November 15, 2007

House bill applies the Army Field Manual on Interrogations to entire government


Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union was pleased the House of Representatives passed language applying the Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogations government-wide. The language was included in the emergency supplemental appropriations bill that funds the Department of Defense. The Army Field Manual prohibits torture and abuse, including waterboarding, and also authorizes an array of specific interrogation tactics.

"The House of Representatives made great progress last night by passing legislation that reinforces the ban on torture and abuse by any government body or official," said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "This could end the CIA’s use of torture if signed into law. America does not stand for torture and Americans can now know that no element of our government is engaged in torture. This will begin to restore America’s tarnished image at home and abroad."

H.R. 4156 will fund the war in Iraq for an additional four months. If the bill now fails to pass in the Senate or is vetoed by the president, the Pentagon will need to borrow from its allotted budget to finance war operations starting November 17, 2007. Congress used the approaching deadline for an extension to include language not only banning torture, but also provisions that will reduce troops and force a new mission in Iraq.

"The House voted last night to stop the Bush administration from playing word games with anti-torture laws," said Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. "The Army Field Manual spells everything out in clear black-and-white language, with no room for any lawyer to weasel around its protections. If the Army Field Manual is good enough for America’s men and women serving in uniform, it should certainly be good enough for civilians."

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