Thursday, January 05, 2006

Liberal Media Lies

It's worth reading this post and associated links. This is a little more on one of the stories covered there.

President Bush, as most people will know, eventually decided to support Senator McCain's ammendment aimed at prohibiting the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees in US custody around the world.
Mr Bush said the agreement will "make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad".
The fact that Bush initially resisted this legislation was disgraceful but at least he got it right in the end. There is now an outright ban on US government employees treating prisoners in a cruel, inhuman or degrading manner.

Tixle X (passed in December 2005)

(a) In General- No individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

(b) Construction- Nothing in this section shall be construed to impose any geographical limitation on the applicability of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment under this section.

(c) Limitation on Supersedure- The provisions of this section shall not be superseded, except by a provision of law enacted after the date of the enactment of this Act which specifically repeals, modifies, or supersedes the provisions of this section.

(d) Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Defined- In this section, the term `cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment' means the cruel, unusual, and inhumane treatment or punishment prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, as defined in the United States Reservations, Declarations and Understandings to the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment done at New York, December 10, 1984.
It does appear to be a reasonably straightforward law. Anyone acting under the authority of the US government is bound by its terms. Strenuous efforts have clearly been made to make it watertight. Under section (c) no existing law can alter the terms of this law.

President Bush signed the bill at the end of December. He issued a signing statement to accompant that action (not in itself unusual).
The executive branch shall construe Title X in Division A of the Act, relating to detainees, in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch and as Commander in Chief and consistent with the constitutional limitations on the judicial power, which will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President, evidenced in Title X, of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks.
That's not written in quite such a straighforward manner. What does it mean?
A senior administration official, who spoke to a Globe reporter about the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman, said the president intended to reserve the right to use harsher methods in special situations involving national security.
Yes, this signing statement basically says that President Bush has decided that he can chose to ignore the prohibition on cruel, inhuman and degraging treatment of prisoners whenever he feels it might be necessary. The "constitutional authority of the President to supervise the unitary executive branch" is code for "the President can ignore this law as he sees fit". Back to square one, in other words.

Of course its not just the Boston Globe who've reported this. The evil liberal media, who are out to get Bush at every opportunity, have been having a field day with it. Haven't they?

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