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The Fight over Torture

May 8, 2008

Missouri Senator Kit Bond is tired of human rights abuses. For the second year in a row, Bond has sponsored legislation that would limit the CIA to using only 19 techniques approved by the military in the Army Field Manual.

The 2008 version of his bill was vetoed by President Bush, so Senator Bond is seeking to have his proposal attached to other legislation to get the proposal through Congress.

Bond wants to write into law what the officials cannot do: force detainees to be naked, perform sexual acts or pose in a sexual manner; have hoods or sacks placed over their heads or duct tape over their eyes; be beaten, shocked or burned; threatened with military dogs; exposed to extreme heat or cold; subjected to mock executions; deprived of food, water or medical care, or be waterboarded.

CIA Director Michael Hayden says that he prohibited waterboarding by the CIA in 2006, but it still could be used if authorized by the president and the attorney general. Hayden also complained that the military list in the manual does not include all interrogation techniques that are allowed by the Geneva Conventions.

The new law that Bond is pushing prohibits private contractors from involvement in interrogations as requires Red Cross access to all prisoners. The law would also require the active government administration all legal decisions made on prisoners and detainees.

The bill is designed to increase oversight of government and so-called “intelligence activities”. The House and Senate intelligence committees would require briefing on all programs and topics of briefings provided to committee leaders.

The 2009 House legislation also offers to add money for electronic intelligence and human spy projects including a national computer security monitoring program. The House bill also prohibits other earmarks from being added to the legislative bill.

The appearance is that the lawmakers want to “bribe” military and CIA officials into going their way in exchange for additional government subsidies.

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