Anti-Torture Action Alert!

waterboarding_nr.jpgBelow is an important Action Alert from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Given the latest news out of DC regarding erased tapes and Justice Dept. intransigence, our advocacy on this issue is more critical than ever…

Two weeks ago, a joint House-Senate Conference Committee decided to include anti-torture provisions in the final version of the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.  Last week, the House of Representatives adopted the conference report.  The roll call vote can be found hereThese new provisions, offered by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA), would require all federal agencies engaged in the prosecution of the War on Terror to comply with the interrogation guidelines in the Army Field Manual. This legislation would effectively outlaw the Central Intelligence Agencies “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including the use of waterboarding

Over the last several years, the issue of United States sponsored torture has become increasingly prominent. Since the horrific photos of the treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib emerged in 2004, we have learned about the existence of secret CIA prisons and the use of controversial interrogation procedures. Such procedures include the use of waterboarding, a technique used during the Spanish Inquisition, that has been considered torture by the United States military since the Spanish-American War.

In 2005, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered an amendment to the Detainee Treatment Act which explicitly outlawed the use of “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Further it required all agencies within the Department of Defense to comply with the carefully constructed interrogation guidelines in the Army Field Manual. JCPA strongly supported Senator McCain’s efforts.  Now, it is important to expand the principle of the McCain Amendment to all federal agencies and ensure that all United States officers and personnel are complaining with our nation’s laws and international treaty obligations.

The anti-torture torture provisions in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report would create a uniform standard that all federal agencies must abide by during the prosecution of the War on Terror. The United States Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation was carefully written to provide our intelligence agencies with solid guidance. The Army Field Manual guidelines allow interrogators to successfully extract useful and actionable intelligence while ensuring compliance with our national legal commitments. We face a moral and ethical imperative to stop United States sponsored torture.

Action Needed:

Contact your Senators and urge them to support the anti-torture provisions in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report. The Senate is expected to consider this legislation THIS WEEK.  

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact Jared Feldman (202) 212-6036 or by email, jfeldman@thejcpa.org.

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