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Of the twenty-three Brazilian policemen interviewed in depth for this landmark study, fourteen were direct perpetrators of torture and murder during the three decades that included the 1964-1985 military regime. These "violence workers" and the other group of "atrocity facilitators" who had not, or claimed they had not, participated directly in the violence, help answer questions that haunt today's world: Why and how are ordinary men transformed into state torturers and murderers? How do atrocity perpetrators explain and justify their violence? What is the impact of their murderous deeds―on them, on their victims, and on society? What memories of their atrocities do they admit and which become public history?
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