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To the Honorable Rahm Emanuel:
I am writing with respect to sections 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, and more importantly H.R. 4674.
I am extremely distressed that House Speaker Dennis Hastert has introduced, in sections 3032 and 3033 of H.R. 10, provisions that would further the adoption of "extraordinary rendition" by making the practice of removing legal protections against torture for certain people legally protected by congress.
It is insufficient for members of congress who wish to demonstrate that United States is a civillized country to simply oppose the language in this bill. They must support law that expressly forbids it. As I write Ireland's new Minister of Defence is announcing additional investigations into evidence from the Swedish government that the US is transferring suspects through Shannon airport to locations where they will be abused and tortured during interrogation. The Irish Defense Minister's concerns are not unfounded:
A report in the Washington Post (3/11/2002) described numerous incidents dating back to 1993 in which suspects were transfered by our government to countries that routinely use torture and cohertion, including threats to suspects' families, for interrogation purposes. There are cases in which the suspects are known to have been executed without due process in the host country, and others where "U.S. intelligence agents remain closely involved in the interrogation". Sections 3032 and 3033 would retroactively approve of these abuses.
This is damaging to our national security if allies in the war on terror are spending their resources attempting to prevent the US from abusing suspects rather than assisting the US in investigating terrorism. It is damaging to our national security if we support and cooperate in such witch trials and inquisitions: it hinders international cooperation, destroys our already weakened reputation abroad, conforms to anti-American propaganda, has routinely proven to provide poor information rich in false positives, and furthermore may be destroying information when suspects are arbitrarily executed.
It is absurd that we should revert to practices American settlers ended in 1692, and at the very least the prosecutors in Salem never utilized physical torture to force confessions out of those they presumed guilty, unlike so many of the victims at Abu Ghraib under Saddam and then the US occupation.
This is why I am very surprised and concerned to find that there are only 23 co-sponsors for the House bill that would make such "extraordinary rendition" illegal, H.R. 4674, and that you, sir, are not among them.