Friday, May 12, 2006

Torture in the Bush Gulag: Administration ignores McCain-Levin ban; is anyone seriously surprised?

"I wouldn't join the International Criminal Court. It's a body based in The Hague where unaccountable judges and prosecutors can pull our troops or diplomats up for trial.

"And I wouldn't join it. And I understand that in certain capitals around the world that that wasn't a popular move. But it's the right move not to join a foreign court that could - where our people could be prosecuted." - George W. Bush 09/30/04

"Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine." - Dick Cheney 01/26/05

When Bush signed the defense appropriation containing the McCain-Levin anti-torture measure - which was inadequate even as written - he issued one of his now-notorious signing statements that basically said he had no intention of obeying it, under his unilateral Executive theory that holds that the President can choose to ignore any law he wants in the name of national security.

Rummy was having new Army regulations written to further institutionalize criminal sadistic torture as standard procedure for the US armed forces.  But adverse publicity has at least caused trouble for that, though there is no sign of which I'm aware that the gruesome torture itself has been discontinued:  Army Rules Put on Hold: The revised field manual seeks to permit harsher interrogations of terror suspects, which some lawmakers say violates the ban on torture by Julian Barnes Los Angeles Times 05/11/06.  Barnes writes:

The Pentagon has been forced to delay the release of its updated Army Field Manual on interrogation because of congressional opposition to several provisions, including one that would allow tougher techniques for unlawful combatants than for traditional prisoners of war.

The Defense Department's civilian leaders, who are overseeing the process of rewriting the manual, have long argued - along with the Bush administration - thatthe Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists or irregular fighters. The United States needs greater flexibility when interrogating people who refuse to fight by the rules, they have said.

But some lawmakers think that creating different rules for enemy prisoners of war and irregular fighters contradicts the torture ban passed by Congress last year, which requires a "uniform standard" for treating detainees.

Oddly, though, his article doesn't cite any members of Congress by name, only one anonymous "aide".  I hope this was an editorial decision, rather than an unwillingness of even Democrats to go on record objecting to further disregarding of the US laws against sadistic torture.

Maverick McCain is notable by his absence in this article.  No surprise there.

"The primary goal of torture or the threat of torture is not to obtain convictions for crimes, but to engender and maintain fear." - Jimmy Carter, Our Endangered Values (2005)

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