On human rights, the United States must be a beacon. America is strongest when our policies and actions match our values.More
Home / 2005 / 12 / 22 / Congress Puts Bush Administration on Notice: Stop Using Abusive Interrogation Methods
December 22, 2005

Congress Puts Bush Administration on Notice: Stop Using Abusive Interrogation Methods

Overwhelming Majority of Members Support McCain Ban on Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment of Detainees; Joint Statement from Rights Group Below

More on Ending Torture
WASHINGTON – Dec. 22 — “Yesterday, Congress put the Bush administration on notice: they must immediately stop using abusive interrogation methods on detainees, including waterboarding, painful stress positions and forced hypothermia, or 'cold cell',” said Elisa Massimino, Washington Director of Human Rights First. “The CIA revealed earlier this year that it employs these tactics as part of its ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’. No reasonable person can now consider these techniques to be permitted, and anyone who gets legal advice to the contrary should think twice about defying the will of Congress. The Bush administration must take steps immediately to make clear that this abhorrent and illegal policy is no longer in place.”

Congress voted in favor of the 2006 Defense Authorization Bill which included Senator McCain’s amendment banning cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of detainees and establishing the Army Field Manual as the binding rules for all military interrogations.

“No longer can the administration equivocate about the scope of the law governing their actions. The law is now clear: no more inhumane treatment of prisoners -- period,” said Massimino. “The McCain standard applies to all U.S. personnel – including the CIA – everywhere, no matter who they are interrogating. U.S. personnel will be subject to sanctions if they engage in inhumane treatment of detainees."

Specifically, reports indicate that the following techniques have been used, or may currently be in use:

  • Waterboarding
    [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"160","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":""}}]]
  • Sleep Deprivation
    [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"161","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":""}}]]
  • Stress Positions
    [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"162","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":""}}]]
  • Hypothermia
    [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"163","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":""}}]]
  • Striking, Punching, Violent Shaking
    [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"164","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":""}}]]
  • Using Dogs to Terrify
    [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"165","attributes":{"class":"media-image","typeof":"foaf:Image","style":""}}]]
  • Forced Nakedness and Sexual Humiliation

The McCain Amendment is a critical first step toward healing the damage done to America’s honor by the abuse of prisoners and official authorization of illegal tactics by senior officials,” said Massimino. “The Administration must follow this mandate, ensuring that all interrogation techniques comply with the humane standards and that American personnel are trained in accordance with the law. Congress must be vigorous in its oversight to ensure full compliance with the law.”

Joint Statement on the McCain Anti-Torture
Amendment Prohibitions
(PDF-24KB)

“Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading” What the McCain
Amendment Bans
(PDF-16KB)