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
IN - Lugar
OH - Voinovich
AZ - McCain
VA - Warner
NE - Ben Nelson
CT - Lieberman
IN - Bayh
Text of Section 327:
SEC. 327. LIMITATION ON INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES.
(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.
(b) INSTRUMENTALITY DEFINED.—In this section,
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.