Tara McKelvey

Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at the Prospect, is a research fellow at NYU School of Law's Center on Law and Security and the author of Monstering: Inside America’s Policy on Secret Interrogations and Torture in the Terror War.

Recent Articles

Of Human Bondage

On August 6, Christina Arnold found herself in Svay Pak, Cambodia, an area full of wooden shacks, bars, and brothels 11 kilometers from the capital city of Phnom Penh. Arnold, the 29-year-old director of Project Hope International, a nonprofit organization committed to assisting survivors of human trafficking, had traveled there to visit with social workers, health-care workers, and others who help prostitutes. It's exhausting and grim work; many of the prostitutes are children (as young as 6) servicing Western tourists who hang out at the Home Away from Home café and prowl the area for “small-small,” as the young girls are known. For years, the health-care educators and social workers had worked closely with the children, who are living “by hook or by crook, doing tricks,” says Arnold. They tried to teach the girls how to care for themselves. “They would tell the children, ‘You will get out of this. There's a way out,'” says Arnold. “‘In the meantime, here's how to use a condom.'”...

Domestic Abuse

PICKSTOWN, S.D. -- Sandy wade was 6 when she was sent away to St. Paul's Indian Mission, a boarding school overseen by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on the Yankton Sioux reservation. At first, things weren't so bad. She got three meals a day -- a welcome change from home, where she and her nine brothers and sisters often went hungry. But, as she discovered, not everybody fared so well, especially younger boys like her brother Frank “Butch” Wright, who lived across campus in St. Katharine's dormitory, a red-brick building with bars on the windows and double-padlocked doors. “When I saw him, he was always hungry and dirty and crying,” says Wade, 58, who works as a computer technician and has a long, black braid that falls over her shoulder. “Stuff happened to him that he never really got over.” At age 14, Wright told her he'd been sexually abused at school. Four years later, he died of a drug-induced coma. Another former student, Sherwyn Zephier, a 47-year-old art teacher who...

Shooting War

Robert Greenwald has produced and directed some of the most talked-about documentary films in recent years, including Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism and Uncovered: The War on Iraq , which is now opening in theaters across the country. On a recent Friday afternoon, he spoke from his Culver City, California, office about Ambassador Joseph Wilson, dramatist Bertolt Brecht, and what it's like to make a movie when everybody tells you you're crazy. What made you decide to work on Uncovered? I came across a newspaper article about Iraq that mentioned "programs for weapons of mass destruction" -- it was buried in the body of the article. And I thought, we didn't go to war for a program. [George W.] Bush didn't stand up there and say, “They're gonna launch a program in 45 minutes.” I decided right then and there I was going to make a film juxtaposing what the Bush administration said about the weapons of mass destruction with the current information about programs. The next day,...

Oil For Dummies

The United States uses more oil than any other country. We're so hung up on the stuff that the 8 million barrels we produce each day aren't enough. So every day we import another 12 million barrels, says Matthew Yeomans, author of the new book Oil: Anatomy of an Industry , and editor of www.petropulse.com . From his home in Wales, where he lives with his American wife and their 18-month-old son, he talks about the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, how prices at the pump could affect the election, and the "magic of gasoline." Why did you decide to write the book? I had been writing about oil [for the Industry Standard and other publications] for years and thought I knew quite a bit about it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was such a huge, amorphous subject that touches nearly everything we do, and that because it's such a big topic, people tend to glaze over on it. So I decided to write a handy, straightforward Oil For Dummies -- without...

Battle of Little Big Vote

A plastic sign outside a polling place in Andes Central High School on the Yankton Sioux reservation was clear and concise. "Photo ID required," it read. The only problem, said Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center in Lake Andes, South Dakota, was that the sign was illegal. Sitting in a conference room decorated with a buffalo skull, hand-sewn medicine bags, and a poster that says "Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome," Asetoyer explains how the law doesn't, in fact, require voters to have a photo ID. If you don't have one, you can sign a personal-identification affidavit. "The whole issue around denying Indian people the right to vote because they don't have a photo ID puts in people's minds, 'They're not going to let me vote, anyway, so why should I even go to vote?'" she said on June 15, describing what happened at the city election and at a June 1 special congressional election. "It's an intentional act to disenfranchise the...

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