Bush's anti-torture Executive Order authorizes torture

Adam Thomas
Press Esc
Sunday July 22, 2007

President Bush's Executive Order prohibiting torture does exactly the opposite as White House and Pentagon have a very narrow definition of "cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment", human rights groups alleged yesterday.

They also point out that because the order interprets for the United States "Common Article 3" of the Geneva Conventions, only as authorized in the Military Commissions Act, and under the Act detainees can be held incommunicado forever, US authorities can carry on violating the Geneva Conventions with any restrictions.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Executive Order has effectively authorized forced disappearnces and 'Enhance Interrogation Techniques' including water-boarding and other forms of cruel methods that the Bush Administration does not consider as torture.

“By international human rights and humanitarian law standards, the CIA program is illegal to its core,” said Joanne Mariner, terrorism and counterterrorism director at Human Rights Watch. “Although the new executive order bars torture and other abuse, the order still can’t purport to legalize a program that violates basic rights.”

Meanwhile the ACLU claimed that the President Bush cannot be trusted to enforce the order.

"If any of the recent past presidents, Republican or Democrat, were applying this order, we wouldn't have any doubt that it means an end to torture and abuse by the CIA," Christopher Anders, Senior Legislative Counsel of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office said. "However, with President Bush's record of playing word games with anti-torture laws, we do not have the same confidence that the torture and abuse has stopped and will not start up again."

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