On Saturday, US President George W. Bush vetoed a law that would have banned the CIA from using certain torture techniques. In doing so, he affirmed once again the utter criminality of his administration.
Bush’s veto sends back to Congress an intelligence authorization bill that would require the CIA to use only those techniques approved by the Army Field Manual. The effect of the bill would be to ban waterboarding, which involves the induced drowning of the prisoner, and other forms of torture.
In a radio address on Saturday, Bush defended his decision with the standard mix of lies and fear mongering. He said that the bill “would take away one of the most valuable tools in the war on terror—the CIA program to detain and question key terrorist leaders and operatives.” Without providing evidence, he claimed that the CIA interrogation program had stopped several terrorist attacks.
Bush went on to claim that the “specialized interrogation procedures” used by the CIA—that is, waterboarding and other forms of torture—are all “safe and lawful techniques.”
This is in fact a lie. These measures are all illegal under international and US law. UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak insisted last month that waterboarding “is absolutely unacceptable under international human rights law.” As for the notion that it is safe, even US director of national intelligence Mike McConnell has acknowledged that “taken to its extreme, [the consequences of waterboarding] could be death; you could drown someone.”
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