The list of questions, reproduced below, were drawn up by William Taft, a former legal adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Harry McPherson, an old LBJ adviser. The list is being distributed by the Center for Victims of Torture. Note, one misstatement in their list of questions. They state that Appendix M of the Army Field Manual on interrogations is classified. It is not, and can be read as part of the original document.
* Does the report include a clear and specific set of lawful interrogation techniques — and is it binding on all US personnel? If a technique isn’t specifically included in that list, does that mean it is prohibited?The more I think of it, the point offered above on Appendix M is way off. The procedures are known to the world, and they represent at the least cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, if not torture, when used in combination.
* During his confirmation hearing, CIA Director Leon Panetta said that he believes the President may approve, in extraordinary circumstances, interrogation techniques that are otherwise prohibited by the Army Field Manual. Does the report recommend that the President have the authority to approve, on a case-by-case basis, techniques that could amount to torture or cruelty? If so, under what circumstances may the President use this authority?
* Do the recommendations require that all approved interrogation techniques comply with the “Golden Rule” – that is, will U.S. personnel be prohibited from using any methods of interrogation that the U.S. would find unlawful and unacceptable if used against Americans?
* Will the approved interrogation techniques be completely public so that America can reestablish in the eyes of the world that we do not torture? Currently, Appendix M to the Army Field Manual for interrogation is classified [sic].
* The President’s executive order called for the immediate closure of CIA operated detention facilities but then exempted facilities used to “hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.” Have “short-term” and “transitory” been defined?
* Will the procedures for transferring detainees to other nations ensure that those transfers absolutely will not, under any circumstances, result in detainees facing torture or cruelty?
I've written a series of articles on this, and for the interested reader, here's a bibliography of sorts. Note, from the beginning, Physicians for Human Rights was the organization out front on this issue, as you'll see if you read these articles. I guess Taft and McPherson missed those PHR press releases, not to mention my articles.
My first article on the AFM and Appendix M was posted at Daily Kos in September 2006, right after the current AFM was released: WTF? New Army Interrogation Manual Promotes Torture!
In June 2007, I wrote Sec. Gates: Stop SERE-type Torture! Drop Appendix M from Army Field Manual
Here's a list of articles from this year:
How the U.S. Army's Field Manual Codified Torture -- and Still Does
How the Press, the Pentagon, and Even Human Rights Groups Sold Us an Army Field Manual that (Still) Sanctions Torture
CCR: Close Torture Loopholes in Army Field Manual
Fredman's Mea Culpa, the Army Field Manual, and the Istanbul Protocol
By Yoo's Own Analysis, Army Field Manual Allows Torture with Drugs
I think anyone reading the above will gain a great deal of knowledge regarding the Army Field Manual issue. Feel free to pass this along.