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Jan 10th, 2009

Obama Names Intel Picks, Vows No Torture

‘We must adhere to our values,’ he says with Panetta, Blair at his side

Image: Obama with Panetta, Blair
President-elect Barack Obama on Friday, Jan. 9, 2009 nominated Leon Panetta, left, as CIA director and retired Adm. Dennis Blair, right, as National Intelligence director. (Photo credit: Mandel Ngan / AFP — Getty Images)

Jan. 9, 2009

WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama said Friday his administration would not compromise its ideals to fight terrorism, adding at a press conference to announce his CIA and national intelligence nominees that he has told them to honor the Geneva Conventions.

“I was clear throughout this campaign and was clear throughout this transition that under my administration the United States does not torture,” Obama said, when asked at the news conference whether he would continue the Bush administration’s policy of harsh interrogation. “We will abide by the Geneva Conventions. We will uphold our highest ideals.” …

Obama has criticized interrogation practices he says amount to torture and also has promised to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. …


Obama: ‘The U.S. does not torture’ (MSNBC, Jan. 9, 2009) – President-elect Barack Obama stresses that under his new administration the U.S. will honor the Geneva Conventions and refrain from practicing torture as a means of interrogation. (01:44)


CIA pick signals shift (NBC Nightly News, Jan. 6, 2009) — Leon Panetta as nominee to lead the CIA points to a major change in direction for U.S. intelligence policy. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports. (02:22)


Iraq update

U.S. Says Iraqis May Still Be Held Without Charge

Jan. 9, 2009

BAGHDAD — Some prisoners held indefinitely without charge by U.S. forces in Iraq may not be freed or given trials, even though U.S. forces lost the authority to hold them at the beginning of this year, a U.S. military spokesman said.

Iraqi legal experts said the plans — which would apply to prisoners U.S. forces believe are dangerous or of intelligence value but have not been charged with a crime — might violate Iraqi law by placing detainees beyond the reach of the courts.

U.S. forces are holding 15,000 prisoners, most of whom have been detained without charge under the authority of a U.N. Security Council resolution which expired on December 31.

Under the terms of a bilateral pact which took effect on January 1, Washington agreed that all its prisoners would either be transferred to Iraqi custody under arrest warrants from Iraqi judges, or freed “in a safe and orderly manner.”

The agreement does not mention any mechanism for continuing to hold prisoners without charge, and Iraqi legal experts say there is no such provision under Iraqi law.

But U.S. military spokesman Major Neal Fisher said Washington will ask Iraq not to free some prisoners, even if they cannot be charged with crimes. …

An Iraqi government spokesman was not available to comment on whether Iraq would try to hold former U.S. prisoners without trial. Iraqi legal experts said such measures appear illegal.

“Neither the U.S. forces nor the Iraqi government has the right to keep detainees in prison without trial. It is against the Iraqi constitution and Iraqi laws,” said Tariq Harib, a leading Iraqi criminal lawyer. “Every detainee should be freed if there is not enough evidence to convict him.” …


Iraq Insists Reporters Agree to Code of Conduct

Jan. 9, 2009
BAGHDAD — The government wants to require foreign and Iraqi journalists to sign a code of conduct in exchange for permission to attend this month’s provincial elections, raising concerns among media analysts that independent coverage could be undermined. …

Parts of the 14-page code require that reports be balanced and unbiased and prohibit media from falsifying or misrepresenting information. The code also bans coverage of candidates and political campaigns for two days before the Jan. 31 vote. Punishment for violation ranges from warnings to thousands of dollars in fines.

The rules were drafted by a government commission that oversees domestic broadcasters at the request of the independent Iraqi High Electoral Commission.

Journalists must agree to them in order to get credentials to attend election events, including press conferences and polling stations. …

The demand for a code reflects nervousness of Iraqi officials about the fragility of recent security gains and the potential for efforts to incite violence or inflame tensions between Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and other groups.

Most Iraq’s political parties operate their own newspapers and television stations, so any move against reporters could be interpreted as a crackdown on a party. That could add to political tensions. …


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Jan. 9, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

BAIJI – A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol killed five Iraqi soldiers on Friday in the northern town of Baiji, 112 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed a civilian and wounded another six when it exploded in the east Baghdad district of Kamaliya, police said.

BASRA – Three rockets wounded four people including two policemen when they landed in central Basra, 260 miles southeast of Baghdad, police said.


Af/Pak update

U.S. anthropologist set on fire by Afghan dies

Series of small bombs strikes eastern Pakistan

One Response to “Obama: U.S. Will Not Torture”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » The Psychological Profile of Giffords Shooter Jared Loughner Says:

    […] Obama: U.S. Will Not Torture […]

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