Cheney Goes For the Loophole

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As reported previously, the White House is now actively trying to put loopholes into the McCain amendment that would try to prevent detainee abuse and regulate interrogation tactics, by exempting the CIA from all regulations:

Stepping up a confrontation with the Senate over the handling of detainees, the White House is insisting that the Central Intelligence Agency be exempted from a proposed ban on abusive treatment of suspected Qaeda militants and other terrorists.

Frankly, passing no amendment at all would be better than passing an amendment that had this loophole—which would then give the congressional seal of approval to abuse and torture by CIA agents. Read this ACLU report to see a list of detainees that have been killed in U.S. custody. In what follows, “OGA” (Other Government Agency) refers to the CIA:

A 27-year-old Iraqi male died while being interrogated by Navy Seals on April 5, 2004, in Mosul, Iraq. During his confinement he was hooded, flex-cuffed, sleep deprived and subjected to hot and cold environmental conditions, including the use of cold water on his body and hood. The exact cause of death was “undetermined” although the autopsy stated that hypothermia may have contributed to his death. Notes say he “struggled/ interrogated/ died sleeping.”

An Iraqi detainee (also described as a white male) died on January 9, 2004, in Al Asad, Iraq, while being interrogated by “OGA.” He was standing, shackled to the top of a door frame with a gag in his mouth at the time he died. The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries. Notes summarizing the autopsies record the circumstances of death as “Q by OGA, gagged in standing restraint.”

A detainee was smothered to death during an interrogation by Military Intelligence on November 26, 2003, in Al Qaim, Iraq. A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of General Mowhoush, lists “asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression” as the cause of death and cites bruises from the impact with a blunt object. New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as “Q by MI, died during interrogation.”

A detainee at Abu Ghraib Prison, captured by Navy Seal Team number seven, died on November 4, 2003, during an interrogation by Navy Seals and “OGA” A previously released autopsy report, that appears to be of Manadel Al Jamadi, shows that the cause of his death was “blunt force injury complicated by compromised respiration.” New documents specifically record the circumstances of death as “Q by OGA and NSWT died during interrogation.”

Maybe this is what Dick Cheney meant when he told John McCain that the president needs “maximum flexibility” for dealing with suspected terrorists. No doubt those detainees all gave quality information after being killed.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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