Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tourture banned... again?

Not that we torture anyway, but we do occasionally lapse into the cruel, inhuman and degrading business. So, George W. Bush has signed an executive order disavowing that too. And this time, he didn't even gut it with a defiant signing statement!

Call me cynical, but I'm not convinced this will do much, especially given the total lack of oversight within the detainee system and the continued assertions by military leaders that there are only aberrant torturers and not a culture which facilitates torture. And the White House is still playing coy. They "declined to say" whether the CIA currently manages a detention and interrogation program. Transparency is clearly not winning any battles here.

I was also struck by the stated intentions of the order:

Mr Hayden said the executive order gave CIA officers "the assurance that they may conduct their essential work in keeping with the laws of the United States".

Military lawyers say the main point of the orders is to offer protection to CIA officers who might get sued in US courts if they were deemed to have abused prisoners.

Those thoughtful military lawyers, always with their hearts in the right place.

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