Take Action: Interrogations and Military Commissions in the 2010 Defense Bill

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Synopsis

On July 20, 2009, CCR sent an action alert to supporters regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2010.  Please read below for details.

Description

The U.S. Senate is in the process of debating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2010. The NDAA currently includes a provision that bans the use of private military contractors from conducting interrogations of detainees. Also, an amendment to the bill could require the video recording of all interrogations.

The White House is opposed to the provision that bans the use of private contractors from conducting interrogations and is also opposed to any amendment requiring video recording.  There is a possibility that these elements could be stripped from the bill. Tell the Senate to keep them in.

For the past five years, CCR has served as co-counsel in the fight to hold CACI International and L-3 Services (formerly Titan Corporation) - two U.S. corporations which provided interrogation services to the U.S. military in Iraq - accountable for grave human rights abuses. The plaintiffs in our lawsuits are survivors of torture they endured at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq. Among other brutal acts, our plaintiffs were subjected to rape, sexual assault and forced nudity, were repeatedly beaten, and forced to hold stress positions for long periods of time. CACI and L-3 have argued they cannot be held accountable for these clearly illegal activities because of their status as government contractors.  We agree with the senators who included Section 823 in the NDAA that banning contractors from conducting interrogations is a step in the right direction. Furthermore, the video recording of all interrogations would help ensure that human rights abuse and other illegal acts do not take place during interrogations.

While the elements pertaining to interrogations are positive developments, the NDAA could undermine our efforts to end the use of military commissions. CCR has long maintained that the use of military commissions is absolutely unacceptable in a democracy. The NDAA currently includes provisions that would change the laws regarding the use of military commissions, changes that the Obama administration appears to welcome, stating the changes will "make the commissions an effective and fair system of justice." Congress should not refine a broken and unjust system - they should repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006

Join us and write your senators today and send a clear message that private contractors should be banned from conducting interrogations, that all interrogations should be recorded, and that military commissions have no place in our justice system.