Saturday, December 17, 2005

Damn Them!

McCain Torture Policy Undercut By Amendment

You had to know it was too good to be true. Don't praise John McCain's torture amendment too soon. The Levin-Graham Amendment passed along with it, and it amounts to a license to use coercive techniques, particularly on detainees at Guantanamo:

House and Senate negotiators agreed Friday to a measure that would enable the government to keep prisoners at Guantánamo Bay indefinitely on the basis of evidence obtained by coercive interrogations.

The provision, which has been a subject of extensive bargaining with the Bush administration, could allow evidence that would not be permitted in civilian courts to be admissable in deciding whether to hold detainees at the American military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In recent days, the Congressional negotiators quietly eliminated an explicit ban on the use of such material in an earlier version of the legislation.

Human Rights Watch explains:

Even as the U.S. Congress has passed a prohibition against the use of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, it is set to adopt legislation that would strip the judiciary’s ability to enforce the ban, Human Rights Watch warned today.

...the legislation containing the McCain Amendment currently 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.

If passed into law, this would be the first time in American history that Congress has effectively permitted the use of evidence obtained through torture.

Here's how it could work:

“With the McCain amendment, Congress has clearly said that anyone who authorizes or engages in cruel techniques like water boarding is violating the law,” said Tom Malinowski, Washington Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch. “But the Graham-Levin amendment leaves Guantánamo detainees no legal recourse if they are, in fact, tortured or mistreated. The treatment of Guantánamo Bay detainees will be shrouded in secrecy, placing detainees at risk for future abuse.”

Read on:

http://talkleft.com/new_archives/013435.html

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