January 19, 2009

Via Talk Left, this disconcerting news:

President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to prohibit the use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques by ordering the CIA to follow military rules for questioning prisoners, according to two U.S. officials familiar with drafts of the plans. Still under debate is whether to allow exceptions in extraordinary cases.

[...] Obama's changes may not be absolute. His advisers are considering adding a classified loophole to the rules that could allow the CIA to use some interrogation methods not specifically authorized by the Pentagon, the officials said. They said the intent is not to use that as an opening for possible use of waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.

As Glenn Greenwald points out, such a "loophole" would constitute a violation of the UN Convention on Torture, codified as a crime under US law.

Big Tent Democrat:

If the AP is correct in its story, the incoming Obama Administration is contemplating committing crimes under US and international law. If this is what Obama plans to do, may I recommend that he first withdraw the United States from the UN Convention on Torture and ask for the repeal of US law that codified the Convention. Thus, while Obama may be engaged in barbarous actions, at least he will not be commiting a crime under US law.

Well! I know I feel better already...

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