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Interrogation (not) in America

As President, George Bush authorised the CIA and the armed forces to ignore American law and practice, and interrogate prisoners using waterboarding, which by any reasonable definition is a form of torture. In order to avoid tiresome questions over the legality of his administration's treatment of prisoners, many prisoners taken in Afghanistan were shipped to military bases in other countries, primarily Gunatanmo Bay in Cuba, with no right to any kind of trial or representation.

The problem with allowing things like waterboarding, even on the grounds that the situation is urgent and it's effective, is that once you cross that line it's very difficult to stop it spreading. Pretty soon you'll find the FBI doing it, police departments doing it, the IRS doing it...

I actually don't have too much of a problem with soldiers on the front line bending the rules to get information, but a government that secretly ships prisoners to a military base in a third country to avoid questions about their treatment and legal rights makes me profoundly uneasy. Where are the checks and balances to protect the innocent?


Copyright © Jon Storm 2009