Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Waterboarding Was 'Actively Sought' by US Officials

That's according to Carl Levin who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

US military officials actively sought ways to implement harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding used at Guantanamo Bay despite legal objections, a senior Democratic senator has said.

Carl Levin, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, told a hearing the US government had "twisted the law to create the appearance of legality".

"If we use those same techniques offensively against detainees, it says to the world that they have America's stamp of approval," he said in Washington DC on Tuesday.

The committee was also shown US military memos saying that the techniques should be curbed while international monitors were present.

The hearing is the committee's first attempt to discover the origins of the harsh interrogation methods used in Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba and Abu Ghraib in Iraq and how policy decisions on interrogations were agreed across the US department of defence.

The CIA has admitted it used waterboarding, which simulates drowning, on several suspected al-Qaeda leaders, while US soldiers were photographed using dogs against prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

The interrogations have been widely condemned by international human rights groups.

Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator, said the Bush administration's legal analysis on detainees and interrogations following the September 11, 2001, attacks would "go down in history as some of the most irresponsible and shortsighted legal analysis ever provided to our nation's military and intelligence communities".