<$BlogRSDURL$>

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The latest on Abu Ghraib 

Another huge story from Seymour Hersh about General Taguba who investigated, honestly, the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuses. And then spent the next three years watching his career go down the tubes while his Pentagon and Defense Department superiors repeatedly lied about what had actually happened.
Though Abu Ghraib may be considered as old news, there's a lot in this story that is new. Here's an incident from Taguba's first meeting with Rumsfeld:
At that point, Taguba recalled, “I described a naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum, and said, ‘That’s not abuse. That’s torture.’ There was quiet.”
And there is evidence of abuse that has never been made public:
. . . the first wave of materials included descriptions of the sexual humiliation of a father with his son, who were both detainees. Several of these images, including one of an Iraqi woman detainee baring her breasts, have since surfaced; others have not. (Taguba’s report noted that photographs and videos were being held by the C.I.D. because of ongoing criminal investigations and their “extremely sensitive nature.”) Taguba said that he saw “a video of a male American soldier in uniform sodomizing a female detainee.” The video was not made public in any of the subsequent court proceedings, nor has there been any public government mention of it. Such images would have added an even more inflammatory element to the outcry over Abu Ghraib. “It’s bad enough that there were photographs of Arab men wearing women’s panties,” Taguba said.
Another new element in this story is that Taguba was actually prevented from investigating any one other than the privates and corporals who were guarding the prisoners -- the orders given by CIA and higher-level military, and their actions, were out-of-bounds:
Taguba eventually concluded that there was a reason for the evasions and stonewalling by Rumsfeld and his aides. At the time he filed his report, in March of 2004, Taguba said, “I knew there was C.I.A. involvement, but I was oblivious of what else was happening” in terms of covert military-intelligence operations. Later that summer, however, he learned that the C.I.A. had serious concerns about the abusive interrogation techniques that military-intelligence operatives were using on high-value detainees.
. . .
Abu Ghraib had opened the door on the issue of the treatment of detainees, and from the beginning the Administration feared that the publicity would expose more secret operations and practices. Shortly after September 11th, Rumsfeld, with the support of President Bush, had set up military task forces whose main target was the senior leadership of Al Qaeda. Their essential tactic was seizing and interrogating terrorists and suspected terrorists; they also had authority from the President to kill certain high-value targets on sight. The most secret task-force operations were categorized as Special Access Programs, or S.A.P.s.
. . .
The former senior intelligence official said that when the images of Abu Ghraib were published, there were some in the Pentagon and the White House who “didn’t think the photographs were that bad”—in that they put the focus on enlisted soldiers, rather than on secret task-force operations. Referring to the task-force members, he said, “Guys on the inside ask me, ‘What’s the difference between shooting a guy on the street, or in his bed, or in a prison?’ ” A Pentagon consultant on the war on terror also said that the “basic strategy was ‘prosecute the kids in the photographs but protect the big picture.’ ”
. . .
A recently retired C.I.A. officer, who served more than fifteen years in the clandestine service, told me that the task-force teams “had full authority to whack—to go in and conduct ‘executive action,’ ” the phrase for political assassination. “It was surrealistic what these guys were doing”
And what did Bush know? Hersh says:
. . . Bush made no known effort to forcefully address the treatment of prisoners before the scandal became public, or to reëvaluate the training of military police and interrogators, or the practices of the task forces that he had authorized. Instead, Bush acquiesced in the prosecution of a few lower-level soldiers. The President’s failure to act decisively resonated through the military chain of command.
But Bush wasn't just failing to deal with the abuse, he was actively cheering it on. Maybe Hersh forgot the creepiest line in the 2003 State of the Union speech, when Bush said:
All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let's put it this way -- they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies.
Because they're dead. Sounds sorta familiar, doesn't it?


Recommend this Post at Progressive Bloggers | 0 comments

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Email me!