Friday, July 20, 2007

Details Emerge

The reasons for the executive order start to become clearer (NYT):

After months of behind the scenes wrangling, the White House said Friday that it had given the Central Intelligence Agency approval to resume its use of some harsh interrogation methods in questioning terrorism suspects in secret prisons overseas.

With the new authorization, administration officials said the C.I.A. could now proceed with an interrogation program that has been in limbo since the Supreme Court ruled last year that all prisoners in American captivity be treated in accordance with Geneva Convention prohibitions against humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees.

So some American torturer (ugh, what a repellent phrase) now has his legal fanny covered, because although we say we're following Geneva, we don't spell out exactly what that means.

Andrew Sullivan has the full text of the order up on his site. As he points out, it makes no sense to play coy about what's covered and what isn't, when Geneva spells it out pretty clearly. At this point, secrecy has become its own justification, clung to reflexively. Or perhaps there's something even worse than we've seen so far and they're terrified it's going to come to light. I hope that's just paranoia; unfortunately, with this administration, one can't be sure.

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