Tuesday, February 05, 2008
  Torture and what you can do about it
Today the CIA revealed details about its use of the waterboarding technique at Guantanamo, or what the NPR reporter described as controlled drowning. Some people may dismiss this case as something that occurred years ago, and in a limited quantity. But the fact of the matter is having done it once, the CIA can easily justify doing it again. We need to put a stop to waterboarding and other torturous interrogation methods.

In mid February, the Senate is expected to vote on very important anti-torture legislation (Section 327 of H.R. 2082 - the Intelligence Authorization bill). This bill would require the CIA to comply with the restrictions in the Army Field Manual on interrogation of detainees. The U.S. Army Field Manual prohibits torture, as well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

Several senators have threatened to raise procedural roadblocks to Section 327 (the anti-torture provision). We need 60 votes in the Senate to keep Section 327 in the bill. It would be very helpful if you would take a few minutes to contact your Senators to urge them to support the Army Field Manual provision in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.

You can contact your Senators by calling the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Alternatively, you can look up your Senators' direct lines and email addresses at http://capwiz.com/c-span by entering your zip code and then clicking on the names of your Members.

Please take time this week to contact your Senators to let them know how important it is for them to support the Army Field Manual provision in the Intelligence Authorization Conference Report.


Fact Sheet on Section 327 of H.R. 2082 (the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008)

1.) Section 327 prohibits all agencies of the U.S. intelligence community, and their contractors, from subjecting detainees to any treatment or technique of interrogation that is not authorized by the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations. In effect this would extend the McCain torture ban (which currently covers only the military) to all U.S. intelligence agencies. The text of Section 327 can be found at the bottom of this document.

2.) H.R. 2082 (which includes Section 327) is a conference report - that is, it is the final product of a compromise between House and Senate conferees on two versions of the same bill. This conference report passed the House in December on a 222-199 vote. It is now before the Senate for its approval. The text of the conference report can be found at: http://intelligence.senate.gov/conference2008.pdf

3.) Senate Republicans have placed a hold on H.R. 2082 pending the outcome of a parliamentary objection to Section 327. Since Section 327 was not part of either the original House or Senate versions of H.R. 2082, Republicans will probably be able to raise a point of order against Section 327 in order to strip it from the bill. To overrule a point of order requires 60 votes. The U.S. Senate will probably vote on the bill in mid-February.

4.) Senate Republicans have also threatened to filibuster H.R. 2082. To defeat a filibuster also requires 60 votes.

5.) There are a number of Republican Senators who have voted against torture in the past, so even though we need 60 votes to pass this bill, it is possible.

Senators who might vote either way on Section 327 include:

OR - Smith
NH - Sununu
FL - Martinez
KS - Brownback
TN - Alexander
ME - Collins
PA - Specter
MN - Coleman
IN - Lugar
OH - Voinovich
AZ - McCain
VA - Warner
NE - Ben Nelson
CT - Lieberman
IN - Bayh

Text of Section 327:
(a) LIMITATION.—No individual in the custody
or under the effective control of an element of
the intelligence community or instrumentality
thereof, regardless of nationality or physical location,
shall be subject to any treatment or technique
of interrogation not authorized by the
United States Army Field Manual on Human
Intelligence Collector Operations.

the term ''instrumentality'', with respect to
an element of the intelligence community, means
a contractor or subcontractor at any tier of the
element of the intelligence community.
Excellent idea :)

Ya Haqq!
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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