How did torture, first justified by fear of the communist threat, and then as part of the fight against terrorism, become the norm in the United States?
As soon as the Second World War ended, the Americans, impressed by the supposed ability of the Soviet authorities to extort false confessions, became interested in brainwashing.
With the complicity of unscrupulous academics and doctors, the CIA began developing techniques that could break the human spirit without leaving any physical trace. Compiled in the KUBARK Manual in 1963, these techniques went on to be used in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Iraq, and at black sites across the world. Today, some are still employed on terrorist suspects on American soil.
Through the testimonies of specialists and witnesses, both victims and torturers, this film explores 70 years of torture and recounts how the United States transformed the practice of torture into a state-sanctioned practice.