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A-OK on torture: Senate bill passes

The final bill will land on the Chimperor’s desk on Friday. This sailed through so that pols up for re-election could look tough on terrorists. Instead, it places our men and women overseas at risk. (AP):

The bill would create military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects. It also would prohibit some of the worst abuses of detainees like mutilation and rape, but grant the president leeway to decide which other interrogation techniques are permissible.

Democrats contended the legislation could set a dangerous precedent that might invite other countries to mistreat captured Americans. Their opposition focused on language barring detainees from going to federal court to protest their detention and treatment — a right referred to as “habeas corpus.”

“The habeas corpus language in this bill is as legally abusive of rights guaranteed in the Constitution as the actions at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and secret prisons that were physically abusive of detainees,” said Sen. Carl Levin, the top Democrat on the Armed Services panel.

Bush went to Capitol Hill Thursday morning, urging senators to follow the House lead and approve the plan.

“The American people need to know we’re working together to win the war on terror,” he said.

Bush had determined prior to that ruling that his executive powers gave him the right to detain and prosecute enemy combatants. He declared these detainees, being held at Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and in secret CIA prisons elsewhere in the world, should not be afforded Geneva Convention protections.



…The legislation also says the president can “interpret the meaning and application” of international standards for prisoner treatment, a provision intended to allow him to authorize aggressive interrogation methods that might otherwise be seen as illegal by international courts.

Twelve Dems voted for the measure. Raw Story has the official tally.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding