ABA Votes No on “Enhanced” CIA Interrogation

An article in today’s L.A. Times covers the nearly unanimous vote by the American Bar Association yesterday disapproving of the executive order issued this past July by the Bush Administration which allows the CIA to continue to use “enhanced” interrogation methods. From the San Francisco ABA conference:

Barbara Berger Opotowsky, executive director of the New York City Bar Assn., said the order was clearly “inconsistent with U.S. obligations” under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention, which requires humane treatment of detainees.

“The use of official cruelty has repeatedly been shown to be far from the best means of extracting truthful information,” said Opotowsky, who proposed the resolution. She noted that a U.S. Army field manual on intelligence interrogations issued last September barred the controversial interrogation techniques that will be available to the CIA.”Unfortunately, the executive order sets a lower standard for the CIA,” she said.

Memphis lawyer Albert Harvey, a retired Marine major general, also spoke in favor of the resolution, which passed by voice vote with only a single “nay” registering in the large meeting hall at the Moscone Center here.

“When we put our troops in harm’s way, we expect other countries to treat our soldiers humanely. We can do no less,” said Harvey, who heads the Bar Assn.’s Standing Committee on Law and National Security.

On more than one occasion, speakers at the conference referenced a powerful take-down of the current policy written by P.X. Kelley, a former Marine commandant, and Robert Turner of the University of Virginia’s Center on Law and National Security, both longtime supporters of Bush Administration policies. Their piece, published in the Washington Post, explains that they could not support the executive order because it allows the CIA to engage in “willful and outrageous acts of personal abuse.”

For more information on how the techniques allowed by the July 20th executive order are prohibited by U.S. law and could subject U.S. officials who authorize or use them to criminal prosecution, check out the joint Human Rights First and Physicians for Human Rights report, “Leave No Marks,” online here.


Published on August 14, 2007


Seeking asylum?

If you do not already have legal representation, cannot afford an attorney, and need help with a claim for asylum or other protection-based form of immigration status, we can help.