US military will not classify parts of new interrogation field manual, officials say

[JURIST] The new US Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation [current text] will not contain a classified section, despite warnings from some in the Department of Defense [official website] that disclosing certain techniques would undermine the ability of interrogators to extract information, military officials said Tuesday. Interrogation techniques originally slated to be classified will be released publicly in the new manual or abandoned by the military. Defense officials considered classifying portions [JURIST report] of the manual to prevent enemy combatants from preparing for interrogations, but Congress resisted the idea, contending that it would cast doubt on US compliance with the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials]. Last week, DOD officials said the manual would not include references [JURIST report] to Article 3 [text], the provision common to all four of the 1949 Conventions that bans "cruel treatment and torture" and "humiliating and degrading treatment" of detainees.

The Pentagon has been working on a new version of the manual since the prisoner abuse scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] surfaced in 2004, but has struggled to come to an agreement [JURIST report] on revisions. Delays in releasing the manual have been attributed to attempts to legitimize different interrogation techniques and allow the Army to obtain timely intelligence from prisoners, while complying with the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 [JURIST document], which explicitly prohibits any cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of persons in US custody. AP has more.

 

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