Saturday, April 25, 2009

Obama Executive Order Approves Torture

Jared Becker
San Diego Sun Times

New President Barack Obama may have opened a political can of worms by stating that his Administration may be open to the idea of investigations of George W. Bush's Administration over alleged torture tactics. In the news media and in many political circles, harsh criticisms of "waterboarding" are growing louder.

However, President Obama's admonishments appear to be at odds with one of his first acts as President. On February 13 of this year, the President, after consulting with Vice President Biden and contacts at the CIA, approved an Executive Order, which, in effect, strengthened the United States' ability to conduct 'enhanced interrogations.'

These interrogations, which are listed on the Order, can be viewed in part at the White House's website. However, much of the actual terms remain classified. However, according to the Administration, lawful interrogations include "the intentional causing of bruising ... and temporary bleeding", as well as "the application of electroshock" on detainees.

However, the White House points out that the memo also explicitly excludes waterboarding.

President Obama famously signed an Executive Order on his first day in office, calling for an end to 'enhanced interrogations.' This move was applauded by many in government and in international circles.

However, this relatively unknown Order appears to increase the ability to conduct such interrogations.

The White House insists that any questions can be answered via the official website or by the White House's press release.

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