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Reply #21: Torture: Another blow for Rumsfeld? [View All]

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-08-04 07:10 AM
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21. Torture: Another blow for Rumsfeld?
Jun 9, 2004

Torture: Another blow for Rumsfeld?

By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - A classified Pentagon report, providing a series of legal arguments apparently intended to justify abuses and torture against detainees, appears to undermine public assurances by senior US officials, including President George W Bush, that the military would never resort to such practices in the "war on terrorism".

Short excerpts of the report, which was drafted by Defense Department lawyers, were published in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. The text asserts, among other things, that the president, in his position as commander-in-chief, has virtually unlimited power to wage war, even in violation of US law and international treaties.

"The breadth of authority in the report is wholly unprecedented," says Avi Cover, a senior attorney with the US Law and Security program of Human Rights First, formerly known as Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. "Until now, we've used the rhetoric of a president who is 'above the law', but this document makes that explicit; it's not a metaphor anymore," he added.

While it is unknown whether Bush himself ever saw or approved the report, it was classified "secret" by Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld on March 6, 2003, the eve of the US invasion of Iraq, according to the Journal. A full copy of the report is expected to be published on the Internet soon, according to sources who declined to say on which website it would appear.

(Inter Press Service)
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