Friday, July 20, 2007

Waterboarding them there so we don't have to waterboard them here

Once one gets past the thought that "US bans terror suspect torture" is news, actual reading of the relevant Bush executive order makes clear that the mystery CIA detention program to which the order applies could be in use in Iraq --

General Determinations. (a) The United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces. Members of al Qaeda were responsible for the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001, and for many other terrorist attacks, including against the United States, its personnel, and its allies throughout the world. These forces continue to fight the United States and its allies in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere, and they continue to plan additional acts of terror throughout the world.

(ii) the conditions of confinement and interrogation practices are to be used with an alien detainee who is determined by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency:

(A) to be a member or part of or supporting al Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated organizations; and

(B) likely to be in possession of information that:

(1) could assist in detecting, mitigating, or preventing terrorist attacks, such as attacks within the United States or against its Armed Forces or other personnel, citizens, or facilities, or against allies or other countries cooperating in the war on terror with the United States, or their armed forces or other personnel, citizens, or facilities;

This could be another aspect in explaining George Bush's insistence that the insurgents in Iraq are "the same people who attacked us on September 11." Nor does anything in the order preclude its applicability to permanent residents of the United States.

So could it be that the Army in Iraq hands over some detainees to the CIA program? Consider for example the suddenly talkative "Hamid the Mute" and the loquacious Iraqi source (Abu Shahid) for the information that the head of al Qaeda in Iraq is a fictional character.

UPDATE 27 JULY: A LA Times op-ed piece notes the potentially broad application of the order (via Dan Froomkin).

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