Monday, June 05, 2006

Still fudging torture: Pentagon's interrogation manual dodges Geneva ban

Guardian Unlimited Special reports Pentagon's interrogation manual dodges Geneva ban: "Pentagon lawyers have spent more than a year trying to draw up the manual in the wake of the abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Hardliners in the military and in Dick Cheney's office want to give US intelligence officials the freedom to question suspected terrorists, labelled 'unlawful combatants', effectively. Others in the administration are concerned that if the constraints are deliberately loosened the administration would be politically and legally liable for any abuse scandals.
Administration critics say a legal memorandum produced by the justice department in the 2002, suggesting that the president was not constrained by the Geneva convention, paved the way for the maltreatment of inmates in Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan and Guant�namo Bay.
Military lawyers, known as judge advocates general (JAGs), tried to resist the removal of the Geneva safeguards, but were reportedly overruled.
'The JAGs came to the conclusion that this was the best they can get,' an unnamed participant familiar with the debate told the LA Times. 'But it was a massive mistake to have withdrawn from Geneva. By backing away, you weaken the proposition that this is the baseline provision that is binding to all nations.'"

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