Categorized | Torture

McCain anti-torture bill legalizes torture

How has this “anti-torture” legislation legalized torture?

First, “The administration has failed to lay out clear – and acceptable – standards of what constitutes torture and CID (cruel inhumane and degrading treatment.”

Just after Bush announced his deal with McCain, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made it crystal clear that the administration would define torture any way it like.

Most damningly,

Second, again according to HRW, “The legislation containing the McCain Amendment…includes another provision – the Graham-Levin Amendment – that would deny the five hundred-some detainees in Guantánamo Bay the ability to bring legal action seeking relief from the use of torture or cruel and inhumane treatment. And it implicitly authorizes the Department of Defense to consider evidence obtained through torture or other inhumane treatment in assessing the status of detainees held in Guantánamo Bay.” HRW also points out that “…this would be the first time in American history that Congress has effectively permitted the use of evidence obtained through torture.”

Third, before the bill was signed two other provisions were added, one which basically gives military personnel accused of torture the right to say they were “just following orders” and the other which extended this defense to the CIA.

Looking more deeply at all this, it becomes clear that the “anti-torture” legislation was really a sophisticated way of legitimating and legalizing torture in essence – while appearing to do just the opposite. Those who held out hope for McCain should take a deep lesson – that when you rely on these people to solve problems, the problems only intensify and multiply.

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