Thursday, December 15, 2005

HOLD IT JUST A DAMNED MINUTE! US Army changes interrogation rules 2 days before McCain Amendment

From Think Progress. The US Army has made an addition to their Field Manual which was discovered just two days before the McCain Amendment prohibiting the use of torture during interrogations. The classified addendum is the first change in the manual's Intelligence Interrogation section in thirteen years.

The new 10 page addendum is classified, making public access to the information difficult, but it is reported to list specific examples of interrogation techniques.

However, McCain specified that ALL interrogations should be conducted as laid-out in FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation. He was not aware of the changes being inserted into the manual.

In a high-level meeting at the Pentagon on Tuesday, some Army and other Pentagon officials raised concerns that Mr. McCain would be furious at what could appear to be a back-door effort to circumvent his intentions.

"This is a stick in McCain's eye," one official said. "It goes right up to the edge. He's not going to be comfortable with this."

The changes may actually restrict interrogation techniques and specifically prohibit torture, but that raises two points:

1. Why did this appear before the McCain amendment? It demonstrates a preposterous lack of political awareness on the part of the army if that is the case;

2. If there is nothing sinister in the addendum, why is it secret? The public manual has not changed, and requires interrogators to comply with a clear set of rules. The argument that the US Army does not wish to disclose interrogation techniques, so as to prevent enemies from preparing their people for questioning in the event of capture, does not wash. The previous version of that chapter had no classification and no addendum and the army expressed no concern.

If the US Army and their Commander-In-Chief, have nothing to hide, the high classification of the addendum is completely unnecessary. However, given the past actions and behaviour of this administration, the secrecy and the timing raises suspicion of yet another attempt to mislead the public and steer around the rules.

What's the Bushco definition of torture again?

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