[JURIST] The US Defense Department (DOD) [official website] has released a revised directive [PDF text] mandating military supervision of intelligence interrogations and questioning conducted by other US government agencies, foreign governments and contractors. The directive, issued October 9 by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England [official profile] but only made public this week, supersedes a 2005 version [PDF text] that merely required non-DOD entities conducting such procedures to conform to Pentagon policies. According to the new directive,
[a]ll individuals representing other U.S. Government agencies, foreign governments, or any other non-DoD entity must comply with applicable DoD interrogation policies and procedures when conducting intelligence interrogations, debriefings, or other questioning of persons detained by the Department of Defense. These individuals shall sign a written agreement to abide by DoD interrogation policies and procedures before being allowed access to any detainee in the custody or effective control of the Department of Defense.The directive permits the audiovisual recording of interrogation sessions on a case-by-case basis. Unlike the prior version, the new directive explicitly prohibits survival, evasion, resistance and escape (SERE) techniques [New Yorker report] such as waterboarding [JURIST news archive], which simulates drowning. The Los Angeles Times has more. AFP has additional coverage.
Several former detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] have sued US military contractors alleging that they were tortured in violation of US and international law. This month, lawyers for one contractor, CACI International, moved to dismiss a lawsuit [JURIST report] on grounds of immunity. CACI's lawyers argued that the company is protected by derivative absolute immunity because its work was ordered by the government. That lawsuit, filed in July, followed a similar action [JURIST report] brought by another ex-detainee in May. Last year, a US district judge refused to dismiss [JURIST report] a class action lawsuit against CACI alleging that the contractor was responsible for the torture of more than 250 former detainees held in Iraqi prisons. The Washington Post reported this week that two classified memos sent from the White House to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 sanctioned the use of certain harsh interrogation techniques [JURIST report]. US Justice Department (DOJ) memos released [JURIST report] in July suggested that certain "enhanced" interrogation techniques are lawful and that those who employ them in good faith lack the specific intent required to be charged with torture.