//Cheney, War Criminal?

Cheney, War Criminal?

Washington, Nov 30 (Prensa Latina) United States Vice-President Richard Cheney could be in the center of an investigation for his alleged approval of using torture on foreign prisoners, revealed media.

Orders for US military to torture prisoners in the Middle East might have come from Cheney’s office, according to declarations made by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to former state secretary Colin Powell.

Wilkerson said that he had found a series of guidelines from the Vice-President’s assistants where torture was allowed. Those recommendations were directed to the Department of Defense, he added.

These guidelines go against a 2002 regulation issued by president George W. Bush, when he ordered that the US army should abide by Geneva conventions in the treatment of prisoners.

Lawrence Wilkerson added that the guidelines were written in a very prudent manner but gave a certain amount of choice over action for field commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cheney had demanded in Congress the CIA be exempted from an anti-torture ban, according to the Washington Post.

Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy supported parliamentary amendments against the use of torture on prisoners and noted that the widely condemned Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal was mainly due to the absence of a legal guide for the army.

"The reports on arbitrary actions are way too many to ignore them," said Kennedy when commenting on the images that provoked world wrath, mainly from Arabs and Muslims.

According to CIA director, Porter Goss, the agency’s interrogation methods are "unique" but there is no such thing as torture on prisoners included in those methods.

In an interview by USA Today, Goss repeated the Bush administration´s justification and polemical arguments over how to fight terrorism, but he did not reveal the "techniques" used by the CIA to obtain information.

White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, emphasized there are current regulations in the United States that prohibit the use of torture against prisoners in custody.

Any change in that policy would limit the President’s ability as head of the Army, he added.