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Army interrogation proposals could impede talks on detainee amendment

[JURIST] The US Army has given preliminary approval to a new set of classified interrogation techniques which are likely to cause a roadblock in negotiations over Sen. John McCain's proposed amendment on detainee treatment [JURIST document]. The interrogation techniques are to be added to the new Army field manual as a 10-page addendum and this is the first time that such specific guidelines regarding the legality of interrogation techniques have been given. The revisions to the manual, which have not yet been given final approval, are the first in 13 years. Although the new techniques are classified, the Army has said that the manual requires interrogators to comply with the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials; reference guide]. Some military officials, however, have expressed concern that the Army is pushing the limits on legal interrogation and that McCain may view the changes as a back-door method to thwart the effect of the amendment, which bans cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees but also prohibits treatment of detainees not in accordance with the field manual. The amendment, added to the 2006 military spending bill, passed the Senate with a 90-9 majority [JURIST report] and later was unanimously reaffirmed by the Senate [JURIST report]. It is not yet clear whether the amendment will be included in the final version of the spending bill though there have been predictions [JURIST report] that a final deal on the amendment is close. Wednesday's New York Times has more.

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