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18 Jun, 2008 01:10

Pentagon tortures terror suspects: U.S. Senate

A U.S. Senate investigation has found that the Pentagon used abusive interrogation methods against terror suspects, despite warnings by military lawyers that such tactics were cruel and illegal. An Armed Services Committee hearing said prisoners at Guanta

On Monday, the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee held a meeting on why terror suspects in U.S. custody are often  tortured, and who is behind it.

They say top Pentagon officials planned to use torture as part of the war on terror.

“The truth is that senior officials in the U.S. government sought information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorised their use against detainees,” said Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

And this is not the only blow to President Bush's stand against terror.

The U.S. Supreme Court branded the Bush policy of holding the so-called non-combatant detainees ‘unconstitutional’. Last week it upheld the rights of detainees in Guantanamo Bay saying they have the right to challenge their detention in the civil courts.

The evidence against terror detainees is often extracted by aggressive interrogation techniques or torture. Therefore, it will simply not stand in a civil court.

The government's handling of detainees is also likely to be a major focus in the upcoming presidential election.

Human rights activists say after a new President is elected, Guantanamo must be shut down and the war on terror handled differently.

“I think George W. Bush is a flip-flopper. Just like John McCain. He could have shut Guantanamo down, but he hasn’t. And that makes him a flip-flopper,” said Laurena Schmidt, human rights activist.

According to experts, the next American president will have to take a tough stance on how to handle terror suspects, even if Guantanamo is shut down.

Both presidential candidates – Obama and McCain – have vowed to do so.

But they have opposite opinions when it comes to the Supreme Court's ruling on more rights for detainees.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama praised the Supreme Court's decision, while John McCain, who had experienced torture in a North Vietnamese prison camp, called the Supreme Court's ruling “the worst decision” in American history.