$32.00 donated in past month
A Deadly Interrogation: Can The CIA Legally Kill a Prisoner?
We speak with journalist Jane Mayer of The New Yorker as the Senate rejects demands for an independent commission on torture and the US military. We look at whether CIA agents are being allowed to kill detainees in their custody.
The Republican-led Senate has rejected a Democratic effort this week to establish an independent commission to investigate the U.S. military for its interrogation practices. The 55 to 43 vote was split largely along party lines. The Democrats were trying to set up a panel along the lines of the 9/11 Commission to investigate how the U.S. has been treating detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. The vote came a week after the Washington Post revealed new details about a network of secret overseas prisons run by the CIA. And it came two weeks after Vice President Dick Cheney met with Senator John McCain to urge him to exempt the CIA from a proposed law to bar cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody. The editors of The Washington Post responded to Cheney’s request by describing him as “Vice President for Torture.”
On Thursday, Senator John McCain, who survived torture as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, spoke out against torture and said the Abu Ghraib scandal has enormously harmed the country.
* Senator John McCain:
“Torture does not work. The Israeli Supreme Court in 1999 said that the Israelis could not torture or practice cruel and inhumane processes on the people they take prisoners. The Israeli defense officials who I have discussed this with say that it doesn’t work and they use psychological techniques and so on, it doesn’t work. And two, it’s so damaging to us in an image fashion. And three, the next conflict we’re in this government will use that same rationale to inflict serious injuries to Americans who may become captive.”
Last week former President Jimmy Carter criticized the administration’s detainee policies.
* Jimmy Carter:
“The insistence by our government that the CIA or others have a right to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and around the world is just one indication of what this administration has done that is a departure from past policies.”
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said on Thursday that he has no concerns about how detainees are being treated in secret overseas prisons. He said, "I am not concerned about what goes on and I’m not going to comment about the nature of that."
However, Frist questioned how classified information about the CIA’s secret prisons appeared in the pages of the Washington Post. He said, "My concern is with leaks of information that jeopardize your safety and security -- period. That is a legitimate concern."
We look at whether CIA agents are being allowed to kill detainees in their custody. In the new issue of The New Yorker, investigative reporter Jane Mayer examines the death of Manadel al-Jamadi. He suffocated two years ago during a CIA interrogation at the Abu Ghraib prison. His head had been covered with a plastic bag and he was shackled in a crucifixion-like pose that inhibited his ability to breathe. The U.S. government classified Jamadi’s death as a homicide. But the CIA officer who interrogated Jamadi has never been charged with a crime and continues to work with the agency.
* Jane Mayer, investigative journalist, staff writer for the New Yorker Magazine. He recent article is A Deadly Interrogation: Can The CIA Legally Kill a Prisoner?.