Beyond these options, Duke has access to the Times through a number of databases, the most user-friendly and intact being U.S. Newsstream, operated by ProQuest. Using this link, you have access to the full text of the Times from June 1st, 1980 to the present, including today’s paper. That said, the articles are isolated from each other and are only available in plaintext, so this option might be better suited for those with research interests.

The New York Times Magazine: Your safest bet for accessing The New York Times Magazine is to use U.S. Newsstream, which has access to the full text of the magazine from January 5th, 1997 to the present. Using this link, you can look at individual articles in similar way to the general Times, with one significant difference: where U.S. Newsstream only contains plaintext versions of Times articles, their Magazine access includes an option of viewing articles as PDFs, and these PDFs show the articles as they appear in the magazine proper. When you click on an article, it defaults to the plaintext version, but you can access this PDF version by clicking the tab labeled “Full text – PDF” at the top of the article. This setting is better for replicating the experience of browsing a magazine, although the articles, as with the newspaper articles, are isolated from one another – you have to access each of them individually (see below for the difference between the plaintext and PDF options).

The New York Times Book Review: Our recommendation for accessing the Book Review is much the same as the Magazine. Using this link, you can see that U.S. Newsstream has access to the full text of the Book Review from January 24th, 1988 to the present. The reviews, as with the magazine articles, have the option of being viewed as PDFs, and as with the magazine, we recommend taking that option to replicate the experience of browsing the publication itself.