LJWorld.com weblogs Congressional Briefing
Roberts: No more waterboarding
One of the most controversial interrogation techniques reportedly used against terror suspects has been "waterboarding" - the practice of making a suspect think they're going to drown, in an effort to get them to spill their secrets.One of the big questions about the detainee act passed last week by Congress is whether U.S. interrogators will still be allowed to use waterboarding on suspects.[Human Events,] the conservative journal, reports that U.S. Sen Pat Roberts, the Kansan who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, believes that waterboarding's days are over:"In an interview last week with HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor Amanda Carpenter, Senate Intelligence Chairman Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.) concurred with McCain's understanding that waterboarding would be terminated.""Brian Ross of ABC reported that water-boarding was effective in getting-"Sen. Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.): Who did?"Brian Ross. He said that was how they got information from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Knowing that, should Congress ban-"Roberts: That is one of the techniques that will not be used anymore."It's definite?"Roberts: I'm not going to make any further comment about it."Do you think that's good for national security. I mean, if it was an effective technique, according to this report?"Roberts: I'm not going to speak to that. There's a series of techniques, and I think, overall, what is most helpful in interrogation is the fact that the detainee does not know what can be used. It's the fear of the unknown and the fact that basically we know more than he does in regards to his activities. The length of that interrogation is also important, but I think that the situation with the waterboarding, I'm not sure how helpful that is. Obviously, if he says that's the case then with Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, but I'd rather not get into the techniques. A lot of it still is classified, let alone that it's been in the press and as chairman of the committee I really can't comment."Other links:Sam Brownback[(TomPaine.com commentary) The Marriage Placebo:] Struggling to pay the bills in Washington, D.C.? Just get married. Sen. Sam Brownback, R.-Kan., and Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.-D.C., were out recently drumming up more funding for a new Washington, D.C.-based marriage promotion incentive program for low-income families. It gives low-income couples who choose to get married many advantages, from priority status for low-income and federally-funded housing to "marriage development accounts," which provide a federally-funded match of three to one for their savings. This program is one of many across the country promoting marriage as a solution to poverty. At the same time, in another part of the country, the legality of marriage promotion programs is coming into question.[(The American Spectator commentary) Ports of Call:] The Romney campaign announced that longtime New Hampshire Republican power player Tom Rath has signed on to Romney's Commonwealth PAC as a "senior adviser." Rath's denomination is unknown. But what is known is that he is a man who has been closely involved in two of the most devastating moments for pro-life and social conservatives involving the Supreme Court. ... Rath has actively attempted to smear pro-life candidates visiting his state. When Sen. Sam Brownback, who many believe will decide to make a decidedly uphill run for the Republican nomination, made an initial foray into New Hampshire, he was greeted by a mass-mailed letter attacking him for being a leader of the opposition against the Miers nomination, and the scuttlebutt was that Rath was working behind the scenes twisting arms for signatories.[(EurasiaNet.org) CENTRAL ASIA: US HELSINKI COMMISSION CONCERNED ABOUT SCO'S INFLUENCE:] The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe -- or Helsinki Commission, as it is known in the United States -- held a congressional hearing on September 26 to investigate the impact of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Central Asia, a region where Washington's strategic, political, and economic interests are growing stronger. Commission Chairman Senator Sam Brownback (Republican, Kansas) titled the hearing: "The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Is It Undermining US Interests In Central Asia?" ... Brownback noted that the SCO summit in July 2005 called on Washington to set a deadline for the withdrawal of the US military presence in Central Asia. The United States at that time had two military bases in the region, one in Uzbekistan and one in Kyrgyzstan. That call reinforced the suspicion, he said, that one of the SCO's underlying purposes is to weaken US influence in the region.[(Christian Today) Churches to Enter AIDS 'Race Against Time' :] Hundreds of church leaders will enter the "Race Against Time" at Purpose Driven Church - Saddleback's second HIV/AIDS conference in November and many are saying it's already long overdue for churches to join the fight. "It's past time for those who claim to be Christ's followers to join the struggle against the devastation that the HIV virus brings," said Kay Warren in a released statement. "We must get in the race to stop AIDS and to care for the millions already affected." ... Politicians are also featured speakers in the church mix including U.S. Senators Sam Brownback and Barack Obama. Jim Ryun[(Hutch News) Politicians differ over findings of war report:] An intelligence report indicating that the Iraq war is a prime motivator for Islamic militant groups shouldn't prompt a U.S. military pullout in that war-torn country, Congressman Jim Ryun said this past week. He said Democrats have made too much of a National Intelligence Estimate which calls Iraq a "cause celebre" for jihadists, who are growing in number and geographic reach.Jerry Moran[(Boston Globe) A call for fuel may bring cut in grassy fields:] Many environmentalists, though, criticized the drive for increased ethanol production because growing corn for ethanol has not been proved to be energy-efficient, and because it will cost the nation vast acreage of land that has gone wild. The Midwest's tall-grass prairies are perhaps the nation's most vulnerable habitat, with just 3 percent of the original lands left. The conservation program added more than 36 million acres of mixed grassland to the prairies, bringing back wildlife, especially birds, that had left years ago.
The question with this is finding the right balance between keeping the environmental benefit" of the conservation programand meeting this new demand for alternative fuels," Representative Jerry Moran, a Republican representing a district in central Kansas, said recently.[(Kaiser Network) Congress Takes Action on Several Health-Related Bills:] The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday by voice vote approved a bill (HR 4997) that would extend for two years a visa waiver program for foreign physicians, CQ Today reports. Since 1994, the program has allowed foreign physicians who receive medical training in the U.S. to remain in the nation for three years, provided that they practice in medically underserved areas. The program expired on June 1. Rep. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) sponsored the legislationHow to contact As always, you can find information to contact members of the Kansas congressional delegation [here.] : http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=17296 : http://www.tompaine.com/articles/2006/10/02/the_marriage_placebo.php : http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=10429 : http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/pp100106.shtml : http://www.christiantoday.com/article/churches.to.enter.aids.race.against.time.at.saddleback/7826.htm : http://www.hutchnews.com/news/regional/stories/report093006.shtml : http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/10/02/farmers_could_get_crop_change/ : http://www.kaisernetwork.org/daily_reports/rep_index.cfm?DR_ID=40126 : http://ljworld.com/extra/where_to_write.html#fed