How to End Torture: A Blueprint

During last night’s debate, both presidential candidates reiterated that they are in agreement in opposing torture. Senator Obama and Senator McCain both understand that America’s reputation has been damaged and our national security undermined because of the Bush Administration’s policy of torture and official cruelty. Lucky for them both, Human Rights First has just unveiled a detailed, multi-phased blueprint to end official cruelty and restore America’s commitment to the rule of law within the next president’s first year in office.

As part of this strategy, the memos discussed in yesterday’s Washington Post story – along with other memoranda or orders authorizing or justifying cruel treatment or secret detention – must be made public so that Congress and the public fully understand how laws mandating humane treatment were circumvented.

It’s not long, so please go read the whole thing here. In the meantime, in it are concrete recommendations, including:

  • Expressly renouncing torture and official cruelty in the president’s inaugural address and announcing a single standard of humane treatment across all government agencies based on the military’s Golden Rule: We must not engage in conduct that we would consider unlawful if perpetrated by the enemy against captured Americans.
  • Revoking all White House, Justice Department, Defense Department and CIA orders and memoranda authorizing or justifying cruel treatment or secret detention.
  • Ordering the National Security Advisor to undertake a comprehensive interagency review of all torture memoranda and documents and to make these documents public, to the greatest extent possible, so that Congress and the public fully understand how laws mandating humane treatment were circumvented.
  • Declaring a moratorium on renditions that have sent detainees from U.S. custody to torture in other countries, and direct a comprehensive review of rendition practices and the use of diplomatic assurances.
  • Strengthening counterterrorism efforts by directing the Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence to undertake a comprehensive review and reform of U.S. government human intelligence gathering practices, including interrogation.
  • Appointing a nonpartisan commission, modeled on the 9/11 Commission, to investigate the facts and circumstances relating to U.S. government detention and interrogation operations since September 11, 2001, and make public a report on its findings.

Published on October 16, 2008


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